Apple Cinnamon Raised Doughnuts

I never turn down a doughnut. Or two. Maple bars are my guilty pleasure, and I go back and forth between preferring cake doughnuts and raised, but one thing is clear to me: they must be fried to be irresistible. Baked doughnuts are fine, but . . . they just aren’t the same.

I love apple cider cake doughnuts, and was pondering the possibility of adding apple to a raised doughnut. (No, no, not chunks like apple fritters.) Would the addition of applesauce interfere with the rise of the yeast? The Man thought it was a bad idea, but rapidly changed his mind when he taste-tested a half dozen or so.

Here are some glazed and some sugared. See that dark doughnut kind of in the middle? I may have left that one in the oil too long. Still tasted good though!

This recipe creates a very soft dough. Soft and supple, and . . . well . . . I want to write poetry about the way it feels! It demands a little delicacy in handling, but the payoff is an incredibly light, fluffy doughnut. Actually, a whole lot of them; you’ll  get about 24 doughnuts and a pile of doughnut holes. They’re best the day they’re made, but can be frozen for a few weeks, so don’t feel like you have to sit down and eat two dozen of them (though I did my best).

Oh, and there’s a reason store bought doughnuts come in a cardboard box! If you put these in an airtight plastic bag, they will get gooey. I find that they do well loosely covered with foil.

Apple Cinnamon Raised Doughnuts
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Ingredients
  • DOUGHNUTS:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ⅓ cup sugar plus ½ teaspoon, divided
  • 8 ounces applesauce (about a cup)
  • ½ cup apple cider (or you can use apple juice)
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon (more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg (more to taste)
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup very warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 6½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter, softened and cut into 8-10 slices
  • cooking oil - lots of it! At least 2 inches deep in pot. (I use peanut oil.)
  • GLAZE (OPTIONAL):
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider (a little more if needed to create a thin glaze)
  • 1 teaspoon meringue powder (optional for a firmer glaze)
  • SUGAR TOPPING (OPTIONAL)
  • mix 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon and roll warm doughnuts in mixture.
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan on medium high heat, scald milk by bringing it almost to a boil. Remove when you see bubbles all around the edge of the pan.
  2. Add ⅓ cup sugar, apple sauce, apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl (a sturdy stand mixer is recommended) combine the warm water, yeast, and remaining ½ teaspoon sugar. Let it sit until foamy - about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the milk mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with between eggs.
  5. Add 5 cups of the flour, one cup at a time (switch to a dough hook if using a stand mixer) and beat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add butter, one slice at a time, beating after each addition.
  7. Slowly add remaining flour and knead by machine for 5 minutes. (If kneading by hand, spoon dough onto generously floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes.) Dough will be very soft and will not form a ball. Scrape into a large greased bowl and cover. Let rise until double, about 1 hour.
  8. Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface. Flip over to cover both sides lightly with flour, and pat into a rectangle. Roll gently out approximately ⅓-inch thick. Using a doughnut cutter or a large and small round cutter, cut out the doughnuts. Try to keep them close together. Use a spoon to remove the holes as you go, placing them on lightly floured surface.
  9. Once all of the doughnuts are cut out, remove the scraps. They can be re-rolled once, but I don't recommend cutting out doughnuts. They will be a little tough, and not very attractive. But you can cut more holes out of the scraps.
  10. Cover the doughnuts with a dishtowel and let them rise until puffy. (About 45-60 minutes.)
  11. Heat oil to 365 F. Use a thermometer often, adjusting heat as necessary to keep the temperature consistent. Use a thin metal spatula to slide a few doughnuts at a time into the hot oil, always leaving them room to float and move in the oil. Cook until golden brown (about 1 minute) and flip the doughnut over to cook the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider, and place on cooling racks covered with paper towels.
  12. While still warm, whisk together the glaze ingredients (if using) and dip the top of each doughnut, placing on a rack to dry.
  13. Alternatively, you can simply combine sugar and cinnamon and roll the warm doughnuts in the mixture.

I didn’t have apple cider, so used apple juice. It is a little sweeter, but still worked well.

Add applesauce, spices, and apple cider to scalded milk.

Combine warm water, yeast, and sugar and let it bubble. Stir in the milk mixture.

Mix in eggs one at a time.

Add 5 cups of the flour, but not like this!  I’m sure you won’t be so busy taking photos that you forget to put the guard on the mixer, right? (You should have seen ME. And the FLOOR!)

NOW add the butter, bit by bit. I know, seems strange, huh? But adding the butter after the majority of the flour makes a huge difference in texture. Trust me. Then you’ll add the remaining flour to make a very soft dough.

