Thursday, March 25, 2010

it's time to make the doughnuts

yes, that's home made not store bought

The first time I attempted making doughnuts from scratch, they were fine, but not life-changing. Deep down, I knew that home made doughnuts just out of the fryer should be knocking my socks off. They should be, as the name of the recipe from Joy the Baker implies, Oh! My! God! Doughnuts. There were many things I did wrong that first time - I don't think the yeast foamed long enough, I lacked a real rolling pin and so I had to improvise, and those are just the things I remember off the top of my head.

So when spring break rolled around, I decided to approach my dedicated baking partner and give this recipe another shot. Oh boy, am I glad we did. In truth while the process takes a bit of time to allow for the rising, the dough is really straightforward. We both couldn't believe it was pretty much, put all the ingredients in the mixer and well, mix.

puffed munchkins

Here are the doughnut holes - puffed up from the second rising. Then it was the painless process of frying the doughnuts, dipping them in glaze and decorating them with sprinkles. As Kelly said, "this is a dangerous thing to know how to do." If one were more of a morning person, you might be able to pull off getting out of bed at 9am, mixing the dough, returning to bed for a few hours, then getting up again to fry and having warm doughnuts waiting at brunch for your loved ones. If one was such an inclined morning person. In truth, you need to make these for a cadre of your favorite people, because eating them all is damn near impossible, and they don't keep well.

Or more accurately, they keep fine. But once the doughnuts have melted in your mouth straight out of the fryer - there is no going back.

doughnut holes

Monday, March 8, 2010

cannolis in comfort of home

homemade cannolis (#58)

I love cannolis, I mean seriously, what's not to love? Seeing this recipe for homemade cannolis on RecipeGirl made my mouth water. But making dough, frying dough, and rolling dough (who has cannoli tubes just lying about the place?) my eyes were glazing over from time and effort. At that point it seems easier and cheaper to drive over to the Italian bakery.

Insert a magnificent suggestion from my old Italian grandfather - ice cream sugar cones.  Get a package of these for $2, the rest of the ingredients for cannoli filling, some chocolate chips and bob's your uncle.

Cannoli Filling
(From RecipeGirl)

¾ cup whole milk ricotta cheese (drained overnight w/ cheesecloth & squeezed dry)
¾ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla or Grand Marnier
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

Mix filling ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (at least a couple of hours). Scoop into sugar cones. Add chocolate chips on top.

(I definitely did not drain the ricotta overnight. Also my total refrigeration time on the filling was maybe an hour. Everything was still tasty.)