Skinny Banana Nut Bread

4There is something about September that makes me crave Banana Bread. For me, I see it as a great transition from the light, berry desserts of summer to the heartier apple and pumpkin desserts of fall. The weather is just starting to show signs of changing here in Florida. The days are becoming shorter and the high temperatures are struggling to reach 90° anymore. These slight environmental changes are what trigger my changing taste buds each year.

In order to continue to enjoy banana bread like I have in the past, I needed to create a healthier alternative that would fit into my changing lifestyle. Banana bread may seem like a healthy dessert but it is often loaded with unnecessary sugar and can have upwards of 10 grams of fat per slice and over half being from saturated fat, which is no bueno!!! So with all of these bad numbers can banana bread actually become healthier? The answer is yes.

1There are many ways to shave calories and fat off of banana bread while adding in essential nutrients that make you feel a lot less guilty for indulging your cravings. Some swap wheat flour for coconut flour. Others add applesauce in place of butter or oil. I do not like these alternatives because I feel like the bread ends up tasting too much like coconut or apple when I want it to taste only of banana. In order to shave the bad and replace it with some good, I first cut out the eggs. Eggs are good but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Since I still want my eggs at breakfast I cut them out of the bread. Next, I replaced butter with olive oil, which also replaced a significant amount of saturated fat with healthier poly & monounsaturated fats. Another swap was allowing plain Greek yogurt to stand in for the typical sour cream called for in most conventional recipes. The addition of Greek yogurt not only helps shave down the bad qualities in traditional banana bread but it also adds beneficial protein, probiotics, vitamin B12, potassium, and calcium. Also by adding the yogurt I was able to cut down on the amount of olive oil needed. In order to cut down on the amount of white flour without changing the texture too much, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. If those changes weren’t enough I decided to sneak in some flaxseed to add heart healthy omega 3s and use only very ripe bananas to cut back on added sugar. Don’t be tempted to use those barely ripe bananas you just bought at the store no matter how much you may want to try this recipe. If the bananas are not overly ripe the bread will not taste as sweet and you will likely be disappointed. The reason this step is so important is because as the banana ripens, the natural sugars concentrate and the flavor matures. Many overlook this step and it is the most crucial. If you have to skip this step for whatever reason, you may have to bump up the sugar to 1 ½ cups to keep it as sweet, but keep in mind if you do the nutritional values will change.

3Although there have been many alterations to this recipe to make it more nutritious it still produces a tasty loaf. I enjoy a slice as a late night snack but it would also be great with coffee or tea at breakfast. The following recipe will produce 2 loaves of bread and approximately 24 servings. A serving size is one slice that weighs approximately 2 oz. Total preparation time for this recipe is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you are following Weight Watchers, one slice is 4 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients:

  • 6.8 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 7.2 oz. (1 ½ cups) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • ½ cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Very Ripe Bananas; mashed (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup Walnuts; chopped
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Formula:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Prepare two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans by coating all sides with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flours, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until mixed. In a medium bowl, combine banana, walnuts, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around perimeter of bread to loosen from sides. Remove loafs from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information

(One 2 oz. Slice)

banananutbread

Weight Watchers: 4 Points or 5 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: EILEEN SOLBERG
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

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Loukoumades

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Today was a very overcast blah day which made it perfect for baking. I chose to tackle a famous Greek pastry called Loukoumades, also known as Greek Honey Puffs. A few days ago I tried to make these sweet gems but failed miserably. After translating a family recipe from Greek to English the measurements were not clear and a lot of guess-work was necessary. This guess-work produced a bowl of dense, inedible pastry.

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I admit I was rather frustrated. After working hard to translate my boyfriend’s family recipe only to have it not turn out did cause me to lose motivation, especially since the Greek language is not the easiest thing to learn in the world. I have been trying to learn as much Greek since the birth of my daughter as we will be raising her Greek Orthodox and sending her to Greek school so it will be important for me to have a clear understanding of the language and culture in order to help her learn easier. This has been an uphill battle since the only foreign language I know is Spanish and some random German words and phrases, which are not helpful at all in the quest to master Greek.

