Posts tagged with Baking

Healthy doughnuts (seriously)

Cake doughnuts without the refined sugar. Delicious.

Cake doughnuts without the refined sugar. Delicious. by Sarah Henning

I love to bake. LOVE it. Thus, I probably have every type of baker’s tool lying around somewhere in my kitchen cabinets — Silpat, candy molds, springform pan, French spatula, etc. And I’ve used everything I own at one time or another save for a single item that I’ve had for years: a doughnut pan.

I’ve had this doughnut pan ever since the giant going-out-of-business sale of the Pink Box bakery in early 2011. I bought it for $3 with good intentions. And then it just … sat there. Mostly because I was scared to use it.

OK, not scared. Terrified.

Because I knew if I did, I’d start something. Something I might not be able to stop.

You see, I LOVE doughnuts.

But I barely ever have them because, well, we all know they aren’t exactly healthy. And because of my love of them, it’s better that I don’t indulge. If I do, that will almost immediately turn into me finding another excuse to have them. And another. And pretty soon I’m having doughnuts every Saturday morning. (This exact thing happened in the weeks after my son was born and went on for MONTHS.)

So, I’d never used my doughnut pan.

And I don’t know what got into me, but sometime when the weather was acting up and about 30 degrees colder than we all know it should be, I decided I’d pull out the doughnut pan and see if I could make something healthy with it. I mean, because I’m all for being stuck inside when it’s snowy and cold with baked goods, but I just don’t want them to be a sugar bomb I regret even days later.

My first attempt? To make pumpkin doughnuts by adapting my Sneaky Pumpkin Pie Bars.

And you know what? They totally worked. I even made them twice to make sure. But they turned out perfect, and one recipe filled the pan exactly. And they taste GOOD.

Sure, I may have opened a can of worms (Thinking of trying coconut donuts next!) but at least I know I can make something without refined sugar or junk with my terrifying doughnut pan. That warms my little baker’s heart.

Healthy Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts

½ cup pumpkin

½ cup raw, unsalted almond butter

⅓ cup maple syrup

2 eggs or 2 flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water for each egg)

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt (less if you happen to be using roasted almond butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a six-doughnut pan well with with coconut oil. Set aside.

Put all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a bowl. Stir well.

Pour batter into your oiled doughnut molds, using an ice cream scoop or spoon to make spills less likely.

Bake 25 minutes or until the the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center doughnuts comes out clean. Let cool completely before using a knife to pry the doughnuts out of their molds.

These store well in the fridge, as the cold helps them set up a bit more, though I stored them in the freezer and let them defrost a bit before using. Serves 6.


Cooking away the CSA, week 29: Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

These cookies aren't my usual healthy fare, but I don't think you'll mind.

These cookies aren't my usual healthy fare, but I don't think you'll mind. by Sarah Henning

Admittedly, there are no local ingredients in the recipe I’m sharing today. I just felt like for the week of Halloween we all needed a cookie break.

A seasonal cookie break.

If you still need a little something to have around the house or bring to a party at Halloween, these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are the cookie to bring.

Admittedly, they’re not the healthy fare I usually share in this space. But I don’t feel totally guilty, because you do get some modicum of vitamin A when you eat them (how’s that for rationalization?). But, really, eat them because they are totally, amazingly delicious.

Honestly, these cookies are my secret weapon this time of year. The recipe makes a ton, everyone always loves them and they are appropriate for everything from Halloween to Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup shortening, margarine or butter

1-½ cups sugar (I often use half coconut sugar)

¼ cup regular or soy yogurt (vanilla, plain or maple)

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put parchment paper on two cookie sheets.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour through cinnamon (all dry ingredients). Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together your shortening/margarine/butter with the sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the yogurt and then stir in the pumpkin and vanilla.

Gradually stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. When all combined, add chocolate chips.

Drop by the teaspoonful onto parchment. Flatten a bit with clean fingers. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Yield 50 cookies.

So, what’d we get on our last week of Rolling Prairie for 2013? Eggplant, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, leeks, green onions and kale.

