Blackberry Berliner Donuts

I don’t know why but for the last 2 weeks I’ve been craving a donut.  I pushed it back into the corners of my mind and tried to wage war on it by eating yogurt every day. Then I added granola with berries to my yogurt.  That SO did NOT work. On about the 8th day I woke up again and craved a donut. On the 9th day I started fantasizing about what kind of donut exactly it was that I needed. Not just any donut would do. However, I like my donuts simple. Nothing too crazy usually. That does not mean that for time to time I won’t experiment and come up with something outrageous; it’s just that when it comes to a donut craving it’s usually a simple sugar rolled donut or an “old fashioned” donut that calls me. I like my donuts pillowy soft and somewhat plush.  I knew that a cake donut would not do. It had to be yeast, soft, and FRESH. The kind of donut you sink your teeth into.

This is that donut-a pillowy soft, fluffy interior kind of donut. When you bite into it, the sides envelope you like a feather bed kind of hug, then the sweet and tangy blackberry filling oozes just enough in contrast to the grainy sugar crystals that dance across your lips. Uh huh. You reach for your slightly bitter coffee to wash it down. Yep, I know. Some things are worth waiting for….

Happiness is a blackberry filled donut; pillowy soft on the inside and rolled in sugar

blackbery berliners

Make them large or small; below are donut hole sizeblackberry filled donut holes

Blackberry Berliners

yield: about 1 dozen

recipe: adapted from “Glazed Filled Sugared & Dipped” by Stephen Collucci

 

3 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 1/2 Cups (room temp-slightly warm) whole milk

3 Cups bread flour

3/4 Cup all purpose flour

1/4 Cup sugar + more for rolling donuts in

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/ tsp. nutmeg

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Vegetable oil for frying

Blackberry seedless preserves for filling (I like Dickensons)

 

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment combine the milk and yeast on low speed for 2-3 minutes. You should see bubbling on the surface.

2. In a medium bowl combine the flours, sugar, salt, and nutmeg with a fork. Add the mixture to the stand mixer bowl and mix to combine. Switch to the dough hook, add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add in the butter and mix on medium speed until well combined. Mix the dough for about 5-8 minutes until the dough gathers on the hook and pulls away from the bowl. The dough should feel mostly smooth but a little sticky. Form the dough into a smooth ball by gently working it with your hands or with a little floured work surface.

3. Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free place and let dough rise until tripled in size. Line a sheet pan with wax paper- you will use this to place the cut donuts onto. Line another sheet pan with paper towels and place a wire rack over the towels.

4. Turn the risen dough onto a floured work surface and lightly flour the top of dough and roll gently into about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch circular shapes or smaller if desired, place on prepared sheet pan lined with wax paper.

5. Fry donuts 1-3 at a time in a 350° F oil for about 1-2 mins per side until donuts are golden brown. Resist the urge to over fry donuts too dark as that will take away from the dough staying pillowy soft. Allow donuts to cool slightly over a sheet pan lined with paper towels over a wire rack. While donuts are still warm poke a hole in the side of each donut. Roll donuts in sugar and allow donuts to cool completely. When cooled then fill donuts with blackberry (seedless) preserves.

6. To fill donuts use a pastry bag fitted with a start tip (I used Ateco 822 size) and gently fill the donuts by squeezing the filling inside the holes of each donut.


Buttery Crescent Dinner Rolls

Okay, I have a confession. I buy crescent rolls from a can. Sometimes. I know, I know…. Probably only twice a year. My son loves them and I admit I kind of like them too. I know I preach about not buying cinnamon rolls from a can so I feel kind of weird admitting this. Wednesday I accidently forgot to buy the can of rolls; and there was no way in heck I was going to maneuver the gauntlet store on Thanksgiving day just for a can of silly rolls. I always have packages of yeast in my cupboard, so I did what I should have planned from the beginning. I made rolls from scratch, and I’m so glad I did.

 

crescent rolls

 

crescent rolls ready for the oven

proofed, pillowy soft,  and ready for the oven…

tray of crescent rolls

out of the oven and ready for melted butter to be brushed onto each one…

buttery crescent rolls

Crescent Rolls

original recipe from: thekitchenmccabe

yield: 24 rolls

3/4 Cup milk (2 % is fine)

1/2 Cup  unsalted butter, divided

1/2 Cup (scant) sugar

1/2 an egg: (whisk and egg w/ a fork in a small bowl, then use 1/2-comes out to about 2 Tbsp. if you measure it).

4 1/2-5 1/2 Cup flour, divided

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1 Cup warm tap water

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

 

1. In a small saucepan combine the milk, 1/4 Cup butter, and scant 1/2 Cup sugar until the milk is very warm (scalded) but not boiling. Pour this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.

