Tag Archives: breakfast

Speedy Cronuts

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished CronutWhen I first heard about Cronuts, quite frankly, I thought they were obscene.  Having made several batches of them, I can tell you they are!!

Using Dominique Ansel’s recipe, which I cut in half, I applied the same technique I came up with years ago for Croissants and Puff Pastry. in record time. Where he takes 3 days, this method makes them in less than a third of that time.   As you can see from the photo to the left, the flakiness is beyond anything iI have ever seen.  The are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  While his recipe for home cooks as he refers to it, takes 3 days and a lot of elbow grease, this version of cronuts can be made in a day.  Much of that time is just resting the dough.  The actual work is minimal and spread out.  To make these easier, you can refrigerate the cronuts at various stages if you want.

The dough is like no other yeast dough I have ever made. Although soft and smooth, it has a craggy look and an almost aerated texture.

While  New York cronuts  are filled and iced, my preference is simply rolling them in sugar.  It seems like gilding the lily to do more to these.  But feel free to fill and frost if desired.  You can find Chef Ansel’s Cronut  recipe with fillings, frostings and a lot more work here.

CronutsCronut Ingredients1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water, warm
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast (7 gram package)
1 7/8 cups bread flour (260 grams or 9 1/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt (he uses 2 1/2 teaspoons)
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces (60 grams or 2 ounces)
1 tablespoon egg white*

*Beat the egg white until foamy and broken down. Measure 1/2 of it.

9 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces (135 grams or 4 3/4 ounces)

Combine the water and yeast.Yeast in water

Place the flour, sugar and salt in the processor bowl. Dry ingred. in processor bowlProcess to mix. Dry ingred. processedAdd the cold butterButter in and process until the butter is indistinguishable. Butter processedAdd the egg white to the water/yeast mixture. Egg white in yeast waterPour the water mixture over the dry ingredients. Water over dry ingredients Process until the dough balls up. Process for 30 seconds more.Dough balled up

Remove from the processor bowl and knead several times to make a smooth ball.  Dough on tableDough kneadedplace in a bowl that has been spray with releasing agent.  Cover with film and mark the time on it.Dough filmed with timeLet rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Flour the work surface lightly. Deflate the dough and press it into a round about 1 inch thick. I do this in one step by turning it out over the floured surface

Risen dough on table and just flattening it with the palm of your hand.Flattened on table Wrap in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.Wrapped on table Allow the outer edge of the dough to freeze about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in from the edge.  The time will vary depending upon how cold the freezer is but should take about 1 to 1/2 hours.

Cut the stick of butter in half lengthwise. Turn it one quarter turn and cut again lengthwise making 4 long pieces. Cut these every half inch or so to make small cubes.  Cut the one tablespoon into 4 cubes. Freeze along with the dough.Butter cut

Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into four pieces. Cut each of those into 3 pieces making a total of 12 pieces.Frozen doughCut in half

Cut in 4A quarter cut into thirdsDough cut into 12 piecesPlace 4 pieces of dough in the processor bowl Frozen dough in processoralong with 1/3 of the butter. Dough/btr in processorPulse until the dough and butter are cut into small pieces. Dough/bt cut togetherPour out onto a work surface.Dough-butter cut upRepeat 2 more times. Push the dough/butter into a rectangle.Pushed into a rectangle Roll out into a 6×15 inch rectangle.  Chunks of butter should be visible.Rolling out 1Rolled outFold the two ends to the center of the dough Fold number 1and then fold them together like a book.2nd fold

Turn the pastry so the folded edge is toward your right. Folded to rightRoll out again into a 6×15 inch rectangle and fold as above. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Repeat twice more as above. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator  at least 3 hours or better overnight.

Roll the dough out into a 7×11 inch rectangle. Rolled to cutCut 6 rounds out with a 3 1/3 inch round doughnut cutter. First cutSix cut outRe-roll  the scraps into a 6 1/2″x 3 1/4 inch rectangle.  Cut out two more.  Take the scraps and form them into any shape you want to use it up.  With a 1 inch cutter, cut the center out of each round.  Center hole Place on a parchment lined baking pan, cover lightly with a towel and let rise until tripled.Finished trayRisen cronutRisen Cronut 2

Before you start frying, make sure you have all your equipment handy.  Here I have my thermometer, a large fork for turning the cornets, a paper towel lined cooling rack and sugar in which to roll the hot cronuts.Tools for deep fryingHeat oil to a depth of 1/2 inch to 350°F. Clip on a thermometer.  Thermometer at 350 degrees Place as many doughnuts in the pan as will fit with room around them.  I used a small casserole and fried two at a time so I didn’t have to use a lot oil.  Frying cronuts 1Frying 2Fry until golden brown on one side, about 90 seconds,Golden doughnuts in oilflip and fry on the other side another 90 seconds.  If they fry faster, the oil is too hot, if slower the oil is too cool.  It is important to keep the oil at 350°F throughout the frying.  The temperature will go up and down so you have to moniter it by raising or lowering the heat.

