Monthly Archives: April 2011

S’mores Baked Buttermilk Doughnuts

Smores Baked Buttermilk Doughnuts

I made these doughnuts a while back now, but I just read an article yesterday that said doughnuts are the cupcakes of today, kinda reminiscent of the Quiche scene in When Harry Met Sally, whatever, but I thought Why not post these while I am on the cutting edge! I mean what the heck. So I’ve done a few variations of these over the years, I normally bake them in mini-muffin tins, works out great as a 2 bite treat, but this blog gave me the excuse to go out and buy the baked doughnut pan at Sur la Table. They really taste the same no matter how you make them. So, if you like cake doughnuts or muffins of any kind–these are right up your alley.

I played with the recipe a little one time to try to do a banana bread version of these, but it didn’t work out. However, the last time I made them I replaced a 1/4 cup of the flour with crushed Wheaties, and no one was the wiser. Insert evil laugh. Ha ha ha. I think that might have something to do with the marshmallows on top though. 

These are just simple buttermilk doughnuts with some cinnamon in the dough and a powdered sugar glaze and mini-chocolate chips on top. Watch out for variations. I think I prefer the mini-muffin version because the recipe makes more, and the pan version only makes 6, which is hard when you want to eat all six yourself.

Shopping List:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup flour and 1/4 crushed Wheaties)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 low-fat buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice)

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg

4 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions:

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 6-indentation doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

3. In another bowl, this can be a small one, whisk buttermilk (or milk mixture), sugar, egg, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth.

4. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

5. Spoon batter into doughnut indentations. Fill them about 2/3 full. You might need to spread the batter around to level it before baking.

6. Bake at 325 degrees for 13 minutes, until doughnuts spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan on rack 3 minutes, then carefully turn out on to rack to cool.

To frost:  Combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons milk until smooth. Spoon cooled doughnuts in frosting and sprinkle with mini-chips, sprinkles, coconut or nuts. Careful, the chocolate chips will  get all melty-messy if you put them on while the doughnuts are still warm. 

For cinnamon-sugar doughnuts (the churro effect): Toss warm doughnuts in cinnamon-sugar to coat.

ADAPTED FROM: Family Circle

Israeli Couscous Spa Salad

Israeli Couscous Spa Salad

I have been inspired by a salad that I bought at Trader Joe’s which I have been taking to work for the last few months. It is a lettuce based salad with chicken and Israeli Couscous. Now, I had never tried Israeli couscous before but I was quickly won over by it’s chewy pasta-like texture. So I scoured the supermarket aisles looking for this stuff and found it in the Kosher section of Vons with the Matzo. What do you know, it says on the package that it’s a toasted pasta, so you really could replace the couscous here with orzo or some other small pasta if you don’t have Israeli couscous available to you.

This is also a pretty versatile salad, you could certainly bring it to a potluck or a picnic since you can make it in advance and refrigerate it. It keeps pretty well.

Shopping List:

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken

1 cup uncooked Israeli Couscous (or other small pasta)

1 apple diced

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup dried cranberries

4 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles (hey: by all means if you hate blue cheese a good substitute is feta here, or you could leave it out altogether)

1/2 loosely packed basil

1/3 cup olive oil

* if you have a prepared pesto on hand (like my pesto which I mentioned you should freeze) this can sub for the last two items on the shopping list.

Instructions:

1. This is pretty simple here. Boil the couscous or pasta as the directions on the box indicate, no need to add salt to your water, we’ll add that later. These little pastas take less than 10 minutes to boil, so stay in the room or set a timer, guys.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor whirl your basil and oil together. Or skip this step if you have already prepared pesto. If you buy the stuff at the store, look for oil and pesto as the first two ingredients. And make sure you get it from the refrigerated section. It’s got less additives that way.

3. When the pasta is ready, drain it and toss it in a serving bowl with the pesto. Make sure that the pesto coats all the pasta well.

4. Then dump in your apples, walnuts, cranberries and chicken.

5. Plate it up and sprinkle about 1-2 teaspoons blue cheese on each plate. In the picture above I served it with romaine lettuce leaves to make my lunch feel spa-y. The great thing about this salad is that it’s great at room temperature or cold. So bring it to a potluck  or stash it in your work fridge for a hearty lunch.

