We all love cinnamon, right? If you don’t, then I truly pity you. I mean, cinnamon is great on pretty much anything sweet. But, if you’ve yet to try a cinnamon sugar donut, you have not yet lived. More specifically, if you haven’t had a cinnamon sugar brioche donut, then you really need to get going on fixing that. These donuts are out of this world. Out of this universe when eaten fresh out of the fryer. The dough is flavorful. The coating is wonderful. These are just great all the way around. These donuts are a bit denser than traditional donuts since they are brioche donuts. But the texture is still wonderful. The outside is crisp, the inside is fluffy. Being that no one really eats sweets in my house, I had to eat these donuts all myself. Let me tell you, I have absolutely no regrets. Donuts ARE my kryptonite, after all.
Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Sift the flour into a bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Add in the yeast and mix for about 15 seconds. I just used my hands to give them a quick mix to combine.
Next, add in the salt, sugar, vanilla, eggs, warm whole milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and dry milk powder.
Mix on low for five minutes.
Add in the butter piece by piece while mixing on low. Mix on low for five minutes after adding butter or until dough ball forms onto hook and butter is absorbed.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold either side to the middle, like a letter. Then, turn and do it from top to bottom. Place the dough into a bowl and cover in plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature for an hour.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and fold either side to the middle, like a letter. Then, turn and do it from top to bottom. Place back in the bowl and place in the fridge, covered, overnight.
The next day, dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out until about 1/2″ thickness.
Cut out with a floured 3″ cutter and a pastry tube. I try not to twist as I cut. Biscuits have me paranoid. Use a spatula to move the dough onto a parchment lined, greased and floured baking sheet. Once all the donuts and donut holes are cut and placed onto the baking sheet, place the baking sheet into the oven or next to any warm area. Our oven is off, we’re just placing them in there to proof for an hour.
At about the 30-minute mark, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and set to the side. Also, prep your baking sheet covered with paper towels for draining. Prep your pot with oil. Preheat the oil to 375°F. Your donuts should be noticeably bigger after the hour proofing.
Move one donut into the oil with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes or until it’s golden brown. Then, use a chopstick or skewer to flip the donut. Cook for a few more minutes or until golden brown. It’s always best to test timing with the first donut. It will truly differ because your oil has to be exactly 375°F (use a thermometer) and the dough should be no thicker than a 1/2″ or it will take longer to fry. Anyway, test with the first donut.
Right out of the fryer, quickly drain onto the paper towels for a few seconds, then move to the cinnamon sugar mixture. Toss the donut into the cinnamon sugar mixture and move it back to the paper towel covered baking sheet.
Enjoy immediately fresh and warm. The exterior should be crisp and the inside fluffy with a slightly dense texture. This is brioche after all.
See how I do it:
- 518 grams Pastry Flour (3 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons)
- 10 grams Instant yeast (dry active yeast) (1 tablespoon)
- 74 grams Granulated sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 9 grams Salt (1 tablespoon)
- 1.5 grams Nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)
- 5.6 grams Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
- 212 grams Warm whole milk (3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons; at about 75°F)
- 111 grams Eggs (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons; about 2 large eggs)
- 9 grams Vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 10 grams Nonfat dry milk powder (1 tablespoon)
- 55 grams Unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes (2 ounces)
- Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying (enough to fill your Dutch oven or pot 3 inches deep)
- 300 grams granulated sugar or vanilla sugar (1 1/2 cups; sugar massaged with leftover vanilla bean pod)
- 10 grams cinnamon (1 tablespoon)
- Spray a medium bowl with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together the flour and yeast for 10 seconds on low. Add the sugar, salt, warmed whole milk, eggs, dry milk powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix on low speed until incorporated about 5 minutes.
- With the mixer running on low, gradually add the butter, a cube at a time, incorporating each cube completely before adding the next. Continue until you’ve added all the butter, scraping down the bowl periodically. Mix for 5 more minutes.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangular shape, using only enough flour so it doesn’t stick to the surface. Stretch and fold the left side of the dough to over 2/3 of the dough, and then stretch the right side and folder over the left (Like you would fold a letter). Repeat again, this time folding the top down and then the bottom up. Place in prepared bowl seam-side down. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dishtowel and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat the dough down pressing large air bubbles to the edge to release. Repeat the stretching and folding process and then return the dough to the bowl, seam-side down, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with non-stick spray, lightly flour and set nearby. Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out to about 11-inches wide and about 1-inch thick. Working quickly using your doughnut cutter or round cookies cutters, cut rounds from the dough. Dust off excess flour and place onto prepared pan. Place the baking sheet full of donuts and donut holes in an oven that is turned OFF. Allow to proof for about an hour to an hour and a half. If you press into the dough and the imprint is still there, it's ready.
