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Posts Tagged ‘National Baking Week’

by Caitlin Saniga

You can use the doughnut recipe with other toppings: strawberry glaze, melted chocolate, even peanut butter. And as a side note, these two doughnuts were the best of my batch. The rest puffed up so much the hole closed, and they were all a little more firm than fluffy (I think I kneaded the dough too much). I shared them at work, jokingly calling them a "food fail." My co-worker Kevin said "DOH!nuts" might be more appropriate. LOLZ.

For doughnuts

  • 1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees (divided)
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For coating:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

I used a 3-inch-wide drinking glass and a (clean) hair mousse cap to cut out the holes for my doughnuts.

Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and let stand for about 5 minutes. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt – just until the flour is incorporated. With a dough hook mixer attachment, beat the dough for a about 2 minutes at medium speed. If your dough is too sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add more milk a bit at a time. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured surface, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl, cover, put bowl on top of the oven (or another warm place), and let rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. Use a 2-3 inch circle cookie cutter (or a cup) to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter (no kidding, I used a hair mousse lid). Transfer dough cutouts to a baking sheet. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for 45 minutes.

Bake until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and a quickly toss in the sugar bowl. These are best when served immediately.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

Recipe adapted from: 101 Cookbooks

Photos: Caitlin Saniga

Baking Tips:

— When letting dough rise in a bowl, cover it with wax paper. The dough is more likely to get stuck to wraps like aluminum foil and plastic wrap as it rises.

— Kneading is a process of stretching dough and creating gluten, the springy stuff that gives baked goods their texture. To knead dough, use the heels of your hands to fold the dough in on itself. Turn the pile of dough and keep folding it in. The dough will become firmer as you work with it. You’ll want to pinch the dough every now and then to test the firmness.

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by Caitlin Saniga

You should probably grab a fork for this pocket pie. It's too drippy and sticky for just hands.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pie filling (I used 1/2 cup strawberry jelly + 1/4 cup sliced frozen strawberries.)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • vegetable oil

Full disclosure: My cousins got me a special pocket-pie maker for Christmas, so I didn't actually use cookie cutters or a fork. The pie maker cuts out the stars and pinches them together to form the pies.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and the 2 tablespoons sugar until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition.

I'm glad I bought parchment paper for this recipe. Hot starberry juice was everywhere!

Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and press each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out 1 dough disk into a round 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Brush off the excess flour. Using a 4-inch-wide star cookie cutter, cut out 8 stars. For 4 of the stars, use a tinier star cookie cutter to punch out dough from the center. Reroll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Assemble the pies: Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pie filling onto a solid star, and brush the edges of the star with the egg wash. Top with a holed dough star. Seal the edges of the dough star together by pressing lightly but firmly with the prongs of a fork. Place pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Brush the pies with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Makes 8 pies.

Recipe adapted from: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen (Unfortunately, Williams-Sonoma stopped making the pie mold I used. But it looks like they still make other pie mold shapes: apples, pumpkins, etc.)

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

Baking tips:

-Of all the butters, unsalted butter has the purest flavor. It’s best to use unsalted butter for baking because, that  way, you can be more precise about the amount of salt in the recipe.

-Lining baking sheets with parchment paper makes for easy cleanup, especially for baking recipes that use jellies, chocolates and other meltable ingredients.

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by Sarah Steimer

The best part of oatmeal cookies is that you can pretend they're good for you.

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • sprinkle of ground cloves
  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (or more!) chocolate chips

Beat butter at medium speed to high for 30 seconds. Add about half the flour, all of brown sugar, sugar, egg, baking powder, vanilla and baking soda. Stir in cinnamon and cloves,  beat until thoroughly combined and then add rest of flour.

Stir in oats, walnuts, cranberries/raisins and chocolate chips.  Drop  by rounded teaspoon two inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.   Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Recipe adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

Photo: Sarah Steimer

Baking tips:

-Cookies can trip a lot of people up. Shoot for taking your cookies out at the suggested time, even if they still seem a bit soft. Many cookies continue baking while they’re out of the oven and cooling.

-Oatmeal makes an awesome baking staple. Think: oatmeal cookies, fruit crisps, granola.

-This goes for anything you bake: Try to use unbleached flour versus bleached. Just think about it, why would you want something you’re ingesting to be bleached?

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