Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chocolate Doughnut Holes


Another Smitten Kitchen recipe, and another winner. This doughnut was more like a dessert than a breakfast treat. If you take brownie and deep fry it, then drench it in a glaze, you'd get these doughnuts.

I halved the recipe, and made my own buttermilk. In hindsight, I don't think I let my homemade buttermilk curdle quite long enough before using it. What can I say, I was impatient to get these made and in my mouth! A few other notes - this is a very stick batter, but it helps to keep it chilled to form the holes. I used a cookie dough scoop to quickly form the doughnut holes. While that worked well to quickly form them, they turned out a bit too big after deep frying....definitely a 2-3 bite sized hole. And, the deep frying was a bit of a challenge. Given that the dough was nearly black to start with, it was hard to tell when they'd cooked all the way! You can't rely on the typical doneness measure of "golden brown" doughnuts or french fries, or other yummy deep fried things...

Overall, delicious!!

Here's the recipe, adapted from the Smitten Kitchen
Doughnuts:
Ingredients for 4 dozen 1.5-inch holes:
  • 2 3/4 cups (12 3/8 ounces or 352 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (3 ounces or 90 grams) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons (about 3/8 ounce or 10 grams) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (about 1/8 ounces or 4 grams) salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 (10 5/8 ounces or 300 grams) cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup (2 7/8 ounce or 84 grams) sour cream or buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams) butter, melted and cooled a bit
  • Your fat of choice for frying

Directions:
  1. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium one, whisk eggs, sugar, sour cream or buttermilk and butter. Stir wet ingredients into dry until well blended. Chill batter until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 3.
  2. Working quickly using a small cookie scoop, scoop out the doughnut holes. Chill the dough if you find it becomes too sticky. Alternatively, using a generous amount of flour on your surface, pat the dough flat into about 1/2 inch thick, then using a 1.25 - 1.5 inch cutter, quickly cut out the holes, reform the scraps and keep cutting until the dough is all used up.
  3. Prepare your fryer or fill a 5 to 6-quart with 4 inches of oil. Heat to 375°F (190°C). Suggestion for figuring out when they're done is to recognize the very subtle change in color. Test a scrap to get a feel for it!
  4. Drain doughnut holes on a stack of paper towels. Once cool, roll in glaze (below) and let drain and dry on cooling racks.

Glaze:
Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water, milk or buttermilk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Whisk together until smooth. If you need it thinner, add more water, milk or buttermilk, a few drops at a time.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Raspberry Cream Scones

I just ate two of the above pictured scones... I.am.in.heaven ....This is what summer is all about. When perfectly ripe and delicious farmer's market raspberries are crafted into a light and fluffy treat.

I live in Madison, WI. And, it's generally accepted in this city that Lazy Jane's Cafe & Bakery makes the best scones in the entire city. I've made scones in the past, but they've always been dry. A bit boring. And, nothing like Lazy Jane's. Theirs are moist and light, and packed with flavor. But, I don't live anywhere near Lazy Jane's. So, naturally I scoured the internet for their recipe. Given that they don't appear to even have their own website, my attempts at locating a Lazy Jane's Scone recipe were unsuccessful. But, I figured that if anyone in the blog world had a great scone recipe, it was the Smitten Kitchen.

Clearly she had made other scone recipes too. But, the Dreamy Cream Scone stood out as a clear favorite of hers, and a potential contendor for a Lazy Jane's competitor. Simple ingredient list, simple directions. Oh yeah, and the use of cream (hello!).

This recipe is phenomenal. I followed this recipe almost to a T, only tweaking the fruit. My farmer's market berries were certainly delicious, so I added a whole cup. Thinking that through a little better would have been a good idea. The berries added a significant amount of liquid to the batter, making them tough to shape and handle. Next time around I'll lower the amount of cream and/or increase the amount of flour. But, that aside, this recipe is extremely easy. Just work quickly to keep that butter chilled, don't handle the dough too much and you'll get a light, fluffy scone.

I just might have to make these tomorrow...since they're clearly not going to last much longer in this house!

Ingredients for 8 scones, via the Smitten Kitchen:
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup currants (I used fresh raspberries, rinsed clean)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
  3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
  4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
  5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by quickly pressing into a circular shape and cutting into 8 wedges with a pizza cutter or pastry scraper. Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Crunchy Greek Salad


I entertained last weekend for some friends I work with and this is one of the dishes I served alongside the Chicken Gyros & Tzatziki on this blog. I chose this salad because 1) I had most of the ingredients on hand, 2) it's beautiful and colorful, 3) I knew it was going to be HOT outside, and a cool salad sounded refreshing and 4) I thought it sounded good! This is super simple to modify with what you have on hand. You can top it with any sort of vinaigrette-type dressing and it'd make a delicious summer salad. Or, even top with grilled chicken for a complete meal. I used purchased Greek vinaigrette to top this salad...I was making a lot of other things from scratch for this little get together, and perfecting a Greek dressing for this wasn't something I felt like doing at the moment. However, if you are looking for a good Greek dressing, I have made the "Absolutely Fabulous Greek House Dressing" recipe on allrecipes.com in the past, and it would do well on this salad.

Ingredients (to easily serve 8-10 healthy portions):
  • 3-4 heads Romaine Lettuce, washed and dried, chopped
  • 1/2 Hot house cucumber, peeled and diced (alternatively, use a regular cucumber that you've de-seeded)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced, and most of seeds, juice removed
  • 1 roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, rinsed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 very thinly sliced red onion
  • Feta cheese
  • Favorite Greek dressing

Directions:
  1. Thoroughly wash and dry the romaine lettuce. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Dice remaining ingredients and add to romaine
  3. Toss with feta cheese
  4. Top with light coating of dressing just before serving. Otherwise, chill in refrigerator until ready.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kebabs

I'm always looking for recipes that'd do well on the grill, and the Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kebabs on allrecipes.com is a nice recipe to add to the repertoire.

This came together easily with ingredients I had on hand, with the exception of the fresh rosemary. Since I didn't have fresh on hand, I used dried, making sure to crush it a bit before incorporating it into the marinade. I'm interested to try this one with fresh instead, as I'm sure it'll round out the flavor of the marinade even more.

As you can see, I served this with grilled asparagus, drizzled in balsamic vinaigrette prior to grilling, and grilled mushrooms, coated in a little bit of the marinade before grilling.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)
  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes

Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.
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