- Fill a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot with 3 inches of peanut or canola oil. Fit with your candy thermometer and heat oil to 375°F/177°C. Prepare a baking sheet covered with paper towels for draining. Gently lower 2 to 4 doughnuts (depending on how large your pot is—the doughnuts should be able to float freely) into the oil and fry for 30 seconds, without moving them. Flip doughnuts over with a skewer or chopsticks and fry for 45 seconds. Flip back over once more and fry another 45 seconds, or until they are golden brown. Adjust the heat as needed throughout frying to maintain the temperature. Transfer the doughnuts to the prepared baking sheet with paper towels to drain. Instantly move the donut to the cinnamon sugar and toss together. Continue this process.
- The doughnuts are best enjoyed the day they are fried. Especially, fresh out of the fryer and into the sugar. While warm, they are heavenly. They do last another day or two in a covered container but their texture will be much denser and some of the coating will be absorbed.
I strongly urge you to use pastry flour. I use nothing but pastry flour for pastries like donuts. Makes a huge difference in texture. Also, I strongly urge for ease and accuracy, use a digital scale and scale out the ingredients. In the video, I only fry one at a time, because the pot is small. You can use a bigger pot and fry more at a time. Eat fresh/warm, use the right ingredients, don't overwork the dough and you'll have some great textured, delicious donuts.
Brunch is by far my favorite meal. I love breakfast. I love lunch. So, of course, I’d love the combination. The foods typically served at brunch are awesome as well. Eggs, pancakes, waffles…what’s not to love. Another breakfast pastry that is typical brunch fare are scones. Admission, I’ve never had or made scones before. But, I figure, they’re flaky and flavorful, so why not try them out. They didn’t disappoint. The texture was fluffy and flaky, but crispy on the outside. Flavor was delicious with the vanilla maple glaze. It was so good and so worth the minimal effort.
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Combine the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.
Grate the cold unsalted butter into large chunks. Place the butter in the freezer on a plate for about five minutes.
Place the frozen butter into the food processor and pulse about 10 times. The mixture will appear very lumpy and the flour will still be very visible.
Pour this mixture into a bowl.
Zest in one lemon and pour in the cold buttermilk. Dab the berries dry and dump them in.
Gently begin to fold the dough until it becomes just moistened. Pour it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Begin to gently pat the dough into a circle. Use a bench scraper to cut in half twice to give you four wedges or triangles. Use the bench scraper to move the wedges onto a lightly greased baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicone mat.
Place all the wedges onto the baking sheet about 1″ or more apart. Combine the cinnamon and milk in a small bowl. Brush on the cinnamon mixture onto the top of each wedge.
Place the pan in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 400°F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Once out of the oven, move each scone to a wire rack. You can either dust them with confectioners sugar at that point or work on the glaze.
For my glaze, use a hand or stand mixer to combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat until fluffy for about 3-4 minutes. Add in the vanilla, salt, maple syrup, confectioners sugar and cinnamon-milk. Mix until combined. If too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more sugar. Taste and adjust until it’s as sweet as you’d like. You can also use your favorite glaze ontop if you’d like.
Drizzle the scone with a spoon or with a pastry bag. Enjoy while warm!
Move to a warm plate and enjoy!
See how I do it:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- zest from one lemon
- 6 tablespoons, frozen, grated unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/8 cup berries
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/8 cup confectioners sugar (may need more to thicken)
- 1/8 cup cinnamon milk mixture (may need more to loosen)
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Combine the dry ingredients and the grated frozen butter in the food processor. Pulse about ten times.
Pour out into a bowl. Zest in one lemon.
Pour in cold buttermilk.
Dab the berries dry with a paper towel before adding them to the dough mixture.
Gently fold in everything until just moistened.
Pour out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Gently pat into a circle and cut into two halves so you get four wedges.
Use a bench scraper to move the wedges to a lightly greased baking sheet.
Combine the milk and cinnamon.
Use a pastry brush to brush on the cinnamon milk mixture ontop of the scones.
Place the pan in the oven and turn it down to 400°F. Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Remove to a wire rack and glaze or dust with confectioners sugar.