2.  To the mixer: Add 1 C. of flour, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and the 1/2 egg to the milk mixture and quickly stir together with a dough hook attachment. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn on to low speed to help the mixture cool down while  you quickly prepare the  yeast

3. To prepare the yeast: in a small bowl combine the 1 Tbsp. yeast, 1 Cup warm (not too hot-or you will kill the yeast) water and 1 1/2 tsp. of sugar. Stir quickly to combine then let sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and appears foamy. Once yeast has bubbled, add it to the mixer bowl and continue to mix on slow/stir mode while you prepare to add remaining flour.

4. Add 3 C. of flour and mix together on medium/low speed. When mixed together, slowly add in enough remaining flour a little at a time until the dough is just slightly sticky. The dough should gather around the dough hook.

5. Prepare a large bowl greased with butter. (I used the paper from the butter to do this). Scrape the dough into the prepared bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place to proof until mixture appears to have doubled. This should take about 40 minutes.

6. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll each ball into a circle on a floured surface so that the thickness is a little less thick than 1/4 inch. Rub the circle with 2 Tbsp. of softened butter. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedge portions (like you would a slice of pizza). Roll each wedge crescent style starting from the back edge and place on a greased baking sheet. You want the tip end of the rolls turned under when you place them on the sheet pan. Place rolls on sheet pan so that across you have 3, and length wise; 8 deep.  Prepare and roll out the 2nd ball of dough the same, and  place rolls until all 24 rolls are placed on sheet tray. Curve the ends of the rolls forward slightly. Cover tray lightly with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled. The rolls will push each other and touch until snug. This is what you want.

7. Bake the rolls in a preheated 350° F oven for about 15-20  minutes or until rolls are just turning lightly golden. Remove from the oven and brush top of rolls with melted butter. Let cool and serve warm or at room temp.

 


Orange and Clementine Sweet Rolls

I have an abundance of “cuties” (clementines) in my fruit drawer. We love them but sometimes they seem to linger around a bit before we can eat them all. Anyone who knows me, knows I love citrus of any kind. I especially love citrus desserts or snacks. These little cuties were calling me from the fridge to use them in breakfast. So I did. You could certainly make these rolls with just exclusively orange and they would be great. Enjoy~

orange sweet rolls

Orange & Clementine Sweet Rolls

Dough:

3/4 Cup milk

1/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened

3  1/4 Cups all-purpose flour

1 package (1/4 oz.) fast rising yeast

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 Cup water

1 egg

1. In a small sauce pan scald the milk, then remove and add in the butter and stir until melted. Add the water. Set aside to keep lukewarm.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk 2 1/4 Cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. With the paddle attachment add in the milk mixture and blend. Add in the egg and beat well. Add in the additional cup of flour a bit at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Note; depending on the humidity you might have to add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup more of flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough using the mixer for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together in a ball.

3. Coat a large bowl with a little oil and place the dough inside the bowl and cover with a tea towel and let dough rest for 15 minutes.

4. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 16 x 13 inches. See recipe below for filling. Prepare the filling by using your fingers to spread the 1/4 Cup of softened butter all over the surface of the dough except leave a border about 3/4 of an inch on all sides. Combine the sugar and zests well in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the butter. Scatter the candied orange zest over the sugar mixture. Using your hands pat the filling mixture down into the butter. Roll the dough into a log starting at the bottom edge. Pinch the seam down the length of the dough. Trim the ends of the log if necessary if too thin. Using a sharp serrated knife cut the log in half then each half cut into 6 equal pieces so you have 12 equal pieces. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally. Place the rolls cut side up 3 across. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

5. Spray a piece of tinfoil (large enough to cover the pan) with non stick spray. Cover the rolls loosely with tinfoil. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, then remove the tinfoil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let the pan cool slightly on a wire rack while you make the glaze.

6. For glaze: whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. Pour over the warm rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature. Once glaze sets cover rolls with tinfoil to keep from drying out.

Filling:

1/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1 Cup granulated sugar

zest of one large orange

zest of one clementine

1/4 Cup finely diced candied orange peel

Clementine glaze:

2 Cups confectioners sugar

2 clementines, (cuties) juiced

zest of 2 clementines

**Note: If you like, you could use orange cream cheese icing instead of the clementine glaze. For the recipe click here:


Soft Buttered Pretzels

This recipe is great on a cold Winter day. I’m probably a week or so late though since the polar vortex in the Midwest and Eastern United States has past. For my peeps in the Midwest; keep this in mind for the next time it gets really cold or you need an activity to keep the kiddos busy. The pretzels are really fun to make, so it’s great to get the kids involved to have a go at shaping the pretzels. Chances are you have all the ingredients already on hand. You will need granulated (active dry) yeast though. An added bonus if it’s really cold is these bake at a pretty high temperature so the house gets nice and toasty. You could also shape these into little 1 inch bits (dip size) and make them for the “Big Game” or a fun party snack served with different types of mustard. The recipe is from Alton Brown and I added an extra step by brushing the pretzels once they come out of the oven with butter; just like the ones you get in the mall. If you like a sweet version, dip the pretzels in cinnamon sugar on both sides. Another alternative is you could sprinkle on some pizza type seasoning, or sprinkle with chopped jalapeno/chopped green chili and shredded cheddar cheese.

