Posts Tagged ‘wondra flour’

maple bacon doughnut


Not much to say except “yum, yum, yum”.  Whenever we are in San Francisco, we always make a stop at Dynamo Donuts (www.dynamodonut.com) for just a bite of their famous Maple Bacon Donut.  I can’t say that donuts are my favorite treat, but they sure work for my lovely husband.  I have never made those light and fluffy raised donuts, but I do, from time to time, make my mom’s old fashioned ones.  I’m thinking I might just make up a batch and coat them with some maple frosting and then sprinkle some salty, crisp bacon bits on top.  If you want to try this version, here is mom’s recipe (which can also be found in my out-of-print book, Homemade).  I would imagine that the maple frosting is simply confectioners’ sugar, maple flavoring, and a bit of milk or maybe even black coffee to moisten.

Nana’s Doughnuts (You’ll note she spelled it correctly)
Makes about 2 dozen
3½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (you can really use any spice you like, but nutmeg is what you
taste in most commercial donuts)
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature and beaten
½ cup whole milk
Wondra flour
Approximately 4 cups cinnamon-sugar or confectioners’ sugar (if you are not frosting), for
Approximately 6 cups vegetable oil
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg together.  Set aside.

Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle and beat until crumbly.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly.  Then, add the milk.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on low until all added and a smooth dough has formed.
Using Wondra flour, lightly flour a clean, flat surface.
Scrape the dough onto the floured surface and lightly sprinkle the top with Wondra.  Pat the dough out to about ⅝-inch thickness.  (If the dough seems very sticky, slowly knead in no more than ½ cup all-purpose flour into it.)  Using a donut cutter, cut out circles, separately reserving the holes.
If using, place the cinnamon-sugar or confectioners’ sugar in a resealable plastic bag.  Set aside.
Fill a heavy-duty skillet at least 3-inches deep with the vegetable oil.  The oil should be deep enough that the donuts can easily float.  Place over medium-high and bring the oil to 360ºF on a candy thermometer.
Place the donuts, a few at a time, into the hot oil and fry, turning once, for about 5 minutes or until perfectly golden, slightly raised, and cooked through.  Lower the temperature if they cook and darken too quickly.
Using a slotted spoon, move the donuts to a triple layer of paper towel to drain for just a minute.
Quickly transfer the hot donuts to the sugar in the bag and shake to thoroughly coat.  Remove the sugar-coated donuts from the bag and place on wire racks to cool slightly.  Best eaten while still warm.
If you decide to frost them, cool first, and then frost and decorate in whatever manner you choose.

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            Although I hadn’t eaten a potato croquette in years nor had I made one either, I decided to use some leftover mashed potatoes to create some crispy tater tots to accompany some steaks I was cooking up.  Many years ago there was a small Italian restaurant, Capri, in Manhattan’s theater district that served extraordinary croquettes – usually with a beautiful veal chop.  Theirs were so light and delicate that they seemed impossible to replicate at home so I didn’t even try.  They only came back to my sensory memory when I bit into my version.  Not fluffy, not terribly light, and certainly not delicate.  But, they tasted pretty good.  Now that they are back on the menu I’ll try to refine my recipe – I promised Steve that I’ll get to light and delicate.

Here’s what I did:

I had about 2½ cups of cold mashed potatoes to which I added 2 large eggs, ¾ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of flour.  I beat the mix until very well combined and then seasoned with salt and pepper.  I whisked 2 eggs with a bit of milk in one shallow bowl, put about 3 cups of lightly salted bread crumbs in another, and then Wondra flour in a third.  I formed the potato mixture into logs – they were much too big I realized – and then dipped the logs into the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally into the breadcrumbs.  I fried them in olive oil and dusted them with sea salt at the finish.  If I’d used freshly made dry potatoes that I’d pushed through a food mill, formed the mix into smaller logs, and fried them a little bit less, I think they would have been the light and delicate croquettes I remembered.  I’ll ace it next time.

