Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Cake Donuts

I bought the most adorable pan the other day (as if I need any new pans--ha).  A donut pan!  Made by Wilton, these pans each make 6 donuts.  $7.99 at Kmart, plus I had $7 in rewards, so two pans for $9?  Yes please!

I mean, after all, look what I can make!


So beautiful, so easy, and far healthier than typical fried donuts.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.  :)

The recipe for the batter is from the King Arthur Flour website.   I modified it somewhat and used half white flour and half whole-wheat flour.   I also added a glaze instead of using the cinnamon sugar the recipe called for.  And of course, what donut is complete without sprinkles???

Here's the recipe!  Now run to Kmart and snatch up a donut pan, or a MINI donut pan, for yourself, and make these for your family this fall!

Pumpkin Cake Donuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil (next time I'll use half oil and half cinnamon applesauce)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used half whole wheat and half white flour)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two standard donut pansBeat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.  Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.
Fill the wells of the donut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well.  Spoon the batter carefully, or transfer the batter to a piping bag and pipe with a large round tip.
Bake the donuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Remove the donuts from the oven and flip onto a wire rack to cool.  Cool completely, then dip tops of donuts in glaze.  Sprinkle immediately with sprinkles or toasted pecans.  Allow glaze to set up.  
Brown Sugar Glaze
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
In a medium saucepan, melt together butter, brown sugar, and milk over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Boil gently for 2 minutes and remove from heat.  Cool completely.  Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar.  Use immediately.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TWD: Danish Braid

A day late, but this recipe is worth the wait.  I mean, wow!   Buttery, flakey, sweet.   Pastry perfection!

I'm already a fan of this recipe's contributor, Beatrice Ojakangas.  She's the author of one of my favorite cookbooks, The Great Scandinavian Baking Book.   With my Norwegian heritage, I love trying recipes from my mom's homeland!

The Danish Pastry dough is really simple to put together in the food processor, but then patience is required as it requires an overnight sleep in the fridge.

Rolling, folding, rolling, folding, etc. yields a dough that is flecked with butter.   And you know what that means??   Flaky layers!   Just look!

Okay, so in my haste to pull this recipe together today (a day late), I neglected to notice that the Danish Braid required only HALF of the dough.  Oops.

The result?   A super flaky, extra-layered pastry!   I'm not complaining one bit.

Filled with homemade strawberry jam and a simple cream cheese filling, then topped with pearl sugar and sliced almonds, this braid is a keeper, for sure.      Beatrice's recipe calls for the homemade jam with a confectioner's cream (pastry cream).   Equally delicious, I'm sure.  The possibilities are endless!    Apples and walnuts, peaches and cream cheese, plum, fig, blueberry.....oh my!

Please visit our Tuesdays With Dorie blog to view other baker's results!   If you're desperate for the recipe, just leave a comment.  Otherwise, you can find it in the Baking With Julia cookbook on page 205.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Two-tiered Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

I wasn't sure what to name this cute cake!   It was for a friend's sister's baby shower.....she's expecting twin boys!!   The baby shower theme was perfect for fall----pumpkins!! 

I made fondant sunflowers and leaves.  The pumpkin is made just like this Mini Pumpkin Cake, and piped with vanilla buttercream, tinted orange.  The stem of the pumpkin is fondant.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Pockets

Pumpkin and apple.  My two favorite flavors of fall!

These little apple pockets are a perfect, quick apple treat when you don't have time for an apple pie.  The tender yeast dough comes together in a cinch, and the sweet apple filling hits the spot.

Begin by mixing the dough.   All-purpose flour, quick-rise yeast, a little sugar, salt, water, and butter come together to form a soft dough.  After a little kneading, it's left to rest while you prepare the filling.

Diced apples, cinnamon, sugar, and a little flour make an easy, sweet filling!

The dough is divided into four pieces, then each piece is rolled into a rough square.   The square is cut into four, then the apple filling is spooned on.

The corners are lifted to meet in the middle, then pinched to form a pocket.   The pockets are brushed with milk, then sprinkled with sugar, which will form a yummy crust.

After baking for 12-14 minutes, the apple pockets are golden brown, and smell soooooo good!

Served warm (with ice cream??) or at room temperature, these Cinnamon Apple Pockets are perfect for a quick dessert.  

My oldest daughter is not a fan of apple pie filling, so I tried a couple of the pockets with strawberry jam instead.    Since the jam was smooth, not chunky, the pockets were flatter, and some of the jam oozed out while baking.  However, my daughter said they were delicious!

Diced fresh pear, fresh peach slices, cherry pie filling.....I think the options are endless for these pockets.   Give them a try!

Here is the recipe, taken from my Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet cookbook.  Yes, "diet".  These treats have only 136 calories each!  Score!

Cinnamon Apple Pockets
~adapted from Taste of Home~
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter
4 cups diced apples
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup milk
4 teaspoons sugar
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.  In a saucepan, heat water and butter to 120-130 degrees.  Add to dry ingredients;  beat just until moistened.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Turn onto a floured surface;  knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide dough into four portions.  Roll each portion into an 8 inch square.  Cut into four 4-inch squares.  Toss diced apples with sugar, flour, and cinnamon.   Place 1/4 cup filling on each square;  bring up the corners up over filling and pinch to seal.  Secure with a toothpick if necessary.  Place 3 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Brush pockets with milk;  sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 375 for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mini Pumpkin Cake

Using this pan

to make these cute little pumpkin cakes

I made this adorable mini pumpkin cake!!

Only 4 inches tall and 4 inches wide, this little cutie was gobbled up quickly by my family. 

I piped the orange cream cheese icing with a large flat tip (a basket weave tip that's serrated on one side, flat on the other).   Then I added green vines and leaves.  The stem of the pumpkin is fondant.

Happy Fall!