For the glaze, just combine all the ingredients with a hand or stand mixer until it's a runny glaze consistency. Add more confectioners sugar or milk depending on taste or consistency.
Enjoy while warm!
Best when warm, the day they're baked. Store in a wrapped plastic container in the fridge or freeze. Re-heat in a microwave or oven.
If you want that perfectly golden, flaky pie crust, the caramelized top on a crème brulee or the many fluffy layers of a croissant, you’re going to need a few things. First, you need the right equipment. Next, you need the right recipes. Lastly, you need the right tools. Back in the days, people mostly just had bowls, whisks and their hands. They had simple but effective tools. There is so much technology nowadays. I know I sounded a lot older than I am with that sentence, but it’s true. It’s easier than ever for amateurs and novices to produce quality pastries and baked goods from the comfort of their own home. The key is having the right tools. That’s half the battle. These are items I use at home and at school every time I bake. They really make my job easier and they will help you every time in the kitchen if you have them around as well. Here are my ten essential baking tools (in no order):
A small, but mighty tool. I constantly am using my thermometer in the pastry kitchen. Many recipes request exact temperatures. I highly suggest you invest in one. I bought mine for about seven dollars, so you have no excuse not to get one. Whenever you’re making macrons, ice cream, Swiss buttercream and many other things, you’re going to need one to use.
9. Disposable pastry bags
I definitely recommend having some disposable pastry bags lying around. A regular pastry bag will work fine for many applications, but a lot of times, I just feel lazy. I don’t feel like cleaning the pastry bag every time I use it. I’d rather just throw it away. That’s where these disposable bags come in handy. Also, I like using it for chocolate drizzle, because I can use it in the microwave. Bottom line is they’re easier to use and much cleaner than its canvas counterpart.
This one is sort of self-explanatory. Baking is one part science, one part art and one part math. Part of that math includes measurements. You are constantly measuring things in a kitchen. It could be a baking sheet or a cake pan or a section of dough. The measuring is constant and needed for accuracy. I always keep a ruler or tape measure around, because I find that I always tend to need one especially when working with dough.
7. Offset Spatula
This pretty much applies to pallet knifes and off-sets. Off-sets get used when making tortes, cakes, ice cream and much more. You’ll use them to spread and smooth things out. You can use them to drizzle and to help stop any dripping. Of course, I use the bigger sized spatulas to lift things up as well.
Blowtorches are very useful in the pastry kitchen. They have many uses. The main one I use it for is to help in unmolding. But, of course, they are also used for caramelizing the tops of crème brulee and meringues. These are just a couple of examples. Always having one around is a good idea.
5. Rubber Spatula
Not much has to be said about the handy dandy rubber spat. I use it anytime I bake. You’ll always need this on hand no matter what you’re making.
4. Plastic Scraper/Bench Scraper
Okay, I couldn’t pick one, so I put them both on here. I think it’s equally important to have both in your tool kit. The plastic scraper can do what rubber spatulas can’t. If you’re using a big mixing bowl and you really want to get it all out, then go with the plastic scraper. They’re very cheap, but very useful. The bench scraper is also important to have. It’s essentially when working with any type of dough. Not only does it make the process of making dough easier, but it makes clean-up much easier as well. I scrape up all the big dough particles that remain and then clean the table.
3. Stand Mixer
I’m not sure if this really qualifies as a tool. I think it’s more classified under “equipment.” It’s okay though…we’ll roll with it. The stand mixer I have is by far the best investment I’ve ever made. It has saved me so much time over the years. It’s so easy to use and such a time saver. Instead of using different bowls, I can just dump ingredients into the mixing bowl and give it a whirl. My arms don’t get a workout and I’m free to walk around the kitchen focusing on other tasks. I love my stand mixer and if you haven’t converted from the hand mixer you have, I highly recommend you do so immediately.
2. Kitchen knives
Some people have the misconception that knives are only important to savory chefs. They couldn’t be more wrong. Good knives are very essential tools to have. If you have good quality knives and you take care of them, they’ll last you a lifetime. The investment is well worth it. The three knives I recommend are the French knife, a serrated knife and a paring knife. These are the three you will use most in a pastry kitchen. You’ll use them to cut dough or chop chocolate or peel and chop fruit. Knives are one of the most essential tools to have in your kitchen. Period.
