Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A little bit of everything...

Today's post will hopefully be wonderful enough to last a few days, because I'm not sure I'll have the time to post in the next few days. My grandparents will be visiting us from out of state, for Mothers' Day and one sister's birthday, and I have a cousin graduating from college this weekend as well. ...All in all, I expect a busy weekend. ...A weekend which starts on Thursday. :)

First, though, I'd like to thank all those of you who contributed ideas for getting rid of ants. ...Though I did fall asleep last night imagining little ants curling up and dying in agony from indigestible food I provided for them. :( No, I haven't tried anything yet. There's so many ways to get rid of them, it seems! Now I must pick which one to suggest to my mother first.

Second, I thought I'd show another quilt picture from the quilt show back in April. One day soon I hope to share some pictures of the spring outfits I'm working on right now, but I've only completed one skirt so far, so that will have to wait. (Maybe I should do a post on NOT putting sewing projects off!)

I really liked the simplicity yet beauty of this quilt; it looks like it was meant to be used. The colors remind me of the 1950's, and the pattern reminds me of one my great grandmother used. The bottom photo is a close up of the wonderful hand quilting the maker did. Such tiny stitches! I believe the piecing was done on machine.

...And, next, I'd like to share some of those recipes I promised y'all.

Doughnuts. Who doesn't like them?

I know this is bad to say, since I took it, but isn't this photo beeaauutiful? The morning sunshine was falling through our kitchen window onto the table, making the chocolate topping on the doughnuts just sparkle. And I had just learned how to use the focus on Dad's camera, so I could get close-up pictures that weren't fuzzy.

Anyway, back to the topic of making doughnuts.

I've always wanted to try my hand at it, but was a little nervous because I've heard that making doughnuts is tricky.

Then my Grandma gave me a recipe for doughnuts that she's used, and her mother used, and I decided to try making it.

They were good old fashioned fried doughnuts. Putting the dough together was simple. I cut out the doughnuts and plopped them in the hot oil. (great way to splatter your clothes and get burned!) But oh how good they smelled! Half an hour, and several burns later, the kitchen smelled strongly of burnt oil, but the table had a lovely little heap of doughnuts cooling on it.

If you've never had fresh, warm, homemade doughnuts you can't imagine how good they are. I'd never tasted anything like them.

But there was the issue of using all that oil, and making the house smell like a fast-food place.

Then, someone told me that you can make baked doughnuts.

So I researched that on the Internet. Wala! Of course, I HAD to adapt the recipe I found. I fiddled with the amounts of some of the ingredients, changed a few things, and added the cream cheese filling and chocolate topping. Here's the results:

(By the way, you're free to make these doughnuts, but this recipe is copyrighted! :) I may want to send it in to Taste of Home someday! :) Isn't that the greatest magazine?)

Amber's Baked Doughnuts

Don't overbake these - if anything, underbake them; they will continue baking outside the oven for a few minutes. Also, if you decide to make Option#2, make sure the holes are big enough that they don't bake shut - these doughnuts rise! You can cut doughnuts out and place on baking sheets the night before, and store in the refrigerator. Pull out and let rise 1 hour, before baking the next morning.

1 1/3 cups warm milk (divided)
1 TBS active dry yeast
2 TBS butter
2/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
2 eggs (fresh, if you can get them!)
5 cups flour (white whole wheat is what I use, and it tastes perfect!)
A pinch or two of nutmeg
1 tsp. Sea Salt

Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in yeast and set aside for five minutes or so. (Be sure your milk is warm, not hot, or it will kill the yeast.) Stir butter and sugar into remaining cup of warm milk and add to yeast mixture. With fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt - just until flour is incorporated. With dough hook, beat lightly for a few minutes on medium speed. Now, look at your dough and add a few more TBS of flour or milk, is you need to. (Mine, if I remember right, usually is just right, and I don't need to add anything.) You want the dough to pull away from sides of bowl, and be smooth and supple. Now, knead just a few minutes longer, shape into a ball, put in a buttered or oiled bowl, and let rise for an hour in a warm place (like the inside of an oven, with the oven light on. The oven isn't on, of course!)

Punch down dough, and roll out to 1/2"-thick on your table or counter top. Cut out 2-inch circles with a biscuit-cutter (for filled doughnuts) or with a doughnut cutter (for doughnuts with holes). Transfer carefully to greased baking sheets, without stretching the circles out of shape.

If you plan to refrigerate over night, this is when you put them aside. If not...

...Cover with a clean cloth and let rise another 45 minutes. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until bottoms are just golden - about 10 minutes, but you might want to check earlier.

Now, you have two options.
Option #1:
This is for filled doughnuts. With an electric mixer, cream about 1/2 a pack of cream cheese with some powdered sugar and milk, to make a stiff frosting. Put into some sort of decorator's tube.

Let the doughnuts cool a bit, then insert a knife sideways into it, and wiggle the knife around to make a pocket inside the doughnut. Remove knife, insert the tip of the decorating tube, and fill the doughnut with creme. (Don't bust it!)

Now, melt some chocolate chips until they are runny, and use a spoon to spread a thin layer on the top of each doughnut. This should harden fairly quickly.


Option #2:
This is for doughnuts with holes.
1/2 cup UNSALTED butter, melted (the UNSALTED part is very important! That's experience talking!)
1 cup sugar
1 TBS cinnamon

Melt the butter in one shallow bowl, and combine the sugar and cinnamon in another. While the doughnuts are still warm, dip first in the butter, then quickly into the sugar-cinnamon to coat.
Eat while still warm. (though they taste good cool, too!) Yum!

One more thing:

Grace at the Kitchen Sink

Do we, I wonder, stop to think
How we need God's grace at the kitchen sink?
It really isn't any fun when you can't get your dishes done.
For some folks need to fill their pans
And others want to wash their hands.
The cook brings vegetables to scrub.
One sister has a cloth to run.
Each little one keeps coming up for a cool drink in his small cup.
You try to keep the dishwater hot, but cold drips in, like as not.
It takes a lot of prayer, I think,
For the grace of God at the kitchen sink,
Yet - I am glad that I can live among dear ones who take and give.
There is a wondrous family link of love around the kitchen sink!
~ Anonymous ~


Anna said...

Hey Amber,
Lovely quilt, and those donuts look wonderful!! I've never made baked donuts. :) But with my 9 brothers (and 3 sisters), it'd probablly be a good thing to try :D. In our family, there is almost always at least ONE person that likes whatever new recipe I try! :) The wonderful blessing of a large family!
Have fun with your...was it realative's coming? Can't remember for sure :)

Amber said...

Wow, Anna - 9 brothers and 3 sisters! You are so blessed!!!!!