Charlotte has developed a habit lately of pinching my back-fat while indignantly squealing in disbelief. It’s like she’s trying to send me a message. Mom! Check out your squishy back-fat! This is incredibly disgusting! You really should try dieting.

It reminds me of when I was at a Chinese restaurant one time with my friend Sarah. She opened her fortune cookie and read the message. It was something like this: You have many talents and gifts that will allow you to achieve your goals. Dream big. Then I opened mine: Improve your exercise regime.

Do you see that dark spot in the middle? Brown sugar that didn’t get mixed all the way. Yum.

This bread rocks. I had never even heard of Irish Soda Bread until a few weeks ago when I tried a sample at a local bakery. I probably “sampled” about half of their loaf; I’m sure I was that customer, you know, the one that all the employees are glaring at from underneath their visors and hair nets. I tried to find a knock-off recipe but Kneaders is not a huge chain, so the internet wasn’t helping. But I think this recipe is pretty close. And bonus points: it is super quick and easy.

It is delicious all by itself. Or you can upgrade by spreading on some butter. Or you can try my super deluxe version: butter and then sprinkle brown sugar on top. Aw yeah.

Irish Soda Bread with Browned Butter

Source: inspired by a Betty Crocker recipe sent to me by my mother-in-law Kris

2 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoons butter (a little more than 1/2 stick)
scant 3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
melted butter, for brushing

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl and set aside.

Place 4 1/2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium or medium low. Allow the butter to reach a simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue to simmer for about 5 or 10 minutes, or until the butter reaches a golden brown color. Sometimes it is so foamy that it’s hard to see what the color is, so spoon some into a white dish to see what it looks like. (If this is your first time browning butter, go here for tips so you don’t over do it.) As soon as it is the right color, transfer the browned butter to a small mixing bowl so that it stops the cooking process. Let the browned butter cool for a couple minutes (so that you don’t cook the egg when you add it.)

Add the buttermilk and egg to the browned butter and whisk it into submission. The butter might start to solidify a bit, but that is okay, just whisk it all together. Add the mixture to the flour mixture and combine with a spoon. (If your butter is too solid, use a pastry cutter.) Knead the dough with your hands for a minute to make sure that it has all come together and is smooth.

Here is my dough. No need to rise. Oh baking soda, how I love you.

Shape into a round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on a greased cookie sheet, or use parchment paper. Cut an X shape about 1/2 inch deep through the loaf with a very sharp knife.

Bake at 375 for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter.