Valentine Treat Collection



vday collageI thought that while you were waiting anxiously for me to produce my promised Valentine’s Day Petits Fours, I’d pacify you with a collection of past V-Day treats. While you’re making all of these, I promise I’ll be working on a new post for you.
rowdy logo from brenna valentines
Try these delicious deep chocolate cookies! Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies have a little kick of espresso and are filled with chocolate covered raisins.
vdayroundup1

rowdy logo from brenna valentines

For a delicious homemade version of Mallomars, put your apron on and make a batch of Vallomar Cookies. They’re a little time-consuming, but soooooo good.

vdayroundup2

rowdy logo from brenna valentines

Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this month, so you’ll have time to surprise your sweetie with these filled doughnuts. Sugared, glazed, plain…there’s nothing like a fresh doughnut! Jelly Doughnut Hearts
vdayroundup3

rowdy logo from brenna valentines

Cinnamon Spiral Bread is great when toasted, used for special sandwiches, or made into french toast. Bake it in a heart shaped canape pan and slice into thin hearts.
vdayroundup4

rowdy logo from brenna valentines

Light and fluffy, these dainty angel food cakes will just disappear in your mouth! Chocolate Cherry Angel Cakesvdayroundup5

rowdy logo from brenna valentines

As if shortbread cookies aren’t rich enough, I added a chocolate ganache filling and topped them with raspberry jam. You’ve got to try these! Chocolate Raspberry Shortbreadvdayroundup6

Pumpkin Cronuts

With cold weather comes comfort foods, and doughnuts are right at the top of my list…as are croissants. Since I’m also in the middle of my annual pumpkin frenzy, it only made sense to combine the three items to create a batch of Pumpkin Cronuts.


Pumpkin cronuts with coffee watermarked
I don’t want to scare you away, but I have to admit that these are a lot of work. The good news is, it can all be spread out over a couple of days, so there won’t be any last-minute panic at all. The goal is to fry the cronuts on the same day you plan to serve them, and a little careful planning will make this a slam dunk.

On the day before you plan to serve them, begin making the dough. Don’t start this late in the evening – give yourself at least 4 hours. The dough is rolled and folded, then chilled. Rolled, folded, chilled. Repeat. It isn’t hard, honest. Every forty-five minutes you roll and fold…takes less than 5 minutes.

Croissants require dedication and patience, but there is truly nothing difficult about them.

I was worried about adding pumpkin to my dough, afraid it would ruin the flaky layers, but it worked very well. I made a few croissants out of the dough just out of curiosity, and though they weren’t quite as crispy as usual, there were no complaints from the menfolk, so I call that a win.

If you do nothing but make the cronuts and roll them in cinnamon sugar, you’ll probably still be thrilled with them. As far as I’m concerned, the filling and icing are optional. Personally, I prefer them without filling, but I get outvoted.

Don’t be afraid to customize these goodies. If you don’t like pastry cream, fill the cronuts with pudding – or even whipped cream, if they will be served promptly. For a lighter icing (my recipe is rich and buttery) try dipping the tops in melted white chocolate, or use a simple milk/powdered sugar glaze. Or…leave them plain!

Pumpkin Cronuts without filling or icing...just cinnamon sugar.

Pumpkin Cronuts without filling or icing…just cinnamon sugar.

The important part of this post is the cronut recipe itself, and since I can only create one printable recipe per post, I’ll add the filling and icing recipes below.

Pumpkin Cronuts
Print
Author:
Makes 12-15 pastries, depending on the size of your cutter. And lots of yummy "cronut holes".
Ingredients
  • 1 cup very warm milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
  • Peanut oil for frying (at least ½ gallon)
  • ½ cup cinnamon sugar, placed in shallow bowl
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl (a stand mixer works best), combine the warm milk and yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in the pumpkin, 1 tablespoon butter, vanilla, sugar, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat well.
  3. Add 2 additional cups of flour and allow the machine to knead the dough for 4-5 minutes. The dough should be soft, but it should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. If it is sticking, add as much of the remaining ½ cup flour as necessary. (If kneading by hand, after stirring in the 2 cups of flour, drop the dough onto a well-floured surface. Knead for 6 minutes.)
  4. Cover and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until double - about 1 hour.
  5. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a few times, pat it into a rectangular shape, and place the dough in a heavy plastic zipper bag (or wrap in plastic) and place in the refrigerator.
  6. Remove the 2 sticks of butter from the refrigerator. Working with one stick at a time, place it between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out to 6½ inches by 4 inches. To get straight edges you will need to trim the sides with a spatula or knife, spreading the excess back over the butter as you go. Don't worry - just trim it and smoosh it where it needs to go! Wrap each piece in parchment and put them back in the refrigerator to chill for ½ hour.
  7. When the butter has chilled, remove the dough (hang on to that bag...you'll need it again) and roll the dough out to 12 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you.
  8. Place one piece of chilled butter directly in the center, with the short side facing you.Fold the right side of the dough over the butter and press the dough around it gently.
  9. Place the other piece of chilled butter on the dough directly above the other piece of butter. Fold the left side of the dough over the top of the butter and press and pinch the dough all the way around to seal it.
  10. Gently roll the dough out to measure 12 inches by 8 inches with the long side facing you. Fold the right side over one third, and the left side over the right side. The open edge should be on the right, like a book. Put the dough back in the bag and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  11. After 45 minutes, remove the dough. Roll dough out to measure 12 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you. Fold the right side over one third, and the left side over the right side. Return to the bag and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  12. Repeat one more time. Refrigerate until ready to use. (You may use right away, but the dough will have better flavor if you let it rest overnight.)
  13. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll dough to measure 12 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you. Fold the right side over one third, and the left side over the right side. Roll dough out to measure about ½-inch thick. (3/4-inch if you want very tall cronuts.) Cut with a round biscuit cutter, being careful not to twist the cutter. Cut straight down and lift straight up. If you have a doughnut cutter, use that! Otherwise, cut the center out with a the cap from a soda bottle or a cannoli form. (The centers make delicious "cronut holes".) Keep the shapes as close together as possible, because any cronuts made with re-rolled dough will be a little lopsided and won't rise as well.
  14. Cover the cronuts with a light towel and allow them to rise for at least an hour. They won't double, but you should see a difference.
  15. In a large, tall saucepan, heat approximately 3 inches of oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 370 F. Drop a few cronuts in at a time, giving them plenty of room to move around. Cook for about 1 minute on each side, until a rich golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain.
  16. While the next batch is cooking, roll the warm cronuts in cinnamon sugar.
  17. Watch the temperature of your oil closely, as it can change quickly. You may have to adjust the heat or remove the pan from the burner briefly if it gets too hot. If your oil is too cool the cronuts will soak up the oil and be greasy. If it is too hot, the outside will cook and the inside will be doughy. 160-170 F works perfectly.
  18. Once all of the cronuts are cooled, poke two holes with a wooden skewer or chopstick on opposite sides of the pastry, half way up the side. Guide the skewer to the left and the right without poking through, and then pipe pastry cream into each hole with a pastry bag and bismark tip or medium round tube tip, pointing it left and then right and repeating on the opposite side.
  19. Once filled, dip the top in icing, glaze or melted white chocolate if desired.

