Easter Hot Cross Buns with Apple and Sea Salt Caramel

Hot Cross Buns

Judith baking Easter Hot Cross Buns with Sue Becker

Growing up in Ireland, Good Friday was the traditional time of year when we ate Hot Cross Buns and I am keeping the tradition alive by sharing it with my family in Atlanta -as I always do, however, this year, I asked my friend, and bread baking expert & entrepreneur Sue Becker to my home to teach me just some of her amazing yeast bread making skills. We ground our own wheat with the Wonder Mill (click this link to find out more) and kneaded the dough in the amazing Ankarsrum mixer (click on this link to find out more) in what it seemed like no time at all…and yes, you MUST check this stuff out. Bread making has never been so easy, so tasty or so good for you…

The dough is made the night before and slowly rises in the refrigerator overnight so that the buns can be baked up fresh on Good Friday morning. This way, your family rise to the smells and Easter memories of wonderful baking bread – what could be better!

My boys are not big fans of the traditional currants and mixed peel so I added fresh apple and drizzled them with a Sea Salt Caramel icing, super yum. My hope is to create new memories by holding on to old traditions with a whole new generation –  as some things should never die.


Hot Cross Buns with Apple and Sea Salt Caramel

  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup unsalted Kerrygold butter (plus 2 Tbsp for greasing)
  • ½ cup of sugar (or honey granules)
  • 4 ½ tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-3 ¼ cups of freshly milled hard white wheat flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 granny smith apple (peeled and chopped)

(Sea Salt Caramel icing)

  • ¼ cup salted Kerrygold butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar (or evaporated can juice)
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or honey granules)
  • ¼ tsp light flaky sea salt

How to make them

  1. Combine the water, milk and butter in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat until warm and butter is melted. Remove from heat and pour in to a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar or honey granules, 1 large egg yolk and vanilla and stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in half the flour mixture, and then sprinkle the yeast in while continuing to mix.  Mix in the rest of the flour to form slightly sticky dough.  Stir n the lemon zest and chopped apple.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Shape in to a ball.
  3. Brush the inside of a large bowl with 1 Tbsp butter. Put dough in to bowl, burning to coat lightly with butter.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Dough can be made the night before and allowed to rise in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. To form the rolls butter a 9×14 inch baking pan. Turn the dough out of the bowl and using a bench scrapper divide in to 12 equal portions, about 2 ounces each.
  5. Tuck the edges of the dough under to make round rolls and place them seam-side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space in between each roll. With a sharp knife cut a cross in the top of each roll.  Set aside in a warm place until the rolls rise doubled in size, about 25-30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 387 degrees F.
  7. Once rise, brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg white. Bake rolls until golden, brown and fluffy, and an instant read thermometer inserted in to the center of the rolls registers 190 degrees F, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
  8. To make the caramel icing melt the butter and brown sugar/evaporated cane juice and milk and cook for 2 minutes. Beat in the powdered sugar/honey granules.
  9. Drizzle the icing over buns to emphasize the cross shape.

Enjoy, happy baking and happy Easter to you and yours!

Judie the Irish Foodie

Easter Eggs and Nests and things

Easter party tips

Easter Eggs and Nests 2015

So, after what seemed like a long Winter – Spring has indeed sprung, and we are now on the final count down to Easter 2015. We long for the awakening of the blossoms, the bleating of lambs and the promise of new birth as spring peeks its sleepy head from hibernation. In Ireland we have one of the longest grass grazing season in the world from March to November and our cattle are released once again to graze on fresh green pastures after feasting on a brief few months of winter silage. My favorite Spring memories is to watch the cattle literally leap after being shut up inside for months onto the lush Irish pastures. So in honor of the season of renewal, of approaching Easter festivities, new life and pastures new I am sharing a recipe party idea for these wonderfully pleasing Easter egg nests…they great on the table, might be a setting idea for your Easter Sunday lunch or just a kids Easter party.

It seems like a ridiculous amount of chocolate, but it does take a generous quantity of chocolate and shredded wheat to form each nest, so just enjoy… Try them with dark, white or milk chocolate as its really “all good”, right?

Easter Egg Nests:


(makes 12 nests)

  • 1 Lb. of quality milk chocolate
  • 6 Large shredded wheat (141 grams)
  • 36 Cadburys chocolate candy coated colored eggs

How to make them:


  1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Break up the shredded wheat biscuits in a bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.
  3. Line a cupcake pan with cling film and spoon the mixture evenly in to each of the 12 servings shaping with the back of a teaspoon to form a nest.
  4. Place three chocolate candy coated eggs in each nest.
  5. Chill the nests until set in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes to an hour.

Happy Easter party planning and make it fun!

