Cinnamon Apple Fritters


Apple Fritters
Now that the nights are starting to chill again, I’m returning to some favorite fall recipes to welcome in the season
. This recipes comes from Elinor Klivans’ Donuts, which is such a fun read. This recipe takes about the same amount of time as pancakes (if you start your oil heating before anything else), and they are so yummy. Worth a special breakfast and a great way to use the fall apples. I usually double this recipe, which I guess makes about 2 dozen. 

Cinnamon Apple Fritters

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 t. baking powder
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. grated lemon zest
1/2 t. vanilla
1 large apple, cored, peeled, and finely chopped [I’ve also used 1 c. dehydrated apples and soaked them in 1/2 c. warm water while I prepared the rest, and it works really well]
Canola or peanut oil for deep-frying

Cinnamon Glaze
3 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 1 /4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 T. hot water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the milk, egg, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla to the well and stir with a fork until well blended. Add the apple and stir just until evenly distributed.

Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a deep-fryer or deep, heavy saute pan and warm over medium-high heat utnil it reads 360 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer.

Using a metal spoon, scoop up a rounded tablespoonful of the batter and drop into the hot oil, or scrape in using a second spoon. Repeat to add 5 or 6 more fritters to the oil. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan. The fritters should float to the top and puff to about double their size. Deep-fry until dark golden on the first side, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, a wire skimmer, or a slotted spoon, turn and fry until dark golden on the second side, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to the towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Reheat to fry the remaining fritters, allowing the oil to return to 360 between batches. [It’s a trick to control the temperature of the oil if you don’t have a deep fryer. For my electric stove, it works best to heat the oil on high for 5-7 minutes, then lower the temperature to about a “6.” I’m sure every stove has its quirks, so the first batch my be a bit of a trial.]

Arrange fritters on a platter and, using a spoon, drizzle about 1 t. of the glaze over each. Let the glaze set for 10 minutes. Serve.

For the Glaze:
In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and 2 T. hot water until smooth. Whisk in 1-2 t. more hot water if needed to give the glaze a thin, light consistency. Use right away.

Poppyseed Plum Muffins

Plum Poppyseed Muffin
So, this sudden increase of muffin recipes on my blog is due to the alarming realization I had the other day when I searched for muffin recipes on my blog, and I realized I only had a handful here. This is so strange, because I make muffins all the time. Like, once or twice a week. Where have I been putting all these recipes? I’m not sure, but I’m going back and cataloguing them all, so that in the future when I search for my favorite muffins, they will all be here.

This is a recipe I worked long and hard at getting right for high altitude. I loved the idea of a plum muffin, but the original recipe (from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook), had great flavor and a disastrous texture. In fact, the muffins just blew across the top of the pan, as only muffins baked at high altitude do. So, I worked long and hard to get it right. Feel free, of course, to look up and use the original recipe, as this recipe is quite a bit changed. But if you do seek out the original, I still highly recommend 1/4 c. more sugar and some almond extract. It really makes them, well, a favorite here.

Poppyseed Plum Muffins

6 T. (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted (and browned, if you have inclination)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c. (50 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 c. (180 grams) rich, full-fat plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 c. (60 grams) whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 c. (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 t. baking powder (2 t. if not at high altitude)
1/4 t. table salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. almond extract
2 T. (20 grams) poppy seeds
2 c. pitted and diced plums, from about 3/4 pound (340 grams) Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter twelve muffin cups or line with cupcake liners.

Whisk the egg with the sugar in the bottom of a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then the sour cream (yogurt), and almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and poppy seeds, and then stir them into the sour cream mixture until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy. Fold in the plums.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Rest muffins in the pan on a cooling rack for 2 minutes, then remove them from the tin to cool them completely.

Fresh Raspberry Pancakes

Raspberry Pancakes
So, like almost everything I make, this recipe began as me wanting to make a recipe from a fantastic recipe I’ve been wanting to try, but then realizing I didn’t have the right ingredients. Happily, this pancake was born instead, and unlike some of my other inventions, it is definitely worth jotting down for future breakfasts.  My cute little Peter said to me, (after I announced that I had, you know, made up the recipe), “you mean, we’re the only people in the whole world eating these pancakes. And I said, “well, yes, I guess you are.” And that was kind-of fun. For my family of seven, I doubled this recipe.