See this dough? Too sticky! Add a little more flour.

See this dough? Too sticky! Add a little more flour.

Trim the butter to size.

Trim the butter to size.

Spread the trimmings evenly over the top.

Spread the trimmings evenly over the top.

Roll and measure the dough.

Roll and measure the dough.

Place one piece of butter in center of dough.

Place one piece of butter in center of dough.

Fold right side over and cover with 2nd piece of butter. Then fold left over butter and seal.

Fold right side over and cover with 2nd piece of butter. Then fold left over butter and seal.

Roll and cut.

Roll and cut.

Cutting the center holes.

Cutting the center holes.

Fry them for 1 minute on each side

Fry them for 1 minute on each side

Poking a channel for the filling to follow.

Poking a channel for the filling to follow.

Add filling.

Add filling.



Pumpkin cronuts horiz with watermark

PASTRY CREAM:
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup half & half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, water, and egg yolks. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the half & half to a simmer. It should be hot and bubbly, but not boiling.
  3. Pour half of the hot half & half into the bowl with the cornstarch mixture, whisking well.  Pour the mixture in the bowl back into the pan, whisking.
  4. Whisking continuously, continue to cook the pastry cream until it thickens – approximately 2 minutes. Whisk briskly to remove any lumps, and remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Cover and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. If you are making the cream ahead, keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  5. If the cream is too thick to pipe into the cronuts, try whisking it briefly. If necessary, add a small amount of milk.
    Whisk half & half into cornstarch mixture

    Whisk half & half into cornstarch mixture

    ...then return it to the pan and whisk away!

    …then return it to the pan and whisk away!

 

ICING:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the brown sugar, white sugar, milk, and butter to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook at a low boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add vanilla, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips. Whisk vigorously until smooth.
  3. Adjust to dipping consistency by adding additional milk or powdered sugar, if necessary. May be reheated slowly.

So…have I scared you off? I know it may look overwhelming, but if you just take the directions one step at a time you can DO this!  I have the shortest attention span in the whole world and I can do it…and so can you. Don’t be shy! Please leave me a photo of your masterpieces; I’d love to see them!

Lorinda

Chocolaty Croissant Puffs

broads collage aprilEach month a fun group of bloggers shares recipes that represent a theme that one of us picks. This month that theme is “Celebrating Chocolate” and I have the pressure honor of being first up to bat.

I’m sure the other gals will take it much easier on you, but I brought a recipe that is a wee bit challenging and (oh, please don’t run away) time-consuming. It is also worth every minute spent in the kitchen!

When the Cronut excitement hit last year, my daughter immediately challenged me to create my own recipe for these flaky little fried pastries. She loves my croissants and assumed Cronuts would be a simple transition. Do you know what? She was right! They came out just as I had envisioned them – a rarity, for sure.


cronut plated vertical closeup watermark

This slightly sweetened croissant dough takes time to do properly, but it’s one of those processes that is spread out over two days. The dough can be started in the afternoon, turned and rolled several times over the course of the evening, and then put in the refrigerator until the next day (or even the day after!) when the shapes are then cut out, allowed to rise, and then fried, rolled in sugar, filled, and frosted.

I know, I know. It sounds complicated, but if you follow the instructions one simple step at a time, you will be rewarded with this:

cronut plated vertical many watermark

So…here is my recipe for Chocolaty Croissant Puffs. Don’t let the length of it intimidate you; I get a little wordy when I’m trying to explain how to do something. Just be glad I’m not standing behind you in the kitchen, micromanaging you! Not that I ever do that, of course. Ahem.

