Monday, March 25, 2013

Homemade Cake Doughnuts

Yep, it's spring.   The day after Palm Sunday, and we have 6 inches (or more!) of snow on the ground!   Snow Day!!!  The kids are home from school, and we're calling this Day 1 of Spring Break....knowing they'll snatch one of our real days of Spring Break next week away for a make up day.  Oh well.  We'll have a great indoor day today!
A lazy morning calls for homemade doughnuts.   The kids were too hungry to wait for yeast-risen doughnuts, so I made a batch of "cake" doughnuts which have baking powder instead of yeast.






The batter is simple to mix together---flour, sugar, egg, melted butter, baking powder, vanilla, and a little salt.

Roll the dough to 3/8 inch and cut with a doughnut cutter.





In a heavy pan, heat oil to 350 degrees.  Carefully drop cut doughnut dough into the hot oil, two or three at a time.  Do not overcrowd the pot.






Flip once during frying.   Remove from oil when golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Place on a plate lined with several paper towels to absorb the extra oil.  Flip after a minute or so to drain the other side.





When cool enough to handle easily, dip in vanilla glaze or chocolate glaze, or rolled in powdered sugar.  Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.  Set on a wire rack to cool completely and set the glaze.





Serve with a tall glass of milk, and enjoy!





Homemade Cake Doughnuts

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
 1 teaspoon salt
 1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons melted butter
 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
 1 egg, beaten
 oil for frying

Heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot.  In a medium sized bowl beat together milk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter.  Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Turn onto area prepared with flour and knead a few times until smooth.  Roll to 1/2 inch thickness.   Dip either doughnut cutter or two biscuit cutters (one 1-inch and one 3 or 4-inch) in flour.  Cut doughnuts.  Carefully drop doughnuts into hot oil, only a few at a time. Fry, turning once, for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels, turning once so both sides can drain.    Cool while you prepare glazes.  Roll in powdered sugar or dip into glaze.   Place on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired.   Cool completely to set the glaze.  Yield:  1 dozen doughnuts



Vanilla Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 teaspoons milk

Whisk together until smooth.



Chocolate Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 teaspoons milk

Whisk together until smooth.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tea Party Pink Ruffle Cake and Teapot Cookies

This is a three layer white vanilla cake with strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream.   The flowers are made with gumpaste.




These are sweet teapot shaped sugar cookies with rolled fondant and royal icing flowers and leaves.




Saturday, March 23, 2013

Classic Key Lime Pie

Hubby requested this creamy tart pie for dessert tonight.  I happily obliged, and set to work with two of my girls!





We made a graham cracker crust with graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar, then baked it for 10 minutes while we juiced a whole bunch of limes.   These weren't actually "key" limes, but they were still tart and juicy and perfect!

We whisked together lime juice, lime zest, sour cream, and fat-free sweetened condensed milk, then poured it into the baked and slightly cooled crust.

The filled pie crust was baked for nearly 10 minutes, then set aside to cool completely.

Then we whipped some heavy cream with a little powdered sugar and vanilla, and I piped it onto the pie.  After chilling for at least an hour, the pie was ready to be gobbled up!!





Yes, please!

Sweet, tart, creamy, crunchy.....everything a dessert should be.   The perfect ending to a spicy dinner!   (Hubby also requested enchiladas!)


Here's the recipe, which I found on the Eagle Brand website!


Classic Key Lime Pie

Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter

Filling:
2 (14 oz.) cans Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons grated lime peel

Topping:
1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and stir until evenly moistened. Press mixture into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate to form crust. Bake 10 minutes or until crust begins to brown. Cool 15 minutes on wire rack.

Whisk sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and sour cream in large bowl until blended. Stir in lime peel. Pour filling into crust. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until tiny bubbles begin to form on surface of pie. Cool completely on wire rack.

Beat cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in large mixing bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until stiff. Top pie with whipped cream. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Best served the same day.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pink Princess Castle Cake



A beautiful pink castle for a 3 year old Princess Sydney!

*~*Happy Birthday Sydney!!*~*

Mocha Chocolate Chips

I'm down to the wire with this Tuesdays With Dorie recipe!   Whew!!

I'm not a coffee drinker, nor have I ever liked mocha flavored treats or drinks.  Well, whaddya know, these are soooo good!   I couldn't resist tasted a smidgen of the dough.  Then I took a bite of my daughter's warm-from-the-oven cookie.    Wow.  Could I be a new fan of mocha??



Peggy of Galettista is today's TWD hostess.  You'll find the complete recipe as well as some beautiful pictures of her Mocha Chocolate Chips, so please pop over to her blog!!

You'll notice Peggy's cookies are chunkier than mine.  Those chunks are hidden gems of dried, chopped apricots.  I opted to omit these, but many TWD bakers have commented that they enjoy the chewy sweet contrast within the coffee-flavored cookie.   I have two kinds of chocolate chips within my treats----semisweet and bittersweet, both Ghirardeli.  The mocha flavor comes from a few tablespoons of instant coffee.  Yum!

