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Hi Everyone,

I’m not much of a doughnut eater, so I wasn’t too excited about this month’s doughnut challenge given to us by Lori of Butter Me Up.  With that being said, I had fun glazing the doughnut, cutting out the doughnut, and of course…tasting the doughnut.

I used Alton Brown’s yeast doughnut recipe and found it pretty easy to follow and to execute. The doughnuts were soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. I made only one filled doughnut using Dulce de Leche but it was eaten before I had the chance to photograph it! I fried half the batch and baked the other half.

The baked version isn’t great as a dessert but they’re really good with coffee or tea. If I make the baked version again, I’m going to make it savoury by adding chicharrones (pig skin crispy things).

Here’s a picture of the baked version.

The fried version was amazing. Absolutely amazing!! I made half with sugar and cinnamon (which were inhaled before I remembered to photograph them), and the other half were made with an Earl Grey Tea glaze. I really enjoyed the hint of tea with the doughnut. I think a sharp lemon tea flavour would also go well with this recipe.

I didn’t have a proper small circular cookie cutter so I used my flower cookie cutter. The effect was pretty cute!  The “Cheryl Bits” were terrific!  I wish I remembered to take the pictures BEFORE we dug into them 🙂

Glazed Doughnuts!

 

The light coloured doughnut is baked with the Earl Grey Tea glaze.

Look at how soft the inside is…yum.

Alton Brown’s Yeast Doughnuts

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

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 hole. 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.

Earl Grey Tea Glaze (adapted from Roxan’s Coffee Glaze from Kitchen Meditation)

http://kitchenmeditation.blogspot.com/2010/06/baked-donuts-with-coffee-glaze.html

Ingredients

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup of milk steeped with 3 Tbsp of Earl Grey Tea leaves.

Directions

Sift out tea leaves from milk.

Add 1 Tbsp of  milk to powdered sugar until you get a liquid like consistency.  You can fool around with the amount of milk you add i.e. if you want a hard, thicker coating, add less milk.

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Hi Everyone,

A lot has happened this month! I started working again, I moved, and I joined the Daring Kitchen!

I haven’t been able to bake or trial recipes as much as I wanted since I’ve been so busy. Luckily, the Daring Bakers have strict rules on how many challenges you can miss and so I pulled myself together and completed September’s challenge.  September’s challenge was to make sugar cookies and to decorate them with some kind of icing.  We had to stick with a September theme as well.  I decided to make “Thank You” cookies because so many people helped us with our move.  Friends and family helped to babysit our little girl, helped us move, helped us unpack, and helped us store our stuff when we needed extra space.  Staying with my theme of either tea or coffee flavoured foods, I decided to make my sugar cookies with Masala Chai.

The cookie itself left a lot to be desired.  I’ve never been a fan of sugar cookies because I think they’re rather dull.  The cookie definitely had the chai flavour, but I wasn’t keen on the texture.  Sugar cookies have a texture that say, “I’m not sure if I want to be crispy or chewy, so I’ll stay in the middle and be neither.”  I prefer either crispy or chewy!  But that’s just personal preference. Having said that, sugar cookies are ideal for decorating.  Making the cookie itself was easy.  The basic dough rolls out well, cools well, cuts well, and bakes well!  What more can you want?? Decorating them was a whole other issue.

I also have never been a fan of royal icing.  The cookies tasted like chai, but the flavour was lost with the sugary taste of the royal icing in my first batch.  So, I added a concentrated table spoon of chai to my second royal icing batch. ( Thank God for having an overstock of icing sugar!)  This way I got a doubly strong flavour of the chai in and on the cookie.  Unfortunately, the chai made the royal icing brown which made it difficult for me to achieve colours that were as vibrant as I wanted.  This is why the colour of the cookies are more on the “bland” side.  I had to experiment a lot with the primary colours I had and couldn’t counteract the brown-ish hue that the chai gave to the icing.  I could have gone out and bought white food colouring, but I didn’t think the added expense was worth it just for this challenge.