Also, for some helpful hints you might want to check out my CROISSANT blog

Chocolaty Croissant Puffs
Print
Author:
Flaky layered doughnuts filled with chocolate pastry cream and iced with a ganache glaze. Makes12-14
Ingredients
  • 1 package active-dry yeast
  • 1⅓ cups warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • A shallow bowl of sugar for rolling pastry in
  • oil for frying, enough to fill pot 3" (I prefer peanut oil)
  • ......
  • Pastry Cream:
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup half & half
  • ¼-1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ..........
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate (or 1 cup chocolate chips)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites or meringue powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the yeast and warm milk. Let it sit until dissolved - about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, vanilla, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the flour and stir until combined.
  3. Switch to a dough hook and slowly add 2 cups of the remaining flour. Knead with the dough hook for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour if needed to make the dough come away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise until doubled - about 1 hour.
  5. Drop the dough on a lightly floured surface. Turn it over to coat, and knead a few times. Place the dough in a large plastic zipper bag, or wrap loosely in plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator.
  6. Working with one stick of butter, pound and roll the butter between two pieces of waxed paper or parchment, making a 6½-inch by 4-inch rectangle. If necessary, trim the butter to get reasonably straight edges and use a knife or spatula to spread the trimmed butter back onto the rectangle. Place in the refrigerator. Repeat with the other stick of butter.
  7. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Place chilled dough on floured surface and roll it out to approximately 12x8 inches, with the long side towards you.
  9. Put one piece of chilled butter in the middle of the dough, with the butter's short edge towards you. Fold the dough from the right, over the butter, pressing down gently. Place the other piece of butter on the dough that is covering the first piece of butter and fold the left side over, pressing the seam to close. (It is like a book, with the "open" edge on the right and the short edge facing you.
  10. Roll out gently to measure 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds again, press the edges to seal, and put the dough back into the plastic bag. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  11. With the long sealed edge on the right, roll out again to 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds and place back in the bag in the refrigerator for 45 minutes
  12. Repeat one more time and refrigerate overnight.
  13. The next day, roll the dough out to measure 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds. Roll it out again, to approximately ½-inch thick. Cut shapes out with a flower-shaped cookie cutter or a round biscuit cutter. Lift the cutter straight up - don't twist it. Use a small round cutter (a bottle cap works in a pinch) to cut a circle out of the center of each pastry. These doughnut holes are wonderful when fried! Cover with a towel and let rise until almost double, about 1 hour.
  14. Heat oil to 370 degrees in a deep pot, with the oil about 3 inches deep. Keep a close watch on the temperature, as it will change quickly as dough is added and removed. It is important to keep the temperature near 370 degrees to keep the pastry from absorbing oil.
  15. Slide a few pieces of dough into the pan, leaving enough room for them to move around. Cook for approximately 1 minute on each side, or until a light golden brown. Remove with a "spider" or slotted spoon. Place on paper towels to drain, with more paper towels over the top. When cool enough to handle, roll the bottom and sides in sugar. Repeat until all of the doughnuts and the holes have been fried and sugared.
  16. MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM:
  17. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, sugar, water, and egg yolks. Beat or whisk well.
  18. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, heat the half & half until it's hot and bubbly. Pour half of it over the egg mixture, whisking briskly. Pour the egg mixture back into the hot half & half. Whisk continuously on medium heat until thick, about 2 minutes.
  19. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until incorporated. Cover and let it cool, stirring occasionally. When completely cool, put the pastry cream into a pastry bag with a bismark tip or a medium round tube tip.
  20. With a skewer, poke a hole in one side of a pastry. Insert the skewer to the left as far as you can without poking it through the side of the pastry, then to the right. Put the tube into the hole you just created and squeeze filling in each direction. Repeat on the other side of the pastry. Each doughnut should have two holes. NOTE: If you prefer, you can cut each pastry across the equator, add filling and replace top. OR you can "plug" the bottom with a small piece of one of the doughnut holes and fill the core from the top.
  21. MAKE THE GLAZE:
  22. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over the lowest heat setting. Add the butter, corn syrup, and vanilla. Stir. Add the powdered sugar alternately with the half and half until the mixture is fairly thin. Adjust the amount of liquid as necessary. If you want a firm glaze, add the powdered egg whites or meringue powder and stir well.
  23. Dip the top of each pastry and decorate with candy flowers or sprinkles if desired.

 

Cut out the shapes (save the "holes"...they're the best part!)

Cut out the shapes (save the “holes”…they’re the best part!)

Risen - look at those layers!

Risen – look at those layers!

Ready to fry.

Ready to fry.

Fry for 1 minute, flip, and fry for another minute.

Fry for 1 minute, flip, and fry for another minute.

roll in sugar

roll in sugar

Options, left to right: plug bottom and fill the core, slice horizontally and fill, or fill using pastry tip.

Options, left to right: plug bottom and fill the core, slice horizontally and fill, or fill using pastry tip.

Insert skewer to the left, then the right on both sides.

Insert skewer to the left, then the right on both sides.

Pipe in the pastry cream.

Pipe in the pastry cream.

Like croissants, these are best eaten the same day they are made. With a little planning, there would be plenty of time to fry them in the morning for a brunch, because the pastry cream and glaze can be made the day before, just like the dough. (They are both fine in the refrigerator for several days…just let the cream soften at room temperature and re-heat the glaze gently.) You could also save time by using instant pudding for the filling.

A little chewy, a little flaky, and sinfully rich, these sweet puffs taste as beautiful as they look.

cronut plated vertical watermark

Be sure to come back to see what the other bloggers bring. I can assure you there will be some absolute recipe gems! Links to their posts will be added each day. Enjoy!

April 7th. Chocolaty Croissant Puffs from The Rowdy Baker
April 8th. Double Chocolate Cheesecake Pie from Baking in a Tornado
April 10th Iced Mocha Latte Chocolate Cake from Tampa Cake Girl
April 11th Raspberry Candied Bacon Dark Chocolate Brownies from Cooking from a Stay at Home Mom
April 12th Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ladybugs from Hun…What’s for Dinner?
April 13th Chocolate Champagne Raspberry Truffle from Crumbs in my Mustachio

That’s it for this month. Thank you for coming by and indulging!
Lorinda

Maple Bacon Pockets

IMG_0861Okay, I’m kind of cheating here, since I already posted a Maple Bar Recipe a while back, but this is a little different.