Fresh Raspberry Pancakes

1 large egg
1 c. cottage cheese
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. milk
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. raspberries, rinsed and dried

Preheat your griddle to about 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. (I always whisk them together.)

In a small bowl, combine the egg, cottage cheese, and milk (also with a whisk). Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry, and mix lightly with a wooden spoon until no dry patches remain. Then, lightly fold the raspberries in. Or be rough, so that the raspberries are throughout the pancakes.

Dollop onto a heated griddle and proceed as you know. These pancakes taste great with lots of toppings, but we especially like maple syrup or apple jelly.

Dulce de Leche Pear Muffins

Dulce de Leche Pear Muffins
I have some firmer pears that my kids just weren’t eating, so I decided to bake them up, and see if that helped their appeal. I found this recipe in a darling British baking book called Family Baking, and I’ve changed it a bit, but loved the results. Very beautiful muffins, not very sweet, and the dab of dulce de leche on top seemed to be the perfect thing. A nice little treat to welcome in the almost-here fall weather.

Dulce de Leche Pear Muffins

8 T. butter
2/3 c. milk
3 large eggs
6 T. dulce de leche (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 1/2 c. spelt flour (you may also use wheat, oat, or white flour, if you prefer)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 large, firm pears, cored, peeled, and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with liners.

Microwave the butter for twenty-five seconds (or until melted) and let cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, and using a balloon whisk, whisk together the milk, eggs, 2 T. of the dulce de leche, the sugar, and the melted butter.

Sift the flours, baking powder, salt, and spices and whisk together. Scatter the chopped pear over the top and, using a wooden spoon, gently fold it in until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin with a little bit of sugar, and bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

Let muffins cool slightly on a rack, then remove from the tin and place about a teaspoon of dulce de leche on the top of each muffin.

Sweet & Simple Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Roll WS
I know there are a million cinnamon rolls on the web, but I’m adding this one to the chaos. It’s great. It’s simple. The orange zest in it makes it memorable, and it’s light enough that you don’t need a bulldozer to lift you after eating one (I’m thinking Cinnabon here–yummy roll, but maybe a week’s worth of sweetness!). I’ve also learned two little tricks about cinnamon rolls. 1) If you roll them really tight, you can get the middle to pop up while baking, which is very pretty, and 2) you can make them in the evening through the second rise, then put them in the fridge overnight, making the morning pretty simple. And delicious.

Sweet & Simple Cinnamon Rolls

for the rolls

  • 5 t. active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 1 c. warm milk
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 1/2 c. flour [up to 1 1/2 c. can be whole wheat, if you’d like]
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. ground mace [I haven’t put in, because I can’t find it yet!]
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/2 c. room temperature butter

for the filling

  • 1/2 c. room temperature butter
  • 1/2 c.  sugar
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 6 T. flour
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon

for the glaze

  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 t. vanilla

In a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, add the yeast and the warm milk. Allow the mixture to stand for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy. Add the sugar, eggs, flour, salt, mace, orange zest and butter. If you’re using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, or knead the dough by hand, until a smooth and elastic dough is formed.

Oil a large bowl and place the dough into it. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and place it onto a floured surface. Cut the dough in half. Roll one half of the dough into a 10 inch x 16 inch rectangle. Cover with half of the filling mixture. Starting with the 16 inch side, roll the rectangle toward you. Pinch the edges and ends of the roll together to seal it. Cut the roll into 8 slices. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.

Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment so that they’re barely touching one another. Cover the baking sheet with a towel and let the rolls rise for 30-40 minutes. Or, place them in the refrigerator and allow them to rise overnight. If you refrigerate them, allow them to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.

Bake the rolls on the middle rack of the oven preheated to 400 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a roll comes out clean.  Cover the rolls with the glaze (above) while the rolls are still warm.