See how soft the dough is? It won’t come cleanly from the bowl, but if you use your fingers to coax it out into the greased bowl it shouldn’t stick to your hands. Soft but cooperative!

Once the dough has risen, dump it onto a floured surface. Turn it over to coat both sides with flour and roll it gently – about 1/3-inch thick.

Cut ’em out! Rather than re-rolling (which makes for less-than-desirable results) cut more doughnut holes with the scraps. Or any little shapes. I used a small flower cutter on some.

Cover and let rise until puffy – about 45-60 minutes.

Use a metal spatula to slide into deep oil – at least 2 inches – about 365 F. Cook a few doughnuts at a time, just until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon or spider.

The doughnut holes are the best part!

Place on cooling racks covered in paper towels.

Whisk up some glaze and dip the warm doughnuts. (The meringue powder is totally optional. I just like a firmer glaze.) Or roll the doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.

Drip drying.

Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure doughnut holes have no calories.

Here’s to a warm, cozy, indulgent holiday season. Wishing you joy,

Lorinda

 

 

Brown Butter Pear Scones

Light, spicy scones studded with chunks of fresh pear are a lovely way to welcome fall. Brown butter adds a nutty flavor to these luscious pear scones—well worth the few additional minutes of preparation. And if you’ve never used brown butter before, you may have a new addiction; this stuff is good!

Are you the organized type? Brown your butter and let it chill overnight, and the scones will be quick and easy to make for breakfast. If you are more spontaneous (I totally understand a sudden, urgent need for scones) you can make the brown butter, cool it slightly, and pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes. For best results, use unsalted butter (spring for the good stuff; it has less water in it), though I’ve used salted when necessary, cutting the added salt a bit my recipe.

If you want to use regular butter instead of brown butter, use 1 stick (1/2 cup). When making brown butter you use a little more, because by the time the water boils out and you throw away the browned solids in the bottom of the pan, you end up with less. In this case, you should have approximately 1/2 cup.

Before I baked the scones, I sprinkled them generously with sparkling sugar. I love sweets, so felt compelled to add a brown sugar icing after the scones had cooled a little. Just FYI, that’s a lot of sweetness. You will probably want to choose one or the other. (Hint: I vote for the icing!)

Brown Butter Pear Scones
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Ingredients
  • SCONES:
  • ¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks) unsalted butter (if using salted, reduce salt to ¼ teaspoon). This will yield approximately ½ cup of brown butter
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh, firm pears (peeled and cored)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Coarse or sparkling sugar (optional)
  • ICING:
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. BROWN BUTTER: Cut butter into chunks and place in small pan (light colored, if possible) on medium low heat. Stirring occasionally, bring butter to a boil. It will be noisy; once it has quieted down and turned into more of a foam, stir often until the butter turns a deep golden color and the solids have turned dark and dropped to the bottom of the pan. Pour into a strainer to remove the sediment and pour the butter into a small bowl, discarding solids. Chill (or freeze) until solid.
  2. Heat oven to 400 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle generously with flour.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  4. Use a pastry blender to thoroughly cut in the butter.
  5. Toss the chopped pears into the flour mixture until coated.
  6. Mix together the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour liquids into the well. Stir gently just until combined. Don't overmix!
  7. Drop the dough onto the flour-covered parchment, and turn a few times gently to coat. Use your hand to pat into an 8-inch round. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 (or 10) sections, pushing the knife straight down and lifting straight up for best results. Use the knife or a pie server to slide carefully under each scone and pull out, separating the scones slightly. Even if they bake back together they will come apart easily.
  9. Bake approximately 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove pan and place on cooling rack.
  10. ICING: In a medium saucepan, bring brown sugar, butter, and milk to a boil over medium heat. Boil gently for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar until no lumps remain. When scones are no longer hot, drizzle icing over them. A plastic storage bag with the tip cut off works well.

Bring the butter to a boil. It is very noisy at this point!

The bubbles get smaller, more like a rich lather. Stir, stir, stir!

Starting to get brown. Thick and creamy, hard to see the solids in the bottom. Time to take it off the heat.

Strain the butter and place in the fridge or freezer until solid.

With a pastry blender, cut the chilled brown butter into the flour mixture.

Add the chopped pears and toss until coated.

Beat or whisk the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla together. Make a well in the dry ingredients and stir liquids in gently, JUST until combined. Drop dough onto prepared pan, turn to coat with flour, and press into 8-inch round.

Cut into 8 (or 10) wedges, and carefully slide a utensil under each to separate slightly. Bake!

Mmmmm. Once they’ve cooled a bit, you can drizzle them with icing.