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Sure I have picked up a lot of Greek words and phrases and can even generally decipher conversations I hear based on what I do know but I am nowhere near where I want to be. Since I have a long road ahead to master Greek language I decided there is one thing I can master from Greek culture rather quickly… their food. This will also come in handy since I want my daughter to learn the tastes and flavors of that portion of her heritage all while broadening the horizons of my own palate. Lately I have been succeeding with savory options such as pasta and rice dishes to offer at dinner. It was only natural that I move on to sweets, which Greeks are notorious for.

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Having gotten over my initial frustration I remembered my ultimate goal to provide these traditional dishes for my daughter and boyfriend since we are miles from family that would be able to do so for us. I was refreshed with my initiative to learn every traditional Greek dish, savory or sweet, knowing there is no one else to take on that responsibility and make sure tradition passes down to my daughter and eventually her children as well. With this newly lit fire I decided to get to the bottom of my initial failure.

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I did some research online as well as cross referencing the family recipe with a recipe I received from the church cookbook of other family’s traditional Greek recipes. It was there I found my problem. The dense nature of my failure had two causes. The first was too much flour and not enough leavening agent. The second was too thick of dough, causing it to remain lumpy and hard to shape.

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With my knowledge of what went wrong I went back to the drawing board. Can you guess what happened… that’s right… SUCCESS!!! Having successfully tackled on Loukoumades I can now put that burden behind me and find a new Greek recipe to try.

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Loukoumades

Ingredients:

  • 2 pkgs Instant or Rapid-Rise Yeast
  • ½ cup Warm Water; between 90° to 100°
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cup Milk, lukewarm to touch
  • 3 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 1 ¼ tsp. Salt
  • Oil for Frying
  • Pure Honey; for drizzling
  • Cinnamon; to taste

Formula:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Be sure to not overheat the water as it will kill the yeast. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the milk and sugar and mix until just combined.
  3. Stir in the yeast and half of the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well blended. If the dough appears too thick, add water in small increments until the dough is smooth and falls slowly from the spoon. Make sure the dough is lump free. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
  4. In a large saucepan or pot heat the oil. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. This will absorb the excess oil after the Loukoumades are removed from frying. Give the risen dough a quick stir. Place a small amount of oil in a cup or bowl. If you desire small Loukoumades, select a teaspoon. If you desire larger Loukoumades like the ones pictured, select a tablespoon.
  5. Dip the spoon you selected in the cup of oil. This will keep the Loukoumades from sticking to the spoon and maintain their shape while frying. Grab a handful of dough and gently squeeze your fist together, causing the dough to squish out through the space in your palm between your thumb and pointer finger. Squeeze out enough dough to cover the surface of the greased spoon and use the edge of the spoon to cut off the dough and create a smooth, round shape. Gently slide the dough off the spoon into the hot oil. Fry the dough until golden brown.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove each Loukoumades and place on the prepared pan. Once all the Loukoumades have been fried, transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve immediately as the texture deteriorates once the Loukoumades cool.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Bonnet Biscuits

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With it being a little bit cooler and rainy around Central Florida the past few days I was in for something rustic and homey to prepare for the visitors here. My boyfriend pointed out that in the past I had made some very good bread while in culinary school and he missed it. This led to me realizing that I really lack making bread not just for blog posts but in general. This sent me on a mission to find a formula that would lend the house a yeasty fresh baked loaf scent but also unique enough that you wouldn’t just look at this post and feel like you could have easily went to the supermarket and picked yourself up the same thing in the bakery minus the hassle and dirty dishes. So here is what I found… the Bonnet Biscuit.

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What’s so stellar about this formula is the resulting soft texture and yeast flavor of a fancy dinner roll yet the convenience of the traditional biscuit. Oh and lets not forget to mention how cute and unique the shape is – a tiny replica of a woman’s bonnet. Turns out, these biscuits are rather rare and forgotten pieces of pastry’s history. A search for the original recipe is difficult to find and often leads back to one woman… Mary Midleton. During a visit to her aunt and uncle in Bucks County, Pennsylvania she collected and recorded farmer’s recipes, which one happened to be for Quaker Bonnet Biscuits. In a 1915 book by Edith M. Thomas titled, “Mary at the Farm and Book of Recipes Compiled during Her Visit: among the “Pennsylvania Germans,” Mary’s original recipe was listed and very tough to execute in the modern era. Definitely a formula in need of updating. Since lard is no longer a conventional fat used, an equal amount of butter provided great taste as long as the flour was reduced by half. The original formula also lacked salt and sugar, which when added provided a better taste as long as it was kept to a minimum. Rapid-rise yeast was a necessary transition for a quicker rising time as it is widely available compared to the original cake yeast called for by Mary.