Our final pick up of the year for Rolling Prairie: eggplant, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes (not pictured because the kiddo ate them), kale, leeks, green onions and peppers.

Our final pick up of the year for Rolling Prairie: eggplant, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes (not pictured because the kiddo ate them), kale, leeks, green onions and peppers. by Sarah Henning


My favorite homemade bread recipe

This batch of Blue-Ribbon Bread and rolls was made when the weather was about three times as hot as this morning (hence the ice cream maker in the background). It truly is a year-round treat, though it is really lovely to make on bright, cold days like this one.

This batch of Blue-Ribbon Bread and rolls was made when the weather was about three times as hot as this morning (hence the ice cream maker in the background). It truly is a year-round treat, though it is really lovely to make on bright, cold days like this one. by Sarah Henning

On days like this one — clear and sunny and way too chilly — I absolutely love to bake my own bread. There's something about the smell and feel of a loaf or a pan of rolls straight from the oven.

For a long time I was totally freaked out by the idea of making yeast breads. They seemed finicky and difficult and, of course, making them would mean I'd have to go to the store and buy special bread flour and yeast, rather than being able to stay at home, all safe and warm with my pantry of ingredients.

But, let me tell you, when I finally got around to trying to make my own bread, going to the store and buying those intimidating ingredients was well worth it. More than just filling my house with a lovely smell and my belly with a warm snack or meal, making my own bread also has allowed me to avoid dough conditioners, preservatives and ingredients only Google knows how to pronounce. Now, I usually tend to avoid that stuff altogether by buying loaves from Wheatfields or the Lawrence Farmers' Market, but sometimes I like to put on my apron and proudly make it myself.

When I do, this is the recipe I choose most of the time. It has great ingredients, many options and goes from ingredients to bread relatively no time (some bread takes days to make). Plus, it makes a TON. Many times, I will make 1 huge loaf (9.25 x 5.25 inches) and a bunch of rolls. I'll then slice up and freeze half the large loaf and all the rolls. That way, because there aren't any preservatives, I'm not sad because my loaf has dried out too quickly. But, if you aren't able to use the bread you have out, not to worry, this bread makes great bread crumbs in a food processor.

Blue-Ribbon Bread (adapted from this fabulous book from Jennifer McCann — makes 3 8.5-inch loaves, 2 loaves and nine dinner rolls, or 1 huge loaf and nine dinner rolls)

2 cups warm water

2 packets active dry yeast

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup agave nectar or honey

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups cooked oatmeal

3 cups whole-wheat flour

4-5 cups bread flour

Pour the warm water into a very large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir well. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to dissolve the yeast.

Add the canola oil, agave nectar, salt, cooked grains and the whole-wheat flour to the yeast water, stirring vigorously. Beat well with a large wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and let the sponge rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1.5 hours.

Stir the sponge down and add 3 cups of the bread flour, stirring in about a 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is firm enough to knead by hand. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter or pastry board and knead vigorously. Sprinkle more four on your hands and work surface as you kneed to keep the dough from sticking. You will need to add about 1.5 cups more flour this way, more if the grains you used were particularly moist. Knead for 20 minutes, until the dough is smooth and develops and inner firmness and springiness.

Shape the dough into a round and place it in a very large, well-oiled mixing bowl (the biggest you've got — I've had to dump out my large wooden fruit bowl for this), turning the round so the top of the dough gets coated with some of the oil. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Fatten out the dough with your hands, pressing out any air bubbles. Cut the dough into three equal pieces. Shape into three loaves and place in three 8.5x3.5-inch loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Or shape into two loaves and divide the rest of the dough into nine pieces and shape each piece into a round and space them evenly apart in a 9x9-inch baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. (I made one huge, 9.5 X 5-inch loaf and nine dinner rolls). Spray or brush the tops of the bread with olive oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let the bread rise one last time.

During the final rise, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the loaves and rolls have risen until not quite doubled, about 25 minutes, place in the oven. Bake until golden and hollow sounding when given a gentle thump, about 20 to 25 minutes for rolls, 25 to 40 minutes for loaves. Rotate the pans once during baking to ensure evenness.

Remove the bread and rolls from the pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.