If you make eight scones, they’re pretty big. I have NO objection to that, but if you would prefer dainty scones, make two small rounds out of the dough and use a little shorter bake time.

Enjoy!

Lorinda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Pear Muffins

Hearty yet tender, these flavorful muffins are bursting with fresh cranberries, pears, and oatmeal. They get a zing of flavor from orange zest, and are topped with crunchy cinnamon streusel. I gilded the lily and drizzled a little orange glaze over the top. It makes them so pretty!

To be honest with you, I didn’t really expect to like these. In fact, I was kind of counting on that. (Stupid diet.) I’ve never been very fond of pears, and was worried that the cranberries would be too tart. Nope. Sweet, slightly tangy, and delightful. Nom nom.

What a sweet little breakfast these would be for Thanksgiving or Christmas morning.

The recipe makes 18 muffins. If you have extras, wrap them well and freeze them.

Cranberry Pear Muffins
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Makes 18
Ingredients
  • STREUSEL TOPPING:
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (I used toasted pecans)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • MUFFINS:
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cranberries (more if desired)
  • 1 cup chopped pears, peeled and cored (1 large pear)
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup oil (l use peanut or canola)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ICING (optional):
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • orange juice, cranberry juice, or water to thin to desired consistency
  • 1 teaspoon meringue powder if desired for firmer icing
Instructions
  1. STREUSEL: Combine all dry ingredients for streusel topping. Stir in melted butter and set aside.
  2. MUFFINS: Heat oven to 375 F. Put 18 paper liners in muffin pans.
  3. In small bowl, combine buttermilk and oats. Stir well and set mixture aside to soften while you chop the cranberries and pears and prepare the batter..
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk or sift.
  5. Add chopped cranberries, chopped pears, and orange zest. Toss with a large spoon.
  6. In a small bowl, combine milk, egg, oil, and vanilla. Beat well and combine with the buttermilk/oat mixture.
  7. Make a well in the dry ingredient and fruit mixture. Pour liquids in all at once. Fold gently, being careful not to over mix. If you see a few wisps of flour, that's just fine.
  8. Divide evenly between prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a muffin. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove muffins to cool completely.

STREUSEL: Stir together all the dry streusel ingredients well, then stir in melted butter. Set aside.

MUFFINS: Add chopped cranberries to dry ingredients

. . . and chopped pears.

. . . and orange zest. Toss well.

Beat together milk, egg, oil, and vanilla. Stir in softened oat/buttermilk mixture.

Make a well in dry ingredients. Add liquids all at once. Fold in gently just until mostly combined.

Don’t over stir! Wisps of flour here and there are just fine.

Divide batter between 18 muffin cups and top with streusel. Bake!

Drizzle with icing if desired

Heading into the holiday season is always a thrill for me. Obsessive baking isn’t just acceptable, it’s practically mandatory.

Sweet!

Lorinda

Blueberry Rhubarb Muffins

These scrumptious blueberry rhubarb muffins were served to my friend and me at a charming bed and breakfast recently, and I begged for the recipe—only to find out that the batter was made using a boxed mix. How easy is that? (For the record, I have nothing whatsoever against boxed mixes; I usually just like the challenge of creating my own recipes.)

Our hostess added a few more blueberries, a little chopped rhubarb, and a simple crunchy topping, and I assure you we gobbled those muffins up with enthusiasm.

Vicki Broeckel is the heart and soul behind The Parsonage, a lovely old home surrounded by an oasis of trees in the middle of the rolling hills of the Washington Palouse.

The Parsonage, seen from the Highway.

When you make a reservation at The Parsonage, you get the house to yourself. The whole house. (And it’s big!) Vicki lives down the road, but comes in each morning with a huge hamper of food to make a hearty breakfast for her guests. She is a fabulous artist (some of her paintings adorn the walls of The Parsonage) and her creativity also extends to the colorful food she serves

All big blue eyes and energy, Vicki seems to magically produce a meal in seconds, then whisks the dishes into the dishwasher, chats for a moment, and disappears. We coaxed her to stay and visit as long as possible, because she’s so much fun.

And that food!

Her blueberry rhubarb muffins are in the background of this photo. Oh, so good. She told me how she made them, but I didn’t get exact measurements, so my recipe may be a little different, but it’s close to what we enjoyed at that kitchen table.