pretzels sweet or salty tray

Salty Classic or Cinnamon/Sugar Soft Buttery Pretzels

pretzels buttered and salted

salty version (with kosher salt)

pretzel cinnamon sugar variety

Cinnamon-Sugar (my fave)

pretzels out of the soda bath

Shown: pretzels out of the soda bath and brushed with egg yolk mixture ready for the oven. Note: The pretzels puff up in the soda bath, (and in the oven), (next time I would make the rope a little longer than the recommended 24 ” so it is thinner-say 26 “) to define the shape a bit better

Soft Buttered Pretzels (sweet or salty)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces (1/4 Cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt (or coarse sea salt or kosher salt would be fine)
  • Optional: cinnamon sugar (mix 1/2 Cup sugar with generous 1/4 tsp. cinnamon in a shallow bowl)

1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes (the dough should make a slapping noise as it hits the side of the bowl and you know it is ready).

3. Remove the dough from the bowl, (it will be sticky and that’s normal). Place it in an oiled large bowl and turn dough over so both sides are oiled. Cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap or wax paper (I like wax paper) and put in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

5. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-26 inch rope. (The original recipe says 24 inches, but I think a bit longer would be better). Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and fold down the tails towards you to press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

6. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 at a time, for 30 seconds. (I find it easy to place the pretzel onto a very large spatula; like a pancake turner size and then place into the water- the pretzel will release on it’s own). Remove from the water. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (omit the salt for cinnamon sugar version). Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Brush with softened butter while pretzels are still warm. (I find it handy to use the other half of a stick of butter; just peel off a bit of the paper and “brush” over the pretzel).

7. For cinnamon sugar version: omit the salt before baking and after resting for 5 minutes, brush pretzel with butter as above and dip both sides generously into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

For 1 inch pretzel bits: bake ~ 10 minutes


Grape and Rosemary Focaccia

I saw these beautiful concord grapes in the market the other day and I stopped dead in my tracks. I never see concord grapes.  I love the contrast in flavor of concord grapes. The skin is tart but the inside flesh  is super sweet.  I have been hanging onto the thought of making this grape and rosemary focaccia  for some time. The rosemary, no problem as I have an enormous rosemary plant growing in my backyard that is out of control. I should say it’s really a rosemary bush.  In a weird way I’m kind of proud of that rosemary plant as it started out as a tiny plant, and now it has aggressively taken over major real estate in my backyard. Everyone knows I cannot grow anything worth a darn, 😦  but the exception is my rosemary plant. Quite frankly I don’t even try; it has taken on a life-force of its own. With all the fog here I don’t even water it. That’s why I love it, it’s like the big green monster that self feeds. When you enter the garden it makes a statement. As soon as you get 3 feet from it you can smell the piney fresh scent. This bread is a lovely contrast between sweet and savory. If you can’t find concord grapes you could use black grapes also.

My beloved Rosemary bush-note the white dense sky- San Francisco fog in the background….

concord beauties- once they bake they turn an amazing deep purple color

Concord Grape and Rosemary Focaccia

recipe adapted from Epicurious

3/4 Cup very warm water

1 pkg. active dry yeast

3 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil + more for brushing dough

2 1/4 Cup bread flour

one large bunch concord grapes

fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

kosher salt or coarse sea salt

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar and whisk to combine with a hand whisk. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, olive oil and bread flour and mix with a spatula by hand. Attach the dough hook and on medium high speed knead the dough for about 2 minutes. Oil a large bowl with extra virgin olive oil and turn out the dough into the bowl, turning the dough so it coats all sides with the oil. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.

2. Spread olive oil over a large sheet pan. Take the dough and press it into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick. Conversely you can spread the dough into 2 round loaves; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled about one hour. Brush the dough with olive oil and dimple the dough using your fingertips. Scatter the grapes and rosemary leaves over the dough. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let bread cool about 15 minutes then sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve warm.


New Orleans Style Beignets

Years ago we vacationed in New Orleans and it took us all of one bite to become addicted to beignets. Sweet, fluffy fried dough showered with mountains of sugar. I think we ate beignets every day; or almost for a whole week when we were there. Soft pillowy dough fried to perfection. What’s not to love? Equally addictive is the coffee you drink with it; but that’s a story for another time. Today I’m going to walk you through the steps of how to make them and heads up; you need to let that sacred dough rest in the fridge overnight, but don’t let that deter you as the dough is super easy to pull together and then you cover it and let it go night night. In the morning, you just wake up, make some good strong coffee and then get down to serious beignet making. Yeah, it’s pretty much a weekend event. Make sure to invite some friends over [or not] as the dough makes quite a bit. Yep, let the good times roll….

