Archive | October, 2010

Sugar Donuts

27 Oct

Ever try eating a donut without licking your lips? It’s a near impossibility!!

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.

This was a great challenge, I’ve always wanted to try making donuts but never managed to get round to making them. I generally thought that as I didn’t have a deep fat fryer they wouldn’t turn out as well. I use my wok and that worked perfectly well. They’re not really that hard to make but they are time consuming; but what better way to spend a bank holiday Monday! The majority of them turned out perfect, a few did look like they had been in the sun too long!

Yeast Doughnuts:

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
Rising time – 1.5 hours total
Cooking time – 12 minutes

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)


  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
  2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. 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.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. 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 (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

Chef Factor

25 Oct

I can’t believe I’ve entered but I have!!

Please, please vote for me here 🙂

Thank you!!

Linda 🙂

Macarons, Finally!!

24 Oct

Ah the macaron!! My nemesis. This was a challenge I had set my self because I adore these, Ladauree in particular. They can be so damn finicky to make but they’re so damn tasty!!  I have read recipe after recipe and watched many youtube videos to actually see people beat the meringue and not over mix it and watched them pipe out the macarons with great ease. As I sit and type the macarons are catching my eye and I’m now staring at them in utter amazement that I can finally make them, though I don’t doubt that in the future there will be times when they won’t work; the room won’t be warm enough, the eggs won’t be old enough, they won’t be fully hard before they enter the oven. But I do look forward to making them time and time again. I am quite stubborn by nature, I can’t give up on things so in away the macaron really does represent me.

They’re so versatile because of the amount of flavours you can make and the amount of fillings you can choose. For this competition I made blueberry macarons, for two reasons. One because blueberrys are in season and I like to make seasonal foods and two, I love blueberrys! The shell is not quite as purply as I’d like it but it works. The filling is delicately sweet – a mixture of mascarpone and good home made blueberry jam.

A Surprising Hangover Cure

18 Oct

Having over indulged on flavoured vodka at a gig on Friday night, the last thing I wanted to do was spend Saturday baking desserts. But we were going over to a friends for dinner on Saturday night and I had promised to make something chocolately for dessert. I peeled myself off the couch where I had been hiding in lovely warm cocoon of covers and headed for the kitchen.

I had decided to make Nigella’s Chocolate puddings and my own Toffee Pop Biscuit Cake. I have never had to melt so much chocolate. Ever! The baking was surprisingly therapeutic and took my mind completely off my uninvited friend the hangover. I had to concentrate on the baking at hand so didn’t have time to think about anything else.

These little chocolate puds are deliciously sinful. I made six individual ramekins. The only take 25 mins to bake so if you were making these at home it would be great to pop them in the oven as you sit down to dinner and serve them warm with the chocolate sauce and toppings…mmmmm warm melty chocolate puddings! (Please see Nigella’s site for the recipe.) A silence fell over the table when we all tucked into them and I of course was covered in chocolate after only a spoonful or two (thanks to the big bro for pointing that out!).


Next I made three small toffee pop biscuit cakes, a favourite of my favorite sister in law. They’re very simple to make and the toffee pops add great texture and flavour to them.

In a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water you melt 250g of dark chocolate (or the chocolate of your choice). While that’s gently melting, chop a packet of toffee pops and smash up about 150g of rich tea biscuits. Add these to the melted chocolate and pour into a baking tin or individual small tins. You can also add chopped nuts. Another version of this would be to use ginger nut biscuits instead of toffee pops and 1tbps of golden syrup. (When I use toffee pops I never use the golden syrup).

We were served a delicious Jambalaya which I must get the recipe for. Seriously tasty dinner and a great night (what hangover?!).

Return of the Macs

18 Oct

I have been making macarons solidly for the past two wks. I will not be defeeted (geddit?!) by them!

Mostly Macarons 🙂

After a combination of two recipes the finally worked and there was a yelp of joy from me ‘They have feet…finally!!’ The utter joy or it! Now I just have to work on their shaping and getting them all the same size; more roundy and less distorted blob looking 🙂

It’s cake, Jim, but not as we know it

5 Oct

Himself’s 30th birthday was fast approaching and I was struggling with ideas. When I finally settled on one which, was going to take a huge amount of time I began struggling with work – extremely long hours meant that this cake idea would not make it to the oven. Or it would and there would be tears as I would never complete it properly in time.

So, to prevent all this I decided pacman was the way forward, much to my Mother’s amusement! ‘A child’s birthday is it?!’ I believe was her delighted reaction 🙂

Pacman Birthday Cake

All cakes were chocolate, with a chocolate fudge filling.

All cakes turned out well too, hooray!

Forgive me Kitchen

5 Oct

Shame. It’s mainly what I’ve felt when I’ve thought about my blog in the last few months. Shame that I had stopped doing something I loved and enjoyed. Life became too much for awhile and I lost my cooking mojo. I hated the fact that I had no urge to cook or bake and that I had left my blog all alone out there. I even forgot my password.

That is all in the past now and I am back pottering around in a lovely new kitchen surrounded by new cook books for me to try, which I have been doing and the results have been mighty tasty! (extremely chuffed head!)

The first main baking challenge I had when re-surfaced from where I was hiding was himself’s 30th birthday cake and I wanted to do something extra special. Happily, I think I accomplised just that.

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