Easy Blueberry Rhubarb Muffins
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Makes approximately 15 muffins. Brown sugar in the topping gives the muffins a darker, more rustic look. Half brown sugar, half white gives them a lighter appearance. Your choice!
Ingredients
  • TOPPING:
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar (or ¼ brown sugar, ¼ white for a lighter look)
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • MUFFINS:
  • 1 box Krusteaz Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil (I used canola)
  • ⅔ cup milk (you can use water if you wish)
  • ¼ cup blueberries or huckleberries (in addition to the canned berries in mix)
  • ¼ cup fresh rhubarb, diced - more to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Add paper liners to muffin pans. Because of the extra berries and rhubarb, this recipe will make about 15 muffins.
  2. TOPPING: Melt butter. Stir in sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. MUFFINS: In a medium bowl, combine the package of dry mix, eggs, oil, and milk. Stir just until combined.
  4. Open and drain the can of wild blueberries. Add, along with fresh berries and diced rhubarb. Fold in gently.
  5. Fill liners about ⅔ full. Cover batter in each cavity generously with topping and bake approximately 20 minutes.
  6. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then move muffins to cooling rack. Serve slightly warm.

I lived in Seattle for fifty years, so I’m a little bit “local loyal” when it comes to ingredients. I don’t get paid to promote products . . . I just trust Darigold and Krusteaz. I used local eggs, huckleberries from our nearby mountains, and fresh rhubarb from The Parsonage. Good ingredients make a difference!

Hint: Don’t be stingy with that topping. Cover the batter with a liberal hand. On this batch I used half brown sugar and half white for a lighter color.

I thought I didn’t like rhubarb, but I was wrong. I only added a little to these muffins, but I think they’d be better with twice as much. The tart/sweet combination is delightful, and now I regret having destroyed our rhubarb plant. Thank goodness for farmers markets!

If you have a chance to visit southeastern Washington, I hope you’ll spend a night or two at The Parsonage. Here I am, fixated on the food, when there are so many other wonderful things to see and do. Visit the Pataha Flour Mill for dinner (donation only), a journey to see the Palouse Falls, or spend a quiet afternoon of bird watching on the front porch swing (I got photos of two owls). All are sure to bring you joy.

Lorinda

Crustless Company Quiche

Layers of hash browns, bacon, sweet onions, cheese, ham, and eggs create a breakfast dish that you’d be proud to serve to company . . . or just scarf down yourself. My goal was to make this delicious dish while producing a minimum amount of pans to wash, and I was pretty pleased with the way it all worked out.

My inspiration was a fantastic recipe by Cydnee of Tampa Cake Girl. Her “Quiche Me Baby One More Time” was so appealing, and also low-carb, which was a win-win situation in my book.

But my husband wanted hash browns. And I didn’t have Swiss cheese. Or heavy cream. Besides, I think I have some kind of genetic disorder that doesn’t let me follow a recipe exactly as it’s written. I.Just.Can’t. I have to fiddle and improvise, no matter how perfect the original version is.

So, my apologies to Cydnee for messing with her recipe, but here’s my version. Now you can choose between low-carb and almost low carb. (Aw, c’mon, it’s just one potato.)

Crustless Company Quiche
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Serves 8 polite people, 6 hungry people.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups shredded potato (or packaged hash browns)
  • 3 pieces bacon, uncooked, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1½ cups grated cheese (I used cheddar and parmesan, but Swiss or jack are good, too)
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • ½ cup whipped cream cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • garlic salt (or regular salt) and pepper to taste. A pinch of nutmeg is good, too.
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 F. Lightly spray a deep pie pan with cooking spray.
  2. Spread shredded potato in the bottom of the pan and top with uncooked bacon pieces.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped onions, then cheese. Top with chopped ham.
  5. Combine cream cheese, eggs, and milk. Beat well, add seasonings, and pour over the top.
  6. Place dish on baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  7. Cool for 5-10 minutes and serve.

Layer the uncooked bacon on the shredded potatoes (the bacon grease will help cook the potatoes) and bake for 30 minutes.

Chop onions and grate cheese.

Add onions to cooked potatoes and bacon

Combine the cream cheese, eggs, and milk. Add seasonings.

Beat well.

Add cheese, then ham, then egg mixture. Bake 45-50 minutes.

Seriously, that’s all there is to it! I peeled, grated, rinsed, and blotted dry one large potato for this recipe. If you want to save steps (and avoid washing a peeler, grater, and bowl) you can use fresh shredded potatoes from the store, or even frozen shredded hash browns.

The quiche comes out of the pan cleanly, making it easy to plate. And oh, boy does it taste good! The Man moaned his way through two huge pieces and drove me nuts coming up with variations to try next.

As a reminder, Father’s Day is coming up and this would be an easy, man-pleasing breakfast to serve him. He’ll love you for it.

Lorinda

 

Chocolate-Filled Sweet Rolls

 

Whether you slowly unwrap this feather-soft sweet roll to reveal the rich chocolate filling or jump right in and take a huge bite, the buttery dark chocolate layer will surprise you with its bold flavor and subtle sweetness, balancing perfectly with the roll.