Beignets

recipe adapted from Southern Living

yield: ~ 3 dozen beignets

1/2 pkg. active dry yeast ( 1  1/4 tsp. or 4 gms)

3/4 Cup warm water

1/4 Cup + 1 tsp. granulated sugar

1/2 Cup evaporated milk

1 Lg. egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. butter flavor shortening

3-3 1/2 Cups bread flour

vegetable oil

sifted confectioners sugar

  • 1. Make the yeast mixture: Combine yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, and 1 tsp. granulated sugar in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Add milk, egg, salt, and remaining granulated sugar. Whisk to combine.
  • 2. Form a dough: Microwave remaining 1/2 cup water until hot (about 115°); stir in shortening until melted. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed, gradually adding 2 cups flour, until smooth. Gradually add remaining 1  to 1  1/2 cups flour, beating until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.
  • 3. Roll and cut: Turn dough out onto a floured surface; roll to a generous ~ 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares.
  • 4. Fry until golden: Pour oil to depth of 2 to 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 360°. Fry dough, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack. Dust immediately with powdered sugar.

Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Every Christmas morning I like to make something a little special for breakfast, but at the same time not too fussy. Something you can eat that is casual. Cinnamon rolls are perfect for such an occasion. If you plan ahead, you can make the rolls the night before and shape them, and in the morning all you have to do is bake them off so they are nice and hot. You know the kids are going to be waking you up at 5:30 Am or so to open presents, right? Well, by the time they rip open those presents and pictures are taken the rolls will be baking.  They will either be hungry or they will be ready to crawl back into bed. Either way you will be set for some nice warm rolls. This buys you some much needed coffee time so you can sneak in a cup or 2, or 3….while the rolls are baking. Hey it’s 5:30 Am, you need 3 cups of Joe. You can also make the icing the day or night before and keep in the fridge.  If you want to make the rolls in real time I have included the original directions as well.

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls With Orange Cream Cheese Icing

Sweet Yeast Dough

1/4 cup warm water

1 pkg. active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1 Cup whole milk

1/2 C sugar

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 lg. eggs

5 Cups all purpose flour, as needed

1  1/4 tsp. kosher salt

optional: 1/2 Cup raisins, toasted chopped pecans

Filling

1/2 Cup firmly packed light brown sugar

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions: In a bowl mix together the ingredients until combined. Set aside

To prepare dough:

In a glass measuring cup with the 1/4 cup of warm water; add the yeast and sugar and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, sugar, butter, eggs and yeast mixture. Add 4 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt. Place the bowl on the mixer and with the paddle attachment mix on medium-low speed, add as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl.

2. Remove the paddle attachment and place the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-low adding in more flour if needed until the dough is smooth and still soft, about 6-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

3. Butter a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat with the butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2-2 hours. To use at once; punch down the dough and roll out and shape rolls and follow directions for 2nd rising after rolls are shaped and cut.

 4. If you are going to shape rolls and have them rise in the fridge overnight; punch down the dough, roll out the dough; fill as directed and place cut rolls in pan and cover with plastic wrap to let rise in fridge overnight. Rolls should rise overnight in the fridge for 8-12  hours. [Follow this version of 4 A]. If you want to make them in real-time follow Version 4B.

(Rising in fridge overnight- 4A Version):

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll out into a 16×14 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Spread the filling* evenly over the dough leaving a 1 inch border at the top and bottom. (If using raisins or nuts sprinkle over the filling at this point). Starting at the long side of the rectangle farthest away from you, roll up the rectangle into a log. Pinch the seam to seal. Roll the log a few times back and forth gently to help seal the seam.  Cut the log crosswise into 12 equal slices with a sharp knife. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan. Arrange the slices cut side up in the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight until doubled in size, 8-12 hours. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before baking to let the rolls come to room temp. Bake at 350 degrees until rolls are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Spread the icing [see recipe below for icing] over the warm rolls, and spread it out evenly. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve warm.

4. If you want to make rolls in real-time: Follow this Version; 4 B.

(Baking rolls same day with warm rising-Version 4B)

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface and follow directions above up to the step where you have cut the rolls and placed them in the pan. To rise: cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 75-90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake until rolls are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Ice with icing and let the icing sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Orange Cream Cheese Icing

3 Cup confectioners sugar

4 oz. cream cheese, room temp

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

Finely grated zest of 1 large orange

2 Tbsp. whole milk, + more as needed

Cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Mix in the vanilla, zest and milk until combined. Spread over warm rolls.