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Archive for the ‘Pastry’ Category

Practicing patience with a payoff of pie.

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Patience.

I don’t have it. Not really, anyway.

I have the patience for things like…

um…

…yeah, no patience.

It’s become very clear to me, more than ever, that life is full of trial and error. And because of this realization, it has also become very clear to me, more than ever, that I have a hard time being patient with that.

Today, I attempted making churros. I forgot the water. I was forced to add it after I already had the sugar and oil on the heat, to the point that it was smoking. Turns out it didn’t really matter, because once I added the flour everything seemed a-ok.

But then, when attempting to push the dough through a bag/star tip, it wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t strong enough, and I seriously did not want the dough exploding out of the bag and end up all over my hands, or worse, the floor.
I wonder if there’s some baker’s workout on Pinterest?

“Okay, no problem, I’ll just roll the dough into balls,” I thought to myself. Cool. I heated up the oil and began to fry. Everything seemed fine. Rolled them in the cinnamon-sugar mix, and took a sigh of relief. They looked great!

So I took a bite…and spit it right back out.

They had not cooked through. Ugh. I’ll have to do this again, another day. Keep an eye out for that post.

Behold, an unbaked churro. I don't recommend taking a bite of this...yuck.

Behold, an unbaked churro ball. I don’t recommend taking a bite of this. *shudder*

Everything is trial and error.

Waking up in the morning is a pretty good example.
Will my alarm clock be effective? No? Hmm…maybe I’ll set three for tomorrow.

Styling my hair is trial and error.
Okay, the fancy new volumizing shampoo I bought makes me look like Mufasa. Big fat error.

Dating. Dating is definitely trial and error. No italicized examples necessary.

Cleaning the fish bowl. Another example.
I’m pretty sure my roommate didn’t MEAN for the fish to fall down the sink drain…

All of this trying and error-ing becomes overwhelming, but you have two options:

1.) Try, try again.

2.) Surrender and abandon ship.

There are times when you just want to throw your hands in the air, throw in the towel, and throw other things around because apparently that’s the theme when giving up. But don’t! Learn to adapt. As Eric from Boy Meets World once said, “Life’s tough. Get a helmet.”

Option #2 is for quitters. We’re not quitters, we’re winners, dagnabbit! And I’ll be damned if I let some churro travesty kill my baking mojo, a crazy shampoo continue to make me look like a native to the Amazon, or let a few slightly more meaningful setbacks crush my spirit. On to bigger and better things, I say!

Things like…Key Lime Pie.

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I love Key Lime Pie. It’s such a refreshing change from chocolate, and gives my texturebuds (it’s a thing) a run for their money when I’m not putting cake or cookies in my mouth.

Initially when I made this, it didn’t set. I decided to have some patience, and let it chill. Boom. Key Lime Pie.

Lesson of the day? Patience gets you pie.

I think we could all practice patience for a result such as this, dontcha think?

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Key Lime Pie

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted
—-
1/2 cup lime juice
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp lime zest
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Crust:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine sugar and graham cracker crumbs in a small mixing bowl.

3. Add melted butter, and press into mixture with a fork until thoroughly combined.

4. Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Filling:

1. Beat egg yolks, lime juice, vanilla and heavy cream until combined. Add zest and combine.

2. Add sweetened condensed milk until completely combined, and then on high for 5 minutes. The filling will begin the thicken.

3. Pour filling into prepared crust.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

5. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Top with whipped cream when cool. Visit the Fruit Tart Cupcakes for that recipe here.

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Bon appétit!

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Saturday mornings: cartoons, PJs, and a pancake for one.

Ahh, Saturday morning.

As a kid, it was all about Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and that show with the sharks? Does anyone know what show I’m talking about? It was that show about 4 guys who were transformed into sharks…and they like, fought crime, or were criminals, or something…?

Okay well that’s going to bother me all day, but for the sake of this blog (and your time) I’ll move on.

My point is, cartoons were the bees knees during childhood. They represented the glory of what is Saturday morning. You could sleep in, stay in your jammies til noon, and then jump on your bike and ride to your friend’s house to see if they could play. Or in my case, run next door where your best friend lives and basically just assume she’s available to play house, or go to the pool, or Rollerblade, or whatever the heck else we did as kids to keep ourselves occupied.

Jessica and I had so much fun. Aww, memories. ❤

But what I’m really leaving out (and what is one of the most important parts of Saturday morning) is breakfast! Duhhh.

