No Fry Doughnut

No Fry Doughnut

One of the sweet things that we used to do at my old job was on anyone’s birthday, they got to choose what special treat everyone in the office got to share. It was usually a particular kind of cake or cupcake or the one guy that really like Corona beer (ironic) and every one had a beer before we left for the day. On my birthday – it was doughnuts. Donuts from Duck Donuts to be exact. There is little in life that’s better than a soft warm doughnut with a sugary glaze on top.

And when it comes to doughnuts – there is no competition– yeasted and fried. I’ve had my fair share of cake doughnuts…but that’s just it…they are CAKE. Yeast. Fried. End of conversation.

However, I’m always up for a challenge and quite frankly just couldn’t be bothered to fry anything today. So, let’s give it a shot.

No Fry Donut

Let’s Bake

With the exception of warming up the milk and hot water, everything about this was sort of a ‘dump and mix’ situation. The shortening threw me off, as I’ve never made a doughnut with shortening before, but since the challenge is to follow the recipe exactly, we’ll stick with it.

I also thought the instructions to “mix for 1/2 minute” was interesting. When you add shortening to a shed load of wet ingredients you get big chunks of shortening….and half a minute is nothing. Once you start to mix in the remaining flour, everything started to come together – except HOLY STICKINESS! This wasn’t dough, it was goo. It took at least another 1/2 cup to get anywhere close to “smooth”.

Not to be a too much of a stickler for the rules, but no where in this recipe does it say to transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise. It says to just cover and let rise. The bowl is a mess! There’s little bits everywhere – especially because it’s so sticky. Leaving this in the mixing bowl to rise goes against everything I’ve ever done.

Also – just for the record – it never says to use a dough hook. Was I supposed to use the regular mixing attachment? That’s bizarre.

I decided to meet the recipe half way and I didn’t oil my bowl, but I did transfer to a clean container. I left it for an hour and argued with the guy that knocked on my door to sell me siding.

We have lift off! Look at that bubbly goodness!

Everything from this point was smooth sailing for the most part. I rolled out to about a 1/2 inch thickness and used a biscuit cutter to cut the rounds. They were placed on baking sheets and left to rise for a second time.

This is where it sort of fell off the rails. I left these bad boys for almost an hour and they just never rose again. Maybe not warm enough in my house? It’s like 9000 degrees outside today, so that seems unlikely. But dough is a tricky thing and has a mind of it’s own. Also, brushing the doughnuts with melted butter felt wrong before baking. Like somehow I was hurting the rise – which is a good possitbility.

After finally giving up on these suckers not rising – I just pushed forward and baked ’em.

Final Result

The only way I can explain these is that it’s a cross between a yeasted doughnut, a cake doughnut, and a biscuit. There IS a doughnut in there, I’m just not sure what’s wrong with it.

It browned like a biscuit, and the bottom that was touching the baking sheet browned too much. It has the air filled yeasted pockets a normal yeasted doughnut would, but has the mouth feel of a cake doughnut.

But a doughnut, even a baked one is better than a Kale salad any day.

So, in summary: A doughnut that has some serious conflicting personality issues.

If you are going to go to all the trouble of making home made doughnuts, just fry the suckers.

No Fry Donut

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

I’ve always struggled when it came to breakfast in my house. I would typically ignore it – or pick up a coffee on my way to work. But for my daughter – who has spent a lifetime refusing to eat cereal – breakfast options needed to be clever. I sure as hell wasn’t going to get up each morning and make her a fresh breakfast….I’m not that good of a mom. Enter the breakfast breads!

I’ve had a banana bread recipe in my arsenal for as long as I can remember. It was my mothers recipe and she got it from her mother. I’ve always known it was a family recipe – but was so tickled to actually see it written down in my Grandmother’s recipe box. I love how worn and used the note card looks – and took extra special care to take a picture of it before I put it back. It makes me feel that maybe she made this as much as I do.

Thankfully I wrote down the actual instructions from my Mom years ago. As you can see – all the recipe has is the ingredients. Nothing else. Cause when it comes to recipes – you want as much ambiguity as possible.

It’s a super simple process: Mush 3 very ripe bananas. (mush to your desired consistency – lumpy to baby food) Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add the eggs one a time and mix well – then add the banana and mix. Add all the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Pour into a greased 8×8 or loaf pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. DONE!

The most notable difference between my recipe and the original was the amount of baking soda. My recipe calls for 1/2 tsp – and the original is a full teaspoon. For this post I did her recipe and added the full teaspoon….and don’t see any difference at all. In fact, the only difference I see is that I over baked it slightly. It shouldn’t be that crispy on the top. I got distracted doing something and when the timer went off – I forgot to take it out for about 10 minutes.

Even with the over baking – it’s still damn good. So, so good straight out of the oven – or nuked for 15 seconds or so. I do ask that you feel bad for me, though. No nuts in this recipe. We’re a no nut house. Not because we have any allergies, (mad respect for those that do have to live with that) but because my husband doesn’t like nuts. In anything. It’s infuriating.