Maple Bacon Pockets are mini maple bars with a chewy piece of bacon in the center. For anyone who has ever dipped a piece of bacon in maple syrup, this is a flavor combination that is irresistible.

They are delicious when fresh, but also freeze well. They disappear quickly, so you might want to consider making a double batch!

Maple Bacon Pockets
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Author:
Makes about 30 pockets, depending on the thickness of your dough and size of the bacon!
Ingredients
  • 6-7 slices of bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter or shortening
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • ......
  • Icing:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Slice bacon into 1" pieces and fry until cooked but not crispy. Drain well between paper towels and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter (or shortening.) Add the milk, sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and stir until the mixture is lukewarm. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the warm water, yeast, and ¼ teaspoon sugar. Let sit until bubbly - about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the warm milk mixture, egg, and 1 cup of flour. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Dough will be very soft, but should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. If dough is sticky, add additional flour a little at a time until it can be easily handled. If kneading by hand, drop dough on a floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes. Dough should be very soft and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and allow it to rise until double, approximately 1 hour.
  7. Punch down dough and roll it out to a thickness between ⅛" and ¼" on a floured surface. Cut into strips a little wider than the pieces of cooked bacon. Cut each strip into rectangles long enough to fold easily over each piece of bacon. Pinch the edges to seal. HINT: Once the bacon is folded up in the dough, neaten up the sides of each pocket with a pizza cutter; they will seal better and look nicer when cooked. As each pocket is formed, place it aside on a lightly floured surface.
  8. When all of the pockets are made, cover with a kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Pour at least 1½ inches of oil in a large pot and heat to 350 F. Watch the heat carefully; it can spike quickly. Reduce heat if necessary to maintain a 350 F. temperature.
  10. Beginning with the first pockets you formed, drop a few in the hot fat. They will puff up quickly, so don't put too may in at a time...they need room to move. When the bottom of the pastry is a rich golden brown (approximately 1 minute), flip each one over with a spoon. When both sides are brown, use a slotted spoon to move them to paper towels to drain.
  11. Combine all of the ingredients for the maple icing, whipping until light and fluffy, and spread on slightly warm pockets. You can also add a little more liquid to the icing and dip the warm pockets.
  12. Keep loosely covered.

 

Prettiest dough ever!

Prettiest dough ever!

Cut up the bacon

Cut up the bacon

Cut strips a little wider than the bacon

Cut strips a little wider than the bacon

Wrap that piece 'o bacon up nice and snug!

Wrap that piece ‘o bacon up nice and snug!

Trim the edges neatly with knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter.

Trim the edges neatly with knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter.

Frying in peanut oil.

Frying in peanut oil.

Ice them while slightly warm and enjoy!

Ice them while slightly warm and enjoy!

Is there anything that I haven’t already said about maple? If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ve heard me wax eloquent on the subject over and over, and I think I’ve finally run out of new ways to praise it.

Did I mention I could just sit and eat the icing with a spoon, as long as I had a nice strong cup of coffee to go with it? True story.
Addictive little buggers. Betcha can’t eat just one!

Gooey Pumpkin Nut Cinnamon Rolls

MiscNov 021I promise this is my very last pumpkin-related recipe for the season. Honest! I wasn’t going to open another can of pumpkin until it was time to make pies for Thanksgiving, but the thought of a pumpkin filled cinnamon roll got into my head and wouldn’t leave…and I’m glad I paid attention, because these are so good!

Nothing compares to the fragrance of cinnamon rolls warm from the oven. Except, perhaps, cinnamon rolls with a spicy pumpkin-walnut filling. Add a vanilla glaze dripping down the side, and you have a pastry worthy of company―or an afternoon indulgence for a busy day.

They also freeze well and can be quickly microwaved for an impromptu snack. The recipe makes 20-24 rolls (depending on what kind of pan you plan to use) and just for the record I want you to know I had ONE of them. And then they were gone. So you got the two-thumbs-up seal of approval from my menfolk.

Here you go:


Gooey Pumpkin Nut Cinnamon Rolls
Print
Author:
Makes 20-24 rolls.
Ingredients
  • Dough
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • .............
  • Filling
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • .............
  • Glaze
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • Cream or milk for desired consistency
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease two or three round cake pans or one 12-inch by 18-inch rectangular pan. Feel free to improvise―rolls spaced closely together will rise higher, and rolls placed farther apart in a rectangular pan will be more uniform.
  2. In a large bowl combine water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon sugar. Let the mixture sit until bubbly – about 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, ⅓ cup sugar, melted butter, eggs and salt. Whisk together.
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the yeast mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Add the flour slowly. (If using a stand mixer, use your dough hook.) Mix for one minute. If you will be kneading by hand, put dough on a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. If you are using a stand mixer, it will take 5 minutes. The dough should come cleanly away from the bowl. If it doesn’t, add flour a little at a time. This should be soft, elastic dough, but should not be sticky.
  6. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double – about an hour.
  7. While the bread is rising, combine all of the filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  8. When the dough has doubled, punch it down. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll into a 10-inch by 14-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spread with half of the filling.
  9. Beginning at the long edge facing you, roll the dough, gently pulling towards you as you roll, to keep it snug. Slice into 12 pieces. (If using just two round cake pans, slice into 10 pieces) Repeat with the remaining dough.
  10. Place pieces in greased pan. If using 3 round pans, arrange 8 slices in each. If using 2 round pans, arrange 10 slices in each. For a large rectangular pan, space all 24 slices evenly. Cover and allow rolls to rise for about an hour.
  11. Heat oven to 400 F.
  12. Bake rolls for 17-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  13. Cool in the pans on a rack until they are slightly warm, and transfer to a serving platter.
  14. When the rolls are cool, combine all of the ingredients for the glaze, beginning with 1 tablespoon of cream or milk, and mix well. Add additional milk until it reaches the desired consistency. Pour or brush over the rolls.

