Going nuts for donuts! (version 2.0)

Who could forget the fabulous month where Daring Bakers‘ introduced us to the joys of home made donuts? I certainly couldn’t! Which is why I found myself craving the yeasty golden goodness of these treats in the chilly lead up to Easter this year. I had a few issues with the recipe from the October challenge and wanted to see if following the advice of other Daring Bakers would further improve the results of this already astounding recipe. Turns out, they do. Sorry for the anti climax.

But what could be anti climactic about risen dough? Look at this baby rise! I followed the instructions to the letter this time and resisted adding any more flour, despite the extreme wetness of the dough. Sometimes I think that there is nothing more joyous than coming back after an hour and seeing that beautiful crown of dough peeking over the rim of the bowl!

I didn’t have the luxury of using the S family kitchen with all its adult supervision and granite benchtops, not to mention tiled floors. So I was extra careful in my own kitchen (particularly after the poached pears debacle! My stove top is still recovering…). I kitted myself out with numerous bath towels to smother any small fires that may arise and was generally much more careful than I would otherwise be.

This is one well risen dough! Look at that honeycomb of air bubbles…

I patted the dough out onto my baking mat. It was still much too wet to roll out, although it had dried a little during the rising process.

I cut the dough into donut shapes using concentric circles

and banished them to their oily doom!


Mmmmm… golden fried goodness

After dipping them into the sugar cinnamon mixture they came out looking perfect!

Light and tasty and just pretty damn good!

I think the long cold rise over night in the fridge gives it a greater depth of flavour

And so my second foray into donut making was a great success. But do you think I stopped at just sugar cinnamon donuts? Of course not!

So I made sugar cinnamon strawberry jam donuts!

These babies went down even better than the original recipe donuts. I’m sorry I don’t have a middle shot to show you, but the insides are filled with strawberry jam. Mmmmmmmmmmmm….

The only alteration you need to make to the recipe is to cut one round without a hole in the middle, let the donut cool and cut a slit into the side of it. Insert a piping nozzle and squeeze strawberry jam inside. Fill up as much as you want!

The recipe can be found here.

So my lovelies, what is your favourite flavour of donut? Do you like them plain, or do you go all out with jam and cream?

Daring Bakers’ Christmas Stollen Challenge (December 2010)

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book………and Martha Stewart’s demonstration. You can download the recipe and instructions in PDF style here.

So…. Stollen. To be honest, i’ve never given it much thought. In Australia it’s usually so hot at Christmas that you would have to be pretty hardcore to be baking Stollen so it’s not something I have ever thought about cooking before. I haven’t been much into the bread making as of late so I thought that this beautiful fruit bread would be the perfect way to get back into it!

Im not a big fan so I thought that instead of adding the mixed peel, I would add Craisins. They’re tasty and a festive red! I also substituted 70g of the raisins for 70g currants just to shake things up a bit.

I love kneading dough. I love the way it transforms beneath your hands from a sticky, lumpy mess…

To a silky smooth ball of yumminess.

I opted for a slow rise in the fridge over several days. And boy did it rise!

After bringing the dough back to room temperature, I popped it onto my nifty silicone kneading mat to roll out nice and thin. I LOVE this mat because 1. it’s huge and 2. it has measurements along the sides so I dont keep having to use a ruler. Yay!

So I rolled that sucker out nice and thin (and relatively rectangularly…)

rolled it up

and cut it into 7 4cm long pieces to put into a bundt pan. I decided that the traditionally rolled Stollen might not fit properly into my oven once it had finished its second rise. I didn’t realise that the recipe made so much!

Then I left those babies to rise again

Ok. So I may have overcooked it a touch. I wasn’t quite sure how long to leave it in the oven seeing as it wouldn’t be as dense as the original recipe. I left it in for around 35-40 mins but it probably could have come out 5-10 mins earlier. It was still super tasty sliced and buttered and it looked very pretty dusted with icing sugar.


Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable challenge. I normally wouldn’t have baked something fruity at Christmas (i’m not a fan of traditional puddings or fruit cakes) but this forced me outside my comfort zone. I loved the finished product and found it tasty and festive. It felt like it should be snowing outside and I should be eating this toasted and buttered with a glass of mulled wine. Oh well, maybe next year I will have a European Christmas and whip out this Stollen recipe! Thank you to Penny for a fantastic challenge. I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Christmas. Have a happy new year!!

Daring Bakers’ Doughnuts Challenge (October 2010)

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

When I was at uni I LIVED on donuts. (Yes, I call them donuts, not doughnuts. Oh well!) Although I have been trying many different recipes I hadn’t even considered making my own donuts until now. Why?

Boiling oil.

I am not the most graceful person in the world. I sometimes misjudge the width of doorways and bang into the wall. I tripped UP the stairs yesterday. Me in a kitchen with a pan of boiling oil attempting to deep fry donuts was just an absolute recipe for disaster. Particularly considering my near miss with my Brown Sugar Sponge… which my poor stove still hasn’t recovered from! (Does anyone have any more suggestions of how to get the burnt sugar off my glass cooktop?)

