Baked Lemon Donuts

IMG_0840 

I love donuts.

I always have, and always will. Glazed, cake, cream-filled, or plain – I don’t discriminate. I love them all.

You know what else I love?

Kitchen gadgets.

IMG_0863

I have cupboards and cupboards full of kitchen gadgets – mini treat makers, specialty pans, novelty food creators, and both major and minor appliances. Some get a healthy workout (ie my ice cream maker), while others just sort of sit there unhappy and dejected, like an old childhood toy that has been long replaced with something newer and cooler (cake pop maker…I’m talking to you).

This year, I promised myself (and my better half), that I would refrain from adding to the Kitchen Collection Store that is our home, and instead focus on consolidating the piles what we currently have.

IMG_0838

Things were going great when one night, my good friend Pinterest showed me something that would jeopardize my newfound sobriety:

A Donut Pan.

IMG_0835

Sold!

This donut pan thing seemed like the perfect marriage of my love for both donuts and kitchen gadgets. Better yet, it would enable me to make donuts at home anytime I wanted, without the fried, oil-splattered-for-days mess.

I knew as soon as I saw this thing that I needed to have it in my gadet arsenal.

But, I also knew it would also take a major sales pitch on my part to convince my fiancé that we needed this pan in our lives, let alone our cabinets, which were already chock-full of useful (and useless) culinary items.

IMG_0850

Immediately, I began formulating my strategy, and approached my fiancé  with  marked caution. The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: So you know how we wanted to try to be healthier this year and eat better and exercise and all that?

Him: <suspicious look>

Me: Well, there’s this donut pan…

Him: <Eye roll, low grumbling sound> Here we go.

Me: No, listen! It makes donuts and you bake them so they are healthier than the fried ones and they are really cute and it would be fun to be able to bake donuts for our house guests and –

Him: Absolutely not. (Proceeds to point at gloomy Corner of Misfit Gadgets collecting dust in the kitchen).

Me: But –

Him: Nope.

Feeling as dejected as my poor cake pop pan, I began formulating my back up plan (ie, my donut-loving, super sweet future father in law who also happens to have a penchant for kitchen gadgets).

After casually mentioning my fiancé’s callous indifference for my latest kitchen endeavor, my wonderful FIL instantly took pity.

“I’ll get you a donut pan, sweetheart.”

(I knew he’d understand!)

IMG_0848

A few days later, do you know what arrived at my doorstep? Not one, but two donut pans, just begging to fill my house with circular little treats.

(I know, I’m spoiled!)

For my inaugural batch, I actually ended up making two kinds of donuts. I had my heart set on lemon, but my partner in crime loves chocolate. So, I made both!

(Again, spoiled).

IMG_0839

So, I got to work, expecting one kind to be the clear winner over the other. Well, I was wrong – both were phenomenal. Instantly, the ROI on my donut pan skyrocketed, and my Belly Monster was quivering with happiness. (I chose to go the lemon route for this post because I was in dire need of some sunshine, but stay tuned for the chocolate one later on!)

IMG_0859

These donuts are everything you would want them to be: light and fluffy with a fresh lemony flavor – the perfect pick-me-up for those of us suffering from the winter blues. Plus, they have buttermilk in them (and when is that ever not a good thing?)

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest computer and order a donut pan. You wont be sorry! I think even the largest of skeptics will say it’s worth the money (and shelf space).

Special thanks to my loving Pops, the only one who truly understands my kitchen gadget addiction 🙂

Happy scooping! And…donut baking.

Baked Lemon Donuts

Adapted from The Corner Kitchen

Yield: 12 donuts

You will need:

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Glaze:

2 cups powdered (aka confectioners) sugar

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (or, to taste)

2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the donut pan (nonstick cooking spray works great!) and set aside.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set asie. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, buttermilk, egg, lemon juice, zest and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and mix into a smooth batter (will be the consistency of pancake batter).

3. Spoon batter into a resealable plastic bag or pastry bag and pipe into the prepared donut pan. Treat the donut pan as you would a cupcake pan and only fill until ½ of the way full (donuts will rise and if you use too much batter, the cute hole in the middle will disappear and you’ll end up with a strange muffin-looking thing.). Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into donut comes out clean, about 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on rack for a few minutes. Carefully turn donuts out directly onto rack and cool fully.

