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Halloween Barmbrack

Barmbrack is a bread served on the night of Halloween in Ireland. This traditional sweet, fruit bread is more than just a tasty treat. Folklore says that the slice of bread you are served determines your future! There can be many symbols hidden within Barmbrack, but some of the most common ones are below:

A rag means a doubtful future.
A coin means prosperity is to come
A ring symbolizes romance or happiness
A thimble means you will never marry!

Even if your future is unclear, Barmbrack still can provide a delicious Halloween snack! We love how unpredictable the Halloween holiday is, and Barmbrack is no exception. If you are looking to incorporate this into your Halloween festivities this year, read on to learn how to make your own. Thank you to our friends at Tourism Ireland for this fantastic recipe.


For the fruit mix:

1½ cups sultanas
¼ cup Bushmills whiskey
Warm tea (enough to cover the sultanas)
1 lemon, juice and zested skin

For the dough:

2 cups strong bread flour
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp dried yeast
9.5 fl oz milk, at room temperature
3½ tbsp butter, softened
3½ tbs sugar
1 egg, beaten

For the topping:

1 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground mixed spice


1. Soak the sultanas in the whiskey, warm tea and lemon juice for 30-45 minutes, then drain off the liquid.

2. To make the dough: put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and bring together with a wooden spoon.

3. Knead on a floured surface with your hands for 5 minutes.

4. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave for about 1 hour, until the mixture has risen and fills the bowl.

5. Knead dough again on a floured surface, adding soaked fruit until evenly spread throughout.

6. Place in a 20-23cm buttered cake tin and cover with a damp tea towel.

7. Leave in a warm place for about 20 minutes until the mixture rises up to the top of the tin.

8. Bake for 50 minutes in oven preheated to 200C.

9. For the topping: cream the butter and spices together until soft.

10. Remove the barmbrack from the oven. Immediately spread spiced butter on top. Leave to cool.

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