Cinnamon Sugar Cake Doughnuts

There’s a local doughnut chain here in Seattle called Top Pot Doughnuts. I happen to live directly behind one. It’s a curse and a blessing and sometimes you just have to give in and go buy yourself a dozen doughnuts doughnut or two. Other times, you just have to make them!

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I try to use coconut oil as much as possible instead of other fats, so why not try frying doughnuts in it? Let me say, it works like a charm.

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I got the inspiration for this recipe on Pinterest, obviously. You can find the original recipe here.donut2

Cinnamon Sugar Cake Doughnuts
*makes about 8 doughnuts 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup raw cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 egg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

coconut oil for frying (I used about 1 pound)
cinnamon-sugar for dredging

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla. Pour the liquid into the dry and mix together until just combined, don’t over mix. The dough will be sticky.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. While your dough is resting, make a cinnamon-sugar mixture — I did 2 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup cinnamon — and set it aside.

Heat your coconut oil to 350-375 degrees F. Make sure to keep and eye on your oil so it doesn’t get too hot, nobody likes burnt doughnuts! After 1 hour, scrape that dough puppy out onto a floured surface, sprinkle generously with more flour and roll out to a thickness of about 1/2 an inch.

Cut your doughnuts out with a round cookie cutter and use a significantly smaller cookie cutter to make the center hole. You can smash together and roll out the left over dough one more time but no more than that (it will become too tough and taste gross). Save the smaller center circles for doughnut holes!

Drop the doughnuts in the oil one at a time. The dough will sink at first then rise to the top of the oil. Fry on each side for about 3 minutes, or until it is a nice dark-golden brown. Remove doughnut from oil and place directly into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, dredging completely, and place on a metal cookie rack to cool. Repeat the process until all doughnuts are done. Don’t forget the doughnut holes!

Enjoy with a huge cup of joe.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Is there anything better than coming home late from work and having one of your favorite meals already made for you? Why yes there is…when it’s chicken tortilla soup! Now, I don’t want to say that I’m lazy, but let’s be honest: who wants to cook after work? Definitely not me. Half the time I find myself rummaging through half eaten blocks of cheese leftovers because I would rather be malnourished that cook.

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Alas, the “winter” months are still upon us here in Seattle and though I can’t wait for some warmth, I might as well embrace soup season while it’s still here.

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Throw it all in the good ol’ crock pot, turn it on, botta bing botta boom, you’ve got soup.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 pound chicken breast
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles (Trader Joe’s has it)
1 12 ounce jar fire roasted red and yellow peppers (Trader Joe’s again)
1 cup frozen fire roasted corn (you can also use canned of fresh)
1/4 teaspoon spicy mexican style chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper

Mexican blend shredded cheese
Avocado
Crumbled tortilla chips

Throw everything from the chicken breast to the ground pepper into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4).

Before serving, shred the chicken breast with two forks (or you can use small chicken breast pieces to make it easier).

Top with a generous heap of mexican blend shredded cheese, crumbled tortilla chips and avocado. I like to use half of an avocado for 1 bowl of soup, but that’s just my personal preference.

Enjoy with chips, salsa and guacamole and maybe throw in a dos equis ;)

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Breakfast for Two: Croissant French Toast

The only thing better than a buttery, flakey croissant is when you dip it in eggs, fry it up and smother it in syrup. Valentine’s day is right around the corner and what better way to say those three little words than with a mouth full of…sugar?

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French toast is by far one of my favorite foods and if you know anything about me, so are pastries so why not mix ‘em together?

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If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try making Homemade Croissants, and don’t forget to add the homemade strawberry compote.

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Croissant French Toast

2 croissants
3 eggs
splash of milk
splash of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
cinnamon

1 12 oz bag frozen strawberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar

For the compote: add the thawed strawberries and 1/3 cup sugar to small sauce pan and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries have turned to mush and the mixture is slightly thick.

For the french toast: heat a skillet (or frying pan) over medium heat and spray with coconut oil cooking spray, you can also use melted butter.

Slice the croissants in half, lengthwise.

Whisk together the eggs, splash of milk, splash of vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Dip each croissant piece in the eggs mixture, add to skillet/frying pan and sprinkle each slice with cinnamon.

