Time to Make the Baked Doughnuts

Baked doughnuts with cinnamon sugar

I made these doughnuts (my first ever; don’t know what I was waiting for) for Tartelette and Peabody’s Time to Make the Doughnuts event. They allowed baked doughnuts, although they warned against making a habit of it. Still reeling from holiday fat overload, I couldn’t bring myself to deep fry anything right now. Next time.

These were inspired by Heidi’s Baked Dougnuts at 101 Cookbooks, and my recipe loosely based on hers.

I experimented with different sugar/spice mixtures for the coating, in which the doughnuts are dipped after baking. My favorites were 50/50 brown sugar and granulated sugar with cinnamon (pictured above), and granulated sugar with cardamom. Another interesting one was granulated sugar with chipotle powder. The possibilities are limitless.

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Whole Wheat Pitas

Whole wheat pitas

If you’re anything like me, you may still be feeling the effects of those holiday indulgences that just kept adding up and up. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but it’s definitely time for a few changes for the healthier around here.

These 100% whole wheat pitas are not only 100% good for you, they also taste 100% better than the cardboard discs that somehow wind up in bags labeled “pita bread” on store shelves.

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Saffron Challah for BreadBakingDay #04

Saffron Challah braid and rosette

Manuela of Baking History is our gracious host for BreadBakingDay #04. When she announced that the theme for this month would be “Bread with Spice(s),” I immediately thought of a bread that I’ve had in mind to try for a while now: saffron challah.

I love saffron, I love challah, and I love to shape dough, so I was in my own little heaven with this one. Challah is the most amazing dough –– it starts out so stiff you think the only thing you’re going to be able to produce with it is some sort of weapon… but then darned if it doesn’t ferment its beautiful golden self into the most supple, silky, workable stuff you’ve ever had the pleasure of holding in your hands.

Challah lends itself spectacularly well to a multitude of braided and other shapes. I decided to go with three braids that look intricate but are simple to do. One has two strands, the other two have six strands each. Notes on the shaping follow the recipe.

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Pan de Muerto

Pan de Muerto loaf closeup

The first days of November mark Mexico’s Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), a lively and rich tradition in which departed loved ones are honored and the cycle of life is celebrated.

Although I have never had the opportunity to visit Mexico during this festive time, I wanted to try my hand at making Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead), which is traditionally sculpted in a representation of bones. I adapted this one from a recipe in Diana Kennedy’s My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients, as posted on Epicurious. My changes reflect what I discovered worked best for me in making the recipe twice.

The bread is sweet and eggy, similar in texture to a yeasted coffee cake. This one has no anise seed, although other recipes I have seen include it. I didn’t use orange blossom water, only orange zest, and the result was a subtly citrus-scented loaf. [Read more...]

Tortas de Aceite (Olive Oil Wafers)

Tortas de Aceite (Olive Oil Wafers)

Oh my goodness. When my daughter went to Sevilla, Spain two summers ago, she brought back some tortas de aceite, the crisp, lightly sweet olive oil wafers traditionally made there, and I was in love.

Imagine my delight when, paging through Penelope Casas’ excellent La Cocina de Mama: The Great Home Cooking of Spain, I found a recipe for tortas de aceite that calls for leftover bread or pizza dough. I had that leftover dough! And in short order, I had those tortas. I was in love all over again.

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Grissini (Thin Bread Sticks)

Grissini bouquet

If you think you can’t bake bread (which is probably a false notion, by the way), grissini are a sure-fire way to fast success.

These thin bread sticks could not be simpler to make. If you love playing with dough, you’ll get plenty of opportunity here. And who doesn’t love their eminently nosh-able crunch, not to mention the visual panache a bouquet of these babies adds to the dinner table?

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