Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Bunny Butts to the Rescue

After a rough day of homeschool, working from home, and grocery shopping in a pandemic (aka mask and staying away from everyone)... what we needed was a family walk, meatballs, and bunny butt cookies. I saw a post on Instagram that showed bunnies that were different colors - that meant coloring the dough and no thanks. Seemed like too much work. Then I found this one with sprinkles, um - yes?! So mid crazy of the day I made the dough so it would by chilled for when we wanted to use it. See I read the recipe ahead - the entire thing - sometimes I figure things out...
I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough - which worked well. The kids rolled the dough in powdered sugar, made a rope, then we twisted them into shape. We ended up baking for almost twice the time but maybe we made them bigger than the original recipe? Either way, the held together WAY better than I thought they would.
These cookies encouraged the kids to eat and get ready for bed so they could add the jelly bean butts to the frosting I added.
A fun sweet activity to end a rough day.

Easter Bunny Sugar Twist Cookies
1 cup Butter, softened
1 Egg
3 cups Flour
1 cup Powdered Sugar
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla
Multi-Color Jimmies
Jelly Beans
White Frosting

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Then add the flour and salt, continue to beat until combined. Sprinkle in the jimmies and mix with a spoon.
Cover and chill the dough for about an hour in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take dough out of fridge. Scoop enough dough out to make about 1.5-inch ball. Roll out the ball with the palm of your hands until you have about an 8-inch rope.
The thicker the rope the less chance of it to break. The jimmies cause it to break as well I noticed, so if that happens just pinch it back together.
Take the rope and crisscross it towards the bottom to make a circle then crisscross it again as you go up. Keep it tight. Leave the ends spread apart a bit, this will represent the bunny ears. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Add a dollop of frosting to the “butt” of the bunny and a jelly bean for the tail.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Because Pizza is LIFE

My kids LOVE love love make your own pizzas. I buy these cardboard circle crusts for them to use. Ok they aren't cardboard, but they sure do taste like it. Being stuck in the house with cruddy weather and you know... being sheltered in place, pizzas seemed like a fun way to start a movie and popcorn afternoon. Andy, on the other hand, was less than pleased with that idea. Sure he loves a good pizza that he can customize the way he wants, but that crust? Hard NOPE.
I could have made regular pizza dough, but instead made skinny pizza dough because #lifegoals. Just because we are stuck in place for a while doesn't mean I have to gain the Quarantine 15... This pizza dough is similar to the 2 ingredient dough, but so much better. It's softer and actually rises because it has yeast in it. I made my pizza sauce (I posted that a while ago) and off to the races with pizza. This was well worth the effort and Andy agreed - it was really good. I even have extra dough in the fridge that might turn into some cinnamon rolls!! We'll see....

Skinny Pizza Dough
1/2 - 3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups self-rising flour

Heat oven to 425.
In a bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Stir in the yogurt and mix until it starts to combine. Add up to 3/4 cup of water until combined. Start with 1/2 a cup and see how much of the flour is being incorporated. If there is still a bit of loose flour in the bowl, add a couple tablespoons of water at a time, until it forms a ball that you can roll out and knead on your counter.
It might be a bit sticky - but place just a couple tablespoons of flour on your counter, and work that into the dough - it won't be sticky anymore.
You can roll it out and bake it right then, but I think it tastes better after just a 30 minute rise. Leftover dough will last 7 days in the fridge.
Bake in oven until crust is crispy and cheese is melty.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

One Pan Chicken Potato and Veg Bake

One dish dinners are awesome, this dish started out just potatoes and chicken. Why not added some veg and make it all together in one dish? I added carrots to the potatoes, the longer cook gave the carrots extra time to get done, often they are the veg that takes the longest to get done. The cauliflower on top actually roasted and got extra delicious. We loved this dish and it was nice to have a chicken in a different form.