For the glaze:

1. Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon zest & juice, and milk until smooth. Add additional milk if you like a thinner glaze (I did!) When donuts are cooled, dip the tops into a bowl of the glaze and return to wire rack or piece of parchment until set. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream S’mores with Homemade Raspberry Marshmallows

IMG_0732

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

As with most things in life, I’m a little late to the party with this one. I had a Valentine’s Day post all planned out in my mind for months and months (yes, really), but ended up feeling a little under the weather all week. So naturally, any activity other than laying on the couch eating frosting by the spoonful was too much to handle.

(Because eating frosting by the spoonful is generally a great idea when you’re feeling under the weather).

IMG_0716

But, if you’ll excuse my lateness, I’d still like to tell you why February 14th is one of my favorite days of the year. And really, it has nothing to do with romance at all.

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, even when I was 6 years old and the closest thing to a love letter that I had in my possession was a hot pink Hello Kitty valentine that my big sister left for me on the kitchen table. Admittedly, I think what I love most about this holiday is the very thing that many people despise, which is its unabashed commercialism. I love the sea of red and pink heart-shaped candy that decorates the aisles of the grocery store, and enjoy watching all of the cheesy, lovey-dovey advertising that begins to invade the airwaves at the end of January. Call me a girly girl (or just a sucker for good in-store merchandising tactics), but I love Valentine’s Day, even though some may argue that its true purpose gets lost in all the pomp and circumstance of our consumer-driven society.

(I personally take issue with neither pomp nor circumstance. In fact, I tend to require both in all of my daily activities).

IMG_0717

A few months ago, I saw these homemade marshmallows on Pinterest and just knew that I had to make them, or something similar. After all, they were pink, fluffy, heart shaped, and sugary, which are four of the criteria that I use to assess my Very Important Things That I Need in My Life Right Now list. What better time than Valentine’s Day to make my marshmallow dreams a reality?

IMG_0734

Although I was overcome with massive bouts of anxiety when I went to make homemade marshmallows for the first time, they really weren’t all that hard to make. I even managed to make them without a candy thermometer, which is generally ill-advised when making any type of candy at home.    (Cleaning up the sprinkles of powdered sugar and gelatin on the countertop, however, was another matter completely – just ask my Senior Product Manager aka fiancé, who dedicated an entire afternoon to Kitchen Recovery).

IMG_0753

So, even though Valentine’s Day is already over, what better way to say “i love you all year round” with these pink and fluffy, heart-shaped sugary morsels of delight?

IMG_0693

Don’t like Valetines day? Don’t worry. You don’t have to make these marshmallows heart-shaped. Or pink, for that matter. You don’t even have to color them at all. Because what’s better than a big, white, fluffy marshmallow atop melty chocolate and graham cracker?

IMG_0758

Well, except for big, white, fluffy marshmallows atop a bed of the finest dark chocolate ice cream…of course.

I hope you enjoy these simple ice cream treats that will show your Belly Monster a little love and affection, 365 days a year.

Happy scooping 🙂

Dark Chocolate Raspberry S’mores

Yield: Makes 9 S’mores

1pint of good quality dark chocolate ice cream, such as Graeter’s or Jeni’s.

1 sleeve of Chocolate Graham Crackers

Small bowl of chocolate shell, to decorate

Raspberry sauce (optional)

1 recipe homemade raspberry marshmallows (see below)

Homemade Marshmallows

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup powdered sugar

3.5 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold water, divided in half

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites

1 tablespoon vanilla

½ cup pureed raspberries, seeds removed or 1 tsp red raspberry extract (or to taste)

Few drops of red food coloring (for pink marshmallows)

Cookie cutters (if shapes are desired)

Directions:

1. Spray bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan with cooking spray and generously dust bottom and sides with powdered sugar.

2. In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water, and let stand to soften.

3. While waiting for gelatin to soften, make the sugar syrup: in a medium saucepan, cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium/slightly higher and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer reads 240°F (or just eyeball it and cook 10 to 12 minutes). Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved (You might need a partner to help you with this part!)

4. With standing or hand-held electric mixer, beat sugar syrup and gelatin on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes or so (or until it starts to look like, well…marshmallow!)

