Homemade Doughnuts

Oh! My! Deliciousness! You have not lived, if you have never made homemade doughnuts. Warm fried dough,absolutely delicious! A couple of weeks ago there was a blogging event entitled Time to Make the Doughnuts! hosted by Tartelette. I learned about this event by reading Phe/MOM/enon blog where she made her doughnuts for this event using Alton Brown’s recipe. In my opinion, Alton Brown is a great culinary expert, I love the way he explains the science of cooking.

Last Saturday morning, I made these doughnuts for breakfast. Everyone loved them. I covered our doughnuts with powdered sugar and others with a chocolate glaze. I never knew making your own doughnuts could be so easy. I do not have a lot of prior experience working with doughs (other than cookie dough). This year I have made more batches of various doughs than I ever have before, and am enjoying working with them.

Making the doughnuts was really fun, it is something that you don’t get to do everyday. Sasha was right there in the kitchen wanting to help. After I rolled out the dough she was already using a glass to cut them out. It was a fun mother-daughter activity! I must apologize, I do not have any photos of the fresh doughnuts, we ate them all. Take the time and try this recipe, it was delicious.

Yeast Doughnuts
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
2 packages instant yeast
1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

* I rolled the doughnuts holes in powdered sugar, immediately after removing them from the oil.

I thought Alton’s doughnuts were so delicious, I used his recipes for Chocolate Doughnut Glaze and Doughnut Glaze. The chocolate was the best. We could hardly wait for the glaze to set before we tasted them.

Chocolate Doughnut Glaze
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.

Doughnut Glaze
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Combine milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until warm. Sift confectioners’ sugar into milk mixture. Whisk slowly, until well combined. Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water. Dip doughnuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a draining rack placed in a half sheet pan for 5 minutes before serving.

I love you with all my heart cake!

Lately it seems like I have the best intentions of writing, I just never follow through with them. Ugh! My goal is to post something more often. I have so many recipes and photos of different food that I haven’t posted yet. This weekend I was really ambitious, I made homemade doughnuts, that is going to be another post, however.

I made this heart cake for Alex on Valentine’s Day. It was delicious! Target had heart shaped silicone pans on sale for $2.50 after Christmas, so I picked one up and stashed it away until Valentine’s day. I have to apologize, I was going to make a cake from scratch. I was determined to make a beautiful made from scratch heart shaped cake, I even bought cake flour at the store. But… that didn’t happen. I was so busy on Valentine’s day, running around trying to make sure everything was just perfect, that I resorted to the fail-safe boxed cake mix. I did take the time to make my own buttercream frosting!

I baked the cake according to package directions. It was my first time cooking with a silicone pan so I was a little unsure of how long it would take to bake. Heads up –it took 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. Once the cake came out of the oven I let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely before working with it. Once the cake was completely cooled, I sliced it in half. I then took a generous amount of buttercream frosting and spread it on top of the bottom layer, replaced the lid and completely covered the cake with the remaining frosting. I garnished the cake with chocolate covered strawberries. It was a beautiful and tasty dessert.

I got the buttercream frosting recipe from Wilton.

Buttercream Recipe
(Medium Consistency)
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

YIELD: Makes about 3 cups.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

Homemade Glue or Paste

Readers of my blog by now have noticed that my posts are about recipes. Well this IS a recipe, just not an edible one. I suppose you could eat this glue if you wanted to; it contains tummy safe ingredients.

The girls and I have a pretty established routine during the day. After lunch Sasha lays down for a nap. I usually like to wait a little while after lunch before I lay her down, that way she doesn’t go to sleep with a full belly. Lately we have been reading a story, or coloring in the “in between” time. Last week we made a Valentine heart for Alex; Sasha just loved watching me cut out the heart and allowing her to color it. We did another art project today. I cut out three different size circles out of construction paper and stapled them together to assemble a snowman (I could not find the glue). She scribbled on the snowman a little bit and was having a great time, when I suddenly had a great idea. Wouldn’t it be fun to glue cotton balls on the snowman? Scotch tape really didn’t secure the cotton balls. So I whipped up a batch of homemade paste. I hope that someone will find this useful. Sasha LOVED the process of gluing the cotton balls to the snowman. Plus, when she licked her fingers I did not have to worry about what she was digesting.

Homemade Paste

1/2 c flour
1/2 c water

Mix well. This can be made in any amount you would like. Just use equal parts flour and water.

*It may require a splash more water to loosen the flour. The mixture should be goopy not runny.

Lower Fat Banana Nut Bread

Lately I have been reading about substituting applesauce for oil when baking to reduce fat content. I’ve never tried this myself, and decided to try to do it with my banana bread recipe. The bread turned out delicious, a little squatty though.