Chicken Potato Bake
4 potatoes medium-sized, cut into 3/4" cube (russet, white, and red are all good choices, no need to peel)
1 bag baby carrots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into large pieces
1 head of cauliflower cut in small pieces
chives (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the potato cubes and carrots in a large bowl, add the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat.
Spray a large (9x13) baking dish with non stick spray.
Spread potato mixture in dish and bake about 15 minutes.
Remove baking dish from oven and place the chicken pieces in the dish, nestling them down into the potato mixture a bit. Spread Califlower around on top of chicken.
If desired, brush the top of each chicken piece with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked and potatoes are browned.
When serving, sprinkle chopped chives on top.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Scrounging in the fridge to bake danish

If I know anything to be true, I know that like father like son, Andy is his father's son. He LOVES breakfast danish, coffee cake, donuts, all baked goods that have breakfast written on them. We have an excess of raspberry jelly in the freezer - mostly because we have a girl who got super excited about it - and we made loads of it with the berries off our bushes last year - then she decided she liked strawberry better. Right... so about that jelly... it sits in the freezer. I wanted to make Andy a danish with fancy dough, the whole nine yards, but then after another lousy night of sleep that got changed a tad, crescent rolls in the fridge seemed like a great sub for that fancy dough that was going to take hours of work. I found a recipe that had a cream cheese filling too, Andy is more of a danish purist, less cream cheese, more fruit filling. So into the oven and away we go! It actually oozed out WAY less than I thought it would and he declared it delicious. Good thing since he's the only one who ate it. If you have jelly and crescent rolls, give it a bake!

Raspberry Danish
1 tube of the crescent rolls
1 jar of homemade raspberry jelly/jam
For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spay a large sheet pan with non-stick spray or use a slipat mat, parchment paper works, too.
Open crescent roll dough and unroll.
On an ungreased baking sheet or silpat, lay the crescent roll rectangles together, lining them up width wise. Dough should be almost the entire length of a half sheet pan.
Press edges together to even out edges and seal any holes.
Cut 1/2-inch strips up each side of the dough and going about 1/3 of the way into the dough.
Carefully spread jelly/jam filling down the center of the dough to be about 2-3 inches wide.
Fold the 1/2-inch dough strips up over filling alternating sides to form a braided pattern.
If you have excess dough at the end of the danish, fold them in as best as you can into the dough.
Sprinkle with sugar
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until filling is set and crescent dough is golden in color.
Let cool on pan about 15 minutes.
Once danish has cooled, remove to serving platter.
Making the glaze:
In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, vanilla and milk to create icing.
Add more milk, a little at a time to get the desired consistency, if necessary.
Drizzle icing over danish.
Cut into pieces and serve.
It tastes great warm or chilled.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Time to Make the Donuts!

Currently the date is March 31, and we are sheltering in place because of the COVID19 Virus. Basically that means we are at home, we go to the grocery store once maybe twice a week. When we make those trips, one thing Andy requests? Raised Glazed Donuts. Right. In times of crisis - donuts. I decided I could make donuts - it would be a great project! We hadn't made them in at least 8 or 9 years but we made it a family project. The kids loved watching them being cut, fried, and being dipped in sugar or glaze. We had to dip some in sugar because I didn't have enough powdered sugar... something else to add to the weekly shopping list, if the store has it.
We ate LOTS of donuts... then went for all the walks. The kids are still munching on those donut holes - they liked those the best, with all the crunchy sugar on them. Andy now has a huge supply of donuts to keep him busy for a few day.

Homemade Glazed Doughnuts
1-⅛ cup Whole Milk, Warm
¼ cups Sugar
2-¼ teaspoons (one Package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
2 whole Large Eggs, Beaten
1-¼ stick Unsalted Butter, melted
4 cups All-purpose Flour
¼ teaspoons Salt
Canola Oil
3 cups Powdered Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Vanilla
½ cups Cold Water Or Milk

Make it!
To Make the Dough:
1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot.
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won’t be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter’s not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it’s thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.
14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge.
16. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

To Make the Doughnuts:
1. Remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
3. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as much as you can, etc.
4. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.
5. Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet.
6. Cover with large tea towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen; my kitchen is very drafty, so I have to briefly warm the griddle, then turn it off and set the sheets on top to keep warm.
7. Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15 minutes if necessary. Donuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.

To Fry the Donuts
1. Heat plenty of canola oil in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees—do not let it get hotter than 380 degrees! 375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor.
2. One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly.
3. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.
4. Place doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over onto a clean part of the paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over again; the purpose, obviously, is to drain as much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut.
5. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side.
6. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.

To Glaze:
1. Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.
2. One by one, dip doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged. (Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, then remove with slotted spoon.)
3. Remove from glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch dripping glaze.)
4. Serve warm if possible, or room temperature.
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