Judie the Irish foodie



St Paddy’s Artsy Kale Dip

Go Green with Kale

St Paddy’s Kale Artichoke Dip

It’s time to go green again and no better way to do it with seasonal antioxidant packed kale. Yup, this dip was been a huge hit on my Kerrygold Aprons Cooking Tour, and the stout whole grain mustard blends beautifully with the perfectly baked artichokes and kale. Artichokes and Kale, Artsy Kale, get it?….oh well.

The recipe also substitutes some of the mayonnaise for Greek style yogurt to slip in some more protein packed nutrition for celebratory munching. Of course, the Dubliner Irish Cheese with it’s natural crystals conjure flavors of Parmesan and Swiss, and totally melt in your mouth with ease. So, without further adieu please allow me to share my recipe and wish all my friends and followers a happy, healthy and fun St Paddy’s day!

Dubliner Kale and Artichoke Dip with Guinness Mustard

(serves 4)


  • 6 oz of Kale (1 bunch with the curly stems removed and roughly chopped)
  • 12 oz artichoke hearts (frozen or a canned drained/chopped)
  • 1/2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 2 Tbsp whole grain Guinness Mustard
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups Kerrygold Dubliner Irish Cheese (grated)
  • 1 Tbsp Kerrygold Irish butter (room temperature)


How to make it

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan.   Add the kale and blanch for 1 minute.  Strain the kale and place in a bath of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze out any excess water and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Combine the yogurt, mayo, mustard, hot sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, cheese and finally fold in the prepared kale.
  4. Grease an 8 inch oven proof dish with Kerrygold Irish butter and then spoon in the resulting dip.
  5. Bake the dip for 20-25 minutes until the dip is bubbling and has a golden brown crust.
  6. Serve with garlic toasts, pita chips or crackers.

Slainte to all!

Judie the Irish foodie

Ireland in a warm bowl

Winter comfort food

leek and Potato Soup (with Spring Onion Puree and Garlic and Garlic and Herb Dubliner Croutons)

This cold spell even in “Hotlanta” (Atlanta) is bringing me to the soup kitchen and conjuring up flavors from my Irish homeland. There are a few special soups that for me represent Ireland in a bowl and this recipe no doubt is high on my favorites list.

Truth be told,  I am a huge ‘soup person’,  and this one is creamy, flavorful and satisfying with a buttery spring onion puree topped with crunchy garlic & herb butter and Dubliner cheese croutons. Satisfying indeed on a cold night! – The amount of Irish butter in the initial sauté seems rather indulgent but I promise you it creates a magnificent taste and texture.

As in previous years, this week I am again heading to Florida with my sponsor (Kerrygold) for a St. Patrick’s day tour of Publix Aprons cooking schools –  and I’m so excited to get out there and meet folks, and share what’s great about Ireland!  If you live near Sarasota, Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee or Atlanta please check out the event page of my website and come and see me. -This soup is one of the yummy features on my very Irish menu just in time for St. Patrick’s day!

Leek and Potato Soup with Chive Puree and Kerrygold Garlic and herb croutons

(serves 4-6)

  • 4 oz Kerrygold salted butter
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 large leeks sliced (use mainly the white part)
  • 5 medium potatoes (4 cups potatoes peeled and diced)
  • 2 ½ pints Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of cream

 (for the spring onion puree)

  • 4 spring onions (chopped)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp Kerrygold salted Irish butter (melted)

 (for the garlic and herb cheese croutons)

  • 3 slices of day old baguettes (cut in to cubes)
  • 4 Tbsp Kerrygold garlic and herb butter
  • 1 oz Dubliner cheese (finely grated)

How to make it:

  1. In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over low heat.  Add the leeks and onions allowing them to “sweat” until they are fragrant.
  2. Add the stock and potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir to combine on medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover and then turn the temperature down allowing the soup to gently simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  4. Allow the soup to cool slightly before using an emulsion blender to smooth.
  5. To make the spring onion purees blanch the spring onions in salted boiling water for just less than 1 minute. Strain and place in Ice water.   Transfer to a blender to puree. On low heat melt Kerrygold butter and slowly drizzle in to the puree to create froth.
  6. To make the croutons preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter and toss in the bread cubes. Bake for 10-15 minutes turning half way or until crunchy and toasted. Sprinkle Dubliner over croutons for 1 more minute to melt.
  7. To serve the soup return to heat and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the temperature and finish the soup by adding the cream. Taste to adjust for seasoning. Serve in individual bowls with a drizzle of the frothy spring onion puree and a few garlic and herb cheesy croutons.

Slainte and Happy St. Patrick’s day Y’all

Judith the Irish foodie