Although most bread formulas require two rises to provide a tender, flakiness, it is no longer practical to take so long just to make biscuits when you could grab a tube of pre-made stuff at the store marketed by a white doughboy that’s as cute in his own right as the little bonnets shown here.  Mary may have had all morning to make her biscuits for dinner but us working mom’s and dad’s need something quick and easy enough to make after work still while watching out for the children as they get more and more rambunctious while waiting for dinner. To make this happen, the traditional first rise is cut out all together, much like a southern yeast biscuit. As soon as the dough is mixed together, rather than allow it to rise for the first time, it is instead quickly rolled out, cut, and then allowed to rise. Once doubled in size it could be baked and on the table all in an hour’s time. Surely a biscuit recipe worth getting to know in our modern kitchens.

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One important note to anyone who wishes to try these historical biscuits, they are easiest to prepare using a large food processor. However, if you don’t own a food processor don’t fret it, you can still make these delicious little bites just be sure to freeze the butter. Once the butter is hard, grate it on the large hole side of a box grater into the dry ingredients. Using your hands, toss the dry ingredients gently in order to evenly distribute the butter. Once thoroughly mixed, you can proceed with the formula as given. A little extra work but totally worth it to have one of these dainty little bonnets in your stomach 🙂

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Bonnet Biscuits

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 pkg. Rapid-Rise or Instant Yeast
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour; extra for work surface
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. Salt
  • 8 tbsp. Unsalted Butter (1 stick); cut into ½ in. pieces; kept chilled
  • 1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted; for biscuit assembly

 

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 200°. Once the oven is preheated, allow temperature to maintain for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven. 
  2. Heat the milk to 100°-110°. Add the yeast and stir gently until just combined. Allow mixture to bloom a few minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined.  Add the chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 one-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  4. Add the egg, milk and yeast mixture to the dry ingredients until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Briefly knead the dough together, about 1 minute. If dough is too wet or hard to work with, add more flour as necessary.
  5. Roll the dough into a 12 in. round. Cut out eighteen 2 ½ in. circles that are ¾ in. thick, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough into a round a ½ in. thick and cut out eighteen 1 ¼ in. rounds. Lightly brush the larger dough rounds with melted butter and place the smaller dough round slightly off center on top of each larger round. Place baking sheets in the warmed oven. Let rise until double in size, about 25-35 minutes.
  6. Once doubled in size, remove the baking sheets from the oven and heat to 375°. Once the oven is fully preheated, return the baking sheets to the oven and bake until biscuits are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. Serve biscuits hot or warm. 

 

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM BRIDGET LANCASTER

 

 

 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

 

 

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Fall has officially arrived here in Florida today. Waking up to a very brisk, chilly morning was refreshing but also a bit of a shock to the system I must admit. It is rather ironic that as I sit here freezing in Florida while family in Queens, New York will most likely be hit by a Hurricane in the coming hours. With that said, I guess it is only fitting that there is no better way to warm up your day then starting it off with a sweet and gooey, calorie-laced cinnamon roll straight from the oven. Although there are many food court or fast food leaner and punier cousins to the homemade cinnamon roll, nothing is quite as satisfying as eating a cinnamon roll made from scratch or a neighborhood bakery. Processed cinnamon rolls lack the richness of soft, buttery Brioche dough, the gooey abundance of cinnamon-sugar filling, and the thick and sticky cream cheese glaze that a great homemade cinnamon roll can offer.