Weekdays are about quick, on-the-go breakfasts: Pop-Tarts, a bowl of cereal, toast — things that don’t take a long time to eat. There isn’t an opportunity to really enjoy the meal.

Enter: Saturday morning breakfast! Homemade breakfast. Come on, that’s a highlight of life. You can’t deny that.

Now, please note that I do not like breakfast foods at breakfast time. I’m not sure why. I just don’t. I’d rather have a waffle for dinner than a bowl of pasta any day of the week. But every once in a while, there’s an exception. For example, this morning.

My Saturdays aren’t what they used to be. I have this thing now, where I provide labor in exchange for money. Also known as a job. And I usually work the PM shift on weekends. Therefore, Saturday mornings are incredibly precious to me. When I got home this morning, I had the house to myself. I love having the house to myself. The TV is mine. The couch is mine. And most importantly, the kitchen is mine.

Well I still have to share the house with Kitten, but she’s feel exceptionally lazy today.

So in the midst of this wonderful solitude, I decided today was a breakfast day. And I wanted a pancake.

One giant pancake. Singular. Uno.

So that’s what I made! It’s inspired by Joy the Baker’s “Single Lady Pancake,” but the recipe is all my own. (I love the title of her recipe! So cute.) I’m not considered a “single lady” anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a little selfish “me” time with a pancake and cup of coffee, while watching the episode of New Girl I missed last Tuesday. (Which, by the way…was not funny. I was very disappointed.)

I used to make variations of this for myself last year when I lived in the apartment. It’s a delicious, wonderful, simple way to start the day. I highly recommend it.

I don’t even have a lot of pictures to show you, because I wanted to eat it ASAP.

I dislike cold pancakes. Gnarly.

But on the realz, this hits the spot. It’s like, good for the soul or something. Your inner pancake soul.

It’s a thing. I swear.

Be selfish. Make a pancake.

Pancake for Me, Myself, and I
a Sugar Therapy original – yay!

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons apple cinnamon instant oatmeal, uncooked (or plain oats)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
5 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tsp vanilla extract

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together. That’s flour, oats, sugars, baking powder/soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, vanilla, and oil together.

3. Add orange juice and whisk until combined.

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, whisking until just combined. The batter should be pretty thick.

5. Heat a griddle or pan on medium heat. (That’s a strange sentence…but just do it.)

6. Pour batter onto the pan and allow the pancake to cook until you see some bubbles form on the top. Flip the pancake. Hopefully it’s a beautiful golden brown. That’s the goal.

Note: I am the WORST pancake flipper in the history of pancake flippers. I get nervous. Sometimes I burn my pancakes because I’m too hesitant. Don’t be like me. Just flip it, you can do it!

7. Add syrup. Sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Spread some jelly on there. Or be like me, and keep it simple and spread a light layer of non-dairy butter on there. So. good.

The best part about this recipe is you can add and subtract. Not a fan of orange juice? I’d try some apple instead. Want banana pancakes? I like the way you think. Want some crunch? Add walnuts! And of course, you can never go wrong with a handful of blueberries.

Be innovative. Be selfish. Enjoy your Saturday morning.

And let me know if you can remember the name of that shark cartoon.

Bon appétit!

Doughnut be sad any longer, I’m back!

Dear Baking Mojo,

You have been a bit of a biotch lately. It has really annoyed me.

It annoys me almost as much as this spellcheck wanting to correct “biotch” to “biotech.”

Really though, what was your issue? You disappeared for a long time. I tried to use you several times, but whatever I made came out so…un-Sugar-Therapyish. You would show your face for a second, but when I would start to whip up some cookies, you were nowhere to be found, and therefore, neither were the cookies. What the eff, man? Even Thanksgiving pies were mediocre at best, thanks to you.

Now, I realize I’m being a little harsh, Mojo. I know we’re not in the amazing kitchen we used to bake in. The oven we loved to hate so much isn’t with us anymore. All the counterspace? Yeah, a pipe dream. My collection of salt and pepper shakers that cheerily graced us as we sang along to whatever playlist I chose aren’t out anymore. That kitchen was mine ours, and I’m just as bummed as you are that I can’t buy dish towels or display my favorite cookie jar.

But you know what, my darling? We need to get over it. Stop hiding behind those cotton candy clouds, and join me in the bright, buttercream world we used to live in. The blog is called Sugar Therapy…hellooooo. I can’t live my life effectively without you! And let’s be honest, you can’t live without me either, because, well, you’re my baking mojo.

