Baked Sweet Potato Doughnuts 10/31/2011
Ok. So I received a generous amount of sweet potatoes from Bountiful Baskets a couple of weeks ago. Bountiful Baskets is a great organization in the western US that pools the participator's money to buy local produce from Mexico and the US. They then distribute it for a fraction of the price you would pay at the store. Amazing!
Well my family doesn't really go for sweet potatoes. But.. I got these potatoes just in time for a book party I was hosting. I knew there had to be a way to make this situation work to my advantage...
I love doughnuts made with mashed potatoes. So, it figures that sweet potatoes would be even more delicious. I am also trying to be a bit more healthy.
Not sure if you have noticed, but a lot of my favorite recipes are filled with butter, sugar and cream.
I mean, ahem, those things are bad. I shouldn't eat them. (I tell myself this every day)
Please excuse my tangent. I found this amazing recipe from My German Kitchen. I didn't change a thing and they turned out to be absolutely delicious, despite their lack of fried calories. I ate them. My husband ate them. My two-year-olds devoured them.
Though they don't have the crispy, fried texture, they are still light and airy and absolutely delicious. Make them. Today!
**One disclaimer: I tried frying up a batch for people who frown upon health (which is obviously not me...). It was an embarrassing disaster! I tested one and tore it open and it was cooked all the way through. I cooked up the rest and didn't test any more... and realized, after all of my guests had left, that they were not fully cooked. So sorry for those of you who witnessed that moment of weakness.
Long story short: Bake these doughnuts for best results!
Baked Sweet Potato Doughnuts
ready in 3 hours 30 minutes
2 medium (340 g/12 oz) sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 envelope instant dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 teaspoon imitation rum
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
3 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted and melted
Prick the skin of two sweet potatoes with a fork and cook them in the microwave until done, about 10-12 minutes. (I used the "boiled potato" setting of my microwave which cooked them automatically.) Half the potatoes and spoon out the flesh. Puree in a blender or food processor. Set aside 12 ounces (1 cup) of sweet potato puree.
Place the butter in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat until the butter turns brownish. Be very careful not to burn it! Set aside to cool.
Heat the milk (around 105 F, 40 C) in a small sauce pan or in the microwave and add the yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and until foamy.
Attach your kitchen machine with the dough hook and mix together the milk/ yeast mixture, both sugars, salt, vanilla seeds, nutmeg and rum. Now add in the egg, the yolks, the browned butter and the sweet potato puree. Mix until well combined. Now it is time to add all the flour, first on slow speed to mix it all in and then on medium speed to knead the dough. Knead for about 5 to 6 minutes. If the dough is still too wet add more extra flour until the dough forms a ball. Place the dough into an oiled glass bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest and rise for 1 1/2 hours. I used my "rapid proofing" setting of my oven but it didn't really rise that much. So, don't worry!
Place the dough on a well floured surface, punch it down, knead in more flour if still to sticky and roll it out to about 3/4 inch thickness. Cut out your doughnuts (and doughnut holes) and place them on a silicon lined baking sheet. Reroll left over dough to form more doughnuts. I had two baking sheets with 19 doughnuts total. Cover doughnuts with clean kitchen towels and let them rise for a second time for about 1 more hour or longer until the doughnuts have risen light and fluffy.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the doughnuts in the center of the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Melt the butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon. Baste hot doughnuts with butter and roll in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Let cool on rack or serve still fresh and warm. Enjoy!
5.2g fat / 41g carbs / 3.6g protein
19 doughnut holes
1.7g fat / 16.2g carbs / 1.2g protein
The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!
Some fun povitica facts:
I was excited about this challenge, simply because this bread is so beautiful! But still, I wondered, what makes it so valuable??
I took one bite of the traditional English Walnut Povitica, and I understood immediately. It is like heaven in the form of food. It honestly exceeded my expectations by 2X, and I had high expectations!
I made several different fillings. They were all great, though walnut was by far my favorite.
Chocolate was the cowboy's favorite. It looks a little dry, but it didn't taste dry at all. Next time, I would 1 1/2 X the filling in it, though, just to improve the looks.
This was also the favorite of my toddlers. They ate it like candy!
The poppyseed filling is beautiful! I absolutely loved how it filled in through the swirls. The poppyseed gave it a nice texture and flavor as well.
Poppyseed is really expensive if you buy it in the small seasoning bottles, about $2.25/ ounce. Go to a baking / cooking store, or a wholesale store like Costco and find a large bottle of it. I found about 3 cups (16 ounces) of poppyseed for $8.00 at Kents, a local grocery store.