Flip the croissants and cook until they are a dark-golden brown on both sides.

Serve with strawberry compote and maple syrup. I also whipped up some fresh whipped cream which you can find a recipe for here.

Copycat Tagalongs

It’s that time of year again. Every time I go into the kitchen at work, there it is…haunting me. The Girl Scout cookie order form. Normally Thin Mints are my favorite, but after making gallons upon gallons of Thin Mint ice cream last summer, well, let’s just say I’ve had my fill. My number 2 choice GS cookie is definitely the Tagalong.

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Crunchy shortbread cookie smothered in rich, creamy peanut butter and dunked in chocolate, can’t get much better than that. Well, it can if you make them without all of those artery-clogging hydrogenated oils. Not to mention that those precious treats are laced with loads of palm oil and palm oil companies are singlehandedly ruining the lives of millions of people and animals around the world and causing major deforestation…but that’s a whole other subject!

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Copycat Tagalongs

6 ounces unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup raw, organic sugar
1/2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt

good quality salted, creamy peanut butter (like Trader Joe’s or Adams)
1 bag semi sweet Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium until the sugar and butter are combined. Add vanilla and salt.

Remove bowl from mixer and sift the flour directly into the bowl. Return to mixer and mix on medium/low until just combined, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as needed.

Turn the dough onto a flour surface and shape into a round disc. It will be very crumbly.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, return dough to flour surface and roll out to a thickness of about 1/2 an inch.

Cut out cookies using a round cookie cutter and place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make an indent with your thumb on each cookie (this is where you will put the peanut butter later). Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, it will make anywhere from 10-30 cookies (I got 20).

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are a nice, golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Add a small dollop of peanut butter to the top of each cookie and freeze for 20 minutes so the peanut butter does not melt when you dip the cookies in the chocolate.

While cookies are freezing, melt the chocolate: in a small sauce pan on low heat, add a little bit of chocolate at a time and stir constantly until it is melted. You may want to occasionally remove the sauce pan from the heat while melting to prevent the chocolate from burning. Keep adding more chocolate until the whole bag is melted.

Drop the cookies into the chocolate, one at a time, peanut butter side first. Turn them over with a fork and shake off the excess chocolate. You can use the side of the sauce pan to scrape off extra chocolate on the bottom of the cookie.

Place the chocolate covered cookies on parchment paper and allow the chocolate to set up completely. I recommend enjoying these puppies with a huge glass of milk!

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Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbread

We’re pushing February and with that, the seasonal fruits and veggies start to look a little boring. I feel like I’ve been eating clementines and brussels sprouts for months on end. I wanted to do something different with one of the seasonal fruits, and what better way to do that than by mixing it with cheese and throwing it on a pizza!

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The inspiration for this flatbread came from CPK’s Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza, but I switched a few things around and I have to say, it is pretty darn tasty.

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The only thing missing was a huge small glass of Riesling…but I made this flatbread at 10am so there’s that.

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Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbread
*I recommend making the dough the day before 

For the Dough (makes 2 flatbreads)

3 ounces bread flour
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 a packet of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce packet)
6 ounces warm water (110 degrees)

7 ounces bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce olive oil
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

To make the dough, first make a sponge with the 3oz flour, honey, yeast and water: dissolve the honey in the warm water and mix the yeast and flour together with a whisk in the bowl of a stand mixer (if you don’t have a stand mixer, just use a medium sized bowl). Add the honey/water mixture to flour/yeast mixture and whisk together. It will be lumpy.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 45 minutes at room temp.

Once sponge is ready, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment and mix on medium/low speed for 6-8 minutes until you have a nice dough ball. If it is too dry, add a tiny bit of water.

Cut the dough into two balls, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge overnight to proof. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can kneed the dough by hand.
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For the Flatbread

2 pears, washed and sliced
1 gorgonzola cheese wedge, crumbled (about 6-8 ounces)
1/2 cup raw, chopped pecans
Parmesan cheese
Arugula
Olive oil

Slap the dough balls on a floured surface a few times to remove any air bubbles, then press the dough down so it is nice and flat. You can stretch the dough by holding it at one end and slowly turning it in a curricular motion, letting gravity do the trick. If you’re feeling fancy, you can also toss it up in the air.

