Fonuts are cronuts(tm), but better.

photo 9

Fonuts make a lovely summer patio snack!

Just when I thought there was nothing new to try and bake, NYC’s Dominique Ansel came up with the cronut, the croissant-doughnut hybrid. He’s since trademarked the word (ugh) but recipes for similar wheel-shaped bits of deliciousness started popping up, and I had to try one.

I went with Edd Kimber’s 2-day straightforward recipe (for what he calls a “fauxnut” and what I am calling “fonut” because “faux” just looks annoying). He starts with a pretty easy croissant dough, which cuts down on labor, but wow, are these still a ton of work. I can almost understand charging $5 per pastry. Almost.

All that work is worth it, though – these were fluffy, flaky, and perfectly flavored. I was totally skeptical of the lemon glaze, but it really makes the fonut. As does the vanilla cream filling. As do the flaky layers. Ok the whole thing is just GOOD.

So I’ve taken Kimber’s recipe, changed everything into American measures because… well… patriotism? and a preference for volume over weight. I’ve made a few small changes to some methods and to the order of things, but the credit really goes to him for this recipe.

Remember: I said this is a 2-day event. Start the night before you want to eat!

What you need (in addition to the usuals):

Parchment paper
Room to roll out some dough
A rolling pin
Two round cookie/dough cutters: 1) 3.5 inches, 2) 1 inch
A pastry brush
At least two quarts of vegetable (or other) oil
A cooking thermometer (preferably one that clips to the side of your pot, but one you can dip into the oil occasionally to monitor frying temp is fine too)
A piping bag and pointy tip*

*I didn’t realize I didn’t own this until it was time to fill the fonuts. Oops. I easily improvised with the spout from my glass olive oil bottle and a gallon Ziploc bag!

For the dough:

1/2 cup warm whole milk
2/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
4 tsp dry active yeast
5 tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 2/3 sticks of butter

For the sugaring:

1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon

For the filling:

1 1/4 cups cold whole milk
1 vanilla bean pod
4 egg yolks
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar

For the glaze:

Juice of 1 lemon
~1 cup powdered sugar*

*maybe more, depending on how juicy your lemon is, and how thick you like your glaze

Day 1…

Start the dough by mixing the milk, water, and yeast into a medium bowl, and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flours, sugar, and salt until well combined. If you have a large food processor, you can mix in that, then add the butter in chunks, pulsing until the butter bits are ~1cm cubes. If, like me, you like to do things by hand, chop up the butter into 1 cm bits, and gently mix them into the flour mixture with a big fork. Either way, the key is to not over-process the mixture.

Grab a spatula, and now pour/scrape the milky mixture into the large bowl with your flours and butter. Gently mix everything together, trying to keep the butter from getting squished into smaller pieces. Once everything is roughly combined, move the dough to a work surface and lightly knead this into a ball. Put the ball back in the bowl, cover it with cling wrap, and stick it in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

If you’re following my method of baking, go get dinner and a whiskey with your friends at the place down the street.

Once you’re fed, and your dough is good and rested, flour your work surface, and place your dough on it. Roll it out into a rough rectangle, about 10×20 inches. Fold it up in thirds, like a letter, and rotate it 90 degrees. Roll it out again, fold it again, rotate it again. Do this a total of 4 times. When you’re done, wrap your folded slab of dough in cling wrap, put it in the fridge, and get some sleep.

Day 2…

Good morning! Time to make the fonuts!

Pull the dough out of the fridge, and roll it out into a rectangle that’s about 1 cm thick. Cut out the doughnut shapes and set them aside on a lightly floured surface. You can put the leftover bits of dough together and re-roll them out to make as many doughnuts as possible!


Rolling, cutting, and setting out to proof (they get a LOT bigger).


While those are set aside to proof, make the sugaring, the filling, and the glaze.

To make the sugaring: Rub the lemon zest and sugar together in a bowl and set it aside. Easy.

To make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, flour, and sugar together, and set aside. Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Slice the vanilla pod down the middle, then scrape out the beans into the milk. Toss the pod in too, and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, pour it over the egg mixture, whisk it together to combine, and pour it back into the saucepan. Warm it up, whisking constantly, until the whole mixture is a thick custard. Pour it back into the bowl, cover it with cling wrap, and put the bowl in the fridge.