Here’s the recipe I used.  It was taken from MANDY from WHAT THE FRUIT CAKE.

Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes approximately 36 x 10cm / 4 inch cookies
200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Directions:
Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming creamy in texture. Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during baking, losing their shape. Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms. Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid flour flying everywhere. Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces. Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch) Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins. Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker. Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife. Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour. Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking. Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies. Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in some cookies being baked before others are done. Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly. Leave to cool on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorate as desired. Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated cookies can last up to a month

Here’s the Royal Icing Recipe. (Adapted from Allrecipes.com by JBS Box)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons masala chai flavoured milk*
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • assorted food coloring

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

*slowly simmer 1/2 cup of milk with 6 tablespoons of Masala Chai.  Use two of the teaspoons for the recipe and dilute the rest with warm milk and sugar for a great tasting tea!

Cheers,
Cheryl

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Hi Everyone,

It’s been a short while since I posted last. Since my last post, I’ve started work, moved houses, and joined the DaringKitchen! I love that place. I’ve completed the September Daring Baker’s challenge but I can’t post about it until Sept. 27. It has something to do with Masala Chai 🙂

Once I figure out how to put links on my page, I’ll put a link for the DaringKitchen. It’s really worth a looksee.

Cheers,
Cheryl

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I’m wondering if I should just give up and accept the fact that I can’t make Macarons, or if I should dust off my pride and try, try, again!

This time, I made an Earl Grey Tea flavoured “Macaron”. I aged my egg whites for 2 days instead of 12 hours; whipped the egg whites until firm peaks formed instead of soft peaks; let the uncooked macarons sit out on the counter for 1 hour and baked them in a 300F oven for 10 minutes.  This is what they looked like.

Yep, no feet, and a cracked head! But...they sure are delicious 🙂

Then I let the next batch sit for 2 hours, and baked them in a 250F oven for 10 minutes.  This is what they looked like.

FEET! (...but with a cracked head)

And there was hope! Angels sing, dark cloud part and out comes the sun.  I can’t wait to make another batch!

Cheryl

p.s.  They’re still not worthy of having the quotation marks taken off.  “Macarons”

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Slow down there slugger. I didn't make these. Let me repeat, I...did...not...make...these.

Bakerella did.

Depressed.  There just aren’t words to describe how I felt after seeing my sad, pitiful, feetless Macarons come out of the oven. I was so confident that I’d be able to make them.  After all, I’ve made them numerous time before…well actually, just a few times, but still.  My sister said to me, “Why not try making coffee or tea flavoured Macarons? They’re all the rage now.”  Then I thought to myself, “Ok, Macarons it is! I can do this! I’ve done this before!”  Sadly, life actually said, “You stupid.”  The reality of it is, I made Macarons over 10 years ago and apparently my skills or intuition is not what it once was.  Neither is my oven.

They were flat.  They didn’t have feet.  They browned on the edges.  AND…worst of all, they didn’t even taste good!

Take a look for yourself…

Well, not  until I ate them with vanilla butter cream that is!  Mmmmmm, butter cream *drool*. I don’t know what it was about the butter cream, but holy smokes did they ever bring those “Macarons” to life!

Even though they didn’t make their appearance any better.

See that yummy butter cream ooozing off the edge of the “Macaron”?  *cough* That’s not supposed to happen either!  Ah well, one lick and it was gone.

I should stop calling them Macarons though, they were actually just cooked egg whites with sugar.  But then, I’m too lazy to write “cooked egg whites with sugar” all the time so I’ll just continue to call them “Macarons”.  And yes, I will continue to put those quotation marks around the word EACH AND EVERY TIME I write about them.  Even in real life, I’ll use air quotation marks and maybe zig zag my head a little.

I suppose I knew they weren’t going to work out from the get go, otherwise I never would have taken this “what piped Macarons should not look like” picture.