It’s hard to actually describe the flavor of these pastries. My husband thought I’d added coffee (I didn’t) and the closest thing I could compare it to was brownie batter (my favorite) though not as sweet. And they aren’t gooey!

I made my rolls heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day. If you want to create heart rolls but don’t happen to have 24 mini heart pans (I know, I know) you can put the rounds in one large heart-shaped cake pan. If you don’t have a heart pan, bake them just like cinnamon rolls in a large baking pan, glaze them, and add Valentine sprinkles. Improvise!

And, of course, these are great for other occasions. Who doesn’t like chocolate? A few chocolate jimmies look very nice and kind of advertise what’s inside, so no one is expecting cinnamon.

This roll recipe really is easy. It’s time-consuming because it has to rise twice, but seriously, there’s nothing hard about it at all.

Chocolate-Filled Sweet Rolls
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Makes 24 rolls Use small 3½-inch mini pans or one large 11x15-inch pan
Ingredients
  • DOUGH:
  • ¾ cup milk (I use whole milk)
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup very warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup plus ½ teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 5 - 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • FILLING:
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • GLAZE:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. DOUGH: In a small pan over medium-low heat, combine milk, shortening, and butter. Stir occasionally until shortening and butter are melted. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk.
  2. In a small cup, combine warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon of the sugar. Let it sit until bubbly (about 5 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl (a sturdy stand mixer is best) combine the milk mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and ⅓ cup sugar. Switch to a dough hook, if you have one.
  4. Slowly add 5 cups of flour and the salt. Mix well. The dough should come cleanly away from the side of the bowl. If it doesn't - or is sticky to the touch - add the remaining ½ cup flour. Continue to use the mixer to knead the dough for 5 minutes. If kneading by hand, place dough on floured surface and knead for 7 minutes.
  5. Place dough in greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise until doubled . . . about an hour.
  6. Prepare pans: If using small mini-pans, spray with an oil/flour baking spray. If using a 11x15-inch baking pan, spray lightly and line the bottom with parchment.
  7. FILLING: In a small saucepan over lowest heat (or in a microwave, in 15-second increments) melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring well.
  8. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out to 9x15 inches on a lightly floured surface, with the long side facing you.
  9. Spread half of the chocolate mixture over the dough. Sprinkle evenly with ¼ cup sugar.
  10. Beginning with the long edge facing you, roll the dough up. Use a sharp knife to cut 12 equal pieces. (They will each be a little more than 1 inch.)
  11. Place in prepared pan(s) and repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  12. Heat oven to 400 F. Bake rolls for approximately 20 minutes, or until rich golden brown. While still warm, glaze with the following:
  13. GLAZE: Combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Adjust if necessary, using powdered sugar or milk, to create a fairly thin glaze. Brush over warm rolls and sprinkle with decorations if desired.

Bubbly yeast! If yours doesn’t do this, check the date on the package.

Once kneaded this dough is so silky soft and elastic!

Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover it. Wait for it . . .

Look at this beautiful dough 1 hour later!

Melt very dark chocolate (use the good stuff!) and butter together.

Roll it out, cover with chocolate and sugar (trust me . . . it’s not too sweet) and roll it up.

Place slices of rolled dough into individual mini pans OR in one large baking pan.

Bake, glaze, and gussy them up with some sprinkles!

I loved these so much I’m getting up at 5:00 AM on Valentine’s Day to make them again. I’m taking them to my weekly weight-loss meeting, bwa ha ha. Guess who’s going after the monthly pot for the most weight lost. Oh, sweet sabotage!

You know what’s coming now, right? Green. Lots and lots of GREEN. And probably booze. Stay tuned.

Lorinda

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

The spicy fragrance of fall will fill your kitchen as these Apple Pumpkin Muffins bake. Tender apples and a crunchy streusel top spicy, fluffy pumpkin muffins – perfect for a holiday breakfast.

I know I may have been a little . . . well . . . opinionated in the past when I said that muffins should be sort of rustic and not too sweet. I also may have stated that if you want soft and sweet you should eat a cupcake. Ahem. I’m making an exception for these luscious muffins.

I used cake flour and buttermilk to make these babies melt in your mouth. More dessert-like than a regular muffin, though they’re still (and I should know) wonderful for breakfast. Personally, I’d be happy to switch out my slice of pumpkin pie for one of these muffins on Thanksgiving; the pumpkin pie spice in the batter takes them over the top.

