Monthly Archives: December 2010

Doughnut challenge revisited

Just two months ago I made donuts for the first time thanks to Daring Bakers.  For October’s challenge I went with the bomboloni recipe and really enjoyed the end result and so did my co-workers.  I would say that at least twice a month I share my baking efforts with my co-workers. Out of everything I have brought the last 5 months there is nothing my friend Stacey enjoyed more than the doughnuts.  I figured it was obvious there was no better way to say “Happy Birthday” to her today than with some homemade doughnuts.

Even though Kate Neumann’s bomboloni recipe was such a success I decided I wanted to give Alton Brown’s recipe a try.  Armed with the doughnut cutter at I bought at Sur la table last week I was ready to go.  I made the dough last night and left it in the fridge overnight for the first rise.  Thanks to tips from many of my fellow talented Daring Bakers I knew to expect working with a wet dough.  I figured this morning it would be easier to work with after it rising in the fridge.  Well, this was so  not the case….it was seriously a sticky mess!  I was liberal with the flour when rolling out the dough but it still stuck to my counter when trying to cut out the doughnuts.  After I vented out my frustration a bit I scraped off the dough and rolled it out again this time being more generous with the flour.  It was much better the second time around although not as easy as I would have liked.

I let the doughnuts go for a second rise for about 1hr and then it was frying time!  The first doughnuts I had cut out were very hard to get off my floured baking sheet and completely lost their shape.  The rest I was able to get off without a problem and fried up to perfectly shaped doughnuts.  I rolled the doughnut holes and crazy shaped doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.  The rest I did half traditional glaze and chocolate glaze sprinkled with heath pieces.  I ended up with 20 glazed doughnuts and way to many doughnut holes and crazy shapes.  These were so incredibly light and airy with the right amount of sweetness.  I was sure there was going to leftovers being that many people were out on vacation but they were all gone before lunch time!  Best of all Stacey was totally surprised and really enjoyed her birthday gift.

Yeast Doughnuts adapted from Alton Brown


  • 1  1/2 cups of milk
  • 2  1/2 ounces of unsalted butter
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
  • canola oil for frying

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the butter.  Place the butter in a bowl and pour warmed milk over.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk/butter mixture (make sure lukewarm).  Add the eggs, sugar, salt and half of the flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low-speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.  Add the remaining flour, combining on low-speed at first and then increase to medium and beat well.  Change to the dough hook attachment and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to take the chill off (I did it for less and think that could have been my problem).  Punch down the dough and then roll it out to 3/8 inch thick on a well-floured surface.  Cut out dough using a 2  1/2 inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8 inch ring for the center hole.  Set on floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, let rise for 1hr.

Preheat the oil in Dutch oven to 365 degrees F.  Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3-4 at a time, and cook for about 45 seconds per side.  Transfer to a cooling rack lined with parchment paper underneath.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

Chocolate doughnut glaze adapted from Alton Brown


  • 2 tbsp (1oz) milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp marshmallow creme (fluff)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Combine butter, milk, marshmallow creme and vanilla in medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted.  Reduce to low heat and add chocolate, whisk until melted.  Turn off heat and add sugar, whisk until smooth.  Dip doughnuts and let glaze set for 30 min.

*recipe called for light corn syrup but I didn’t have any and when I googled possible substitutions it mentioned marshmallow creme

Glaze recipe from


  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp hot water

Melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in sugar and vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat and whisk in the hot water 1 tbsp at a time.  The icing should be somewhat thin but not watery.  Dip doughnuts and let glaze set for 20 minutes.


Posted by on December 30, 2010 in Uncategorized


Daring Bakers: Christmas Stollen

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking.  She chose to challenge daring bakers to make stollen.  She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

When I read about this month’s challenge I was sure I was not going to like it because it instantly reminded me of panettone which I am not a fan of.  Well, much to my surprise this was absolutely fantastic!  The stollen was massive…the above picture does not do it any justice when it comes to size.  I took a good size piece to work and then pretty much ate the rest all by myself for breakfast and the occasional snack over the course of a week.  My stollen was studded with toasted almonds, coconut, dried pineapple and rum soaked raisins.  Next time I will be more generous with the almonds and coconut so the flavors can be more pronounced.

You can go here to checkout how the other daring bakers handled this month’s challenge.  Click here for a printable version of Penny’s wonderful stollen!


Posted by on December 27, 2010 in Bread


The Cake Slice Bakers: Cranberry Cake

I was excited about this cake after the somewhat disastrous cake from last month.  Unfortunately I had some major issues with my sink as well as a major ant infestation so I was unable to bake this cake on time.  The ants seem to be gone now and the sink is in a much better state so I can finally share my cranberry cake experience with you guys!

The one issue I had with this cake is that it definitely was not done in the 70 minutes stated in the recipe.  Mine still wiggled in the middle when I took it out at the 70 minutes so I raised the temperature to 325 and let it go another 10 minutes.  When I checked it with a toothpick it still was not done…the problem is I had to meet a friend for dinner.  I turned off the oven and just left the cake in there hoping it would finish baking.  When I got back home I checked it with a toothpick and it was all done.  I tried a piece the next day for breakfast before taking it to work to share with my co-workers.  The almond streusel was super yummy but the cake itself was another story.  Even though my toothpick had come out clean it was as if the cake was still underdone.  I was hesitant to take it to work thinking everyone else would feel the same way I did.  Much to my surprise everyone told me it was amazing!  What I thought was an underdone cake was a super moist one to everyone else! LOL

Check out the blogroll to see how my fellow cake slice bakers liked this cake.

Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman


  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar

Cake batter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups (1  1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries


Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Grease a 10 inch round springform pan.  Combine the butter, almonds and brown sugar in a medium bowl.  Work the mixture between your fingers to form large crumbs (didn’t really happen) and refrigerate until ready to use.


Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Combine the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is lightened and increased in volume, about 5 minutes.  With the mixer on low-speed add the butter in a low stream.  Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for another 2 minutes.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

Gently but thoroughly fold in the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.  Then stir in the cranberries and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the pan with a spatula.  Sprinkle the streusel over the batter and bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  About 1hr to 1hr and 10 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Release the sides of the pan and use a large spatula to slide the cake from the pan onto the wire rack.  Cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving.

Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.


Posted by on December 25, 2010 in Cakes