It really was the beginning of the end.  Tonight, (after having another “Macaron” with butter cream while saying, “Well, at least you won’t eat all your future Macarons because they’ll be so beautiful that you’ll want to give them all away with pride!”) I came to the computer and finally wrote this tragedy.

If I had to find a silver lining somewhere, I suppose it’s in knowing where my errors were.  It’s not like I stood in front of the oven dumbfounded and wondering where it had all went wrong.  I’ll whip the egg whites a bit more, and let the mixture rest on the counter for a longer amount of time.  Oh, and I probably won’t make them and store them on a day that’s raining with +80%  humidity. I swear by all that’s good and mighty, I will overcome the Macaron and even make it flavoured!  Oh yes I will!

Cheryl

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This Pastelito is made with the spiced tea glaze but has a banana filling. So many options, so little time!!

Holy smack you lips and let the fat run to your hips delicious!!  I thought about changing the coffee ravioli dough to a Pastelito dough and boy was that a good idea!  The dough is a pain in the arse to make, but the results are flaky, light, and totally scrumptious.  This one is a definite keeper and can be modified to have a simple glaze with a coffee filling, or a coffee glaze with a fruit filling, or, or, or…there are just so many combination’s to be made!  You must be wondering why I have a TEA glaze instead of a coffee glaze.  A couple of days ago, I was walking with my friend Min, and she made a comment about whether I liked coffee or something like that.  Then I realized that I actually like tea a lot better.  My taste buds are in tune with tea a lot more than coffee, and so every time I make something with coffee, it just tastes like…coffee.  With tea, I can taste the subtle or not so subtle differences between good, bad, oxidized, and non-oxidized leaves.  So, in response to our conversation, I decided to include tea flavours in my experiments.  Most of the recipes I’m going to experiment with will be adaptable for either coffees or teas, I hope.

Anyhow, here is the recipe.  I’ll include pictures later on in the week.

Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp sugar

pinch salt

3/4 cup melted butter

lukewarm water

Glaze

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup water

1 Spiced Tea bag

Glaze Directions:

Add sugar and water into a heavy sauce pan.  You can stir the sugar to initially help it dissolve, but don’t stir it after you’ve put it on the heat.  When the mixture starts to boil, reduce your heat and let the mixture simmer until it thickens a little (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the tea and let it simmer in the syrup for about 5 minutes and then take it out.  If you want a stronger tea flavour, you can put the tea bag back into the syrup once you remove the syrup from the heat and it has acquired your desired consistency.  The syrup should not get to the ball soft stage of candy making but should lightly coat the back of a spoon.

Dough Directions

A)In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt.

B)Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in 12 tablespoons of the melted butter. (Try to use as much of the  butter cream at this stage rather than the clarified butter that rises to the top as you’ll only want to use the clarified butter later on.)

C) Slowly incorporate the butter into the dough by moving the butter around in circles in order to pull in a bit of flour at a time.

D)  If you notice that the mixture is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water until the mixture comes together into a dough.  The dough should not be wet or sticky.

E)  Knead the dough until it comes together as a smooth mass.  Leave to rest for 30 min in a cool area.

F)  Cut the dough into four segments.  When working with one segment, cover the others so they don’t dry out.

G) Now comes the hard work (unless you have an electric pasta maker!)  Take one segment of dough and roll it out to about 3 mm thick.  Brush with clarified butter and lightly sprinkle with flour.  Fold in half and roll out again to about a 3 millimeter thickness.

You don’t have to be super picky about the thickness.  I had a sheet that was about 6 mm thick and it turned out just fine.  With that being said, I liked the thinner pastry better because it fried up thinner and made it easier for me to get it in my mouth 😛  Anyhow, this is what it looked like.  Oh by the way, the one on the left is a nickle…just in case you didn’t know 🙂

Repeat this process about 4-5 times.  Do this with each segment.  Then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Try to make your dough have even edges as this will help with your cutting later.  It will help you waste less dough in the final stages.

This is what the dough should look like.