If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute the following: 1 1/4  teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves

Apple Pumpkin Muffins
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Makes 12 muffins using tall tulip-style paper liners. If you use regular liners the recipe will make approximately 18.
Ingredients
  • STREUSEL:
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • MUFFINS:
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped apple (about 1 medium) tossed in 2 tablespoons flour
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 F. Place 12 tall tulip style paper liners in muffin tin.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all of the streusel ingredients, breaking large lumps apart with a fork. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until thoroughly combined.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla.
  5. Add egg mixture and melted butter to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.
  6. Divide mixture evenly between the 12 paper liners – approximately ⅓ cup in each.
  7. Divide chopped apples between each muffin, without pressing into the batter.
  8. Divide streusel between each muffin.
  9. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a muffin.
  10. Cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.

This recipe was made using tall tulip-style paper liners. If you plan on using regular muffin liners, the recipe will make approximately 18 smaller muffins and will bake for about 22 minutes.

I neglected to take in-process photos of the streusel, but I know you don’t need to see a picture. Just stir it together!  I did remember to grab my camera for the muffins though.

Whisk together the dry ingredients

Whisk together liquids.

Add egg mixture and melted butter to dry ingredients

Stir just until combined.

Divide batter between 12 tall tulip-style paper liners (or 18 regular)

Divide chopped apples between muffins and cover with streusel.

Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling on rack.

I’m down to my last can of pumpkin, so I think it’s safe to say that we’re through with pumpkin everything for the year.

Happy Holidays,

Lorinda

Ginger Spice Pumpkin Biscuits

Ginger Spice Pumpkin Biscuits

It’s the first day of October, and (ahem) I’d like to point out that this is the first new pumpkin recipe I’ve posted for the season. You would really admire my restraint if you saw the long list of possible pumpkin creations I’ve accumulated, taunting me daily. These flaky, tender (yet slightly crunchy) biscuits were on the top of that list, and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.

The pumpkin flavor and blend of spices add a depth of flavor to the biscuits but aren’t overwhelming. And they are so versatile! Add a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar before baking for a sweet touch or cover biscuits with sausage gravy for a savory flair. They are seriously good either way.

Homemade biscuits are really easy, as long as you remember two things:

  • Keep everything cold
  • Handle the dough as little as possible

By now you probably know that I have a love/hate relationship with shortening. I know it’s not a healthy choice, and try to use alternatives as much as possible, but I’ll say it again: biscuits, pie crust, and peanut butter cookies just aren’t as good without it. I’m willing to make an exception for these goodies. If you aren’t, then, by all means, substitute very cold butter. (But they probably won’t be as light and fluffy.)

I used fresh ginger in this recipe. If you don’t have any and must make these right now, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.

Ginger Spice Pumpkin Biscuits
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Author:
These easy biscuits are subtly flavored with pumpkin and spices, perfect as a meal accompaniment or snack. Flaky and tender, they are soft inside but slightly crunchy outside. Irresistible! Makes 10 jumbo biscuits.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or you may substitute ½ teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1¼ cups COLD buttermilk
  • ½ cup pumpkin (solid pack puree)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup COLD shortening
  • 2 tablespoons COLD butter
  • Optional: cinnamon sugar
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 450 F. Cover baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, grated ginger, and spices.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin, and egg. Set aside.
  4. Add cold shortening and butter to dry ingredients and, using a pastry blender, blend until there are no lumps larger than a pea.
  5. Add buttermilk mixture all at once and stir just until most of the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix. It's okay if there are some streaks of flour.
  6. Turn dough out onto generously floured surface. Turn once to coat with flour, then gently pat with your hand until the dough is almost 1-inch thick.
  7. Using a floured biscuit cutter, press straight down and lift straight back up. Lift each biscuit with a thin spatula and move to prepared baking sheet. Gently gather scraps and press together to cut.They won't be as pretty, but will still taste great. (For a sweet biscuit, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.)
  8. Bake for approximately 13-14 minutes, or until rich golden brown. Cool on rack.

Blend shortening and butter into dry ingredients.

Whisk the buttermilk, pumpkin, and egg together.

Stir just until most of the flour is incorporated. Flour streaks = perfect!

Press a round cutter straight down and lift it straight back up. Don’t twist!

Freshly baked.

Eat ’em plain, coated with cinnamon and sugar, or covered with sausage gravy. Ginger Spice Pumpkin Biscuits make a wonderful breakfast sandwich, too – just add eggs, meat, cheese.

This is where I give you fair warning: Until I work through my list or run out of canned pumpkin, there will be no mercy. It’s pumpkin everything, starting . . . NOW.

