Beignets

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

“I’d give my right arm for one of those beignets!”

I still laugh when I remember hearing those words. The request came from one of my husband’s friends. In order to save her precious limb, I immediately went into the kitchen and made a big batch of these babies. I love my husband so much that I woke up at 4:30am that next morning to fry them so they’d be super fresh. That, my friends, is true love.

If there’s one thing I learned from making these doughnuts, it’s this: don’t overwork the dough and be *very* gentle when handling before frying. You want as much puff as possible before it hits the oil. And, drop into the oil ever so gently so they don’t collapse.

Secondly, pile on the powdered sugar!!! There is not much sugar in the dough itself, so I promise it’s okay. Pair 3 of these with you morning coffee.

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Yield: 24 beignets

*Dough needs to be refrigerated overnight

  • 1 package instant dry yeast (or 2-1/4 tsp) I prefer SAF Red Instant Yeast)
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water (100-115 degrees F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 7 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • vegetable or canola oil (for deep frying)
  • confectioners sugar (for dusting)
  1. Put the warm water into a large bowl, then sprinkle in the yeast and a couple teaspoons of the sugar and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Let sit (also called proofing) for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk. Gradually stir in 4 cups of the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and thoroughly blended. Beat in the shortening, then add the remaining flour, about 1/3 cup at a time, beating it in with a spoon until it becomes too stiff to stir, then working in the rest with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight in a greased bowl.
  3. Roll the dough out onto a floured board or marble pastry surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch, then cut it into rectangles 2-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches with a sharp knife.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 360 degrees F.
  5. Gently transfer the dough to the oil (don’t over crowd the pot). Fry the beignets about 3 or 4 at a time until they are puffed out and golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per batch.
  6. Turn them over in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown, since they rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff out.
  7. Drain each batch on paper towels, place on a platter lined with several layers of paper towels, and keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until all are fried.

Recipe courtesy of Food.com.

Blood Orange Cream Doughnuts

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Confession: doughnuts are my guilty pleasure. When you’re craving a pillowy cloud of dough filled with cream, chocolate or jelly, nothing else will do. Long Island is seriously lacking in good doughnuts (sorry, Dunkin, you don’t count) and this recipe is going in my arsenal for good!

Citrus season is in full swing. Those beautiful blood oranges are begging to be used. Their color is so vibrant and their flavor, robust. This cream filling is to die for. Punchy, zesty, but not too sweet. Try not to eat it by the spoonful before you fill the doughnuts. I dare ya! My husband took these all to work so I snagged this ONE photo before he ran off with them… Oh well. I’ll just have to make more.

Makes 12 doughnuts

Doughnut Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 4 cups bread flour (I prefer King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 qt vegetable oil, for frying

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice (from about 6-7 oranges)
  • 1 tbsp fresh blood orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Coating:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  1. In a small bowl, mix together yeast, warm water and sugar. I have best luck with luke-warm water. You can’t have it too hot or you’ll kill the yeast. Mix and let sit for 10 minutes, until it begins to foam.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, mix salt, eggs and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the milk and 1 cup of flour. Add the yeast mixture to the bowl and mix until incorporated.
  3. Change your attachment to the dough hook. Turn mixer to medium-low and add in the remaining flour in 1/4 cup increments. The dough will come together in a sticky ball. Turn mixer to medium speed and “knead” the dough until it slightly elastic.
  4. Turn the dough out into a large buttered mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it someplace warm to rise until it has doubled in volume. I find the best place to do this is on top of a warm oven. I let mine rise for about 2 hours.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to be about a ½ inch thick and cut into 3 inch circles (you can use a biscuit cutter, or a drinking glass). Place the dough circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Do not reroll scraps. You an fry them separately for snacking, or discard them.
  6. Allow to donuts to rise one more time, until they have at least doubled in size, and appear to fluffy and filled with air. I let mine rise about an hour.
  7. While the donuts rise, preheat cooking oil to 370 degrees in either an electric fryer, or on a stovetop in a heavy bottomed dutch oven.
  8. Fry each donut until it is golden on the bottom, flip and fry until the other side is golden. Be very careful when transferring the donuts to the oil, if they are handled too much, they will collapse. The finished donuts should be golden on each side, with a white ring around the middle, this shows a perfectly risen donut, and will ensure that it is nice and light in the center.
  9. Place fried donuts onto a paper bag or paper towels to drain any extra grease.  Toss donuts in granulated sugar, and place on a cooling wrack to cool to room temperature.
  10. To prepare the filling, in a small pot whisk in blood orange juice, zest, sugar and eggs. Continue whisking on medium-low heat until it starts to thicken slightly. Whisk in butter one tbs at a time. Once the butter has been added, continue whisking until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or until it has cooled completely.
  11. In a mixing bowl, whisk heavy cream and salt together until it forms stiff peaks. Carefully fold in the blood orange mixture. Place in the refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes.
  12. Right before serving, cut small holes in the side of each donut, I do this with a paring knife in the shape of an X.  Place filling in a piping bag, fitted with a round tip (a long tip works best). Fill and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bakeaholic Mama.

Maple Sugar Cookies

3Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Sugar cookies! Sweet and chewy. Throw in a little maple and you’ve got a twist on a true Christmas classic. My little brother raved about these over the weekend. I don’t think anyone loves sugar more than he does. Sweet tooth people unite!! My favorite part about this recipe is the maple glaze on top. It adds a little something extra and looks gorgeous on a Christmas table. Who’s getting ready to bake up a storm? Merry Christmas, everyone!

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All Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco


Yield: 20 cookies — Prep time: 20-30 minutes — Cook time: 12-14 minutes

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup shortening
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup pure maple syrup
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/8 tsp. salt
    3 egg yolks
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

Maple Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    3 tbs. pure maple syrup
    2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening in a stand mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the granulated sugars, maple syrup, baking soda and salt. Beat on medium for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Beat in flour.
  3. Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. This is important as you don’t want your cookies to spread and touch each other! Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. The tops will look soft.
  4. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Remove and finish cooling on a wire rack. The centers of cookies will dip as they cool. Drizzle with maple icing.

To make maple glaze: Stir together 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk with 1/4 cup melted butter and 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. Whisk in 2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar to make icing drizzling consistency. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

Hazelnut Coffee Sugar Cookies

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Confession #1: my beautiful new KitchenAid mixer came in the mail yesterday and I had to bake something immediately. It no sooner arrived on my doorstep than I was tearing the top open, shaking the packaging like a box of crackerjack to get the machine loose and gazing at it all googley-eyed on my countertop. It is matte gray. It is magical. It is perfect! (Early Christmas gift from my husband, just in time for the holidays!) Confession #2: coffee. I love coffee. Sometimes I wake up a half hour earlier just to savor a cup of coffee in the calm of morning. I once added espresso powder to brownies and it was incredible. The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, making it bolder and richer. Here we have your standard sugar cookie with the added bonus of hazelnut coffee!!! Coffee + Sugar were meant to be. Hazelnut is my favorite (of course any flavor will please will do). The grain adds a nice texture and color to the cookies. Instead of rolling them out and punching out shapes with a cookie cutter, I chose to roll them into balls and give them a criss-cross with a fork. You can do either. Drink your coffee and eat it too!


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and coffee until fully combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add your egg mixture to the butter mixture until well combined. Slowly add flour mixture until fully combined. Do not over beat.
  3. Chill this dough for at least one hour. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Roll out dough on floured solid surface to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a circle cookie cutter, punch out circles and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (or roll into 1 tsp size balls). Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from I Am Baker, www.iambaker.net

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco