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):
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
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
In celebration of her birthday, my good friend Angela threw a picnic for all her friends. I had a pile of blackberries at the ready, and so decided to experiment with a springtime cupcake recipe.
I started with Cook’s Illustrated white cake, but made some modifications. For the frosting, I made a standard buttercream icing, with blackberry and lemon zest. Spoiler alert: They are super-pink!
What you need for the cupcakes:
4 6 oz packs of blackberries
1/3 cup milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp lemon juice
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tblsp) unsalted butter, softened
What you need for the icing:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
(optional) 1 tblsp meringue powder or cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4+ cup blackberry puree (from the puree above)
1 tsp lemon zest
What to do:
– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin pans
– Puree the blackberries in a food processor or blender (I had only a mini-chopper, and had to do this in batches). Scrape the puree into a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl. Use a flexible spatula to push the blackberries through the sieve, leaving seeds behind. You should be left with 2/3 – 1 cup of clean, filtered puree. Set 1/4 or 1/2 cup aside for the frosting!
(Option: We saved a few whole blackberries to bake right in the centers of some cupcakes, and this was a tasty surprise for some people)
– In a small bowl, combine the puree, milk, egg, and lemon juice. Whip them up with a fork until they’re well-blended. Set aside.
– In a large bowl, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix (with hand mixer or stand mixer) to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add the butter. Mix until combined and you’ve got moist crumbs.
– Add the liquids (over there in your small bowl) and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until evenly combined, scraping down the sides when you need to.
– Fill cupcake liners ~3/4 full.
(If you’re including whole blackberries in your cupcake centers, as we mentioned in the Option above, drop them into the centers of the cups at this point!)
– Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake center comes out clean. Set out to cool.
To make the frosting:
– Cream the butter and extracts until smooth using your mixer.
– Mix in confectioner’s sugar, meringue powder or tartar, if you’re using it, and the salt. Beat 2-3 minutes on high.
– Add the blackberry puree and beat for another minute. If the texture isn’t quite what you want, you can add confectioner’s sugar (to thicken) or water (to thin).
The frosting is pretty sweet, so you’ll likely only need a thin layer on each cupcake.
The DC metro area is an amazing place to eat. There are incredible restaurants, street vendors, and markets in dozens of great neighborhoods throughout DC, VA, and maybe MD. However, it is nearly impossible to find a good bagel in this town. You’d think, with our proximity to New York and the sheer number of northern ex-pats living here, that someone would make a killing with NY-style bagels. But aside from one little shop in upper NW that takes me 30 minutes to drive to (and at least an hour on Metro)… there’s nothing. So I decided this weekend to try my hand at the very delicious Everything Bagel.
This recipe is sort of based on Peter Reinhart’s, with a few improvisations. It’s very important to note that this recipe takes two days! I waited until Sunday to start, and in my excitement, plowed ahead without really reading. Oops. Luckily this was a three-day weekend.
This recipe makes 6 bagels (maybe 8, if you make them a bit smaller).
What you’ll need…
…for the dough:
- 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup (I’m told you can substitute honey)
- 1 teaspoon active instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine-grained salt, or 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
…for the poaching liquid
- 2 – 3 quarts water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons barley malt syrup (or honey)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine-grained salt, or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
…for the delicious outside flavoring:
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup minced garlic (if dried, rehydrated)
- 1/4 cup dried minced onions (rehydrated)
- 1 egg white and a bit of water, for an optional egg wash
Note: I just tossed in the things that I personally like on my everything bagel – make whatever you’d like! But know you’ll need at least a cup of material to coat both sides of 6 bagels.