 

Rolls are in the pan, ready to rise.

Rolls are in the pan, ready to rise.

Pretty! Poofy! Ready for the oven.

Pretty! Poofy! Ready for the oven.

And...done! Can you smell them?

And…done! Can you smell them?

MiscNov 023Now on to eggnog and peppermint and chocolate and caramel and rum and….well, you get the picture.  I hear those sleigh bells ringing!

Caramel Apple Pandowdy

Blog6 014Autumn is wafting out of my oven right now. More telling than the fragrance of damp leaves, bales of hay, or chrysanthemums, my kitchen heralds the season. Cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel, apples – these are Fall.

A trip to our local orchard proved too tempting for me, and I came home with twenty pounds of Honeycrisp apples. These are my absolute favorite for fresh eating, but also made a delectable apple pandowdy. An apple pandowdy is similar to a cobbler, lacking a bottom crust but boasting a thick top crust. In the old days dough was dropped on the top like a cobbler, but I wanted it to scream “Fall”, so I cut leaf and acorn shapes out of a cream cheese pie dough and sprinkled the whole thing with cinnamon sugar to give it a little crunch..

Because that just wasn’t enough (eyeroll) I added some homemade caramel sauce to the apple mixture. Somewhere along the way I emotionally stalled out at about four years old; I like to do things myself! It makes The Man crazy to watch me struggle with something that he could set to rights in a minute, but I want to do it myself!  Opening a jar of caramel sauce would have been the easy way to go, of course, but…

Pffft.

If you choose to use jarred caramel sauce in this recipe I will totally understand. No judgements from me, honest. I just get a real kick out of making everything from scratch, which for this recipe meant homemade sauce. The recipe I’m going to give you makes about a cup of sauce, which is more than you’ll need for the pandowdy, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find a good use for the leftovers. I dipped apple slices in it, but there are so many other options besides dip. I’m going to try drizzling it over oatmeal in place of brown sugar. I’ll bet that will be wonderful, especially with toasted pecans on top. Blog6 001

If you’re making the caramel sauce, you’ll need to do that first so it will have a chance to cool a bit.

To make the Caramel Sauce:

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Measure the cream, slice the butter into 8 pieces, and set both aside.
In a medium size pan with a heavy bottom, put the sugar and water and turn the heat to medium-high.
Stir constantly until the sugar melts (it will go through some strange looking stages…don’t worry… and turns a molten, deep golden brown.
Add the butter and stir until melted, then remove the pan from the burner.
Stir in the cream and vanilla. This will steam a lot – you may want to use a long handled wooden spoon. Stir or whisk until the mixture comes together into a creamy sauce. It will thicken as it cools.

 

Blog6 002

Combining the sugar and water.

An awkward, crumbly stage - almost ready to melt!

An awkward, crumbly stage – almost ready to melt!

This is what you want. Now add the butter!

This is what you want. Now add the butter!

Add the butter and stir until melted.

Add the butter and stir until melted.

Stirring in the cream.

Stirring in the cream.

Caramel Apple Pandowdy
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One recipe is just right for an 8"x8" casserole or deep-dish pie pan. Honestly? I'd double it and put it in a 9"x13" casserole. It's that yummy! Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream to take it over the top.
Ingredients
  • 3 large apples, thinly sliced (approximately 6 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup caramel sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ******
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 egg white
  • cinnamon sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare an 8"x8" casserole dish (2 quart) or deep-dish pie pan by greasing generously. (I use Baker's Joy)
  3. Place sliced apples into a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
  4. Add the caramel sauce, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir together well and pour into pan.
  5. Make the pastry by combining the cream cheese, butter, flour, and milk, mixing well into a smooth dough. Gather into a ball and put on a piece of floured parchment. Turn to coat the dough with flour. Place another piece of parchment over the dough and roll out approximately ¼" thick. This will be much thicker than a normal pie crust.
  6. Cut into designs and place over the apple mixture.
  7. Mix the egg white with one teaspoon of water and brush on the pastry.
  8. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let the dessert cool - it's best eaten warm, not hot.
Slice those apples!

Slice those apples!

Toss the apples in sugar and spice.

Toss the apples in sugar and spice.

Brush the pastry with egg whites.

Brush the pastry with egg whites, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bubbling hot from the oven.

Bubbling hot from the oven.

A little scoop of vanilla ice cream takes this over the top.

Now go work off the calories by raking leaves or cleaning gutters so that I don’t get blamed if you can’t fit into your fancy duds for the office Christmas party!

Rose Dinner Rolls, and Cinnamon Roses

IMG_9465Sometimes “yummy” just isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s necessary to go for the WOW factor. A visual delicacy…food porn, if you will.

So I made roses out of a rich dinner roll dough, turning them into dinner rolls and then cinnamon rolls. Both ways were hugely successful. These roses aren’t just appealing to the eyes, they’re also easy to devour politely, one fluffy petal at a time.

Manners were strictly enforced during my formative years. We knew better than to butter an entire slice of bread. Rolls were torn into small pieces, each of which was buttered just before it disappeared in our mouths. If I’d taken a bite out of a whole roll my father’s fist would have come down on the table sharply, making the silverware rattle. I’m grateful for the knowledge now, though the years of screaming babies (and shoveling food in as fast as possible while there was a spare moment) have probably made my manners pretty rusty.