Lorinda

 

Maple Whiskey Coffee Cake

Maple whiskey, ground pecans, and a generous topping of crunchy streusel combine to give this fluffy coffee cake unbelievable flavor – a cozy treat for crisp fall mornings.

I adore coffee cake. Well, to be honest, I adore the sugary topping. Usually, the cake part itself is kind of uninspired – basically just a canvas for the delectable topping. But for this recipe, I added a layer of toasted ground pecans combined with streusel and maple whiskey which creates an oasis of flavor in the cake.

Grab a big cup of coffee and savor every bite!

Maple Whiskey Coffee Cake
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Author:
This fluffy coffee cake has a layer of maple whiskey and pecan, with a crunchy streusel topping and maple whiskey drizzle. Perfect for chilly fall mornings!
Ingredients
  • STREUSEL:
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided
  • ¾ cup ground pecans (toasted first for best flavor)
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ cup maple flavored whiskey (or regular whiskey and ½ teaspoon maple flavoring)
  • CAKE:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • GLAZE (optional):
  • 2 tablespoons maple-flavored whiskey
  • ½ teaspoon maple flavoring
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Make streusel. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar (reserve 1 T), the melted butter, cinnamon, ¼ cup of the flour (reserve 1 T), ground pecans, and salt. Stir until combined. Remove 1 cup of this mixture and put it in another small bowl. Add the reserved sugar and flour and the whiskey. (This will be the filling.) Stir until combined. Set both bowls aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with an oil/flour baking spray, or lightly grease and flour pan. (Alternatively, you can use a Bundt pan. Make sure to spray or grease/flour it well.)
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides of the bowl often.
  5. Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with the buttermilk, using half of each mixture at a time, beginning with the dry ingredients and ending with the buttermilk. Beat just until well combined.
  6. Spread half of this mixture into prepared pan, bringing it all the way to the edge of the pan.
  7. Spread all of the whiskey filling onto the batter and top with the remaining cake batter, spooning it carefully over the filling and spreading gently.
  8. Sprinkle all of the streusel over the batter and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake. (If using a Bundt pan, test after 40 minutes.)
  9. Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes before unlatching outer ring of pan.
  10. Whisk together the glaze ingredients. Adjust liquid or powdered sugar to achieve a glaze that's easy to drizzle or pipe onto warm cake.

Hints:

  • Grind the toasted pecans in a coffee/spice grinder or food processor. Short bursts are best so it doesn’t turn into pecan butter. Small chunks are fine. If you don’t have a grinder/processor, simply chop the nuts finely.
  • Can’t find maple flavored whiskey? (I’m SO sorry.) Use regular whiskey and 1/2 teaspoon of maple flavoring, like Mapleine. If you love maple, add a little more flavoring.
  • Don’t want to use booze at all? (Eyebrows raised incredulously.) Substitute maple syrup and leave out the additional tablespoons of sugar and flour.
  • Do you have maple sugar? I love baking with that stuff! Use it in place of white sugar in the streusel for additional flavor.
  • You can also use a Bundt pan for this. You’ll just have to flip the cake over once it’s cooled to get the streusel on top.

Grind the pecans. (Toast them first for more flavor!)

Stir together the streusel ingredients

Add maple whiskey to half of the streusel mixture.

Spread half of the batter in the pan, then add all of the whiskey streusel filling.

Spread remaining batter over the filling and sprinkle streusel over the top.

Ready to bake!

Drizzle with maple whiskey icing if desired.

It really doesn’t take long to get this cake ready for the oven, and you can just imagine how good it smells, can’t you? Give it a try, and I’ll bet it will be a regular occurrence at your house. I mean, everyone likes whiskey for breakfast, right?

Lorinda

Huckleberry Pastry Puffs

Do you want to create culinary magic? Fill homemade puff pastry rounds with wild huckleberries and prepare to be wowed. These flaky little four-bite pastries will melt in your mouth, and I’m telling you, there is nothing that compares to the flavor of huckleberries.

Of course, if you don’t have access to huckleberries, blueberries are a good option. I found frozen organic wild blueberries that are impossible to tell apart from huckleberries, so use whichever variety you can get your hands on.

Rough puff pastry is really very simple to make. (You could use store bought puff pastry, but it will be more crisp and brittle.) Once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably want to use it for lots of other treats, like danish, croissants, or strudel. Here are two of my favorite strudel recipes: Sour Cream Apple Strudel and Sausage Breakfast Strudel. The dough can hang out in the fridge for days (let it sit out on the counter for 30 minutes before using or it’ll be really hard to roll out) or can be frozen. It’s not much harder to make a double batch, and it’s wonderful to have some tucked away for later.