I liked this filling because it was a little bit lower in calories and sugar. I used honey and lemon zest, and it was absolutely delicious.
I also made a pecan pie filling, which I was told was so good!
I gave a lot of this bread away because I knew it was going to be a weakness for me. I would probably eat all 8 loaves by myself.
Since pecan pie is a weakness of mine anyways, I didn't even cut into it, and instead gave both loaves away.
I found this bread to be an amazing gift. I just baked them in mini disposable pans (8"X4") and covered them with tinfoil. The bread tastes just as good the next day as it does the day it is made. It lasts for a week out on the counter, 2 weeks in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
And since Povitica is a traditional European Christmas bread anyway, what better Christmas gift for neighbors and friends?
Anyone can make this bread. It really is about as hard to make as cinnamon rolls. If you can make cinnamon rolls, you can make povitica.
I condensed the recipe below for a quick reference. Click here for a step by step povitica tutorial, as well as alternate fillings!
Here's what you need:
makes 4 full sized (English Walnut) loaves
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
½ Cup Warm Water
2 Tablespoons Dry Yeast
2 Cups Milk
¾ Cup Sugar
3 Teaspoons Table Salt
4 Large Eggs
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, melted
8 cups All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided
7 Cups Ground English Walnuts
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Egg Yolk, Beaten
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Cups White Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
½ Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
Activate the Yeast, combining the first 4 ingredients. Let stand for 5 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, heat up the milk to just below boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool until it's about the temperature of bath water.
In a large bowl, mix the milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt. Add beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter and 2 cups of flour. Slowly add remaining flour. Dough should be tacky, don't add too much flour.
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Cover and rise for an hour and half, or until doubled.
In a large bowl, mix together walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cooca. Heat the milk and butter to boiling. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out the dough until it is as thin as you can possibly get it. Spoon 1/4 of the filling over the dough.
Roll the dough tightly like a jelly roll. Twist into a greased pan and brush with egg whites. Let rest for 15 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F, and bake for 45 additional minutes. If the bread starts to brown too much, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top.
Brush with powdered sugar and milk glaze right out of the oven.
Let cool completely before slicing. Slices best upside down with a serrated knife.
14.5g fat / 30g carb /
Asian Grilled Chicken Salad (and Burritos) 10/24/2011
I served this dish as Asian burritos for my family with rice. I ate it as a salad and absolutely loved it.
Seriously. I didn't regret it for a second.
And my family liked the burrito version too! The cowboy even had it as leftovers the next day
Here's what you need:
inspired by Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
ready in 20 minutes
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or 1 tsp powdered)
2 green onions, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
½ head of lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup chow mein noodles
2 cups brown rice
Slice the chicken breasts into thin cutlets vertically.
Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the chicken, turn the pieces to coat evenly, cover and place in refrigerator a minimum of three hours, but preferably overnight. (I honestly skipped this step and they still turned out delicious! The chicken will probably taste better as bigger pieces if they have been marinated.)
Preheat grill to high. Grill chicken for about 5 minutes, turn and cook on the second side about 3 more minutes.
Mix your salad: lettuce, tomato, brown rice. Place chicken cutlets on top of the salad, you can chop the cutlets or leave them whole. Top with chow mein noodles.
** Family Friendly Tip: You can leave out the salad and add some extra rice and steamed veggies on the plates of salad-opposed family members.
8.4g fat / 25.8g carbs / 32.3g protein
Croissants: Pain au Chocolat 09/27/2011
So. I will be honest. This month's Daring Baking challenge was not the least bit appealing to me. We were challenged to make croissants from Julia Child's recipe. I thought it would be sure to be fun, as always, but the croissants required 12 hours from start to finish.
So I procrastinated and put it off again and again... then I finally had to just do it. This was two days ago.
Well, guess what? They were fun! And really pretty easy. It just took about 5-10 minutes of work every 2 hours or so. It was not a big deal at all!
So yesterday morning, I pulled my prepared dough out of the fridge, rolled them out, put them in my oven for a final rise, went on a walk, came back and 15 minutes later, I had beautiful Pain au Chocolats on my counter, begging to be devoured.
Pain au Chocolat. What is that?
It's a french pastry. You wrap some pieces of chocolate in rectangles of croissant dough. Sounds a lot more fancy than it is, really.
It ends up being a beautiful, simple dessert or breakfast.
Last night, we had company over and I wanted to serve these again! So I went to the store and bought croissant dough. It took about 15 minutes to make them and 15 minutes to cook them. And everyone loved them!
The cowboy stated (in his elegant manner) "They taste about the same."
