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Monday, October 25, 2010

Daring Bakers - October - 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.

I am so excited - my freshly deep-fried doughnuts are cooling off on a rack and I've just consumed one. It is quite delicious, a cakey doughnut, with a half cup of ground unsalted peanuts included in the flour. I'm going to sprinkle finely ground sugar over them just before serving.

Admittedly the deep frying was a bit nerve wracking; I shut the cats in the bedroom (in case they got any ideas about tripping me up in the kitchen) and managed to burn my left index finger with just a spot of hot oil. I'm too nervous to take the pan off the stove until it's all cool - pouring two jugs of iced water in has helped a bit but I'm still not lifting that pan. However, the whole challenge was really fun and not too difficult. I would definitely like to try doughnuts again.

Thank you, Lori. This is a really great pick for our October challenge.

The recipe is from "Chocolate Passion" by Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty, slightly adapted, thus:

Peanut Doughnuts

3-1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising)

1 cup unsalted cocktail peanuts

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons salt (I cut it to one teaspoon)

3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1 large egg, at room temperature

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

vegetable oil for frying

1. In food processor, combine 1/2 cup of the flour with the peanuts. Process for 20 to 30 seconds, until coarsely chopped.

2. In large bowl, using a wire whisk, stir together all the dry ingredients, including the chopped peanut/flour mixture.

3. In medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil and vanilla extract until blended. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the milk mixture into it. Using a spatula, stir the mixture until it forms a soft, moist dough. Dust work surface with flour. Scrape the dough onto the work surface and lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently 5 to 6 times, until smooth. (Do not over-handle.)

4. Dust a large baking sheet with flour. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Dust your hands with flour and pat the dough into a circle that is about 11 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place the baking sheet with the dough on it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, until firm.

5. Using a 2-1/4 inch round cookie cutter, cut rounds from the circle of dough. With a floured 1-inch round cookie cutter, cut a hole from the center of each doughnut. Unsing a floured spatula, transfer the doughnuts and the doughnut holes to a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.

6. Gather the scraps of scraps of dough together, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Pat the scraps into a circle 1/2-inch thick and make more doughnuts as above. Cover the doughnuts and refrigerate for up to 6 hours, until ready to fry them. Let the chilled doughnuts stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before frying.

Fry the doughnuts

1. Pour enough oil in a deep-fat fryer or 10-inch, high-sided skillet to come up a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Using a spatula or slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts three at a time into the hot oil. Fry one minute at a time on each side (a bit less, I think), until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts from the oil and transfer to paper towels to drain. Set the doughnuts on a wire rack to cool. Fry doughnut holes six at a time, for about 45 seconds each.

Make a chocolate glaze and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired. (I did not do the glaze as I enjoyed the cruller like consistency of the plain, sugared doughnuts.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Double Apple Bundt Cake - Tuesdays with Dorie

This is a nice, easy, comforting cake to make, the type of cake to prepare in rainy weather or after having a rough day.

I managed to get some apple butter at a supermarket in Brooklyn Heights, however, it's a health apple butter with only apple juice and apple sauce. -I don't go for health foods, but I didn't see a nice, buttery, apple butter alternative. It's very dark and tastes a bit acidic; hopefully it won't spoil the taste of the cake. I used Golden Delicious for the grated apple; and I halved the recipe for a 6-cup bundt cake.

It baked for about 45 minutes and seems to be the right consistency. The smaller bundt cake shape is rather pretty, and should cut into about 8-9 slices if I'm not too generous. I've sprinkled it with caster sugar.

Lynne of "Honey Muffin" chose this week's cake. Thank you, Lynne. I think it's going to be a keeper. Readers will find the recipe here .
The verdict? Some of my taste testers loved it, a couple of others would have preferred it with a ganache or some kind of frosting on top; we had some cream cheese in the refrigerator and one of the guys spread his slice of cake with cream cheese - quite a good idea, I think. I really enjoyed my slice and would say it's a lovely breakfast type cake.