To start the cinnamon roll off on the right foot, selecting the proper type of yeast dough is key. Some cinnamon roll formulas will use a sweet bread dough which is too lean, a Danish dough which is overly buttery and way too much labor, or Challah which is neither rich or soft enough for the ideal roll. By far the best in my opinion is Brioche, which isn’t flaky or overly buttery, but rather a tender and rich base with which to begin the Ultimate Cinnamon Roll. Next stop is the filling. Granulated sugar is far too bland in a cinnamon roll of epic status. Using light brown sugar instead adds a caramel flavor which is further emphasized when it melts down into ooey gooey deliciousness. Just be sure that you use light brown sugar and not dark because then you will go from one extreme to another. First being too bland and then to being too bold and overshadowing the cinnamon with caramel flavor. Any cinnamon of course would do in this formula but I wanted the Ultimate most Epic Cinnamon Roll and to do that you need some fine cinnamon. I chose to use a blend of hand-mixed China, Vietnamese, Korintje, and Ceylon Cinnamon. The result… filling that is PERFECTO!!! Of course with more filling comes the risk of it all crumbling out everywhere as it is rolled up. To prevent this, a slathering of butter is necessary and since the original yeast dough base is not a significantly buttery dough to begin with, slathering the butter in this step doesn’t affect the dough in a negative way but rather enriches it perfectly and provides the desired rich, gooey filling.

Last stop on the road to Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls ends with the glaze. Most formulas top the rolls with a cream cheese frosting full of butter and confectioner’s sugar, causing already rich rolls to be just too darn sweet. By eliminating the butter and replacing it with a bit of milk and vanilla, the cream cheese glaze now had the perfect amount of rich flavor without being too over the top. By adding a bit of the glaze while the rolls were still warm allowed the it to penetrate the rolls and add an extra element of flavor and tenderness. Adding the rest of the glaze after the rolls had cooled for some time prevented it from melting and created a nice thick layer of frosting sure to never disappoint.

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Brioche Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Milk, warmed to 110°
  • 1 envelope Rapid-Rise or Instant Yeast (2 ¼ tsp.)
  • 3 Eggs, room temp.
  • 4 ¼ cups Bread Flour
  • ½ cup Cornstarch
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. Salt
  • 12 tbsp. ( 1 ½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp. Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ cups Confectioners’ Sugar

Brioche Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 200°. Once preheated, shut off the oven. Line a 13 x 9 in. pan with foil, allowing a bit of excess to hang over the edges. Grease the pan with cooking spray. 
  2. Mix heated milk and yeast together until yeast dissolves. Allow to bloom a few minutes. Fit a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and use the bowl to mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add the milk/yeast mixture in a steady stream. Add the eggs and mix until the dough comes together. Increase to medium speed and add the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Continue to mix the dough until it is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl in a cohesive ball, about 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warm oven. Let rise until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours. (If not using a stand mixer, be sure to place the dough in a oven safe bowl before placing in the preheated oven.)

Filling Formula:

  1. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll the dough into an 18 in. square. Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a ½ in. border around the edges. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and lightly press the sugar mixture to adhere it to the dough. 
  2. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam lightly to seal it and place the seam side down. Use a metal bench scraper or knife to cut the rolled log in half and then into 8 pieces for large cinnamon rolls or 12 pieces for mini cinnamon rolls. Transfer the pieces, cut side facing up, into the prepared 13 x 9 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and proof in the warmed, shut off oven until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 

Glaze/Bake Formula:

  1. Remove cinnamon rolls from oven or warm spot. Discard plastic wrap. Heat oven to 350°. Bake cinnamon rolls until golden brown and filling is melted, 30 to 40 minutes. While cinnamon rolls bake, whisk cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Once the cinnamon rolls have finished baking, transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and ice the rolls with ½ cup of the glaze, reserving the remaining glaze for later. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for about 30 minutes. Using the foil overhang created earlier, gently lift the rolls from the pan and top with the remaining glaze. Serve warm.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY

ERIKA BRUCE 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2012

Sugar & Spice Apple Turnovers

In most areas of the country, the leaves have fallen, temperatures feel closer to winter, and most importantly, the orchards have been cleared of their fruit before the frost and measurable snow sweeps in. Perhaps the two most significant fruits which remind me of fall are the apple and orange. Having already covered oranges in my previous post, I move on to apples. Since it is the holidays and time is certainly limited for all, finding a formula which is quick and simple to make is dire. These apple turnovers are sure to please with their comforting sweetness, warming spice, and short preparation time.