You really came through for me yesterday. I mean, we made doughnuts for the first time, and it was wildly successful! When I opened that deep fryer from Santa this past Christmas, I had doughnuts on the mind, hardcore. You seemed pretty hesitant, but the other day I was in such a good mood that I made you comply…and look at what came out of it! Delicious, cakey, yeasty doughnuts.

Let’s keep it up.

Sincerely,

Me

P.S. If you ever disappear like that again, I might have to replace you with basket-weaving.

P.P.S. Just kidding, I would never basket-weave. But seriously don’t ever f&%*$#@ leave me again.

…xoxo.

Homemade Doughnuts
Recipe closely followed from Pioneer Woman.

1 1/4 cup whole milk, warm
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (also known as one package)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan. Make sure it is not too hot.

2. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

3. Pour the dry yeast into a medium-small bowl, and pour the milk mixture over it.

4. Stir it gently, but then walk away! Don’t touch it for 10 minutes and watch how gross it starts to look.

5. In a separate bowl, melt the butter. You may do this in the microwave in small increments of 10-15 seconds. You don’t want the butter to melt all the way, because it will be too hot for the next step. Instead, melt it about 80% of the way and stir it until it melts down. It works the same way that melting chocolate does.

6. Add the eggs to the butter and stir to combine.

I must interject. My beautiful stand mixer was faulty. One day it started sparking, and I feared for my life, so I turned it off. Saddest story of my life. 😦 So I had to use a hand mixer. It is a WORKOUT, so if you have a stand mixer…I beg of you…use it! Because my right arm is comparable to that of Hulk Hogan’s.

7. Set either a stand mixer (wahh) or a hand mixer with a dough hook attachment to medium, and beat the butter/egg mixture while slowly pouring in the yeast mixture.

8. Keep the mixer going for a few minutes until the ingredients are combined.

9. Add the flour in 1/2 cup increments, combining well after each addition.

10. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, and then beat the dough for 5 minutes.

11. If needed, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl, then beat again for about 30 seconds.

12. Set the bowl of dough aside for 10 minutes. Don’t mess with it, let it be.

13. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours, or if you prefer/if it makes it easier, overnight.

Have some wine, take a breath, and pat yourself on the back for using that wimpy hand mixer for this project.

The next day…..

14. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness.

15. Using a handy-dandy doughnut cutter, cut circles in the dough, and transfer them to a lightly floured baking sheet. Put the doughnut holes on there, too.

16. When you reach the point where you cannot possibly cut another circle, cover the baking sheets with a dish towel and store them in a warm place.

Since this kitchen is a bit of an igloo, I turned the oven on for about 2 minutes, turned it off, let it cool slightly, and placed the sheets in there. Worked perfectly.

17. Allow the doughnuts to rise for an hour. Don’t touch them. Again, just let it be.

Now, like I said, I used a deep fryer. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use a large pot. But make sure you keep track of the temperature!!

18. Once the oil has reached 375 degrees, gently place the doughnuts, about 3 at a time, in the oil. They cook extremely quickly. It should only take about 45 seconds to a minute for each side.

19. Remove the doughnuts from the hot oil with a slotted spoon, allowing oil to drip off. Place the doughnuts on several layers of paper towels, wait a few seconds, and flip over to a dry part of the towel. You’re just getting rid of the oil that you definitely don’t want in your doughnuts.

20. Continue until all of your doughnuts are fried. Fry the doughnut holes, too, but be aware that they require about half the time to cook.

Now, while these are so good warm and plain, you better do something with them. Powdered sugar? Chocolate? Cinnamon-sugar? Sprinkles? Nuts? Whatever!

If you plan on going the cinnamon-sugar route that I did, put the sugar mixture in a ziplock bag. Place a few slightly warm doughnuts in the bag, and shake. Boom. Instant deliciousness.

If you plan to go the glazed doughnut route, make a simple glaze with confectioners’ sugar, milk, some vanilla, and a sprinkle of salt. Submerge the doughnut in the glaze, and set on a wire rack to set.

The possibilities are endless. They’re freaking doughnuts, for Pete’s sake. Just eat some and pretend your thighs don’t care.

Bon appétit!

Step aside, toaster! This tart means business.

I’m not even sure where to start.  I’m [almost] speechless, which is nearly impossible when it comes to baking, as I’m sure you’re all well aware by now.  Yes, I’m that happy with this recipe!  But for the sake of the blogosphere, I’ll try to come up with something

This was a new venture for me, and it was completely on a whim. Pastry has been on my baking to-do list for quite some time, but I never actually brought myself to do it mainly out of fear. Until now. I’m not sure what made me try it. My inner baking diva must have emerged from her Sunday slumber to wake up my brain, silence my nerves, and get me in the kitchen!  I love her, she’s so good to me.