Tools for the job:
- one medium-sized mixing bowl
- one larger, deep bowl (or pot)
- a baking sheet
- parchment paper
- a large pot for poaching
- a bit of oil for the sheet surface
- a brush for the oil (and the optional egg wash)
- a big slotted spoon (or other bagel-conveying device)
- tools to stir and measure with, of course
What do to on Day 1:
First, you need to make the dough. Pour the warm water into a biggish bowl (saving your biggest bowl for the rising, which will happen in about 10 minutes). To the warm water, add the malt syrup, yeast, and salt. Stir it up until everything’s dissolved. Add the bread flour, and mix (I did this by hand, and it took 2-3 minutes with a big spoon. Those of you with fancy mixers and dough hooks can adjust accordingly).
The dough should form a stiff ball, and the flour should be totally hydrated (so, no powder should be left). If it isn’t, stir in a little more water. Once you’ve got a ball, let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Come back, and move the dough to a very lightly floured surface, and knead it for about 3 minutes. The dough should be stiff, but bounce a bit when you stick your thumb into it, and it should not stick to your thumb when you do that. If it’s too sticky, knead in a little more flour.
Place the dough in a deep, clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a tight layer of plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. I admit that my kitchen was freezing when I did this, so I turned the “warmer” part of my stovetop on Low, and put it on top of that to help it along.
— — — Go do something awesome for an hour — — —
Get a baking sheet ready to take the bagels: Line a sheet with parchment paper, and very lightly oil it. Now you’re ready to shape your bagels! Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (remember, you can make 8 smaller bagels if you want, but you might need an extra baking sheet). Roll each piece between your hands until you have a thick rope (much like when making pretzels, only these are fatter). Dip your fingers in some water and use it to blend the ends of the rope together into a circle. The hole in the middle should be about 2 inches wide.
Put these nicely-formed proto-bagels onto the lightly oiled parchment paper, and give their tops a light brushing of oil as well. Wrap the whole sheet in plastic wrap, and stick them in the fridge to proof overnight.
— — — Go do something awesome, and then get a good night’s sleep — — —
Good morning! It’s Day 2! Are you ready for bagels? Well, first you need to pull the sheet out of the fridge, unwrap them, and let them hang out for an hour. This would be a good time to make some Bloody Marys, and to make sure you’ve got cream cheese on hand.
You could also get your outside flavorings together, if you’re not making plain bagels. Just add all that stuff I listed (or from your own list) to a low, shallow bowl, and mix with a spoon. If you’re using dried minced garlic or onion, you’ll noticed I said to rehydrate them – just soak the 1/4 cup of dried stuff in water, covered with plastic wrap, for at least a half hour. Then squeeze out excess water with a paper towel before you add it to your flavoring mix.
If you’re making non-vegan bagels, and/or you want your seeds to stick on a little bit better, now’s the time to prepare an quick egg white wash – just whisk and egg white and a tablespoon of water together, and set aside.
You should also get a fresh baking sheet ready. Line a sheet with parchment paper, and lightly oil it (just as you did yesterday). Remember, if you’re making 8 bagels, you’ll likely need two sheets.
Once a full hour has passed, preheat your oven to 500F, and get your poaching liquid together. Take a large pot and fill it with 2-3 quarts of water (basically enough to give you 4 inches depth of water). Bring it to a boil, then add the malt syrup, baking soda (this causes a fun reaction!), and salt. Stir them a bit, then bring the liquid down to a simmer.
Place the bagels (I did 3 at a time) into the poaching liquid. After 10-15 seconds, they should float to the top! Once floating, let them kick it for a minute, then using a slotted spoon, flip them over and let them kick it for another minute. Take them out (with the spoon) and set them down.
Now, if you’re making the JW-Favorite Everything Bagel, this is when you want to get your seed mixture onto the bagel. Brush your egg wash onto both sides of the bagel (if you want – you could just use the water-based poaching liquid to stick the seeds on, like H&H does). Swish your bagel around in the low bowl of seedy flavoring, flipping to get them on both sides. Once your happy with your flavor-level, place the bagel onto the lightly oiled parchment-lined baking sheet.
