in the heart of historic bethlehem   •   534 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018   •   610.861.7631
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Welcome to McCarthy’s Irish Bakery

From Neville: The secret to our success is that everything is made from scratch, in-house.  Many of our original recipes came from a bundle of handwritten notes from my mother’s handbag when she died, while many other recipes came from family members or friends.  Since my mother’s family loved to bake, I grew up with fabulous home cooking and especially great desserts such as scones, brown bread and pastries.  To this day our home baked desserts combine traditional and contemporary Irish and British Isles specialties.

McCarthy's Brown Bread MixWhen Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room opened in 1997, I felt it was very important to make the very best Brown (wheaten) bread outside of Ireland. Eventually we figured out our own mixture of locally grown organic grains (right here in Pennsylvania!) which we feel is second to none in USA.  

If you love our bread, we even have developed our own full proof mix — not only for Brown Bread, but also Soda Bread, Shortbread and also several of our scones.  We’ve also used our amazing selection of teas to infuse our creme brulees and truffles, and, of course ,we serve our coffee from a french press — just as you could get it in Ireland.

What’s most important to us is that you feel at home and relaxed enjoying a cup of tea and one of our fresh baked goods.  Stop by for a visit to our McCarthy’s Irish Bakery when you’re in Bethlehem and try some of these family recipes for yourself!


McCarthy’s Pastry Glossary


Biscuit-like pastries or quick breads that are often rolled into round shapes and cut into quarters, then baked, sometimes on a griddle. Scones can be savory or sweet and are usually eaten for breakfast, or traditionally served with tea.

History: Scones got their start as a Scottish quick bread. Originally made with oats and griddle-baked, today’s version is more often made with flour and baked in the oven. As for the origin of the word scone, some say it comes from the Dutch word ‘schoonbrot’, which means beautiful bread, or schoonbrood meaning spoonbread. Others argue it derives from the Scots Gaelic term sgonn meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful. According to Webster’s Dictionary, scones originated in Scotland in the early 1500s.

Scones became popular and an essential part of the fashionable ritual of taking tea in England when Anna, the Duchess of Bedford (1788 – 1861), one late afternoon, ordered the servants to bring tea and some sweet breads, which included scones. She was so delighted by this, that she ordered it every afternoon and what now has become an English tradition is the “Afternoon Tea Time” (precisely at 4:00 p.m.). They are still served daily with the traditional clotted cream topping in Britain.

McCarthy's Irish Bakery Scone and Clotted Cream

Traditional Scone & Currant Scone

Buttery, flaky with the texture of a biscuit and topped with demerara sugar.


Fancy Scone

A sweeter scone with golden raisins, apples, apricot, white chocolate and drizzled with an orange
glaze. Definitely a customer favorite!

Shortbread Coin

Shortbread originated in Scotland but due to popularity is made throughout the United Kingdom. This particular recipe comes from owner Neville Gardner’s family in Northern Ireland. Because his family was quite poor, they couldn’t afford to purchase many ingredients, which kept their recipes simple and scratch made. What makes this cookie unique is the buttery and crumbly consistency.

Brown Bread

McCarthy's Irish Bakery Brown BreadNeville and Linda visited Lifeforce Mill in Cavan, Ireland to find the most authentic Irish recipe. Brown bread is a wholemeal soda bread made with organic flours now sourced in USA.




Griddled Potato Farle

Known in Scotland at a Tatty (potato) Scone, it is a very popular way to use leftover mashed potatoes — especially in the North of Ireland. It’s a cross between a potato pancake and a flatbread. Fried in butter and served warm with most of our breakfast entrees.


Type of soft bread roll (or bap) unique to County Waterford. With a nice crusty top, it’s perfect for making a sandwich. The name is derived from either the French word blaad, for leftover dough, or blanc, for white (referring to the flour). 

Red Stag Pub Blaa Roll

History: The roll came with French Hugenot settlers in the late 1600s, and it is claimed that white flour may have been largely unknown in Ireland at this point. The blaa is baked without artificial ingredients, thus it doesn’t travel far — although hardy Waterford ex-pats have been known to have frozen blaas shipped overseas to satisfy their hunger. The term blaa has come to be a feature of Waterford life, serving as a slang term for money, as well as carrying numerous other meanings in different contexts.

We will be using them for everything from our fry-ups to rolls for our banger/bacon butties, burgers and melts. We’ve worked hard to recreate the authentic texture and taste of the original rolls.

Clotted Cream

Unsweetened, whipped, thick cream. Typically served with our scones and jam.

Irish Cream

Our very own recipe. Notes of coffee, chocolate and vanilla.



Try one of our recipes!

Traditional/Currant Scone

  1. Sift together:
    4 cups all purpose flour
    1 tbsp baking powder


  2. Add:
    ¼ cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp kosher salt
    Optional: 1 cup currants


  3. Place all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl with paddle attachment and add 
    10 tbsps cold butter, chopped into small cubes


  4. Mix until dry ingredients begin to look like bread crumbs and add 1 egg.


  5. Immediately add buttermilk to combine.


  6. On a floured surface, roll out dough with wooden spacers or 1 inch high, cut with fluted scone cutter.
    Place on sheet tray with parchment paper.


  7. Eggwash by combining one egg with milk & sprinkle with raw sugar.


  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, rotate tray and bake 5-10 more minutes or until golden brown.


Shortbread Coins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


  2. You will need:
    2 sticks salted butter, cold
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 cup high gluten flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt


  3. Chop up butter and place in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add sugar and beat on low until sugar is fully incorporated.


  4. Scrape down sides of the bowl with rubber spatula and beat on high until mixture is light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes.


  5. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk, about 1-inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes, until firm but still pliable.


  6. Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and use 1 1/2” round cookie cutter, preferably fluted, to slice coins. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and use tines of fork to make 8 indents in each coin. Chill cookies in refrigerator on tray for another 30 minutes.


  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at350 degrees, until the edges begin to brown.


  8. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
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