I realized that I was so focused on reducing fat content that I forgot to add the baking soda. OOPS! The bread did not rise at all and was extremely dense, but still very flavorful.

Banana Nut Bread
1 c flour
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter **I used 1/4c shortening and 1/4c applesauce
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chopped pecans
3 large bananas mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In your mixer cream sugar and butter **(shortening and applesauce). Add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour and soda. Stir nuts and mashed bananas in by hand. Pour into loaf pan. Bake 1 hour, or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before serving.

Hungarian Cabbage Rolls

I had never before had cabbage rolls, nor have I ever even heard of them until I saw them featured on the dinner menu at work. I tried a bite of a roll that was left over, and it was a lot better that I thought it would be, in fact, I really liked the flavor combinations. I decided to try to tackle these rolls at home for my family.

CABBAGE ROLLS

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES F

1 large head cabbage, halved and cored
salt

Boil a large pot of water. Add salt. Drop individual cabbage leaves into the pot and boil 3-5 minutes. You will want the leaves pliable. Drain leaves and set aside.

1 T unsalted butter
1/2 T EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 c yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic)

Sautee first three ingredients over medium heat until onion is soft (8-10 minutes). Add garlic and sautee for 2 minutes. DO NOT allow garlic to brown! Take off heat to cool.

In another pan over medium-low heat sautee the following for 1 minute

2 T EVOO
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic)

Add and simmer 5 minutes
28 oz can crushed tomatoes

Add and simmer the following for another 5 minutes
1 1/ T white wine vinegar
1 T sugar

In a mixing bowl add the following:
1 lb ground beef
1 c cooked white rice
1 egg
2 tsp salt
cooked onion mixture

Combine well.

ASSEMBLY: Pour 1 c tomato mixture in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Lay out cabbage leaf, put 2 heaping spoonfulls of meat mixture on center of leaf.

Roll the leaf around the mixture.

Lay seam side down in pan. Repeat until meat mixture is gone.

Cover with remaining tomato mixture. Cover with foil, bake for 50 minutes.

Journey to Denmark

My Danish friends Heidi and Iben left me with a recipe for frikadeller when they returned to Denmark. I have Danish blood flowing through my veins, so I was happy to get their authentic recipe. I know my mom like frikadeller, her grandmother used to make them for her. My husband Alex was an exchange student to Odense, Denmark in 1999; and he enjoyed eating them. I did change the recipe slightly, providing a little more flavor the the meatball, the result was delicious. This is a quick, easy meal to make.

FRIKADELLER

1 lb ground pork
1/4 tsp onion powder (you could use minced onion)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried Rosemary
2 T flour
1 T milk

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Drop tablespoons of meat into the hot pan. Cook 5-6 minutes on each side (you will want a nice brown crunch).

We enjoyed our frikadeller with cheesy potatoes and green beans.

TORTA or Taco on a Bun

A co-worker of mine introduced me to this delicious sandwich. Her husband brought it for her to enjoy on break, and she was nice enough to give me a taste. One word. DELICIOSO! The next week Alex and I went to this little Mexican restaurant downtown and had one of our own. I wish we would have gotten enough for seconds. Tonight I attempted to make Torta on my own. It was pretty good, I think my co-worker would have enjoyed it. A torta, is basically a taco on a bun. Thanks for introducing me to something new, Martha!

EL TORTA de JAMIE

2 chicken breasts, poached and shredded (recipe follows)
1 lb chorizo
hamburger buns, or fresh rolls *FRESH BREAD IS A MUST*
lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado, jalapeños

POACHED CHICKEN RECIPE
2 chicken breasts seasoned with salt, chili pepper, and cumin.
Put chicken into pot, add enough water to cover chicken. Bring chicken up to boil. Once boiling put lid on pot, take off heat. Let sit 7-10 minutes. Take chicken out, reserve 1 c of cooking liquid.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shredded it with two forks. Add cooking liquid, chicken, 1 T cumin, and 1 1/2 T chili powder, simmer for 5 minutes.

Take chorizo out of casing, brown in pot until done. Drain grease.

Butter buns and toast in frying pan until brown.

TO ASSEMBLE TORTA
Add meat, and desired toppings to the bun. Enjoy with your favorite Mexican beer!

HINT: Jalapeños are a must for this sandwich! Also it is not necessary to have cheese on the torta, the restaurant did not serve their tortas with cheese.

QUICK TIP: Don’t have time to poach your chicken? Pick up a precooked rotisserie chicken from your local market. Shred the chicken with two forks, add a little canned chicken stock or water and spices. Simmer for 5 minutes. The precooked chicken allows you to have this meal from stove to plate in less than 30 minutes.

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