That being said, I much prefer the homemade croissant dough, and it saves about $4 for every 12 croissants.
When you are a cowboy's wife, $4 goes a long way.
So you are getting both recipes!!
Simple Pain au Chocolats
Here's what you need:
makes 12 servings
2 cans of refrigerated croissant dough
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or other chocolate chunks)
2 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered sugar
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Roll the large end of a triangle first. Roll tightly until end is tucked. Sprinkle 1/2 Tbs of chocolate chips across the seam. Roll again. Sprinkle another 1/2 Tbs across the seam. Finish rolling.
Place seam down on a greased baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining croissants. Put in the oven and bake for 14-18 minutes.
Melt 2 Tbs of butter. Add cocoa powder, cinnamon and powdered sugar. Stir with a fork until dissolved.
When croissants are done cooking, or golden, remove them from the oven.
Using a pastry brush, brush the butter glaze over the tops of the pastries.
14.3g fat / 28.5g carbs / 3.5g protein
Homemade Pain au Chocolat
The recipe really is quite long, so I made a separate page with a printable link on it.
Click here for the recipe.
Either way, I am sure you will be very happy with your Pain au Chocolat!!
Marshmallow Fondant Tutorial 09/19/2011
Marshmallow fondant is the best birthday party tool. Ever. Unlike store-bought fondant, it tastes good, costs nearly nothing, and is easy to work with. Do you see a downside??
My sister-in-law is pregnant! So I immediately offered to make a cake for her shower. I have been wanting to try out a baby block design, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Please ignore my awful, rushed picture.
I also wanted to try out a checkerboard design:
But that story is for another blog.
Anyway, I found a great marshmallow fondant tutorial on Inspiration for Celebration.
I have made marshmallow fondant several times, and this tutorial really clears up any issues I have had.
Good luck and get creative with it!
Peanut Butter Bon Bons 08/29/2011
So.. another daring bakers challenge! Woo hoo, this month's theme was Chocolate and Candy... both with capitol C's. I have always been intimidated by homemade chocolates. Whenever we would receive them for Christmas neighbor gifts, they only served to make me feel insecure about my neighbor gifts...
Never again! While some homemade chocolates can be time consuming and complicated, others are deceivingly simple and so fun to make.
Take, for example, these peanut butter bonbons!
Looks a bit fancy, eh? Well, they aren't.
Seriously. Mix up some peanut butter, powdered sugar and butter with some rice crispy cereal (mmmmmmmmmmm...) and dip in melted chocolate chips.
This was so fun and easy to do!
And, after all the different kinds of chocolates I made, these were the one's that received the most compliments.
Here's what you need:
1 cup peanut butter
3 Tbs butter, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup rice crispy cereal
1 cup chocolate chips or squares, melted
Mix all ingredients together well. Cover a working surface with powdered sugar.
Work the peanut butter mix into a ball and place on the working surface. Cut a piece of wax paper and place over the peanut butter mix to prevent it from sticking to your rolling pin.
Use your rolling pin to flatten the peanut butter mix to about 1/2 inch thick. You can use a knife or your fingers to flatten the sides of the mixture so it is all even and ready to cut.
Cut into 1" squares.
Dip each square into your melted chocolate. You can melt chocolate using a mini crockpot, a double broiler or over the stove on low. To temper the chocolate, melt half the chocolate, remove from heat, then add the rest and stir until smooth.
Place your dipped bonbon onto a piece of wax paper.
Tip: I alternated using white chocolate and milk chocolate. As I was placing the bonbons on the wax paper, I would use the chocolate dripping off the bonbon to garnish the other bonbons already on the paper.
When all of the bonbons have cooled, use a knife to trim the extra chocolate on the bottoms and place in mini cupcake papers or layer between wax paper. Place in an airtight container. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks and freezer for months.
Easy Alfredo Sauce 08/20/2011
A few weeks ago, we had this dinner at my neighbor's house. I absolutely loved it and so did all four of the little kids sitting around the table. I asked what was in it.. and was surprised to hear it was just cream of chicken soup and cream cheese.
So here is my version of it. It really ends up tasting like a cheesier version of homemade Alfredo sauce. It just takes about 1/3 of the time to make.
Here's what you need:
8 oz cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
12 oz canned chicken breast
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil
Heat cream cheese, cream of chicken soup and milk over medium heat. Stir regularly until smooth. Add more milk or more cream cheese to thicken or thin.
Drain the canned chicken and add to the sauce mixture. Season with salt, pepper and basil.