1. Parchment Paper
This list isn’t in order of importance, so I hope you didn’t get that impression. Still, parchment paper is one my most essential tools. Why? Well, for one they’re such a time saver. The fact that you can put some parchment paper on the top of a baking sheet or cake pan and that will allow the product to come out easier is enough reason to use it. No more struggling to unmold a cake into one piece. Along with that, you don’t have to use a pastry bag for piping. Just make yourself a paper cone and you’re good to go. I also love to use parchment to sift my dry ingredients on. That way, I don’t have to use a bowl. I can just sift everything onto the parchment, dump the ingredients into the mixing bowl and throw the paper away. No mess, no fuss.
Hope you enjoyed, what are your most essential kitchen tools?
New recipe post on Tuesday!
First off, I’d like to wish a Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and upcoming New Years Day to all of you. I hope that you have a great time during the holidays with family and friends.
Since, it’s the holiday time, I thought I’d post something a little different. Here’s how my first semester went in the baking and pastry program.
As my bio says, I’m currently a culinary student. I came in thinking I was ahead of the curve. I’ve baked at home since I was about 10 or 11. I’ve watched all the baking shows and love to read about the craft. I thought, I’d only learn how to perfect what I somewhat already knew. Man, was I ever wrong! The baking and pastry program is a one year degree. The way it’s split is four months on pastry and four months on baking. I just wrapped up the pastry portion last week and thought I’d tell you about my experience.
Coming in, I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous. I thought that I’d be the least experienced one there and I would be left behind. You know how the first day of school messes with your mind. It makes you way more nervous than you should be. The first day jitters I had were quickly settled once I got to hear the other student’s introductions and how passionate they were about this industry. I thought that the class would get along well after I heard their intros. I must admit though, chef was a little intimidating as well. He’s one of the few ACF Certified Master Pastry Chef’s in the world and he was sitting in my classroom, how could I not be intimidated? But again, after getting to hear him speak, my nerves calmed down. The first day was mainly a lecture and paperwork. We didn’t get into the actual kitchen work until a couple of days later.
It was time to get to work. Like a baby cub thrown into the wild, it was time to learn my new environment. When we got to actually working in the pastry kitchen, it was a nerve wrecking experience. Chef had a certain way he wanted things done and I quickly learned that. I had to adapt to the pace and to the large scales of the recipes. To some, chef was nitpicky, but really he just wanted to give us the most value for our money. I learned different recipes and techniques throughout the semester and I found myself being corrected on things a lot. It was a humbling experience. I found out I didn’t know as much as I previously thought. We started off pretty simple. We were making cheesecakes, pies and things like that. I was pretty upset at the time, because I was feeling more and more like it was a waste of time and money. I was learning things I already knew. As we progressed, I started to find more value in what I was learning. We started making pate a choux, cakes and building tortes. All good, but not the most interesting things in the world. The first half of the semester kind of dragged on when we got into the groove of things.
The second half of the semester, we got into the more complex things. We made ice cream, chocolates, plated desserts and eventually did cake decorating. I must say, I enjoyed the second half of the semester much more than the first. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot in the first half, but they weren’t things that really intrigued me. I’ve always loved ice cream, chocolates and cake decorating, so I was really excited to learn all that. I learned how to temper chocolate for the first time. You can imagine my mind spinning after those couple of days. It was amazing to see how precise you have to be to get the chocolate in temper every time. I learned that apparently, ice cream needs air in order to be creamy. Cleanliness matters. Always keep hot water around. The freezer is the pastry chef’s best friend. The lessons were endless….
(Dark Chocolate Ganache’s)
As we wrapped up the semester, it was kind of bittersweet. Don’t get me wrong I was glad it was done. It was a grueling semester for me. Going to school Tuesday through Friday for four months and working on my off days was really exhausting. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. But, I did grow fond to the others in the class. I found that all of them are generally good people on the same academic journey I’m on. Chef was also a really pleasant surprise. I expected him to be knowledgeable, but he was also surprisingly down to earth, kind and always answered our questions with no problems. A great example of his kindness occurred when my great uncle passed away during this semester. I took a couple of days off to go to funeral and be with family. When I came back, chef was very empathetic and compassionate. He was trying to be very light hearted and I really appreciated that. He was very rigid about techniques and recipes, but he kept it light throughout as well. Overall, the class was tough, but very well worth it. I learned so much. Much more than I thought I could in a few months. But most importantly, I learned that learning and education in this industry never stops. It’s an ongoing process and I’m so excited to continue that process in school and beyond.