Fill, glaze or roll in sugar.  You can see the layering in the uncut Layering of cornetand cut cronets. Cut cornet

I particularly love the holes.  They are so dramatic.  Holes in oilYou can see the layering when you pull one apart. Fried hole layering Yield: 8 cronuts with holes.

Fresh as a Daisy Doughnuts

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished photoDoughnuts have always seemed to be an ethereal food – out of reach of most of us.  But nothing could be further from the truth!  In reality they take about 20 minutes to mix up, after which they rise, unattended and then sit contentedly in the refrigerator overnight. After a quick roll out the next day they are on their way to the last rise before being fried to a golden brown.  Between the two days you have 45 minutes invested for the treat of a lifetime because if you have never had a homemade doughnut, you have not had a real doughnut.

Yeast doughs have an undeserved reputation of being difficult.  I know people who will tackle the most complicated recipe but won’t go near a yeast dough. I’m not sure where that comes from.  Yeast doughs are extremely forgiving.  This recipe is tailored to making yeast dough easy.  The mashed potato flakes give the yeast something to eat for a light, high rise and a longer shelf life.  The honey adds color and flavor to the finished item also adding to their shelf life.

The dough can be shaped after it’s first rise but it is easier to do after chilling overnight or up to 2 or 3 days.  Just make sure it is tightly covered.  It may rise again when refrigerated, just punch it down, cover well and forget about it. These would make an ideal treat on a weekend.  Start them on Friday or Saturday and have them for breakfast on Sunday.

There are several types of yeast.  Little cakes of fresh yeast are very difficult to come by these days and have a short shelf life.  Instant yeast and rapid rise both come in envelopes, three to a pack.  I call for instant yeast in this recipe.  The flour used is bread flour that has the strength to support a high rise.  All purpose flour will do in a pinch although bread flour is readily available in most areas and is best for yeast breads.  The dough will rise the first time in about 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending upon the temperature of the room. Continue reading

Heavenly French Toast with Blueberry Compote

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished PhotoWhen I was recently in Chicago, my family took me to Heaven on Seven for a  get together with some friends.  I’d heard about this restaurant for years – especially from my son Dirk – who loves it.  In fact, I was given their cookbook as a gift.   As we approached an office building, I thought perhaps we were making a quick stop, but as we entered the elevator I watched as the number seven was punched. As we exited the elevator, I still had no clue.  A few steps later, we entered Heaven on Seven and I was awestruck by the hundreds and hundreds of hot sauce bottles from ceiling to floor covering wall after wall.  There couldn’t be a better wall covering for one of the countries premier Cajun restaurants

We were led to a long table that seated all 16 of us and we began looking at the menu.  So many choices, all with great promise.  Although it was to be brunch, gumbo was had by many.  I asked about the Bayou Blueberry Blast and after a quick explanation placed my order.  What could be better for brunch than their very special cornbread with blueberries, dipped in French Toast batter and deep fried.  Heaven on Seven www.heavenonseven.com indeed.

Continue reading

Hot Cross Buns

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished PhotoHot Cross Buns are traditionally made during Lent.  Full of spices and raisins with a cross on top of the rolls, they are eagerly awaited during the year.  Hot cross buns are a welcome and tasty staple of Lent.   According to Wikipedia: “English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or mold during the subsequent year.”  Well, in my house they won’t last that long!

If you’ve never baked with a product by Sun-Maid called bakers raisins, you’ve missed the perfect raisin for baking.  They are moist and plump and don’t need any soaking to use.  A friend of mine introduced me a few years ago and I have been a fan every since.  I have included instructions for regular raisins that should be soaked to plump them before using in the Hot Cross Buns.   Continue reading

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished photoThis is truly a Cinnamon Raisin Bread to be proud of.  Based on my Basic Sweet Yeast Dough, it is tall, tender and terrific.

I was recently in Chicago visiting my family.  I saw a bag of cinnamon raisin bread on their counter and had a piece for breakfast one day.  To my surprise, it was the best cinnamon raisin bread I ever had.  When I asked where it came from, you can imagine my surprise when I was told, “Walmart”!  Unfortunately, when I returned home and went to my Walmart, no such cinnamon raisin bread was to be found that even came close to the one I had.

So my task was clear.  Make a better cinnamon raisin bread – and I took this very seriously.  There is nothing I like more than working with yeast breads.  There is something magical in combining ingredients and watching them grow.  Several years ago I wanted to come up with my quintessential sweet yeast bread.  I used honey for sweetness and instant mashed potatoes to keep it soft for days.  Vanilla is used to enhance the flavor and the basic dough is used in more than a dozen sweet yeast bread and roll recipes, some familiar and some new. Continue reading