April 25, 2020

Yeasted Doughnuts

Deep fat frying at home is one of those things I've tended to shy away from.  Mainly because I hate the cleanup and then what to do with all that used oil afterwards?  However, one glance at the Yeasted Doughnuts recipe in the May/June 2020 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine and all those concerns went out the window.  They looked A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  Chalk it up to the COVID crazies but I even bought an electric deep fat fryer just so that I could make the doughnuts.

I don't have a huge sweet tooth (I normally prefer salty things) but I would never turn down a good doughnut.  My favorite kinds are powdered sugar, regular glazed or chocolate frosted (sometimes with sprinkles).  With the aid of my trusty stand mixer the dough came together quite easily.   The enriched dough rests in the fridge for up to 48 hours so this is a great make-ahead recipe.

Each recipe makes a dozen doughnuts and some little holes as well and I made two batches. For my doughnut flavors I went with classic glazed, chocolate frosted, coffee frosted and filled.  For some of the filled doughnuts I used homemade raspberry jam that I had made a few weeks ago.  Considering that I also love pineapple I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by to fill the rest with the most delicious pineapple filling.  Surprisingly though, out of all the flavors I think my favorite was the coffee frosted.  I'm not a huge coffee drinker but I loved how the bitterness of the espresso powder was a nice balance to the sweet frosting.

One bite of the glazed doughnut and I was in heaven!  It was so light and fluffy, exactly like what you would find in your local shop.   I ended up giving away the rest of the doughnuts to my friends because I was too afraid to keep them in the house, lest I eat more! 

April 22, 2020

Pineapple Coconut Upside-Down Cake

One behavior that I'm trying to consciously change amidst the COVID-19 crisis is to be less wasteful.  Now more than ever it seems that resourcefulness is critical because ingredients aren't necessarily as readily available as they were before.

I'm actually enjoying the process of reinventing foods that I previously would have tossed.   It's almost like a game for me - how creative can I be with leftovers?  I had some pineapple chunks that were on its last legs and an open carton of buttermilk which is how how I found myself making this Pineapple Coconut Upside-Down Cake.  I don't often make pineapple upside-down but when I do I'm always reminded of my Dad.  It's his favorite cake.

The recipe comes directly from epicurious.com which I tweaked only slightly by adding some sweetened coconut to the party.  There's no need to bust out your stand mixer for this cake.  It easily came together using a hand mixer.  The trick is to make sure your ingredients are at room temperature.

Buttermilk is the star ingredient in this recipe because the baked cake came out so light, fluffy and tender. Some upside-down cakes err on the side of too sugary in my opinion, but I found this one to be just right.  A dollop of lightly sweetened crème fraîche and this dessert could want for nothing.  In fact, I helped myself to two slices! 

April 9, 2020

My Easter Table

Self-isolation and social distancing sucks and I think most people would agree with me on that.  I've been in it for a little over a month at this point, ever since San Francisco issued the shelter in place orders at the beginning of March.  I have my good days and bad days to be sure, but with Easter coming up I was determined to do things that would lift my spirits.  Plus, it gave me a great excuse to do even more baking!

Although I can't host the Easter brunch that I would have liked this year I can still decorate my table, right?  I took advantage of the online promotions at Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn and bought a colony of ceramic bunnies and eggs to use as props.  I also found some really cute paraphernalia and tons of Easter candy at my local Target.

I didn't really have any preset idea of what I wanted my table to look like.  My main goal was to create something that was pretty and I think I've accomplished that.  Pastel colors are used throughout the tablescape to evoke spring and renewal.  And who doesn't need that right about now?  

The baked goods I made included iced sugar cookies, mini bundt cakes and gluten-free carrot cupcakes.   At the center of the table was the pièce de résistance, an Easter bunny made of Rice Krispies treats.   Can it get any cuter than that?  It was so simple to make using a Nordicware Easter bunny pan I bought a few years ago (similar pan found here.)

This Easter table is bringing all the good feels for me and I hope it's  sparked a little joy for you.  Happy Easter to anyone who is celebrating and to everyone out there, please stay safe, healthy and STAY HOME!


Scalloped Green Plates and Raffia Drinking Glasses: Aerin x Williams-Sonoma 
Placemats: H&M Home
Wooden Egg Placecard Holders, Happy Easter Place Cards, Raffia Carrots, Pastel Egg, Gold Cutlery: Target
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