apple fritters

I am (carefully!) typing this while keeping an eye on the apple fritters I am making.

I had leftover apples and walnuts from a crisp that I was making and needed something to do with them, so I found this recipe:

Ingredients:

* 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1 egg
* 1 cup finely chopped apple
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preparation:
Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add milk and egg; beat until batter is smooth. Fold in chopped apple. Drop by teaspoonfuls into deep hot oil — about 370° and at least 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep — and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely browned.
Drain well on paper towels then roll in confectioners’ sugar while still warm. Serve as is or warm, with syrup, if desired.

I thought the batter was a little thick, so I added more milk. I also thought that they were a little bland, so I added cinnamon to the batter. I also used a heaping 1/4 cup full of batter, and they turned out with a funky shape, but still taste awesome. They are a good thing to fry this week for Hanukkah. Oh, how I love fried food! But I know that it is bad for me, so I try not to eat it too often and I will try not to consume too much of it this week! Happy Hanukkah everyone! :o

I think this one kinda looks like a (snow covered) person, or perhaps a teddy bear?(hmm…do you see it?):

it’s all about what I have on hand…

okay, so another baking-with-what-I-have-on-hand-post post. This time, I am waiting for a chocolate, chocolate chip bundt cake to come out of the oven. (yes, somehow, I always have some chocolate on-hand.) This recipe is slightly changed from the “Mocha Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake” recipe from Gourmet that I saved. Since I didn’t have instant espresso powder on hand, and I didn’t feel like making icing, this cake isn’t mocha, and it doesn’t have icing. If you look closely at the ingredients, and then at the directions, you will notice the changes I made. I also had regular-sized chocolate chips at home, so that’s what I used.
Here is the full recipe:

so, as you can see, to imitate the cake that I made, you just take out the butter, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and the espresso powder used to make the icing and the flavor mocha. Also, I just used a whisk, and my (wo)man power to mix all of the ingredients together. I think it turned out okay. There will, of course, be pictures of the cake posted later.

*EDIT* I just added the photos, sorry for the very long delay.*

baking FAIL turns into awesome ICE CREAM! (aka this is what I did today)

Since I had some left over cookie dough from the pie pops, and some time to kill today, I was wondering what I had that I could mix with it. I found butter, sugar (brown and regular, granulated), and cinnamon—all ingredients I needed for cinnamon rolls! So, I softened and rolled out the dough, and softened the butter and mixed it with the sugars and cinnamon. Spread the butter mixture on the dough, rolled it up, cut 1″ pieces, placed them in a cake pan (I didn’t use my jelly roll pan because there weren’t that many pieces, and put them in a pre-heated, 375 degree oven. (sounds good, right? and if you look at the picture, it looks like they turned out well, and people ate them so quickly that all I had time to take a picture of was the empty pan—but after reading the title of this entry, you already know this is not true!) After about 5 minutes, I started to smell the butter browning. (kind of a nutty smell) So, I checked on the rolls, and found that all of the butter had melted out of the dough. I could have been frustrated, and dumped the whole thing, but instead, I put the pan back in the oven, and finished baking the dough, about another 15 minutes. Overwhelmed by the delicious smell of butter and sugar, I quickly thought “I bet this would be good in some ice cream. Like brown butter ice cream, with little cinnamon cookies sprinkled in.” So, I ran out, and got some Bryer’s  vanilla ice cream (now with 30% more REAL vanilla beans!) and put the softened ice cream in a bowl, and dumped in my buttery, sugary, cinnamony dough pieces, and used a rubber spatula to mix them together. Dipped a spoon in, tasted, and LIKED it!

Now, I don’t have any fancy equipment, such as a food processor, or ice cream maker (but they are on my gift wish list—and my birthday IS coming SOON…) but these items would be useful for making the dough pieces smaller, and I would have liked to make my own ice cream, because I did go to pastry school, and I know how to make it, but especially because I am not the biggest Breyer’s fan. (also realized I don’t have a rolling pin-I just used my hands to press out the dough-no big deal, since it was a small amount.) Anyway, the end result is still good, and because I am such a huge fan of chocolate, I added some chocolate syrup, but the extra flavor was not needed. (she writes, as she dips her spoon back in the bowl for some more ice cream…) Lesson learned: what might seem like a complete baking FAIL may turn out to be something GREAT.

While I don’t have a picture of the failed cinnamon rolls, I do have some pictures of the ice cream, and I am willing to share with you the recipe for the ice cream, and real cinnamon roll recipes, in case you want to make those instead of the failures-turned-good rolls.
First, the fail-rolls:
If your dough has been in the refrigerator or freezer (as in you didn’t just make it), then you need to soften it. I did this by putting it in the microwave. Easy and quick. Then, like I said, I rolled it out, spread on the butter mixture, etc.
I used part of the recipe for the Mama’s mini-cinis (below) to figure out the right butter-sugar-cinnamon ratio. I used 3 tablespoons of butter, about 1-1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and a dash of ground cinnamon (about 1/2 tsp if you are really into measuring what I like to call “the small stuff”—spices, vanilla, etc. that don’t make much of a difference in a recipe, unless you put in TOO much.) After spreading the butter mixture on the dough, I rolled it up, cut 1″ pieces and placed them in the pan. 375 degrees. 15-20 minutes. I don’t know exactly why, perhaps I was looking to soak up all of the butter that melted out, but I flipped over the baked dough. I used maybe a quart of ice cream. All I know for sure is that the label says 1.5 quarts, and there is some left, about enough for a good-sized bowl full. You’ll know it’s enough because You won’t see any cookie pieces sticking out, it will just look like lumpy soft serve.
So, it was really easy to fix this baking fail. Just add ice cream!
Now, some of you might want the satisfaction of cinnamon rolls that never fail, but are really easy and quick to make, so I introduce to you Mama’s mini-cinis. This is not a recipe from my mother, but someone else’s, who decided to put this recipe up on the interweb.
Mama’s mini-cinis:
Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) cans refrigerated crescent rolls (I guess Pillsbury makes these)

6 TBS butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans (optional)
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 TBS milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1/8 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent rolls, and separate each portion along center perforation to form 4 rectangles; press diagonal perforations to seal.
Stir together butter, sugars, pecans, and cinnamon. Spread over one side of each rectangle. Roll up jelly roll fashion, starting at long end. Gently cut each log into 6 (1″ thick) slices, using a serrated knife. Place rolls 1/4″ apart into 2 8″ cake pans. (can also use a jelly roll pan, but you want something with edges-do not use a cookie sheet.) bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. cool 5-10 minutes. makes 2 dozen.

Stir together powdered sugar and remaining ingredients, drizzle over warm rolls. (of course, you could eat these with ice cream, too!)

note: to make slicing easier, place logs in freezer for about 10 minutes.