Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October's Daring Baker Challenge: Doughnuts

Eeeee! I know I haven't posted anything in what seems like forever, and yes you can blame my work on that one. I simply haven't found the time to get back into the kitchen! When doing shift-work, it seems like your "days on" are so busy you can't get anything done when you get home... and then on your "days off" you're simply too exhausted to even contemplate doing anything (even the things that you love). But, hopefully I'll get into a good routine soon.

In regards to work, all I have to say is that I'm very glad I have the co-workers I do. Although the work is extremely exhausting and frustrating at times (seeing as how none of us get decent breaks and it's always go-go-go) my team at work is just amazingly supportive and they always offer a hand (even when they're swamped too). Without them, I'd seriously have a complete melt-down... and came so close to it, let me tell you. But for now, I'm good... enjoying my restful days off and finally stepping into the kitchen to do some Daring Baker's work.

Blog-checking lines: The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Boy do I love doughnuts... and I could hardly wait to get cracking on this challenge, so without further adieu. Here's the recipe:

Yeast Doughnuts


- 1 1/2 milk
- 1/3 cup butter
- 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 eggs, large [I substituted one egg for 1/3 cup pumpkin puree]
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp nutmeg, grated [I also added 1 tsp ground cinnamon]
- 4 2/3 cups all purpose flour + extra for dusting surface
- Enough canola oil to create THREE (3) inches of oil within your frying vessel


  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
  2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
[NOTE: I halved my portion of dough so that I could fry one half, and save the other half of dough to shape and bake. For my baked donuts, I placed them on a well greased baking tray, brushed the uncooked donuts with melted butter and baked at 350degrees for 8-10minutes. Once baked, I then brushed them with a little more butter and dipped them into a mixture of granulated sugar + cinnamon. For my filled donuts, I simply poked a hole in the middle and filled with raspberry preserve]

Yay, for DB challenges! These doughnuts were simply divine! Both the baked and the fried versions were super tasty and they actually weren't that difficult to make. There are times when I look at the DB challenges and think "OMG! I don't have any time to complete this challenge", but then when I look back on it again, it's actually a good thing that these challenges are monthly because then I'm almost guaranteed to enter at least a blog-post a month! So thanks DB's for keeping me on track!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Irish Soda Bread Take 2

Having already made Irish Soda Bread (and having loved it the last time), I thought I'd try a different recipe to revive the ol' classic. I made the soda bread to go a long with a stew that my dad had prepared for me and brought over to my place... I don't know what could have given him the impression that I don't do home cooking when living on my own (doesn't he read my blog?? or is that too "new agey" for his generation?) but the stew was a welcomed surprise.

Anywho, on with the bread! I love Irish Soda Bread because it's delicious, easy, only uses a few ingredients and you can not screw it up. So, here's the recipe...

Irish Soda Bread


- 2 cups flour

- 5 tbsp sugar

- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda

- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup buttermilk (or 2% + 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar, left to sit for ~10mins)
- 2 tbsp mixed grains (optional)


1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl.

2. Using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Continue breaking up the butter until you get pea-sized chunks.

3. Working with the dough as little as possible, add the buttermilk into the dry ingredients.

4. Shape the dough into a rough ball and place on a greased baking tray. Flatten the dough slightly, dust the top with the mixed grains and score the top of the dough with a knife.

5. Bake at 350degrees for 35-40minutes, or until golden brown.

This was such an amazing bread. Really quick, and really simple to conjure up. I think that from start to finish, the entire bread only took about 45minutes to create (including baking time!). I almost didn't even need to eat the bread with the stew, but the smell of my dad's stew was just too alluring to pass up. So, with an amazing comfort-food meal of soda bread and stew... my evening was complete.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Welsh Rarebit

Again, thanks to my new found obsession with the show Come Dine With Me I've gotten a hankering for some not-so-Canadian dishes. Not that I'll be cooking anything like Laverbread, skirly, Howtowdie wi Dappit Eggs and Tatties or any black pudding (at least not anytime soon), but I did find myself craving some Welsh Rarebit. The ingredients were on-hand in my kitchen and the recipe didn't seem too labor intensive or complicated for a quick afternoon snack, so... off I went.
Welsh Rarebit

- 6 slices of French bread
- 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I only had marble)
- 1/3 cup dark ale (I used Guinness)
- 1/2 cup milk
- chopped spring onion (optional)

1. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and fry garlic until golden brown and fragrant.
2. Add in the flour and mix over medium heat to form a roux.
3. Slowly pour in the dark ale, and continue to mix until well combined. Then, slowly add in the milk and cook over medium until mixture begins to thicken.
4. Add in nutmeg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt to taste. Continue mixing, and add in the cheese. Stir sauce until cheese is well melted and mixture is nice and thick.
5. Place slices of French bread on a baking tray; spread cheese-ale sauce over top of slices and place tray in the oven. Set oven to broil and cook until cheese topping bubbles and browns, and French bread begins to brown.
6. Optional: Serve rarebit topped with a garnish of chopped spring onions.

The Guinness flavor was really strong in the rarebit, but boy was it tasty. Man! The Brits really know how to eat their toast! I mean, toast and beans, toast and eggs, toast and cheese... all sound uber-tasty to me but I've never seen it served as a snack food in Canada. I will definitely be making this recipe again, I just gotta go out and buy more ale... I finished off the last can of Guinness, because hey... what else could I do since my recipe only called for 1/3 cup of the malty, creamy nectar?! (Did I mention that Guinness is my favorite draught... probably why it was the ale that ended up in my rarebit)... uh, oh... gotta sober up before work :P jkjk

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Bailey's Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

I was sitting at my computer watching another lovely episode of Come Dine With Me, and having watched each of the competitors puddings be either chocolate or cheesecake related I suddenly felt the urge to have something creamy, chocolatey and cream-cheesey. So, just before the winner of the Come Dine With Me episode was revealed, I paused it and ran off to the kitchen to whip up a tasty treat for myself (seeing as how no body else was around to share it with me :P)

Bailey's Cheesecake Swirl Brownie

- 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp instant coffee
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tsp milk
- Cream Cheese Swirls: 3 tbsp cream cheese + 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp flour + 2 tsp Bailey's (all creamed together)

1. Melt butter and add in both sugars, mixing until well combined. Mix in the eggs one at a time and stir in vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, coffee granules and salt.
3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, mix well and then add in the splash of milk.
4. Place in prepared 8x8 pan . Take tsp sized dollops of cream cheese swirl mixture and drop randomly on the surface of the chocolate brownie batter. With a knife, swirl the mixture around.

Look at the lovely swirls of rich, cream cheese! Mmmm...

5. Bake at 350degrees for 35-45minutes.
6. When done, remove from oven and leave to cool on wire rack before slicing.

This brownie turned out better than I had anticipated, and I'm sure if I were a competitor on Come Dine With Me (and had served the dessert with some home made vanilla bean ice cream) I could have been a real contender for top. The topping was nicely crisp and the cream cheese swirls were rich with the ever lovely taste of Bailey's Irish Cream. The inside of the brownie was gooey, soft, moist and simply decadent and it was hardly noticeable that I had used no baking chocolate whatsoever. This recipe is definitely a keeper, that's for sure!