5. In separate medium bowl, beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Add whites, vanilla, food coloring, or other flavoring to marshmallow mixture. Stir until combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and spread evenly (to the best of your ability –this stuff is sticky!) Generously sift powered sugar on top, and store in refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours (Mine set in about an hour, but I’ve read that it often takes up to three).

6. When ready, run a knife around the edge of the pan and dump the marshmallow block onto a cutting board. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter, or cut into squares with a knife. Finish with another light dusting of powered sugar.

7. Marshmallows will store for up to a week, but are their best the first two days after making.

To assemble s’mores:

1. Dip graham crackers in chocolate shell. Set aside until chocolate is hardened, about five minutes.

2. Add a layer of raspberry sauce to bottom graham cracker, if desired.

3. Add a scoopful of chocolate ice cream.

4. Top ice cream with marshmallow. Roast top with a kitchen torch (or let’s be honest…a good match will do the trick too!)

5. Top with second graham cracker and decorate with extra raspberry sauce or chocolate shell, if desired.

6. Enjoy!!!

Faux Fried Ice Cream Balls with a Trio of Dipping Sauces

IMG_0674

Happy Super Bowl Sundae!

(See what I did there?)

IMG_0652

Today is one of my very favorite days of the year – not so much for the football, but more so for the mounds upon mounds of delicious, deep-fried, cheese-covered finger foods that typically invade American households to help us celebrate the most important sporting event of the season.

IMG_0661

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the very best food days that this nation has to offer, second only to Thanksgiving (and maybe Halloween…because who doesn’t love an excuse to eat candy?)

In celebration of this infamous day of gluttony, I wanted to make an ice cream treat that is everything Game Day food should be: hand-held, easy to eat, and over the top delicious.

IMG_0645

IMG_0641

My first idea? A giant, super bowl-sized sundae decorated to look sporty and football-ish.  I Googled around to see if anything similar already existed and realized very quickly that 1) another blogger had beat me to it and 2) she did a much better job than I could ever dream of doing (don’t you hate it when that happens?)

IMG_0666

My next idea seemed conceptually awesome, but proved somewhat challenging in real life: an ice cream version of chips and dip. I spent several days experimenting with different ingredients and ended up with an end result that looked a little bit like chicken tenders covered in hot fudge. Surprisingly tasty, but nothing to write home (or on a blog) about. Sadly, I was back to square one..

IMG_0656

Then, the other day while at the grocery store I noticed a giant bag of frozen sauerkraut balls (one of my favorite fried treats), and remembered something an old coworker told me about covering ice cream with Corn Flakes to make a bastardized version of fried ice cream. At the time, I was secretly repulsed by the idea (Corn Flakes and ice cream? Weird.). But today, on the most gluttonous and truly American of days, it seemed just right – faux fried balls of creamy goodness, covered in hot fudge, caramel, and strawberry sauces. I was in Super Bowl food heaven.

IMG_0658

Without further ado, I present to you these little “fried” balls of ice cream that you can dress up with whatever sundae sauces you like. These were surprisingly easy to make, and I guarantee everyone will be super impressed with these tasty treats!

What’s your favorite Super Bowl treat?

Happy scooping!

Faux Fried Ice Cream Balls

For the crispy coating:

2 and ½ cups of crushed Corn Flakes (or similar cereal)

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons of melted butter

Large pinch of kosher salt

For the ice cream balls:

1 quart of vanilla ice cream

For the Dipping Sauces:

½ cup hot fudge sauce (homemade or store bought)

½ cup raspberry sauce (homemade or store bought)

½ cup caramel sauce (homemade or…you get the point)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, and spread out onto a cookie sheet in an even layer.
  3. Bake mixture until it is fragrant and golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

To assemble the ice cream balls:

  1. Scoop vanilla ice cream into ball shapes and rest atop a cookie sheet that has been covered in one sheet of parchment or wax paper. Freeze for one hour.
  2. Remove ice cream balls from the freezer, and one by one cover in the cooled corn flake mixture. (I’ve found it’s easiest if you have a big bowl of the mixture and you just submerge the ice cream balls and roll around until covered). Once all of the balls have been “fried,” freeze for one to two hours or until desired hardness is achieved.
  3. Serve with your favorite sundae sauces or syrups.
  4. Enjoy!