This is what the dough looks like all prettied up, trimmed and divided into 7 cm squares.

H) Now comes the fun part!  Cut the dough into about 7 centimeter squares.  You could make smaller squares (I cut my first batch into 3.5 centimeters) but you get to eat less filling and more of the dough.  I like the dough a lot more so this was a good option for me!  Each Pastelito will use two squares.  Brush one square with water, on the other, put a small mound of whatever filling you want.  My husband is from Argentina so he prefers to have quince or dulce de batata, but since i didn’t have any of those, and a friend of ours made homemade Nutella, so,   I used Nutella.  Place the dough (water side down) on top of the dough with the filling , making sure that the second square of dough is at a 45 degree angle from the dough with the filling.  The product will look like a star. Pinch the edges of the squares up towards the filling creating a “flower” like presentation.

Here’s one edge pinched.

Here are ALL the edges pinched!! Yippee!

I) Deep fry the flowers and submerge in the simple syrup.  Cool on a rack and enjoy!  You could re-submerge the flowers into the simple syrup after they’ve cooled in order to get them really gooey and yummy.

Here they are when they come out of the oil.

And this is them with all their Ooey Gooey Syrupy Yumminess!

This recipe makes about 8 fairly large “flowers” at 7cm.

I’m going to try this out with my coffee glaze and maybe some oven baked grapes for a filling…or bananas!!  The dough freezes very well so if you’re up for it, make big batches and freeze the dough for whenever you need it.  This dough bakes at 350C for about 10-15 min, but it fries up in less than 5 minutes.  I liked the flavour of the baked version, but really, fried is so much more decadent.  The best part was frying up all the trimmings!! My little girl munched on them with a great big smile on her face.

I couldn’t resist, here are the trimmings!

Cheryl

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Realistically, working on recipes everyday with a 16 month old running around all day isn’t going to happen. I felt guilty all day yesterday because I didn’t work on that pasta coffee dough for the Deep Fried Coffee Ravioli with the Chocolate Ricotta filling. I was playing around with different ideas while doing dishes and figured that I would change the dough altogether. I’m going to try a dough much like that of the Argentine Pastelitos. I think those will turn out a lot better. I think I’ll only have this weekend to try that out though since the dough is pretty time-consuming.

Coffee Cookie

Today I made coffee cookies. They were ok. A bit too sweet for my taste, but then I’m Asian and from what I understand, most of us prefer a mild sweetness to our desserts. I’ll have to get friends to taste test in order for me to know whether I should cut down the sugar or not.   I tried out different variations of this cookie too! The first was a plain coffee cookie with a coffee syrup glaze, that tasted pretty good.  Then I tried variations of nuts (macadamia, almond, walnut).  The walnut really stood out for me.  The macadamia and the almond’s  flavours were lost, but I have some dough left over so I’m going to toast the nuts to see if they taste better like that.  I really liked the walnut.  The recipe included baking powder, but I didn’t want the cookies to fluff up THAT much, so I’ll also reduce the baking powder amount next time.  Also, My husband tried them and said that the coffee flavour was minimal.  I didn’t want an overwhelming coffee flavour but next time I’ll increase the coffee flavour and see what happens. The cookies had this awesome crispy caramelized bottom with a cake like interior that was chewy.  I’m really pleased with this cookie.

So, to recap: the coffee cookie needs 1)less sugar, 2) stronger coffee flavour, 3) toasted nuts and 4) reduced baking powder

Oh, and one last thing, that coffee syrup is going to be awesome with the Coffee Flavoured Ravioli’s.

Since I’m keeping the Coffee Syrup recipe (it’s an adapted caramel recipe), here it is:

1/2 cup concentrated coffee

1 cup sugar

Add the coffee to the sugar and stir to incorporate the liquid  into the sugar.

Put on the stove to boil. (Do not stir.)

Lower the heat to minimum/medium (this depends on your stove) and simmer until the mixture thickens.

Cheryl

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