Despite the difficulties I was determined to complete this month’s challenge and enlisted the help of the S family. Their bench tops are granite (or some stone that I have no idea about) and their kitchen is tiled which meant that there would be less opportunity for disaster than in my laminated and polished floorboarded kitchen. I would also have four other people on hand should disaster befall me. Phew! (And they had a stand mixer! Hooray!)

Woohoo! Look at that baby go! Definitely beats doing it by hand!

I did have the difficulty many others had of the dough being too wet. I hate handling overly wet doughs so I must admit that I added flour until I felt it was a good enough consistency. It didn’t seem to hurt the final product though.

See? Too wet and floppy.

Now still wet but much more manageable. Ready for rising!

And boy did that sucker rise!

It looked rather like a sea sponge stuffed into my mixing bowl.

Mixing dough? That I can absolutely do. That was the easy part. Now my palms were starting to sweat and my heart was beginning to race. Sure There was stone and tiles, but hey, something could still go wrong. Who knows? I could still set fire to the curtains or something!

To calm my nerves, we decided to cut the donuts into some different shapes. Squares…

Wiggly rings… and, well, that was about it.

After some difficulties with the temperature, we were ready to fry!

Once the donuts were in the oil it was all plain sailing! I couldnt believe how well they browned and retained their puffiness. The final product before coating in cinnamon sugar had the same consistency as krispy kreme donuts. Hooray! We cooked half the donuts that night and left the rest of the dough to do another slow rise in the fridge.

The next morning the dough had burst out of its cling film armour and was ready to go for round two. We used the same oil to make some more creative shapes.

Some pretty cool letters…

Some more conventional shapes…

Some stars (which were pretty cute)

And a whole bunch more! Some hearts… a cow… a bunny…

I don’t know if it was the second use of the oil or the slow rise in the fridge but it seemed as though the donuts cooked from the second batch had a little more flavour to them. They were all super tasty and covered in sugar and cinnamon they disappeared quick smart!

I need to give a massive thankyou to the S family for letting me use their kitchen and to my wonderful boy for taking all my photos. Could you tell? Yes? Perhaps it was the constant focus, clear photos, lack of shadows and poor lighting the list goes on…

This was by far the challenge that has made me feel the most proud for completing. A wonderful challenge with a recipe that I will definitely use again and again! So my lovelies, is there something that you have cooked that has been a major achievement for you? Something you were proud of cooking without burning down your kitchen?

Yeast Doughnuts – From Alton Brown

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
Rising time – 1.5 hours total
Cooking time – 12 minutes

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)


  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
  2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

Swiss Swirl Ice cream Cake! (Daring Bakers Challenge 2010)

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Well, this month was a challenge and a half! Although I have been able to finish most challenges a few weeks before the deadline, some how I found myself pulling this baby together last night in the nick of time. It wasn’t that I found the recipe unappealing (I love ice cream as much as the next woman) but I think I lacked motivation this month in pulling together a recipe that largely consisted of ice cream, in the dead of winter. Some how, trudging home in the cold and the rain after a long day at the chalkface didn’t make me want to complete this recipe. However, this is absolutely something i’m going to pull out when Summertime decides to roll around!

This culinary journey was not without its hiccups. I had considerable difficulty with the initial swiss roll recipe. For reasons unknown, no matter how closely I followed the recipe the damn thing would not rise! I made a few batches of flat, rubbery swiss rolls before finally baking my end product. After reading a few different recipes I decided to try whipping the egg and sugar mixture over a double boiler. Finally, I had the thick, creamy consistency required by the recipe. Finally, I had a light, spongy swiss roll!

And of course, my first alteration to the recipe was to make it a different colour…

Pink! Yes, i’m predictable.

I had decided that I was going to steer clear of my traditional chocolate on chocolate on chocolate approach. After seeing the amazing creations of many fellow Daring Bakers I knew it was high time I experimented a bit! So instead of vanilla ice cream, I tried…

Rosewater! P.s. I  whipped that cream by hand baby!

I had to go with chocolate sauce for the middle because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out a sauce to go with rosewater ice cream.

I have to mention here that I did find the sauce mesmerising. It was like looking into a swirling galaxy

A cross section of swiss roll, ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Next came the final layer of ice cream. But what flavour to go with rosewater? I have to admit that I did cop  out a little bit in this section. I thought that pistachio ice cream would go nicely with the other flavours in this cake. However, I decided to make this ice cream on a night where I was just too tired and over it to do a good job. So I blended up a bunch of pistachios and whacked them in the ice cream.

While the texture was a little grainy as a result of my laziness, the flavour was delicate and pistachio-y

I held my breath while inverting the cake… and crossed my fingers!


Cross section!

Thanks again Daring Bakers for a truly challenging  month! This is absolutely a recipe I will use again when the weather turns. However, I suspect I may return to my chocolate overload ways 😀

Alterations to the Recipe

I only slightly altered the recipe which you can find here.

1. I whipped my egg mixture for the swiss roll over a double boiler until it reached the desired consistency

2. I added about 4 or 5 teaspoons of rosewater to the vanilla icecream mixture instead of the vanilla

3. I added just over half a cup of pistachios (ground well) to the second ice cream mixture rather than adding cocoa or chocolate flavouring