Maple Oat Scone

Maple Oat Scone

So, more renewed focus on whole grains in this house, but this time because of recent talk about diabetes, both in our family and in our culture. A bit of a downer. But, fantastically, there are so many great recipes out there that have pioneered modern baking with a more wholesome bent, and I’m making my own tweaks and turns to some favorites, and they are turning out great. I don’t think this is going to be much of a headache at all. Next project: to see if I can get the elementary school to stop handing out so much sugar . . . I’m aware this will be traveling down the path of most unpopular mom, but I think it’s worth a shot. In the meantime, my kids did not balk at all at this terrific scone that’s a little bit sweet and light. I’ve slightly changed this recipe from The New Best Recipe, by ATK.

Maple Oat Scones

1 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/4 c. whole milk
1/4 c. sour cream or cream
1 egg
3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour or spelt flour (or just use all-purpose if you want)
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. table salt
10 T. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 c. additional dried fruit or nut, if desired (apricots, raisins, currants, pecans)

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the oats on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven for about 7-9 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, but reserve 2 T. for rolling the dough out (if doing). Increase oven to 450 degrees. [If you’re in a time crunch, don’t worry about this. It makes the flavor of the oats nuttier, but it’s not necessary.]

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Whisk milk, sour cream, egg, and maple syrup together in a measuring cup.

4. Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. [Or do this step by hand using a pastry blender, or even your fingers!]

5. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the cooled oats. Then, with a spatula, fold in 3/4 of the liquid ingredients. Gently the dough by hand until everything comes together, adding more liquid as needed to not have any dry bits at the bottom of the bowl.

6. Dust the work surface with a tablespoon of the reserved oats. Add the dough. Then dust the top with the remaining one tablespoon of oats. Pat into a 7-inch circle about one inch thick. Using a bench scraper cut dough into eight wedges. Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Or, use a tablespoon scoop, and simply scoop the scones onto the sheet, flattening a bit for a wider shape.

6.  Bake for about 12-14 minutes. Let cool, and if desired, make a simple glaze of 3 T. maple and 1/3 c. powdered sugar to drizzle over the top.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Bun

I know it’s past Easter, but I’m sure I’ll forget which recipe I liked so much if I wait until next year to think about these great rolls we made this year. Plus, I need to share this with a few friends! This bake was inspired by an early morning lament of my good friend that Easter just wasn’t right without Hot Cross Buns. I wholeheartedly agreed, having never had one before, but seeing them many times in some of my favorite Italian bakeries in Rhode Island.  Besides, I love the idea of metaphor and meaning in our food, especially around holy times of the year. Well, at least metaphors that my husband and I can enjoy. This is a great recipe from King Arthur Flour, although I did change things just a little. Can’t wait to bring them out of the oven again next year!

Hot Cross Buns

  • 1/4 c. apple juice
  • 1/2 c. golden raisins
  • 1/4 c. dried currants
  • 1/4 c. candied orange peel (or another 1/4 c. currants or other dried fruit)
  • 1 1/4 c. milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, 1 separated
  • 6 T. butter, room temperature
  • 2 t. instant yeast
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 4 1/2 c.  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

topping

  • 1 large egg white, reserved from above
  • 1 T. milk

icing [Instead, I used Cream Cheese frosting. Perfect!]

  • 1 c. + 2 T. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 t. milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing

Lightly grease a 10″ square pan or 9″ x 13″ pan.

Mix the apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to “shrink wrap” itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.

When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.

Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.

Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You’ll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.

Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they’ve puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.

Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.

 

Pumpkin Ginger Braid Bread

Ginger Pumpkin Bread
This bread isn’t nearly as sweet as I thought it was going to be, which actually made me like it better than I thought I would. I was expecting a yeasted version of the traditional pumpkin quick bread, but this loaf was quite different. The texture is light, and the bits of ginger are a surprise–I thought they might cause my kids to not eat it, but they didn’t seem to mind (or maybe didn’t notice?). I really liked this bread, and see it taking a nice role in my fall inventory of great bread for toast, french toast, and afternoon snacks. It might also make an interesting Thanksgiving Day roll! I got the recipe from a King Arthur Flour Magazine (you can also find it on their website). 

