Saturday, October 30, 2010

Daring Bakers October '10 - Doughnuts!

I'm back with Daring Bakers after my hiatus and this month's assignment meant another project crossed off the 100 Things To Make list - doughnuts!

Must admit I was a bit fearful of the challenge and nearly chickened out to wait for November's challenge but I am very glad I grabbed the bull by the horns - I'm so happy with my results and so was anyone who tried them. Don't tell but I've got one or two hidden deep in the freezer, triple-wrapped and ready for any doughnut emergency that might pop up. What, you don't have those?

I went with the raised yeast doughnut recipe provided by our hostess after a sour cream cake doughnut batter flopped miserably. For the toppings I wanted to try both a vanilla and a chocolate glaze. Some were given colorful nonpareils, others remained with just the glaze itself. My personal favorite...well, to be honest, I liked them both.

The doughnut itself is a twice-raised yeast dough that, straight out of the hot oil and barely cooled, tastes just like bread. I was disappointed. After they had fully cooled, the flavor changed and developed into the doughnut taste and texture I had been expecting.

I'll make these again. Looking forward to experimenting with both the batter and frostings.

Yeast Doughnuts
Alton Brown
Makes 20-25 doughnuts

1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup shortening
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup warm water
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 2/3 cups flour
canola oil (enough to fill your frying vessel 3 inches deep)

Heat milk in a medium saucepan till warm enough to melt the shortening. Turn off heat and add shortening to milk Ensure shortening is completely melted.

In a small bowl, proof the yeast by sprinkling it over the warm water and allowing to dissolve for 5 minutes. Pour into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon or use the paddle attachment of your mixer and combine until flour is incorporated. Beat till well combined. Add remaining flour slowly and then beat well.

Knead until the dough is smooth or switch to dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat till dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth.

Transfer to a large, well oiled bowl. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.

On a well floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8 inch thickness. Cut out dough using a glass, doughnut cutter, pastry ring or cookie cutter. Using a smaller circular object, cut out doughnut holes. Set both doughnuts and doughnut holes on a floured baking sheet, cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oil in a deep fryer or large heavy bottomed pot to 365F.

Slip doughnuts into the oil 2 or 3 at a time, without crowding the pot. Cook till golden brown on each side (you'll have to flip). Transfer to a cooling rack placed in a baking pan, allow to cool 15-20 minutes before glazing.

Chocolate Glaze
Alton Brown
Makes enough to glaze 20-25 doughnuts

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 ounces chocolate
2 cups icing sugar

Heat the butter, milk, corn syrup and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate and whisk till smooth. Remove from heat. Gradually add the icing sugar and whisk till smooth. Place pan over bowl of warm water to keep it fluid while dipping doughnuts.

Vanilla Glaze
Alton Brown
Makes enough to glaze 20-25 doughnuts

1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups icing sugar

Heat milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Sift icing sugar into milk mixture and whisk till combined. Place pan over bowl of warm water to keep it fluid while dipping doughnuts.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Oven Roasted Potatoes

So, roasted potatoes. I've never been able to make really delicious roasted potatoes - you know the ones: a bit crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside and absolutely ridiculously good in the flavor department.

Last week we barbecued a couple of steaks that my mother in law had slipped into our freezer. Somehow it felt wrong
not to up the fancy factor of the side dishes considering that it might be the last barbecue of the season.

I broke out a few cups of the summer sweet corn I'd frozen not too long ago (which I tend to hoard throughout the winter) and then, (duh duh dummmm) The Potato Dish.

Thankfully we have fantastic resource websites out there like Food.Com and AllRecipes - both of which allow a person to sort the recipes by rating - ratings which are given by regular people in their home kitchens feeding their families and friends. If 703 of Jane Doe's say that a particular recipe is 4+ stars, its worth a try, in my opinion.

And you know what? They
were fabulous. Utterly ridiculous deliciousness. I'm contemplating making them again today, just because. I might even make them with breakfast, because how good would tasty roast potatoes all flavored up with herbs like marjoram and oregano and thyme and garlic be when chopped up into hashbrowns? Goodness.

Oven Roasted Potatoes
Serves 4-6

olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 potatoes, peeled if desired and chopped into large dice

Preheat oven to 475F.

Toss potatoes with oil and herbs; arrange in single layer on parchment covered baking sheet. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until a thin sharp knife passes easily through potato indicating it is baked through.

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