Archive for the 'sweet stuff' Category

Bacon Caramel Apples

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It’s tough not to subsist on midway food during Stampede week – which isn’t to say I’ve been gorging on the stuff, just that you tend to absorb bites of this and that when you’re on the grounds and at events trying to be patriotic, as it were. I was introduced to the fudge apple this week – a tart green apple dipped in fudge instead of candy or caramel – and it occurred to me that I may not have shared this particular baconized item with you yet, and I’d better get it in while everyone is still enamoured with over-the-top food on a stick.

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If there’s a party in your future, these are a total hit – with grown-ups even more so than kids. (You can always swap chopped salted peanuts or mini M&Ms or broken pretzels or sprinkles for the bacon.) The recipe can be easily doubled (or tripled) for a party – because really, what’s better for a summer party than food on a stick? No need for forks or plates or balancing of any kind – and there’s still room for a cocktail in the other hand.

Bacon Caramel Apples

If your caramel cools as you’re dipping the apples, gently rewarm it, adding a little more water if needed.

6 small apples
3-4 slices bacon
1 bag (11 oz.) caramels, unwrapped
3 Tbsp. water

Wash and dry the apples well, and insert a wood or paper stick into the stem end of each.

Chop the bacon and cook it until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels, then crumble or roughly chop. Reserve 1 Tbsp. of the drippings and pour it into a small saucepan with the caramels and cream or water. Cook over medium-low heat until completely melted and smooth.

Dip the apples into the caramel, turning to coat completely, then allow excess caramel to drip off and set on a parchment-lined sheet. Sprinkle with bacon while the caramel is still soft, then let set. Makes 6 caramel apples.

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July 10 2013 | sweet stuff | 7 Comments »

Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

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Snow in May calls for a sweet, doughy consolation prize.

Eat your heart out Hef. Could there be anything sexier? This doughnut could be a cover model. Or a centrefold. Do they even have centrefolds anymore? It wouldn’t need any photoshopping, anyway.

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Age has brought with it a certain persnicketiness in the doughnut department. At one time I would have been thrilled with Timbits, but I’ve become spoiled – if I’m going to eat a doughnut it might as well be a really fantastically great one. This is not to say I easily shun a box of coffee shop doughnuts should I discover one in my vicinity. Warm ones, made from scratch with real vanilla, are a little more difficult to resist. But why would you want to, when slush is falling from the sky and you’ve pulled out your woolly socks again?

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I buy this vanilla bean paste from the Cookbook Company Cooks for applications such as this, where the flavour is predominant and the smooth glaze allows you to see the bitty black seeds. You could use actual vanilla beans too – I just find the paste a bit easier and more economical. Also – I used every last bean in my cupboard to (finally) make my own extract. So easy-I’ll fill you in soon.

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Doughnuts from scratch is the sort of thing I generally reserve for company, for days when I know more mouths will be around to help me out, because leftovers (it could happen!) don’t age well.

It may be the sort of thing I’d make if I had a group of friends over to make peroghies! Remember when I put it out there? The suggestion to have a good old-fashioned peroghy bee? I was thinking it might be a suitable Food Revolution Day activity. It’s coming up fast – May 19th – but really, any longer than two weeks would be far too long to wait. So if you’re free to come make peroghies and nibble coffee and a pile of warm doughnuts that Saturday, leave a comment here!

Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

Adapted from Canadian Living

Sponge:
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour

Dough:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or good vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Vanilla Bean Icing:
2 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or good vanilla extract

canola oil (or another mild vegetable oil) for cooking

In large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water; let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour until you have a smooth paste. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand until bubbly and stretchy, about 30 minutes.

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and salt, beat in sponge. Stir in flour until you have a sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place until tripled in bulk, about an hour and a half.

Punch the dough down and roll or pat it out about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter or a round cutter and a smaller one for the hole, cut out doughnuts. Transfer doughnuts and holes to a baking sheet, cover and let rise for another hour, until doubled in bulk.

In a wide, shallow pot, heat 2 inches of oil until hot but not smoking. Cook a few doughnuts at a time for a couple minutes per side, turning as they turn a rich golden. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on a wire rack or paper towels. Makes 1 1/2-2 dozen doughnuts.

Vanilla Icing: Whisk together all the ingredients, adding a little extra icing sugar or milk if needed to make a dippable/drizzlable consistency. Dip or drizzle over doughnuts while they’re still warm.

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button print gry20 Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

May 05 2012 | bread and breakfast and dessert and sweet stuff | 24 Comments »

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