To make the glaze: Squeeze the lemon juice into bowl, and add powdered sugar, whisking after each addition, until the glaze is the thickness you want. I think I used about 1 cup, but you might want more.

Now, get ready to fry. Fill a large saucepan with the oil and warm it over medium heat. Once the oil gets up to 350F, fry the fonuts a few at a time, 2 minutes on each side. They should be a beautiful golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to pull each fonut out, and place them on a wire rack with parchment paper on top.

When each is warm enough to touch, roll it around in the lemon sugaring and set it aside to cool. Fill your pointy-tipped piping bag with the custard. Take each cooled fonut, and poke into the side to squeeze in the filling. I made 3-4 holes in each one and was conservative in my first go-round – fill them until you feel them bulge! I also made a little 3-dot decoration of cream on the top of each fonut, for fun.


Fried, sugared, filled (thanks, Baking Assistant Samer, for photographing!)


Lastly, take a pastry brush and brush the glaze over the tops of the donuts. The tartness of the lemon is really a surprising, delicious counter to the sweetness of the fonut and the vanilla filling.

Enjoy! And if anything is unclear along the way, you know where to find me.

The delicious fonut insides.

The delicious fonut insides.

Electron Microscope Mystery 7

It’s time for another microscope mystery!

The field of view here is about a millimeter. What is it?


Update, 4:50p: This is proving to be a tricky one! Here’s a zoomed-out view.


Update, 5:02p: Hooray! @poikiloblastic guessed right, it’s a key.


National Grilled Cheese Day!

The latest issue of Culture (yes, I read cheese magazines) tells me that today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. I personally celebrate grilled cheeses much more frequently than one day a year, but who am I to question national acknowledgement of the greatest sandwich on Earth?

In honor of the day, I polled the Twitter about favorite sandwich breads and accoutrements. About 20 people responded (I expected more! It’s GRILLED CHEESE, people) and I’ve summarized the results in these handy pie charts.

Summary of Deliciousness

Chart 1: Bread Preference

Sourdough (29%) and white (24%) are the clear leaders here, one clever respondent suggesting a rosemary garlic sourdough – I am trying that next week, for sure.

Chart 2: Cheeeeeeeeeeese

Cheddar and American cheese together are the clear winners here, though I had a number of single-mention suggestions (full disclosure – the tarentaise was my own vote, because it may be my most favorite cheese in the world ever).

Chart 3: Accoutrements

A gross 23% of you like tomato inside your grilled cheese sandwiches. Tomatoes are for making into ketchup for dipping, in my opinion. I am, however, on board with the many who like apple and bacon in their sandwiches. Pickles, onions, and several other singly-mentioned condiments really surprised me. Relish and mustard with cheddar on white? I’ll try it, Jim!

I hope you honor the cheese gods and enjoy at least one delicious sandwich today. Tonight, I’ll be making myself an American (hand-made!), tarentaise, bacon, and green apple on white.

Happy grilling!

In Squee We Trust.

It’s been over 3 MONTHS since I’ve last written here. What a slacker!

I have tested recipes to write up, and I have science stories to tell, but… it’s March, and the most important thing to happen in March is, of course, the Baby Animal March Squee Madness Tournament.

This year, rather than host it here at fuzzy science, we’re moving our operation to the Big Time. At you can see two years‘ worth of brackets and winners, read this year’s contender bios (coming soon), and most importantly, vote in the 2013 tournament! Follow us @squeemadness and get in on the awesome.

PS: Sure, we’re aware that @BuzzFeedAnimals is trying to mimic our tourney, but they a) are late to the game, b) have a confusing prediction step in their bracket, and c) have included adult animals. COME ON. We all know baby animals are where it’s at.


Electron Microscope Mystery 6

It’s funny how when I posted Mystery 5 I thought that after August, things would calm down (at NSF and in life). Ha! No.

So I bring you another microscope mystery! The photo below is about half a millimeter across. What do you think it is?