Pumpkin Ginger Braid Bread

4 1/2 c. King Arthur Unbleached Special Bread Flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves (optional)
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. diced candied ginger
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. instant yeast
1 3/4 c. pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 c. raisins (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, spices, sugar, ginger, salt and yeast, mixing till everything is well-distributed. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, eggs and melted butter till well-combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with an electric mixer for 2 minutes; allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading it for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until it’s smooth. Add the raisins, and continue kneading just until they’re incorporated.

If you’re kneading by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface; knead it for 3 minutes, allow it to rest for 15 minutes, then continue kneading till smooth, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Add more flour sparingly, and only if the dough is absolutely impossible to work with by hand. Knead in the raisins right at the end.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours; it should be just about doubled in bulk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, divide it in half then divide each half into three pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch log.

Working with three logs at a time, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Braid them together; be sure to pinch the ends together well, and tuck them under. Repeat with the remaining logs. Set the braids aside, covered with lightly greased plastic wrap or an acrylic dough-rising cover, to rise for 1 hour; they should look puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk.

Bake the bread in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the braids from oven, and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Serve them warm or at room temperature. If any is left over after a few days, use bread to make bread pudding (recipe follows).Yield: two 10-inch braids.

New Favorite Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Doughnut MuffinsA new favorite! I make a lot of blueberry muffins, because I love them, and this recipe is incredibly delicious, I would even say perfect. It has a delicate crumb (unlike ATK with the sour cream) and a beautiful appearance, even at high altitude–which is a little hard to do! I made two dozen of these the other morning, and all of them were gone within ten minutes. So, there’s seven of us, and I was a slow enough eater that I only got one (read: I was actually breathing while I ate), and my ten-year old confessed to eating 7! Incredible. Anyway, they are great, and delicious, and perhaps the best blueberry muffin I have made. I am using the rest of a flat of blueberries for this tomorrow. This recipe comes from Flo Braker’s Baking for Every Occasion. Many thanks to her for a perfect recipe! 

New Favorite Blueberry Muffins

  • 2 c. all purpose flour (can substitute with 1/2 whole wheat, too!)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. well shaken cold buttermilk (or sour your milk with 1 T. lemon juice)
  • 6 T. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 t. finely grated lemon zest or orange zest
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 11/2 c. blueberries

For Topping

  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon or a 1 t. of ground cinnamon and 1/2 t. of ground cardamom
  • 6 T. butter, melted

Center rack in the oven and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out the excess flour. Or butter and flour the cups or line with fluted paper or foil liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, butter, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla until combined.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Do not beat until smooth, or the muffins will have a coarse texture.

Using the spatula, fold in the blueberries just enough to incorporated them into the batter. Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake the muffins until they are golden, spring back when gently pressed in the centre, and are starting to pull away from the muffin cups, 18 to 23 minutes. Cool in pan until they can be handled, about 10 to 15 minutes.

TO MAKE THE DOUGHNUT TOPPING

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. While the muffins are still warm, gently remove them from the pan one at a time. Dip the tops in melted butter, roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat, and then place on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store at room temperature under a cake dome for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 10 days in a sturdy covered container. Thaw at room temperature 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Fresh Apricot Smoothie

Fresh Apricot SmoothieA lovely friend of ours gave us a huge box full of fresh apricots. They are in abundance this year in Utah! So, I did many things with them this week: canning with my mother and aunts, slicing and freezing them, and additionally, we have been enjoying them every morning in our morning smoothie. After many trials, his version is our favorite. Our cute six-year-old asked to be in a picture with it, because he loves smoothies, and apricots.  

Fresh Apricot Smoothie

10-12 fresh apricots, pitted and cut in half
1 tray of ice cubes (about 2 c.?)
1 c. plain or vanilla yogurt (you may want to sweeten the plain with 1/4 c. sugar or honey)
3 T. orange juice concentrate
1-1 1/2 c. water
1 t. vanilla
a dash of cinnamon (optional, but a great suggestion from our Aunt!)

Blend together and enjoy! Makes about 6 cups.