Think about it – does anyone actually bite into a cinnamon roll? Personally, half the enjoyment I get from eating a cinnamon roll is derived from unwrapping it slowly, sticky fingers and all. But with these beauties, pulling the petals off one by one is just as fun, and a lot less messy. IMG_9468 The dough I used isn’t too sweet, so it works well as a dinner roll, but is rich enough to turn into a cinnamon roll. I picture these rose shaped rolls on a buffet line at a luncheon or tea; probably not something you’d serve for a Super Bowl party.

Here is the recipe and lots of how-to photos. They really are simple to shape, just a little more time-consuming than regular rolls. Well worth the effort when you consider the visual impact.

Rose Rolls
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Makes 12 rolls.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 1¼ cups half & half (whole milk will do in a pinch)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat the half & half until hot but not boiling.
  3. In a large bowl (I use a stand mixer) combine the half & half, sugar, ¼ cup butter, and salt.
  4. Add the egg and mix well.
  5. Add the yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour. Beat with a paddle attachment until well combined. Switch to a bread hook and add 1 more cup of flour and knead for 5 minutes. (If you are kneading by hand, keep the work surface well floured, as the dough will be sticky until it picks up some of the flour and the kneading is done. By hand, knead 7-8 minutes.) If the dough isn't coming cleanly away from the side of the bowl after 5 minutes of kneading, add flour a little at a time. You want a soft, elastic dough - not sticky.
  6. Place the dough in a greased bowl and allow it to rise until doubled, at least an hour. Punch dough down.
  7. Roll out dough on floured surface. The dough should be thin - about ¼-inch. Cut into 78 2-inch circles. (I used a small brandy snifter. You may have to get creative - milk jug cap, stainless prep cups, etc.)
  8. Spray a muffin pan with an oil/flour spray like Baker's Joy, or grease well (including the top surface of the pan!)
  9. For dinner rolls, stretch out 60 circles slightly-into a teardrop shape-and place in prepared muffin pan, 5 to a cavity. Let the rounded petals curve over the top of each opening slightly. Press the inside center gently and brush lightly with butter. Slightly stretch out 12 circles and place one in each cup, pressing down firmly in the middle of each and brushing lightly with butter. Cut 6 circles in half and with the straight side facing you, roll each half-circle up to create the bud. Place one in the center of each rose.
  10. For cinnamon rolls, follow the procedure above, but dip rounded side of the large petals in butter and then in cinnamon sugar and place 5 in each cavity. Brush the bottom surface with butter and sprinkle with about ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. Place the single circle inside and brush the bottom surface with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Then add the bud and brush the top of it, sprinkling lightly with cinnamon.
  11. Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel and allow the rolls to rise until puffy-about an hour.
  12. Heat oven to 375 F.
  13. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until a rich golden brown.
  14. Remove to rack and cool a few minutes in the pan - then remove rolls to finish cooling on rack.

IMG_9449.JPG cropped

Cut 2″ circles.

IMG_9450

Stretch the dough slightly, making a teardrop shape.

Place five pieces of dough in the prepared pan to form outer petals

For dinner rolls, place five pieces of dough in the prepared pan to form outer petals

The only difference between the dinner rolls and the cinnamon rolls is a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar between each layer.

For cinnamon rolls, dip the petal tops in butter and cinnamon first.

For cinnamon rolls, dip the petal tops in butter and cinnamon first.

 

Lightly butter the bottom surface, add single circle. Brush with butter and add "bud"

Lightly butter the bottom surface, add single circle. Brush with butter and add “bud”

 

Adding the "bud" to the cinnamon roses.

Adding the “bud” to the cinnamon roses.

 

Risen and ready to bake.

Risen and ready to bake.

 

Baked and smelling goooooood!

Baked and smelling goooooood!

Cinnamon roses with a simple glaze of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.

Cinnamon roses with a simple glaze of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.

Hopefully I’ll never run out of new recipes to try, but even if I do, there are always old standbys to tinker with. So one of my father’s favorite admonishments: “Don’t play with your food!” is still ignored by me. Pffft…food is meant to be played with. Stop and taste the roses!

Sophie’s Zebra Cake

In a rousing change-up from my normal routine, I flew to California to visit my daughter Brenna’s family and get cuddle time with new baby Mack, and found myself in a flurry of preparations for Sophie’s 9th birthday. Birthday parties are my idea of great fun, especially since Brenna and I go by the same principle: more is better.

The theme was black, white, and hot pink zebra designs. There were three girls coming – plus Sophie – for pizza, a slumber party, and bowling the next morning. It was obvious I hadn’t thrown a  slumber party in a long time, because I thought  that just four girls (and little sister, Taunee) couldn’t eat that much and wouldn’t  make very much noise.

Stop laughing. I can’t hear you anyway, because my ears are still ringing. This may be permanent.

The girls may not have eaten much at a time, but the foraging was constant. Picture locusts working their way through a wheat field. Luckily, Brenna was far more realistic and prepared for this situation. Pizza, bread sticks, potato chips. bowls of color coordinated candy (Good and Plenty candy provided the perfect color), drinks with festive paper straws…no one starved. And for the Pièce de résistance, she made this awesome zebra cake:

Zebra cake with hot pink icing!

Zebra cake with hot pink icing!

Start with two batches of cake (boxed mix or scratch – your choice) one white cake and one chocolate. She added a little black food coloring to the chocolate batter. In two cake pans layer dark and white batters, pouring about 1/3 cup (or 1/2 for wider stripes) at a time in the center. Don’t spread the batter. Don’t even tap the pan! Just pour.and bake.

Pour layers of batter right in the middle of the pan. Don't spread it!

Pour layers of batter right in the middle of the pan. Don’t spread it!

Keep those layers of batter coming! The weight of each layer spreads the ones below it.

Keep those layers of batter coming! The weight of each layer spreads the ones below it.

Cakes ready for the oven.

Cakes ready for the oven.

Baked and ready to level and frost.