Update: 1:10p

This is proving to be a tricky one, so here’s a 5mm-wide view…

Update: 1:18p

Nice job in the comments, Lori! The first image is a soldered portion of a ring – an engagement ring, in fact. A few years ago, my intern got engaged. She came into the lab and asked me to check if the diamond was real. I asked, “are you sure you want to know the answer?” She did. It was.

Electron Microscope Mystery 5

July and August are incredibly hectic months for my programs at NSF, so I have been a major slacker here at FS. To make up for it, I bring you a new electron microscope mystery! The field of view here is 6mm. What do you think it is?

Update, Wednesday August 8, 8:40a: This seems to be a difficult one! So here’s a second image, same scale, of the other end of this object. A hint: Many of us depend on a bunch of these, daily!

Update, Saturday August 11, 4:40p: Well, this proved difficult for everyone I spoke to, on and off this page. Here’s the answer: It’s a link in a bike chain!

Accretionary Wedge No. 47: Field Notes

I am very happy to be hosting Accretionary Wedge this month. For the last couple of years, I’ve been a Program Director at NSF, funding research and field activities and workshops and graduate fellowships and whatever else we can afford. But before I was a Fed, I was an igneous petrologist / analytical geochemist who had to do lots of field work.

And I miss it.

A lot.

So I thought I would use AW47 to dig back through some of my field notes and photos and share them, in the hope that you’ll join in and share yours, too.

In the field, I keep two notebooks; one for documenting samples and field sites, and one for documenting the more… qualitative aspects of the trip. I could share a lot of science here, but I got completely distracted by the latter of the two books. In 2001, I was in Costa Rica (and later Nicaragua), where I enjoyed noting non-geologic things, such as cow sightings, or the fact that the moon looks different near the equator:

29 June 01: “…we encountered a herd of cows at an old quarry – the calves were very intrigued by our presence… The moon is at a different angle so near to the equator, it’s neat…”

When we got to Nicaragua, my eyes were opened to a lot of things. Poverty, major political unrest, and my first crater. It was an overwhelming trip:

[date unknown]: I was writing about how much harsher life felt there, relative to Costa Rica “…in the people’s sad eyes and in their land and homes and the way they talk to us…went to Masaya volcano, my first look at a live crater. Wow. It was degassing – big pulses of cloudy gasses kept pouring out, stinking of sulfer [sic, nice job JW] and maybe chlorine? Never in the US could we drive up to the rim of a crater. It’s incredible to see into the belly of a volcano – a window into the subsurface. Absolutely incredible.  The other highlight of the day was Laguna Apoyo – a crater lake that, as legend tells it, used to house a serpent egg that hatched the dragon who joined tails with another (on Nicoya Peninsula” to shake + cause earthquakes. Saw a millipede on an outcrop. Also saw houses with bulletholes and old Sandinista propeganda [sic] all over the towns – this is a very troubled place. After the big quake in Managua a few years ago, they couldn’t even rebuild, they just put up a few new buildings elsewhere – it’s a dreary sprawl.”

At one point on this trip, we rescued a baby goat, which, if you know anything about me, was pretty much THE BEST DAY EVER:

“A long but fantastic day. Tom has perfected his monkey call. We picked + ate fresh mangoes, and collected ~ 100 samples of great ash flows. Around 3, we encountered a herd of goats, who were walking away from a mama and her baby, who was tiny and trapped in a little canal valley. Tom rescued the goatlet, and the mama + baby ran toward each other, bleating out happy and frantic hello’s. It was the greatest event yet.”

And just to prove that I also sometimes wrote about samples, here’s a page from the science notebook, with an important lesson that Erik Hauri and I learned about training for the field, while climbing up the steep slopes of various Mariana volcanoes in 2004: “Next time, less treadmill, more stairmaster.”

Wise words.

I may write again this month, digging into the science side of what it’s like to hike around the tropics in search of juvenile, olivine-bearing (hopefully melt-inclusion-containing) scoria, but for now, I invite you to tell me what it’s like for YOU in the field! Share your stories, your photos, your videos, your anything, and link to it in the comments.