The August Break, 2011

I've been crazy busy lately. The hubs has been working crazy, hard, long hours and I was working in the kitchen at a local ranch that hosts summer camps for kids most of July. Needless to say, this month has flown by so quickly - but in the most fun way possible.

But in order to get my real life in order, and spend some very necessary time with the hubs, I'm going to be taking part in the August Break of 2011. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically a time when you can post a picture each day, Monday through Friday, with or without words. There aren't really rules, per se, so it takes the pressure off of regular blogging while you can re-energize and come back with even greater posts in the future. Since there aren't really rules, you can probably expect a few posts scattered in between the pictures.

Club Baked: Time to Make the Donuts!

This recipe was hosted by Gloria, The Ginger Snap Girl, so you can find the recipe on her blog. Also check out the other member's results from this recipe at Club: Baked.  

Do you have any idea how often I've heard that phrase? For most of high school and all of college, I worked at Dunkin' Donuts. Every day that I went to work, my dad would say, in a sing-song-y voice, "Time to make the donuts!" Needless to say, I know donuts. I can decorate them, fill them, frost them, you get the picture. It was a fun job, creating new combinations in the back, an unlimited supply of caffeinated beverages, and (usually) fabulous customers. (And too you not so fab ones - I'd be careful about being mean and cranky to the person that supplies your morning pick me up - Do you want decaf?).

I have never made donuts from scratch though, so I was thrilled when Gloria picked the Farm Stand Buttermilk Donuts for the second recipe of Club: Baked. When I got the book it was absolutely one that I wanted to try. Only problem? Buttermilk.

Easily solvable problem though. For this recipe, I substituted buttermilk for a mixture of 3/4 cup goat's milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I let that sit and mingle while I drained the sheep's milk yogurt that I used as a substitute for sour cream.

To get my itty bitty donut hole centers, I used a metal frosting tip to cut out small holes. It worked out, although they were a bit too small at 3/4". But I thought it was good improv since I don't have a 1" biscuit cutter.  

disregard the semi-phallic shape being formed by the frying donuts - i didn't notice until editing!
This recipe was fun to make and very tasty to eat! My friend and fellow sprinkle lover, Patty,  and I made up a full recipe. Luckily, she took several with her when she left. Which was good because after using a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter for the outer edge of the donuts, I ended up with far more donuts than I could eat (about 30!). I liked their small size - it was perfect for sampling all the flavors without feeling stuffed, but it did make far too many! Next time I will certainly make a half recipe as I suspect they are best fresh.

As for the toppings, I made the chocolate frosting & cinnamon sugar as the recipe suggests. For the donut holes, I actually tossed them in some powdered sugar. I would say the powdered sugar topping was actually my favorite, followed in close second by the chocolate (with rainbow sprinkles of course!).

The donut itself was absolutely yummy. It was cakey, moist, and had just the right amount of spice. The nutmeg and cinnamon really took this donut over the top. They weren't overly sweet, either, which is sometimes a problem with donuts. The dark chocolate frosting was much more suited to this particular donut than the sweeter traditional chocolate frosting.

All photos in this post were edited with the PW Vintage Photoshop Action.

Club Baked: New York Style Crumb Cake

I have never had NY style crumb cake, but seriously, how delicious. As it was baking, I was crossing my fingers that it would turn out because the smells coming from my oven were beyond good! Luckily, after waiting impatiently while it cooled, I took my first bite and it tasted even better than it smelled.

This crumb cake was a good first pick for Club: Baked as the steps were relatively easy and straight forward. I decided to make a full recipe in the recommended pan size (9" x 13") since some of the other bakers had problems when trying to halve the recipe. Being a newbie, I wanted to play it safe. And honestly, I have never had much of a problem finding people to eat desserts. Quite honestly, the hardest part was waiting the half hour prior to cutting as suggested by the authors.

The recipe itself also did not require many substitutions to accommodate my milk allergy. For this recipe, I did substitute strained sheep's milk yogurt for sour cream, but was able to use the rest of the ingredients as indicated.

The cake came together fairly quickly. I did take a break part way through to let the crumbles "rest" - a suggestion by the authors to produce "gargantuan" crumbles. During this time I also allowed the butter for the cake batter to soften and the yogurt to strain.

When substituting yogurt for sour cream in a recipe, place the yogurt in a metal strainer or cheese cloth suspended over a bowl. Allow it to drain to the desired consistency. For a sour cream substitute, I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes and a full hour if you can spare it. Also, always measure out an amount greater than what is needed so when it has drained, you end up with the amount required. For the 1 1/4 cup of sour cream required for this recipe, I started out with about 1 3/4 - 2 cups of yogurt.

Thanks to Karen of Karen's Cookies Cakes & More for hosting this week's recipe. To see what the other bakers did with this week's recipe, head on over here. I heard that someone made muffins - yum!