When all your bagels are on the sheet and ready to go, place them in the oven and turn the heat down to 450F. Bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on your oven. They’re done when they have a nice golden-brown crust. Note: If you have an extra baking sheet, I highly recommend baking these with that second sheet underneath your bagel sheet – this sort of buffers the heat, and helps the bottoms cook more evenly.
Pull the bagels out when they’re done, and give them about 10 minutes on a cooling rack before you cut into them (they’ll be steamy!) Serve with your favorite accoutrements, and ENJOY.
This past Sunday, I invited a few people over to watch Tom Brady run around a football field (and then walk off said field with a sad, sad face). Normally, I would greet my guests with a pile of cookies, but I wanted to try something I’ve never before made: soft pretzels.
I did some recipe-hunting, trying to find something that combined a little bit of the sweetness of Auntie Anne’s with the crunchy-outside, soft-as-a-couch inside styling of a Fenway pretzel. To accomplish this, I combined this recipe from Sprinkles of Parsley with a few finishing touches from Alton Brown. The resulting pretzels were the perfect balance of sweet and salt, crunch and chew.
What you’ll need for the dough:
1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
2 tblsp brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour **(This was surprisingly hard to find, but important, chemically, because of its nice high gluten. Luckily, Whole Foods came through).
…and for the bath and eggy wash:
2 cups warm water
2 tblsp baking soda
2 tblsp butter
~1/4 cup coarse salt (sea or kosher, whatever you’ve got)
What you’ll do:
In a large bowl, pour the warm water and yeast. Gently stir until the yeast is dissolved (about a minute). Add the brown sugar and salt, then stir until those are dissolved, too. Then, add the flour a cup at a time, mixing between each addition. Once all 4 cups of flour are added and you’ve got a thick, well-mixed bit of dough, pull it out of the bowl and knead it for about 5 minutes (or until you can push your thumb into the dough, and it bounces back into shape).
Find a deep pot with a cover (if you don’t have this, any deep bowl/pot with plastic wrap will work). Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pot with olive oil, put the ball of dough down in the middle, and cover it. Now set this somewhere warm to rise for an hour. If your kitchen doesn’t have a warm spot, you can do what I did – preheat the oven to 450F and place the pot on the stove top.
—- go do something awesome for an hour —-
Hopefully by now, your dough has doubled in size. Celebrate by preparing a nice, warm-water baking soda bath for your proto-pretzels! In a clean bowl, pour 2 cups of very warm water (some people use boiling water at this step, though I find that harder to work with, so I just use water as warm as my hands can stand). Add the 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and stir until it’s dissolved. (DCist writer and fellow food-lover Jamie recommends adding honey to this bath, if you’d like a little extra sweetness!)
You should also prepare some baking sheets – either grease them well, or line them with parchment paper, and then set those aside. And, if you hadn’t already preheated your oven to keep your dough warm, you should preheat it now, to 450F.
With the bath nearby, move the dough from your pot to a large cutting mat or board. Chop off about 1 cup’s worth of dough (you can adjust this based on how large you want your pretzels).
Take this chunk, and roll it between your hands to thin it into a rope of dough, whose diameter should not be more than 1/2 inch. Once you have the rope, shape it into a pretzel. I sort of lay it out horizontally, then loop each end in, and twist them together in the middle:
Take each pretzel, and dip it into the warm baking soda bath for about 10 seconds (use both hands, so it can keep its shape). Then, set each pretzel on the baking sheet (give them about 1.5 inches between). When your sheet is full, set it on the warm oven to let the proto-pretzels rise for another 15 minutes.
While they’re rising, you can prepare the egg wash – just whisk 1 egg with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. When their 15 minutes is up, brush the wash onto each pretzel, and then sprinkle coarse salt on top of each.
Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes, depending on size – my pretzels were about 4 inches across, and only needed 8 minutes. These are best served warm, but are still totally delicious hours later. I served mine with tasty stone-ground mustard, though you could use a sweet glaze as well.