Very Berry “Caviar”

OK, call me crazy but I’m obsessed with the “small plates” restaurant movement. You know, those places where you pay hundreds of dollars to eat half a tomato and a crouton. But somehow it’s the best half tomato and crouton you’ve ever had. So, naturally, I’ve decided to make a dessert that showcases this small plate movement that I love so much. For now, I’ll just be posting a picture and small description. I’ve only made this once and I need to make sure I can easily replicate it before I post a recipe. But… here’s a pretty picture to look at in the meantime!Berry Caviar

S’mookies. Yes, I said S’mookies.

Can I get a fist pump?! My sweet tooth was DTE (down to eat) last night and I couldn’t figure out what to make, so I scoured the internet for ideas. It was a mine field out there and my search results returned nothing but grenades – you know, the kind of dessert that doesn’t really look all that great, isn’t going to satisfy that real urge you have, but you’d settle for it if nothing better came along. Anyway, after about a good hour I saw this picture of a s’more sandwich set in the center of two circles of cookie dough – Yeah buddy! This was definitely the winner.

Now, I know that I made a s’mores doughnut for my last post… but how can you deny the deliciousness of a s’mores cookie? You can’t. And that’s why I decided to do it, anyway. That, plus it’s super simple to make them and won’t take away from your usual GTL routine (you know, gym, tan, and laundry).

I made them as a stack. I started with a layer of chocolate chip cookie dough, a layer of chocolate, a marshmallow, a layer of graham cracker, and then another layer of cookie dough. That was pretty much it. Then, I baked them according to the cookie’s directions. It took about 5 minutes longer than the package said it would, but I think everybody’s experience would be different. And the most important part: Oh yeah! Delicious, yeah!

Did I mention I watched an episode or two of Jersey Shore while I ate them?

For the future, there are a few things I would have done differently:

I would have done two layers of graham cracker. It was SO delicious in the center of the cookie.

I also would have done more marshmallow. The chocolate was obvious in the cookie but the marshmallow was overshadowed by it.

S’Mores Doughnuts – A.K.A. Holy Cow These Doughnuts Are Amazing!

I’ve been gone for so long! And I’m sincerely sorry for that. How about I make it up to you with one of the best desserts I’ve made to-date? OK, great! I’m a bragger… I know this… but, come on, these are worth bragging about.

Apologies for the quality of my photos. I need to get myself a new camera. Anyway, here’s how it all happened:

Friend A: Why don’t people ever put marshmallow inside doughnuts?

Me: I have no idea, that sounds amazing.

Friend B: I think it would be way too sweet.

Me: You’re probably right… but, wait, what if they could be like s’mores?

Friend B: Yes! Now that I could get behind!

 

Idea born.

 

I did a lot of research after this initial conversation to see if anybody had successfully put together a s’mores doughnut. I came across a few delicious blog postings but most of them had chocolate in the center, or the s’mores ingredients just piled on top of a plain doughnut. What’s a s’more without gooey marshmallow inside?! These doughnut ideas were more like doughNOTs in my book. So I decided to play with it.

I invited a friend over for dinner and doughnut baking and she gladly agreed. We hit up the grocery store and grabbed a whole bunch of ingredients we thought would make the perfect s’mores doughnut. We weren’t sure whether a whipped marshmallow spread would work better than solid marshmallows so we got both. We also grabbed a whole bunch of ingredients for a few different kinds of doughnut, from super sweet to mild, light and airy to dense and cakey. Ultimately, I only knew that I didn’t want it to be too sweet and too rich. We also agreed that they should be bite-sized (and it’s SO cute!).

After some serious testing we came up with the perfect recipe. It combines a mostly mild and not-too-sweet doughnut that’s light and airy, a creamy marshmallow spread filling, milk chocolate, and crushed graham crackers. And the most difficult part was kneading the dough because I don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook. Getting the marshmallow inside is pretty easy, as long as you have some sort of food injector. I have one that came with a molecular gastronomy kit.