Banana Bread

Pinch and Peck
Simple & Quick Banana Bread!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Breakfast, Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Dash salt
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 very ripe banana
  • Nuts Optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan or 8×8 dish
  • Mush 3 or 4 ripe bananas
  • Cream shortening and sugar.
  • Add eggs one at a time – mix well after each egg.
  • Add the banana and mix through.
  • Add all the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 for roughly 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Baguette

Baguette

Last year, when I started this website, I was in a soul sucking job that provided so much down time during the day that each hour seemed like two. I started this project as something to lift my spirits and give me purpose, which it truly did. Then as luck would have it, I found my dream job, and eventually stopped working on the website, my soul no longer crushed.

Then the world tipped on it’s axis with Covid-19 and I was laid off of my dream job. It made sense, and I’m not (too) bitter. I was the last person hired, and they certainly weren’t going to let go of the veteran staff that had been there for years. Now I’m home with my high school age kid, trying to ‘home school’ and keep my family sane until the crisis is over.

All that leads me back to here.

I had to think of how I could proceed with the original idea of this website – but with limited funds and a deep desire to not need to go to the grocery store every day for odd ingredients. I’ll refocus the website on things I’m trying to cook and bake for us while we self isolate. I promise as many failures as before.

Which leads me to attempting home made baguettes.

Bread has, and always will be (along with boxed wine), my weakness. There really is nothing better than soft warm bread right out of the oven. Today I tried Paul Hollywood’s baguette recipe. Seems simple enough and I have all the ingredients on hand.

Let me just say that I consider myself a fair to decent home baker. I’ve made some damn delicious things in the past. Truth be told – being a pastry chef/baker for an actual career has always been the dream. My bread making abilities would probably get me fired from that job though.

First, the recipe says specifically to use a square plastic container – and that it’s important to shaping of the baguettes. Only square plastic container I had was the dispenser I use for my awesome Sangria. We’re aren’t going for ascetics here people.

Up to the proofing, everything had moved smoothly enough. Once I got to tipping the dough out, shaping it and getting it onto a baking trays the whole adventure was an unmitigated disaster.

It was impossible to handle – being careful to not knock any of the air out – it’s sticky and uncooperative. This dough does NOT want to be a baguette. It wants to stay where it is – in a large Sangria Dispenser. Transferring from container, to floured surface, to linen cloth, to baking sheet – these things were trashed by the time I got them to their final resting place.

Now, I imagine you being the smart home baker that you are, you KNOW when a recipe says to use a roasting pan in the oven to create steam – it means use a roasting pan…..Not a glass casserole dish.

Now I need to buy a roasting pan as well as a replacement glass casserole dish because it exploded all over my kitchen.

In the confusion of the explosion, I forgot to slash my bread. But at that point I just said screw it and put it in the oven.

End Results:

If someone had tried to break into my house I have no doubt I could inflict serious injury with one of these bastards. They were hard, ugly and burnt on the bottom.

There is a possibility that my ‘crumb’ was acceptable. And after cutting off the bottom burnt bit, my husband and I agreed that it was….fine. Cause in the ends, that’s really what you want to hear from your family. “It’s fine”.

Oh and also, the square plastic container didn’t make a damn bit of difference.

When everything was done and all the glass was cleaned up, I decided to sit down and watch the episode of Great British Bake Show that dealt with Paul’s baguette recipe. Only thing I have to say is- Bite me, Paul.

Carrot Pineapple Bread

Carrot Pineapple Bread

In the continuation of “The Week of the Pineapple” I found another recipe that I could use. In addition, I am desperately trying to find something that sounds good and would actually be EATEN in the house. Lastly, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and wouldn’t it be nice to find some family recipes that I could actually use? Or at the very least give as a hostess gift?

Enter the “It’s not a carrot cake, it’s carrot bread that taste exactly like carrot cake”. This thing is really good y’all and perfect for those of us that don’t have an over active sweet tooth (me). As much as I love cakes and cookies, I’m honestly not a big fan of frosting. My husband and daughter think that there is something seriously wrong with me and that perhaps a doctor could help.

Also, this could not be easier. The whole process took minutes if you don’t count shredding the carrots. What was even nicer was that my daughter is currently studying for some culinary exams, and was using carrots to practice knife cuts…I just scooped up the “practice” and ran it through the mini-Cuisinart.

I will admit at this point I still hadn’t put two and two together and realized I was basically making a carrot cake in a loaf pan. Apparently some subtleties escape me. I baked it and let it cool and the whole time thinking “There is an odd but familiar smell in the kitchen”. Duh.

You can certainly make a frosting, but I think it’s too much. If you want extra sweetness, I would think a glaze would be a much better bet. I like this one so much I’m actually going to add the recipe for easy printing!

We have our first hit!

Carrot Pineapple Bread

Pinch & Peck
Bread that tastes exactly like Carrot Cake
Cook Time 55 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Set oven to 350
  • Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl. Give a quick whisk to blend.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients and beat at medium speed until well combined (about 2 minutes)
  • Pour into a greased and floured 9×5 loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.