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Perhaps more than any other dish I make, I get the most requests for my recipe for biscuits.  I’ve posted it on this site a couple of times, but since people are still asking, I’m once again posting.  I have been making them almost weekly all of my life so, although I am going to give you the recipe, I tend to make them by look and feel.  Once in awhile I goof and they are a bit too light and fall apart as soon as you pick them up.  And, once in awhile when I have too many kitchen kibitzers and I get to talking, I forget the baking powder which gives rock-hard lumps that get thrown to the deer.  But I usually hit the mark and a batch is finished up about as soon as it hits the table.  This is the basic recipe but, try to make it by feel also.  If the dough is a little sticky the biscuits will tend to be lighter and stay fresh longer.

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornmeal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar or more to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ cup vegetable shortening or butter if you want rich biscuits
Approximately ⅔ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter for the pan

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Process, using quick on and off turns, to mix.  Add the shortening and again, using quick on and off turns, mix to just combine.  With the motor running, add the milk and process quickly to just blend.  The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
Lightly coat a clean work surface with Wondra flour.  Scrape the dough from the processor bowl and lightly pat down and smooth edges with your hands.  You should have an uneven circle about ¾-inch thick.  Cut out circles using a 2-inch biscuit cutter or whatever else you have on hand – I often just grab a glass.
Place the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat to just melt.  Place the biscuits tightly in the pan.  Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the biscuits have risen and are lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and serve hot with plenty of butter and jam or pan gravy.

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For weeks now Steve has been asking for an apple pie.  I finally got my act together and made an apple tart when we were having friends in for dinner.  It was one of the first really cool evenings so a dinner of a rich beef stew followed by an apple tart seemed to be the French-bistro thing to do.  You can find the recipe for my pastry in a post on chicken pie (February 28, 2011) or you can use your own favorite pastry recipe or buy commercially-produced, refrigerated pastry circles to make the tart.  One pastry circle should line a small tart pan.
For the filling I used 5 crisp Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced.  I seasoned the apples with about ¼ cup of cinnamon sugar (I make my own and always have it on hand as I like nothing more than a piece of toasted homemade bread slathered in butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar as an afternoon tea treat) and ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger.  Then, I drizzled on about ¼ cup melted unsalted butter and gave a toss.  Added about 3 tablespoons of Wondra flour and gave another toss.  Arranged the apples into the pastry-lined tart pan and baked the tart at 375ºF for about 45 minutes.  It was delicious!

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A few days ago we were in upstate New York spending a couple of days with our wonderful friends, Bee and Doug.  I was on dinner duty with 3 packs of frozen scallops and whatever I could fend from our not insignificant pantry.  I wasn’t too sure about the scallops – although I’m sure most of what we buy in our fancy neighborhood fish store have probably been frozen and thawed – but as it turned out they were quite delicious.  But, that’s not the story.

The weather was not really very spring-like – in fact, big flakes of snow filled the air off and on all day – but Mother Nature had begun her work a few weeks ago when the temperatures hit the 80s – a rarity in summer in the country – and the countryside was rife with daffodils, grape hyacinths, some tulips, wild strawberries spreading in the grass with their delicate little white flowers peeking up—- and the window boxes, although moved inside, had verdant bunches of basil, sage, thyme, and parsley – no rosemary – that was in the winter-over corner where it has managed to survive through 3 winters.

Bee took our man’s best friend, Lena Mae, out for her constitutional and came back with a handful of sweet wild purple and yellow violets and 2 stalks of asparagus (the only 2 big enough to pick).  So, I cooked up those scallops – dusted them with Wondra flour and salt and pepper and gave them a fast and furious sear in clarified butter – layered them on some couscous cooked in lemon/sage scented broth, drizzled the lot with a tangy lemon vinaigrette and garnished the plate with slivered raw asparagus and those little violets.  Added a side of sautéed julienne of carrots and snow peas and Viola an easy and spring-like dinner was on the table in minutes.

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