Sideways Stuffed Peppers 07/17/2011
I made my first stuffed peppers at the beginning of the year when we made Ukrainian food for our Themed Dinner night. I fell in love.
Never before had I tasted a pepper with the same flavor or consistency. Never before had rice and ground beef blended so nicely.
Since then I have made several different types of stuffed peppers.
This one is officially the best. (Declared so by the Cowboy and his brother)
What makes them different?
First of all: Cilantro. Fresh from my garden. Never thought you'd hear me say that, huh mom? Yep, I succeeded in growing an itty bitty cilantro plant. Hooray.
Also, these peppers call for chicken broth. They are roasted. Sprinkled with cheese and french fried onions. Mmm.. can't go wrong with french fried onions.
Here's what you need:
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
3 green bell peppers
1 cup chicken broth (about a half can)
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
3 cups rice, cooked
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup french fried onions
13X9 inch baking dish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Saute the onion, cilantro and minced garlic in just about a tablespoon of olive oil and Worcestershire sauce until tender, but not soggy.
Add ground beef to the frying pan. Brown the beef and season with cumin, garlic powder and salt.
Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Clean the insides out well.
Stuff the peppers as full as you can get them. Place them in your 13 X 9 inch baking dish.
Pour the remaining broth over the bottom of the pan and cover with foil.
Cook for 35 minutes. Remove from oven.
Immediately top with shredded cheese and french fried onions. Serve and enjoy!
Quick Tailgate Chili 07/05/2011
I know it is July.
But it's raining and I have a cold.
I'm making Chili.
This recipe has a five star rating out of about 1200 reviews, so I figured it would be a safe chili recipe.
I only made a few changes. I used chili beans instead of dark red kidney beans, a whole onion instead of a half, and I added cheese and sour cream to serve. Also, I didn't have garlic salt, so I used garlic powder and added in extra salt.
Delicious! I will have to remember this for our next cook off! It is way easy, yet tastes like you put a lot of work into it. Don't you just love those dishes?
Here's what you need:
Makes 10 servings
Inspired by Debdoozie's Blue Ribbon Chili
2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup picante sauce
1 packet chili seasoning mix
1 15 oz can light red kidney beans
1 15 oz can chili beans with sauce
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream (for serving)
In a large pot, brown ground beef and onion over medium high heat. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and seasoning mix. Simmer 5 minutes. Add picante sauce and pour all the contents of a can tomato sauce, a can kidney beans and a can of Chili beans. Stir well.
Simmer over medium low heat for at least an hour. Serve with cheddar cheese and a tablespoon of sour cream.
German Chocolate Cookies 07/05/2011
What is my favorite treat? In this world?
Well, I don't think I have just one answer to that question.
But my top five would most definitely include... German Chocolate Cake. Moist yummy chocolate topped with coconut and almonds. Mmm... It's always a favorite birthday cake choice for me.
Sadly, there is a downside to German Chocolate Cake.
It doesn't fit in my purse.
Enter: German Chocolate Cookies! A portable form of the best cake in the world.
I kind of regret thinking this idea up. It was a stormy morning in July. I was trying to think of a nice treat to take on a trip with us. German Chocolate Cake kept clouding out my more 'logical' choices. Until I thought, "Why not a cookie?".
So after searching the web and combining a bunch of yummy recipes, I am now left with 5 dozen (I doubled the recipe) German Chocolate Cookies. That I want to eat right now!
Here's what you need:
Makes about 30 cookies
Inspired by this recipe
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening (add 1 tbs water with the shortening)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces of german chocolate, grated
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coconut, shredded and toasted
1 1/2 cups almonds, chopped
2 cookie sheets
An electric mixer
Toast coconut and almonds on a cookie sheet in your oven at 375 degrees. Stir every 2 minutes. Remove when they have turned golden brown. Don't cook them any longer than about 10 minutes.
Combine brown sugar and butter/shortening/water in an electric mixer.
*note: Any time you substitute shortening for butter, add 1 Tbs water for every 1/2 cup of shortening. It makes your cookies much more moist.
Add the egg. I doubled the recipe so I used 3 medium eggs. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Mix well.
Add flour, baking powder and salt. Combine thoroughly. Add the toasted coconut and almonds, grated German chocolate and chocolate chips.
Spoon by the Tablespoon onto greased cookie sheets. Cook for 7-10 minutes.
Enjoy! Just try not to enjoy them quite as much as I did...
The Cowboy's Wife
I'm just an ex-city girl turned cowboy's wife. I love finding well rounded, healthy recipes that taste so good, even cowboys will enjoy them! You might find some indulgent dishes as well...