Saturday, May 23, 2015

Angel Food Cupcakes

I dream about food. Literally.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night after having a dream about a kind of food. I keep a note in my phone for dream foods.

Some of my late night thinking/dream foods have been my Raspberry White Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes and my Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Soft Pretzels.

These cupcakes were another one of my "dream foods." Angel food cupcakes filled with jam, topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. Yum.

Angel Food Cupcakes

Yields: 16 cupcakes

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cake flour (or 1/2 cup AP flour + 1/2 tsp cornstarch)
1/4 tsp salt
6 egg whites, room temperature
2 1/2 tbsp warm water
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Combine half the sugar with the flour and salt.

3. In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, water, vanilla, cream of tartar, and remaining sugar. Whip together with a whisk until medium peaks form.

4. Sift a small amount of the dry ingredients into the egg whites, then fold in with a spatula. Do this in at least 6 batches to ensure even folding.

5. Fill muffin cups all the way to the top with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Fill with jam, if desired. Top with sweetened whipped cream (add a small amount of vanilla for an awesome taste), then garnish with berries.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cream-Filled Donuts

Is there anything better than a cream-filled donut? 

No, there really isn't. 

These donuts are my dream donuts. They're fried...

...tossed in sugar...

...and filled with pastry cream. 

How could you even go wrong with those elements? Fried, sugared, and filled??? Sign me up! 

These donuts are yeasted, which makes them perfectly chewy-- it also makes them take a little bit longer with the rise time. There are two options for the recipe: you can make the dough the night before, or you can make it the day you want to fry them

The sugar on the outside gives them the perfect sweet crunch, and the whipped pastry cream adds a delectable rich filling without being overly sweet. 

Cream-Filled Donuts

Yields: 12 donuts
Time: 2 hours (or overnight)

1 tbsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup milk, warm
3 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
3 eggs
7 tbsp butter, softened and cut into cubes

Pastry Cream:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
3-4 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp heavy cream

Oil for frying (enough to go 3 inches up the side of your pan)

1 cup sugar for coating

1. Combine milk, yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes to activate. Add flour, sugar, salt, and eggs. Using a dough hook, mix until combined, about 3 minutes. 

2. Add the butter, a little bit at a time, and knead (in the mixer, if you want) for 5-6 minutes, or until combined. At this point, you can wrap the dough and let it sit overnight. If you want the donuts sooner, let the dough rise, covered, in an oiled bowl in a warm place. Let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes. (I turn on my oven and put the dough bowl on top of the oven to get some heat). 

3. Make the pastry cream: Put the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. While it's heating, combine sugar, flour, salt, and egg yolks until thoroughly combined. Once the milk is simmering but not boiling, remove the milk from the heat and spoon a few tablespoons into the egg yolk mixture while stirring. Continue to add the milk slowly. Once it's all been added, return it to the saucepan. Cook until it comes up to a boil and reaches the desired consistency. Add the vanilla and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap. 

4. Roll out the risen donut dough and cut into 3" circles. Place on a greased cookie sheet, cover, and let them rise in a warm place until almost doubled in height. They will be pillowy when they're ready.

5. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees fahrenheit. Put the coating sugar in a shallow bowl to dip the donuts after they're fried. Use a spatula to get the donuts off of the cookie sheet into the oil. I did them one at a time. Flip after 2 minutes or so. Place the donuts on a paper towel-lined plate. 

6. Once the donuts are still hot but cool enough to handle, dip them in the sugar and place on a cooling rack. I would have one in the oil at all times, and while another was cooking I would dip another in sugar. Don't let them cool too much or the sugar won't stick well. 

7. Whip the cream until very stiff. Combine it with the cooled pastry cream. Poke a hole in the donuts with a chopstick and fill using a pastry bag and a round tip (or a bag with the corner cut off). 

They're best the same day (but definitely still tasty on day two). 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Soft Sugar Cookies

You know those sugar cookies they sell at the store?

The ones that are so soft that they're almost cake-like? They have so much frosting and so many sprinkles that after a few bites, I have to stop eating. 

After you take just a few bites of those iconic cookies, you're left with that delightful (ha) aftertaste that's reminiscent of... well, nail polish remover. Or something like that. 

(Ladies, I know you know what I'm talking about. If you don't get all of the nail polish remover off after you use it and then accidentally lick your finger... WORST EVER!) 

These cookies are what those cookies should be. These are the perfect homemade version of them. They're so soft, they melt in your mouth. They have the perfect flavorful buttercream frosting, and then they're sprinkled with colorful sprinkles.

This recipe is really easy. Basically, you cream the butter and sugar. Add a few more ingredients, then add the dry ingredients. Then, I let it cool in the fridge for a few minutes while I prepare my pans, cutters, and frosting. Then, I cut them out on a floured surface and bake. Frost and top with sprinkles, and you have yourself a perfect cookie! 

Soft Sugar Cookies

Yields: 2-3 dozen (depending on the size) 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg 
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk or cream
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1. Cream together butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes on high. Add egg, vanilla, and milk and incorporate well.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add slowly to the wet ingredients, mixing well as you go. Cover and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. 

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Roll out the dough about 1/4" thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out in desired shapes and move onto a silpat-lined or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on your preference. (I liked them at 8 minutes because I love them really soft.)

Buttercream Frosting

2/3 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cream
food coloring if desired

Beat the butter, then add the powdered sugar little by little. Finish with the vanilla and cream, then add food coloring if desired. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Blueberry Cinnamon Toast Crunch Muffins

Yup. Blueberry cinnamon toast crunch muffins. You read that right. Sounds a little odd, n'est-ce pas?

On Saturday afternoon, I was browsing Pinterest. Summer is quickly approaching, so everyone is currently pinning delicious summery foods.

 I found myself pinning blueberry recipe after blueberry recipe, and my mouth began to water. Blueberries are my favorite berry, so I buy them in bulk at Sam's and usually eat the whole container by myself in less than a day.

Well, it just so happened that I had some blueberries in the fridge because I had bought them the day before (already mostly gone). I got to thinking about what would go well with blueberries and I decided cinnamon would be yummy.

Then, I had an epiphany. Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I like for my muffins to have a little crunch on top (similar to a streusel). These muffins are so good. I can hardly describe how excited I was when they came out of the oven. Experimenting with recipes can be tricky, but these turned out on the first try!

These muffins are full of blueberries, super moist, and have a delightful crunch on the top where the Cinnamon Toast Crunch is.

General Mills really should be paying me for this. Why aren't they?

Blueberry Cinnamon Toast Crunch Muffins

Yields: 15-18 muffins

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1 tbsp butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with muffin papers. Crush the Cinnamon Toast Crunch in a food processor or in a bag using a rolling pin.

2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) with a whisk.

3. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients (eggs, milk, oil, vanilla). Pour into the dry ingredients and stir with a silicone spatula until just combined, but still lumpy. Fold in the blueberries. Fold in half of the crushed cereal.

4. Scoop the muffin batter evenly into the liners, until about 3/4 full. Combine the remaining crushed cereal and the melted butter. Sprinkle atop the muffins and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.