I made the dough and filling the night before and rolled, cut, filled, and baked the little puffs the next morning – in about an hour. You know what makes it go really, really fast? A potsticker press! You can find one for less than $5.00 on Amazon (search for “dumpling press”) or at an Asian market, and I know you’ll find many uses for it. It won’t languish in your kitchen drawer, I promise.

I’d go for the cheap plastic model. This one has lasted years.

Go easy on the filling!

Huckleberry Puffs
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Author:
Makes approximately 8 flaky pastries, each about the size of a puffy potsticker. I use a potsticker press in this recipe, but if you don't have one, fold the dough round over the filling and press together firmly with a fork.
Ingredients
  • HUCKLEBERRY FILLING:
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries
  • pinch salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons cornstarch if using fresh berries, OR...
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch if using frozen berries
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ROUGH PUFF DOUGH:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ⅔ cups ice water
  • ASSEMBLY:
  • 1 egg white
  • Powdered sugar for dusting, or drizzle with a simple powdered sugar/water glaze
Instructions
  1. FILLING: In small pan, combine berries, sugar, and salt over medium heat, stirring continuously until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Pour or spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the hot berry juice into a small cup or bowl and add the lemon juice. Stir. Slowly add cornstarch, stirring until smooth. If necessary, add a bit more berry juice.
  3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the berries and turn heat back to medium. Stir until the mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow filling to cool. (To cool quickly, place pan in shallow bowl of ice water.) Once cool, refrigerate until needed.
  4. PASTRY DOUGH:
  5. Place flour on work surface, stir in the salt, and drop the butter onto the flour.
  6. With a bench scraper or metal spatula, chop the butter and flour together until combined. Don't overwork the mixture - you want to see chunks of butter larger than peas.
  7. Begin drizzling the water over the mixture with one hand, while flipping and tossing it with the other. Again, don't over do it! It should be a crumbly mess at this point.Use your metal utensil to form the dough into a rough rectangle about 5"x 8".
  8. Roll out dough to approximately 6"x10", using the metal scraper to form straight edges. Keeping the short edge facing you, Flip the bottom edge up to the middle (it will be crumbly...just do the best you can) and the the top edge down to the bottom. This will create three equal sized layers. Give the dough a turn to the left, lightly flouring the surface if necessary to keep it from sticking, and repeat. Repeat 3 more times. Wrap snugly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (It can be refrigerated for several days.)
  9. ASSEMBLY: If your dough has been refrigerated more than an hour, place it - still wrapped in plastic - on the counter to warm up for 20-30 minutes.
  10. Heat oven to 400 F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment.
  11. On lightly floured surface, follow the previous method and roll and fold it two more times. Add flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
  12. Roll dough out into a rectangle that is approximately 14"x24". Using a round cutter that is the size of your potsticker press (about 4"), cut circles as close together as possible. As you work, stack the dough scraps on top of each other to keep the layers intact when you re-roll them.
  13. Whisk together the egg white and 1 teaspoon water.
  14. Lift one round at a time and place on the potsticker press. (Flour the potsticker press as needed.) With finger or pastry brush, spread a little egg white around the perimeter.
  15. Place 1 teaspoon filling in the center and fold the press over. Press firmly along the rounded edge for a good seal. (If you aren't using a press, fold the dough over the filling and press edges with fork.) Place on prepared baking sheet, keeping puffs at least ½" apart.
  16. You can roll the scraps one time. They won't be quite as flaky, but they're still very good! Cut remaining rounds and discard any scraps.
  17. Poke a fork in the center of each puff one time, brush lightly with egg white mixture, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  18. Use spatula to move puffs to a cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with icing once the puffs are lukewarm.

 

Stir the berries and sugar together and bring to a boil.

Stir cornstarch mixture into the hot berries and cook until thickened.

Chop (don’t blend!) the cold butter into the flour.

Yup, it’s a little messy, but flip the flour with one hand while you drizzle water over it with the other. You can doooo it!

It’s going to look like this the first time you roll it. It’s okay. Really!

It’s a crumbly mess, but fold it into thirds. Just do your best!

See? It looks a lot better when you get to the third roll/fold.

Roll dough out thin and cut into 4-inch circles.

Re-roll your stack of scraps. Stacking them keeps the butter layers going in the right direction.

Add the filling. Not too much – about a teaspoon. Any more and it will really ooze out.

Poke each puff once with a fork and brush with egg white. Bake!

Drizzle or dust – either way is delicious.

Don’t let those bears get the upper hand here. Put on your hiking boots, strap a can of bear spray to your hip, and hit the woods for some wild mountain huckleberries. Those little gems are priceless indeed, and worth every single damn mosquito bite!

Lorinda