Makes: 4 lunches or 8 side dishes

Peanut Butter Turtles

Very Dangerous Peanut Butter Turtles

Totally crave worthy, diet breaking, decadent candy-like treats that will make you a hero for day. Ok. So maybe that was a little dramatic. These are really just a sweet treat, but they are so darn good that I bet you will feel like a glorified version of yourself after you bring these to a party or serve them to your family. They are definitely a treat, not an everyday dessert. But the sad part is that these are horribly easy to make, so there’s a chance that once you make them you will be sucked into a cycle that will cause your waistline to expand.

 This is my version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Enjoy in moderation 🙂

Shopping List:

1 cup peanut butter

1 stick of butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup rice krispies or crushed pretzels or crushed graham crackers

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably the bars you can buy in the baking aisle

Instructions:

1. Melt the peanut butter and butter in the microwave for 1 minute on high.

2. Add powdered sugar and stir together until evenly distributed.

3. Stir in crushed pretzels.

4. Use a  teaspoon to drop the mixture into small mounds on a parchment lined  cookie sheet.

5. Place in the refrigerator to firm up, about 20 minutes.

6. About 15 minutes after you put the candy in the fridge start to melt the chocolate in the microwave according the directions. This only takes a couple of minutes. Make sure to follow the directions carefully, so it doesn’t burn. Once melted add a tablespoon of butter to thin it out to make it pourable.

7. Spoon the melted chocolate over the peanut butter mounds, trying to cover as much of the turtle as possible. Pop these in the fridge for 15 minutes to let the chocolate harden.

* Make sure to store these in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Chicken Cobb Hand Pies

This is decadent alternative to a cobb salad. In this photo I used one pie dough crust for two servings. Check out the other photos for variations.

I feel like I always have leftover chicken, whether it’s grilled or rotisserie, but I get tired of just eating it in a salad or a sandwich. So, I came up with this idea of making pocket sandwiches. I was making a lot of tacos when I figured out that I could put the same stuff that goes in a tortilla in puff pastry or pie dough. You really could put anything in pie dough or puff pastry and it makes it so much fancier and the yum factor goes up. Of course, you’ve got all the golden pastry to sink your teeth into and who can pass up that?

So, I’ve made these stuffed with chili, ratatouille, and this chicken cobb. Anyway you fill them they’re scrumptious. I served them with a salad for a healthy dinner.  

This is a single serving hand pie. No blue cheese or onions in this one.

Actually for our kids’ birthday party I made these pockets, but filled them with chili. Totally yummy! And easy too. For the party I actually made them a week in advance and then defrosted them and baked them during the party. Love that! Anything I can do in advance to cut down on the last-minute rush to the table is fabulous in my book.

In this version all you need to do is combine some soft cheese with cooked chicken then pile in on some premade pie dough and then dress it up a bit, fold it, bake it  and consume with fervent desire. 

Here's what it looks like before you fold it up. Again, no onions or blue cheese in this one.

Shopping List:

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

1/2 cup cream cheese or ricotta

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1/2 a red onion, sliced

1 plum tomato, sliced

1 package premade pie dough (2 doughs come in 1 package)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and let the dough come to room temperature. 

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the chicken and cream cheese. Slice all your veggies and cook your bacon in the microwave.

3. Once dough is pliable (about 15 minutes) roll one of the doughs out on a cutting board, it’s really more like unfold it, but the idea is to get it flat without tearing it.

4. Cut the dough in half, a pizza cutter is perfect for this.

5. On one quarter of the dough pile 1/4 cup of chicken and cheese mixture. Make sure to leave about a 1/2 inch perimeter.

6. Top this with 1/4 of the bacon crumbles, 1/4 of the tomato slices, 1/4 red onion slices, and 1/4 of the blue cheese. And hey, if you don’t like any of these things, then leave them out!

7. Now that you’ve got your filling, fold over the pie dough and pinch the edges firmly.

8. Repeat steps 4-7 with the remaining dough.

9. Brush the tops with a little bit of raw scrambled egg, if you want it to look golden, otherwise you can leave it off. It won’t change anything except the way it looks.

10. Transfer the pockets to a parchment lined baking tray. All four will fit on one cookie sheet.

11. At this point you can either freeze them on the cookie sheet and then transfer them to ziplocs, or you can bake them in the oven for 15-17 minutes, until the pastry is beginning to get brown on top.

Serves 4.