Baked and ready to level and frost.

Frosting the cake.

Frosting the cake.

Sophie's Zebra Cake

Sophie’s Zebra Cake

Brenna cut shapes out of Wilton sugar sheets (they come in beautiful designs), and placed them on the hot pink sugar covered icing, piping around each shape. If you’re not into hot pink frosting, a simple white cake with the sugar sheet design around the sides would be lovely. Just pipe around the top edge of the sheet and decorate the top however you wish.

Each shape was placed on the frosting, then Brenna piped around each shape.

Each shape was placed on the frosting, then Brenna piped around each shape.

I probably don’t need to tell you that the cake was a big hit!blow out the candles Sophie

I got up early the next morning and started the dough for homemade doughnuts. Here is a link to my recipe and instructions. Doughnut Recipe

I used butter instead of shortening this time, and they turned out great. This pleases me because I really don’t like to use shortening unless I absolutely have to. Also (and this was a wonderful discovery) if you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can put a kernel of popcorn in the oil when you start to heat it, and when it pops the oils should be between 350 and 365 degrees – which is just right for frying doughnuts.

The zebra doughnuts were an adult-pleaser, but the girls had more fun with doughnut holes, dipping them in bowls of sugar, cinnamon sugar, and maple, vanilla, and chocolate icing. With sprinkles, of course!

Zebra doughnut. Get in mah belly!!!

Zebra doughnut. Get in mah belly!!!

Messy fun! Dipping doughnut holes. (The only rule was...no double dipping!)

Messy fun! Dipping doughnut holes. (The only rule was…no double dipping!)

We had a blast decorating, baking, and listening to the giggles and shrieks. Cleaning up wasn’t quite as festive, but then – it never is!

Happy 9th birthday, Sophie Grace!

Jelly Doughnut Hearts – Gotta Love ’em!

column2 078A puffy, sweet pastry covered in sugar and oozing raspberry jelly…what’s better than a jelly doughnut? A homemade, heart shaped jelly doughnut!

Make a batch of these for Valentine’s Day and score some serious Brownie points! It’s really not as hard as you think, but you have to be willing to deep fry these; if you bake them you’ll lose some of the flavor and a lot of the tender texture.

I tried them glazed, rolled in sugar, and dusted with powdered sugar. And when I say I tried them, I mean I tried them. I couldn’t present them to you untested, right? Oh, the sacrifices I make! They were all delicious, but I think the traditional powdered sugar doughnut was my favorite.

Love those powdered ones!

Love those powdered ones!

 

Or...glazed is nice!

Or…glazed is nice!

Put a smile on someone’s face and give this recipe a try!

Jelly Doughnut Hearts
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Author:
Makes about 30 doughnuts.
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups milk (2% or whole milk is best. I added a little half & half to my 2%)
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • peanut oil for frying
Instructions
  1. In a small pan on medium-high heat, scald the milk. To do this, let the milk heat until there are bubbles all the way around the outer edge, but catch it before it boils. Remove from heat.
  2. Add ⅓ cup plus one tablespoon sugar, shortening, salt, and cinnamon. Allow the mixture to cool down until it’s lukewarm.
  3. In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer) combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let it sit until bubbly – about 5 minutes.
  4. Mix the lukewarm milk mixture into the yeast mixture. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  5. Slowly add the flour, mixing until combined. Knead well–5 minutes with stand mixer using the dough hook, or 7-8 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface. If you're using a mixer, it will look very sticky at first, but at the end of the kneading time it should be a soft, elastic dough. If it is still sticky, add a little more flour and knead for another minute.
  6. Set the dough to rise in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough with oil. Cover and allow to rise until double–about an hour. Punch down.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about ⅓ inch - definitely no thicker than ½ inch. They will puff up a lot when they're fried!
  8. Cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter, getting the hearts as close to each other as possible. The first rolling is definitely the best; re-rolled dough is tougher. Remove the extra dough around the hearts, cover them with a clean dishtowel, and let them sit for 30 minutes.
  9. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a large pan until it's between 350 and 365 degrees.
  10. Drop a few hearts into the hot oil at a time, giving them lots of room to move around. Once the bottom is a dark golden brown, flip the hearts over. If yours are like mine, they’ll have minds of their own and might insist on flipping right back over. Don’t let them win!
  11. When both sides are brown, remove and drain on paper towels. Move to a baking rack to cool.
  12. When the doughnuts are just barely warm, shake them gently in a bag of powdered sugar, or roll them in granulated sugar. If you prefer glazed doughnuts, mix a little water into powdered sugar (a drop or two of vanilla is nice, too) until you have a thin glaze. Dip the doughnuts or brush the glaze on with a pastry brush.
  13. To fill, use a pastry bag with a piping tip. Fill with jelly and poke the tip in the side of the doughnut, squeezing firmly. OR (this worked best for me) use a chopstick to poke a hole in the side and use a zipper bag filled with jelly (cut one tip off) to fill the doughnut.
  14. Make sure to wipe the powdered sugar off your chin before your family comes home!

 

Cutting out heart shapes.

Cutting out heart shapes.

Frying the doughnuts.

Filling the doughnuts.

Filling the doughnuts.

Oh, yum!

Oh, yum!

I know for a fact that the glazed doughnuts freeze well, but I haven’t tried freezing the sugared doughnuts. So I guess I’ll just have to freeze the eight glazed hearts and eat all the rest. Yep – works for me!

Tempting Raspberry Turnovers

blog2 102Puff pastry has been calling to me lately – loudly! In my last post I used the pre-made frozen kind for Biscoff Apple Pastries, which made them very quick and easy…not to mention light and flaky! I have nothing against puff pastry in a box, and always keep some on hand, but when I have time on my hands it’s just more fun and rewarding to make it myself.

