Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen

A few weeks ago, I was going through the fridge and pantry, checking expiration dates of every food item in the house. (Wow, this unopened jar of cream of tartar expired in 2012. Wait, why did I even buy cream of tartar?)

I came across a box of carrot cake mix which would expire in another month.  Hmmm, what should I make with this?

I used about half of the box mix to make a dump cake.  And instead of making one cake, I make several mini-dump cakes in casserole dishes.  I made a pineapple-apple filling, sprinkled on the dry cake mix, poured on the melted butter, and then added shredded coconut and chopped pecans.

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The following week, I combined the rest of the cake mix with some cinnamon, a beaten egg and orange marmalade. I cooked the batter in my donut maker machine, and when they cooled, sprinkled powder sugar on top.

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Biscuit Donuts, part 2

I realize that with this third posting, the site is starting to look as if it is devoted solely to donuts.  That is not the case.  I simply was checking out the recipes on my favorite recipe website (www.tasteofhome.com) when I came across a recipe called Cinnamon Fruit Biscuits.  The biscuits in the accompanying photo looked like donuts to me.  (Obviously, I had donuts on the mind from what I had baked a few days earlier.)

Not only did I still have a container of refrigerated biscuits, I had all the other required ingredients.  The prep time was short, as was the baking time, and besides, I needed something for breakfast.  I substituted orange marmalade for the strawberry jam.  Then, I substituted cardamom for the cinnamon, thinking this to be a better spice to complement the orange flavor.

I was very pleased with the end product.  When I first opened the oven door, the spicy orange scent reminded me of the orange sweet rolls I had as a child.  The biscuits were crunchy on the outside and warm on the inside.  The cardamom sugar and orange marmalade were certainly a combination that made this biscuit a breakfast treat to have again and again.

The photo below is Taste of Home’s picture of their fruited biscuits.  A photo of my orange biscuits can be found on the Recipes page along with the recipe for the Orange Cardamom Biscuits.

Biscuit Donuts

Biscuit donuts frosted and decorated with various sprinkles and toppings

When I bought the container of crescent dough, I bought a can of biscuit dough as well. I was a little disappointed in how the cronuts turned out. They tasted okay, but they did not look that great. I figured that I should have better luck with the biscuits, as they came already into eight round shapes. I would not need to do anything to the dough, other than punch out a circle in the middle. The required baking time from the biscuit donut recipe and the baking time provided on the biscuit can differed by a couple of minutes. So, I figured I would check on the biscuits after the lower time and put them back in the oven for an additional minute, if needed.

The biscuit donuts were ready in less than 10 minutes. While the pre-made biscuits were taller and thicker than the pre-baked cronuts, and rose up slightly above the donut-shaped cavity in the baking pan, they still came out of the oven in a regular donut shape, both in size and shape. Already, I was more pleased with using biscuits over crescent rolls – though both recipes involved ready-made dough. I am certain that the cronuts would look a lot different when homemade dough is used.

As the biscuit donuts cooled, I melted some chocolate in my candy maker. It is a small pot but big enough to dunk the top of a biscuit into it. I was pleased with how the chocolate frosted biscuit donuts looked. Colleagues at work enjoyed the biscuit donuts. However, not being a biscuit fan myself, the chocolate frosting on top was not enough to make me want to bake them again. If I receive a request for them, then I will bake these again. In a few years, when I am retired and running my own bakery (wishful thinking, right?), maybe I’ll have a limited Biscuit Donuts plated to share with a group, and individual ones placed in boxes for individual giftsnumber in the display case. Now that I think about it, April Fools Day would be a great time of the year to bake biscuit donuts for friends/family/customers..

Cronuts (Croissant Donuts)

Cronuts (Croissant Donuts)

Being curious about this new fad, I read over several posts and recipes for making cronuts. Most recipes used a homemade dough; a few recipes, though, included ready-to-bake crescent rolls. One similar recipe used ready-to-bake biscuits. (Wait, if I use biscuit dough, am I making cronuts? Should they be called biscnuts?)

Using the seamless crescent sheet, I followed the recipe’s direction regarding folding and layering the dough. With a circle-shaped cookie cutter and a decorating tip (for the center hole), I easily made the first two cronuts. Reshaping the dough a couple more times, I was able to make four more cronuts. I baked them in a donut pan. When they finished baking, and I took the pan out of the oven to cool, I noticed that the two donuts which were shaped first came out in a perfect round doughnut shape. The other four, which were results from shaping and reshaping the dough, looked mutated, with lines and bumps everywhere. Was this a result of overworking the dough, or did I not work it enough to give it the right shape?

I made a simple glaze of confectioner’s sugar and milk and dipped the tops of each cronut into the glaze.   In groups of two, I finished off the cronuts with cookie crunch topping, colored sprinkles, or a savory blend of rosemary leaves and freshly ground nutmeg..  Frosting and decorating the cronuts did help cover up some of the bumps and bruises.

cronuts 3