Pop-Tarts were never really a staple in my diet. As a kid, I was allowed to have them as an afternoon snack every once in awhile, which I suppose made them more special. Same thing goes for sugary cereals – Trix in particular. But that’s a whole other discussion. Anyway, brown sugar-cinnamon sans frosting was, and always has been, my absolute favorite. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and the smell of one bronzing in the toaster is heavenly. The nostalgia attached to the Pop-Tart is half the fun when it comes to this “breakfast” item. Not only does the packaged pastry remind me of Fall, but it takes me back to elementary school, when my biggest concern was what the cafeteria was serving that day. Ahh, those were the days.

But those care-free days are long behind us, and I think it’s time to put the toaster on the back burner for a bit, put the Kellogg box back on the shelf, and indulge in some REAL toaster pastries.

I really don’t want to call these “pop-tarts.”  That sounds so…mediocre.  They don’t even deserve “toaster pastry,” either, considering they never even touched my toaster. That would be flat-out insulting to these little things of beauty.  But what on Earth to call them?

…for now, let’s just call them “fan-freaking-tastic ‘toaster’ tarts.” Okay so it’s not the catchiest name, but it’s honest. And besides, I’m too busy taking gigantic bite after gigantic bite to be telling people the name anyway.

This recipe is from King Arthur Flour. I’ve contemplated buying the All-Purpose Baking Cookbook for a while, and this recipe has completely convinced me. It’s ordered and should be here in a few days, so expect a lot more recipes from these guys. 🙂

Now let me tell you about the results of the recipe. THE DOUGH IS SO GOOD. It came out perfectly golden brown and flaky, and completely exceeded my expectations as a pastry chef-virgin. I will be making these again. And again. And again…

The only and I mean only thing I would change about this recipe is the amount of filling it says to use for each pastry. Even though I used more than was recommended, I would still use more. But that’s at your own discretion. The recipe yields 9 pastries but I voted on slightly bigger ones and just made 8.

Unfortunately (for everyone else, that is), I was the only one home when these came out of the oven. I was literally standing at my counter with a warm, oozing pastry in my hand saying “OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD,” while my cat looked at me like I was some kind of circus freak. But who is she to judge? She chases her own tail.

Tasty Toaster Tarts (aka Fan-freaking-tastic “Toaster” Tarts)
adapted from King Arthur Flour

Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
2 tbsp milk (I used soy milk because that’s all I had on hand.)

1 egg (for egg wash)

Filling(s)

Brown Sugar Cinnamon:

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp all-purpose flour

1. Whisk together.

2. Done.

Strawberry (or any other jam flavor):

3/4 cup strawberry jam
1 tbsp cornstarch (If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use flour, just double the amount.)
1 tbsp water

1. Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.

2. Bring mixture to a boil, and let simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring often.

3. Set aside and let cool.

Making the crust:

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.

2. With a fork or your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until combined. The result should look crumby and pea-sized. Some butter lumps will be visible.

3. Combine the egg and milk in a separate small bowl, and then add that mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until just incorporated.

4. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or a maximum of 2 days.

5. After the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and let it set to a little cooler than room temperature (a workable consistency).

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece into a 9 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle. Trim edges to make a 9×12 rectangle.

7. With a sharp knife or pastry cutter, slice dough into 8 3×4″ rectangles. Transfer dough to a prepared baking sheet covered in parchment paper.

8. Beat the egg, and brush each piece with the wash.

9. Spoon about a tbsp (or more) of filling onto each piece, leaving room (about a 1/2″) around the edges.

10. Follow steps 6 and 7 for the second half of the chilled dough.

11. Place each rectangle of dough on a filling-topped piece. Seal the edges with your fingers.

12. Use a fork to seal the edges again, and poke various holes on the top to let steam out while the pastry is baking. (I don’t think I made my holes deep enough because they puffed up quite a bit.)

13. Refrigerate (again) for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put a rack in the middle slot.

14. Bake tarts for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

I know, it’s kind of time-consuming. But just trust me when I say that the first bite of that warm pastry will make all the effort worth it.

See the flakiness?!  I love the flakiness.

Hmm, I guess I had more to say than I thought I did.

Thanks for reading!

Bon appétit!