Unlike croissants or danish, the dough for puff pastry doesn’t use yeast, so if you’re a yeastophobe (yes, it’s a real word…look it up!) (oh, fine…you won’t find that word in the dictionary, but it’s a very real condition!) this dough is for you. Traditional puff pastry is made a lot like croissants, with a layer of butter over the dough and a lot of folding and rolling. The method I use is easier and results in a more uniform dough, though you will sacrifice a tiny bit of flakiness. Unless you’re a French pastry chef, you probably won’t notice.

This is PLENTY flaky!

This is PLENTY flaky!

You will, however, still be doing a LOT of rolling and folding. If you don’t spend a lot of time in the gym, expect sore abs. Look at it this way: rolling pastry is good exercise for your boobs and abs (for those male readers, make that pecs and abs) and the workout means you won’t have to feel so guilty about sampling the goods later. Yes, when it comes to goodies I’m a master of rationalization!

There are shortcuts you could take if you want to try these. For instance, the filling I made is very similar to jam. I wanted some whole berries (and a little lemon “zing”), so I made it from scratch. But once the turnovers are baked the whole berries aren’t very obvious, so jam would be fine. And of course you could use frozen puff pastry…but then you’d miss out on all the buttery fun. Your call!

Here’s how I make mine:
(pictures are at the bottom of the post)

Tempting Raspberry Turnovers
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Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12-16
Makes 12-16, depending on how fat you want them!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, frozen at least ½ hour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg and 2 teaspoons of water, for an egg wash
  • 1 recipe of raspberry-lemon filling
  • 1 recipe of pastry cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar and a little milk or water for a drizzle, if desired
Instructions
  1. Using a large grater, grate the frozen butter. Return the grated butter to the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) combine both types of flour and salt.
  3. On low speed with a dough hook, blend the butter and flour together just until mixed.
  4. Slowly add the lemon juice, and then the water - a little at a time, until the dough holds together. Don't over-mix!
  5. On a generously floured surface, roll into an 18-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Fold it like you would a letter, bringing one of the short ends over to the middle and then bringing the other end over it, always dusting off any extra flour.
  6. Turn the dough one-quarter turn and roll out again into an 18-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds.
  7. Turn, roll, and fold one more time. Wrap in heavy plastic (or put dough into a zipper bag) and refrigerate for an hour.
  8. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out, fold it, turn. Roll it out, fold it, turn. Roll it out, fold it....and cut the dough in half. Return one half to the refrigerator for now.
  9. Roll the dough half into a rectangle that's 12-inches by 8-inches for big, puffy turnovers or 16-inches by 8-inches if you prefer less pastry with your filling!
  10. Put the dough on a plastic wrap covered cookie sheet, lay another piece of plastic wrap over it, and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to make sure the butter inside the dough is firm.
  11. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  12. Remove from the refrigerator and cut into 4-inch squares.
  13. Beginning at an imaginary diagonal line, spread a thin layer of pastry cream over half of each square, leaving a clean edge so it can seal properly. Put about a tablespoon of filling (or jam) over the pastry cream. Don't worry if it isn't perfectly covered...it will spread as it gets warm. Barely moisten the edges around the filling with water.
  14. Fold the dough diagonally over the cream and jam. Press the edges gently and place on a baking sheet. Press along the two edges with a fork.
  15. Mix together the egg and water and brush lightly over pastries.
  16. Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until a rich, golden brown.
  17. If you want to add a drizzle, mix enough milk or water into a cup of powdered sugar to make a thick liquid and drizzle over cooled turnovers.
  18. Repeat with the other half of the dough, or flatten it into a rectangle, wrap it well, and freeze for another use.

The pastry cream and raspberry-lemon filling may be made before you begin the puff pastry or (if you’re quick) while the dough is chilling. Make sure neither is warm when used on the pastry squares.

Lemon Pastry Cream

1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  1. In a medium bowl, blend the sugar and cornstarch together. Slowly whisk in the water. Add the egg yolks and beat well.
  2. In a medium pan over medium-low heat, bring the half & half and lemon zest to a simmer.
  3. Pour half of the simmering half & half over the egg mixture in the bowl while whisking.
  4. Immediately pour it back into the remaining hot half & half in the pan while whisking. Increase the heat to medium, and whisk briskly until it thickens. This should only take a few minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and lemon juice and allow it to cool on the counter, stirring often. Keep it covered when you’re not stirring.

Once cooled, keep refrigerated until needed.

Raspberry Filling

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
12 ounces frozen raspberries (not sweetened), divided
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar

  1. In a small cup whisk together the cornstarch and cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, stir together 8 ounces of the raspberries, 1/3 cup water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar.
  3. Turn heat to medium and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Turn temperature down to medium-low and continue to cook and stir for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining berries and fold gently to incorporate. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool thoroughly. Once cooled, keep refrigerated until needed.

Here are some visuals for you – trust me, you’ll get the hang of it quickly!

Adding the grated butter to the flour mixture.

Adding the grated butter to the flour mixture.

Don't over-mix the dough...it's supposed to look like this!

Don’t over-mix the dough…it’s supposed to look like this!

Fold the dough like a letter!

Fold the dough like a letter!

Spread with pastry cream and filling, and fold diagonally.

Spread with pastry cream and filling, and fold diagonally.

Brush with an egg wash and bake.

Brush with an egg wash and bake.

Although I love the combination of raspberries and lemon, don’t limit yourself to my favorites! Try chopped apples tossed in cinnamon sugar, or apple butter, peach preserves, or finely chopped chocolate and walnuts. Please, if you come up with any unique combinations, leave a comment and tell me about it!

I promise a healthy recipe next. It’s going to be a stretch, but I’ll try.