For the Dough:

Initial Source: “My Mom’s Raised Doughnuts” from Allrecipes.com

But I’ve modified one small piece of the recipe to make it a bit more dense than the original.

  • 1 package highly active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1 tsp. sugar, and the warm water. Stir and set aside.Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk and vegetable shortening and cook on medium-low heat until the shortening is melted.In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3/4 cup of sugar, the salt, and the milk and shortening mixture. Mix on low speed until the sugar is completely dissolved, then add the yeast, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour. Continue to mix on low until the mixture is completely combined, then add the remaining flour. If you’re not using a stand mixer it’s easiest to just combine everything in the bowl with your hands and knead the dough.
Remove the dough from the bowl once it no longer sticks to the edges of the bowl and continue to knead on a hard, flat surface until it’s completely smooth and elastic. Form a ball with the dough. Grease (lightly) the inside of the bowl and the outside of the dough ball with shortening and replace it in the bowl. Cover with parchment or wax paper and allow it to sit for an hour.

Working in small batches, roll the dough flat to about 1/2 inch in thickness and cut in circles with a cookie cutter. I used a 2″ round cookie cutter. Set each round aside and let them sit for another hour.

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 quarts of oil to approx 365°F

Fry each doughnut round for approx 1 minute on each side and lay on paper towel to cool.

For the S’Mores Component:

These doughnuts are great on their own… but adding a few delicious toppings and fillings can really make them pop. Then, of course, there’s my s’mores doughnut.

I filled the doughnuts with marshmallow topping. To do this, you can simply purchase a jar of marshmallow spread, like the kind used to make peanut butter and fluff sandwiches, and inject the spread into the doughnuts. This worked way better than trying to melt marshmallow and inject that.

I scooped some of the spread into a food syringe, which can be purchased at most grocery stores. I microwaved it on high for about 5 seconds, just long enough to soften the spread, and then simply inserted the tip into the side of the doughnut and squeezed the spread in. I stopped when the outer shell of the doughnut began to crack.

I topped the doughnut with melted milk chocolate. This was easy enough. Simply pour some milk chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in intervals of 5 seconds, taking it out to stir the chocolate between each. Once the chocolate is melted, just spoon it on top of the doughnut and spread it around.

For the graham cracker crumbles on top, crush some graham crackers into a bowl and dip the doughnuts (with freshly spread melted chocolate on top) chocolate-side down into the graham cracker.

You don’t have to serve immediately, these were even great the next day!

 

Theme Change

You may have noticed a complete change in the theme of my page. Unfortunately, my previous theme decided to self-destruct and I wasn’t able to get it back. Wah, wah. So… please stay patient with me as I work through trying to fix all the bugs in this one and get myself going again. Hopefully I’ll come back even better looking and more useful than before!

Banana Spring Rolls

So a friend of mine wanted to get lunch yesterday and it had been a while since we’d been anywhere for Thai. As an appetizer, we got these great vegetable spring rolls with a peanut sauce for dipping. It was pretty fantastic. After we were finished eating, I wanted something sweet. I browsed the dessert menu and all they had was a selection of ice creams and mochi. That really wasn’t going to do it for me… so I decided to head home and try my hand at making an Asian inspired dessert.

That’s when I remembered that my favorite Vietnamese restaurant serves banana spring rolls. They’re the perfect kind of sweet, and frying the rice paper in butter gives it a completely different flavor from a traditional oil-fried spring roll. Say WHAT. They’re so delicious. Continue reading

Super Skinny Milkshakes

I love milkshakes. I could probably write an entire post on why they’re amazing and delicious, but then there wouldn’t be any room to share recipes and that’s what I’m here for! So I won’t do that – we’ll just settle for the short version: THEY’RE AMAZING! End of rant. So what’s a person to do when he or she has an obsession for milkshakes but hates the calories and the result of all those calories? Make a skinny milkshake, of course! By using a simple ingredient called xanthan gum, we can make a really delicious, super creamy, filling and fulfilling milkshake with about 1/10 of the calories and no fat. Yes… no fat! Are you excited, yet?

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