I'll save a few of these for hubby, but the rest are being packaged up in cellophane bags with pretty ribbon.  Who are the lucky recipients?   Well, the judges at the Science Fair later this week at my children's school, that's who!   They deserve a treat.  They will be spending hours reading and studying almost 70 Science Fair projects by 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.  Whew!

I was burning daylight with these, so I only have the single photograph.  Sorry about that!!   I think you all can imagine how scrumptious they look in person, anyway....!



Friday, March 8, 2013

Sesame Street "Ernie" Birthday Cake

I can't help but start singing the Rubber Ducky song in my head when I think of Ernie!  I also think of when my almost-12 year old daughter was 1 1/2 years old and had a favorite Ernie stuffed animal.  The way she said Errrrrrneee was so stinkin' cute.  :)

A friend of a friend called me last week saying she was desperate for an Ernie birthday cake for her daughter.  Not Big Bird.  Not Elmo.  Not even Bert.  Ernie. 

She picked up the cake a little while ago and loved it.  Hooray!  Happy 3rd Birthday Cammie!!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

TWD: Croissants!



Oh my.

When reading over the recipe for this week's Tuesday's With Dorie, I immediately felt intimidated.  Croissants?!?   Seriously?!?

After reading the recipe several more times, I gained confidence.  The ingredients were simple.  The process lengthy.  The results heavenly!   (And messy!!  More on that....)

Before I go too far, please take a peek at Amanda's blog at Girl + Food = Love.   Amanda has beautiful step-by-step photos, helpful hints, and the recipe if you're up to the challenge!

So I gathered the courage, figured out the timing, and made the dough on Friday evening so that it could rest in the fridge overnight.  Saturday morning I began the process of rolling, folding, resting and chiling.  Rolling, folding, resting and chilling.   Rolling, folding, cutting, forming, rising, and baking!   24 hours later I had croissants!

Yes, I was baking at 10:00 at night.   Why??  Because the entire process of making these buttery and flaky pastries needed a full 24 hours.  Amanda was wiser than I.  She began in the morning, so the following morning she was able to bake.  Makes more sense, right??

Regardless, my croissants were beautiful and scrumptious!   Here's a summary in pictures, followed by a funny story. 

The dough, after resting in the fridge overnight. 



The dough is rolled to a large oval, and the chilled disc of butter is laid on top.  Then, the top and bottom sides of the dough enclose the butter.








The butter is "whacked" with the rolling pin, then rolled flat.  Then the side of the dough are folded in.






At this point the dough is set on a sheet pan and covered, then refrigerated for at least 2 hours.   After that time, the dough is rolled again, folded again, and refrigerated again.   Then the dough is rolled and folded into a "wallet", a book-like double fold.  Imagine all the layers of dough and butter that have been created with all the rolling and folding!!




The dough is rolled for the last time, cut into triangles, stretched gently by hand, and formed into crescent shapes.   This is where I struggled the most, apparently.  As I gently tried to stretch the triangles of dough, the dough cracked and broke.  I was not able to stretch it as much as I should have, thus my croissants do not have the beautiful and classy croissant look.






The croissants are brushed with an egg wash and set aside to rise for 3-4 hours in a warm place. 






They're brushed again with an egg wash, then baked until deeply golden brown.





I prepared a walnut filling for some of my croissants, following the recipe (but substituting walnuts for almonds) in the Baking With Julia cookbook.  The sweet filling had finely chopped nuts, brown sugar, butter, and a little flour.  Weeelllll......here is where the fun really began in my kitchen!!  





As you can see, the nut filling oozed out, and since I neglected to use a sheet pan with sides, the butter dripped off of the pans, onto the oven floor.  Oh yes.  You can imagine the smoke!   Needless to say my smoke detectors did their job.  (Keep in mind this is 10:00 at night, and I have four sleeping children upstairs!!)

So, there I stood, beneath the nearest smoke detector, using my daughter's science fair display board to fan the smoke away from the smoke detector. 

 FOR.  20.  MINUTES.

Yes, I did.  20 minutes of an upper-body workout (haha) as the 4 1/2 sticks of butter baked in the oven. 

Was it worth it?  Um, yeah.  Look at these buttery flaky layers!





I waited what seemed like an eternity to taste one.  11:00 at night, in a smoky stinky kitchen, I ate.  Mmmmm.  There is absolutely NO comparison between a warm, made-from-scratch croissant and a store-bought one.  The time and elbow-grease required of these babies is great, but the results are so worth it.

If you're up to the challenge, you can find the recipe on Amanda's beautiful blog!   Read here!   Thanks for hosting this week's challenge, Amanda!


P.S.  I filled some of my croissants with a spoonful of semisweet chocolate chips.  Divine!   And the first to be gobbled up by the little people in my house.....