Place the doughs on two large pieces of parchment paper. Cover them with parmesan cheese and divide the rest of the ingredients between the two. I like to put half of the blue cheese under the arugula and half of it on top. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese if desired.

Place parchment paper directly on oven rack and bake at 475 for 8-12 minutes or until the the crust is a nice golden brown and the blue cheese is bubbling.

Remove from oven and brush the crust of the flatbread with olive oil. Enjoy!

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Dark Sipping Chocolate with Bailey’s and Fresh Whipped Cream

As I made my way through the candy aisle, I was pleasantly surprised to find such high quality couverture amongst the boring usual chocolate choices of a super market. My excitement, however, was dulled by a subtle turn in my stomach. You see, when I was in culinary school, we spent a quarter working with chocolate and I hated it. At first, I couldn’t remember why, but once I began chopping said chocolate, the stark reality came crashing down…all over my kitchen, like broken glass. I found myself in a sea of chocolate bits, it was on my hands, on my feet, in my sink, all over my floor. You name it, there was chocolate on it. Now, there is a very slight possibility that my infant sized cutting board had a little something to do with the mess, but we’ll just chalk it up as a loss.

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After scraping my precious chocolatey chunks mostly onto the floor into the saucepan, I began melting it, and my huge mess of a kitchen was completely worth it.

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Now, I usually indulge in one…or three spiked hot chocolates when I’m falling on my face shredding fresh powder on the side of a mountain, but I haven’t yet made it to the slopes this year. So, I decided to make a much better version of the Swiss Miss and Popov-quality alcohol they sell at the lodges.

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I give you: Dark Sipping Chocolate with Bailey’s and fresh Whipped Cream. Be warned, it’s a chocolate lover’s dream.

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Tell me that doesn’t look like the epitome of Winter.

Dark Sipping Chocolate with Bailey’s and Fresh Whipped Cream

1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
8 oz dark couverture (chocolate) 70% or higher, chopped
1 1/2 tsp raw cane sugar
Bailey’s Irish Cream

Place chopped chocolate pieces into a large bowl.

Heat whole milk and 1 cup of heavy cream over medium/high heat, whisking occasionally, until it is simmering (there will be small bubbles around the edge of the sauce pan). Do not boil.

While heating milk/cream mixture, add the remaining heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment (or in a medium bowl with a hand held mixer), add sugar and whip on high 2-3 minutes, or until the cream is a stiff whipped cream.

When milk/cream mixture is simmering, remove from heat and pour over chocolate pieces. Let it sit for about 1 minute then whisk together, starting from the center and working your way out.

Pour a shot of Bailey’s into a mug, add a ladle of sipping chocolate and top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

Grilled PB&J with Bacon

You read that right, grilled peanut butter and jelly with bacon.

pbjGrowing up, pb&j was always my favorite sandwich to get in my lunchbox, probably because that happened maybe once every few months. I’m thankful now, at the ripe age of 23, that my mother sent us off to school with fruits and veggies instead of sugary snacks, but in elementary school, nothing was worse than waiting all morning to eat, only to find a turkey sandwich and carrot sticks. The first time I moved out on my own, I started perfecting my sandwich making craft and thus, the grilled pb&j with bacon was born.

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Grilled PB&J with Bacon

2 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon
2 slices of sourdough bread
Real chunky peanut butter (like Trader Joe’s brand or Adam’s)
Real fruit preserves of your choice (I used blueberry from Trader Joe’s)
Butter

Heat a large pan or an electric skillet over medium/high heat and cook the bacon.

While bacon is cooking, spread a huge dollop of PB on one slice of bread and another huge dollop of jelly on the other.

In the same pan/skillet (or a different one if your pan is too small) melt about 1/2 of a tablespoon of butter and grill both slices of bread (on the plain sides) until both are a crispy, golden brown.

Add the bacon to one of the slices of bread, fold them together and you’ve got yourself a Grilled PB&J with Bacon!pjb3

I mean come on, look at that mouth-watering baby!