Although I enjoy the better flavor and texture of homemade puff pastry, who honestly has the time or patience these days to do such a laborous task. Certainly not I!!! For those never have attempted making homemade puff pastry, I will give you a word of wisdom. For the average home baker, the frozen stuff is just as good 😉 I say this because I have personally done the homemade version of puff pastry in my Bread’s class at Le Cordon Bleu, and I know what goes into this process. Believe me, it is not fun. Of course once those turnovers come out of the oven they certainly are worthwhile having known the process it took to get to that point but then you forgo your waistline as you feel compelled to eat every last one of those suckers knowing you worked so hard at them. Up you go 10 pounds like that. I will describe the process of making homemade puff pastry so those who have no idea what I’m talking about can get a better understanding of its complexity. First step of the process is to mix up your dough. Next it is rolled thin and into a large rectangle then spread with heaping amounts of butter. *Another quick word of wisdom…if you make this homemade you will never want to eat a turnover again because the amounts of butter which go into puff pastry can be nauseating. Continuing on with the process, the dough is folded over itself to cover the dough. This is called the puff pastries first turn. There need to be at least four turns in this process before you can move on to cutting the shapes for turnovers and after each turn the dough must rest in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. It is a time consuming and especially aggravating process when your dough decides to tear on the last turn exposing your butter pack in the center as did mine in class. That is why I choose use the trusty and reliable frozen puff pastry from Pepperidge Farm for this formula.

So with all of that said, we will begin this formula by thawing our frozen puff pastry sheets. Besides, even the greatest pastry chefs take shortcuts sometimes. It’s nonsense to believe they don’t. Bakery profits can double with little tricks such as these. Another trick of this formula is making use of all the apple has to offer. Not only will I use the apple for the filling, but also the juice it excretes. Less waste = more profits for businesses and the better the home cook feels about baking at home more often. It is important when buying apples to select a variety which can hold up to the harsh heat without turning to mush. The best choice for this formula is Granny Smith Apples. This variety is firm enough to hold it’s shape and also provides a tartness which compliments the sweetness added later. Now that we have the correct apple variety, let’s make sure it’s prepared properly. If left sliced, the apple would not cook all the way through before the puff pastry would essentially burn. Well unless the apple is sliced extremely thin but who has the patience or fingers to spare??? I certainly don’t and refuse to subject my stubby yet precious fingers to knicks with each knife slice trying to achieve such a silly feat. So instead the food processor is yet again a trusty reliable friend. With a few pulses, the apples come out a rough small dice. The perfect size for filling to give that slight crispness we love about apples but also making sure they soften in the short cooking time.

Once the apples are chopped, it is important to strain them for a few minutes. This rids the filling of excess juice which would make the filling runny and the puff pastry soggy. Both no good. And don’t throw out that excess juice. We will need it later. Make use of anything and everything. Remember the pastry chef can make or break a restaurant. Same applies to a household. Can make or break you. If it breaks you to bake at home you wouldn’t be able to do it anymore. So conserve and get creative. That juice will be our glue to hold the turnovers together and be a low-fat alternative to spread on the top for color, flavor and again glue for the sugar and spice topping as opposed to the typical choice of butter/margarine. Now apples alone wasn’t going to cut it for the sole component of the filling, especially in their smaller state. The ultimate staple I use for toast came in handy for this formula. It gives the apples a much desired flavor boost and brings all the pieces together into a thick and delightful filling. What is this secret ingredient you ask??? Why Apple butter of course. But as always if you don’t have apple butter on hand as I do or it’s difficult to find at your local grocer, you can certainly use applesauce as a suitable substitute. If using applesauce I prefer the spiced variety over plain. It will usually state on the box somewhere that it contains cinnamon. Musselmanns being my preferred brand although any will give great results.

*A few quick notes before I present the formula: If you don’t have a food processor, don’t result to slicing the apples or chopping them by hand. Run them across the coarse side of a grater. The recipe can easily be doubled or cut in half for your desired amount. If you need to make these ahead of time, go ahead and follow the formula as directed, filling the puff pastry, folding them over and freezing them on a baking sheet. Once completely frozen you can transfer them to a more space friendly airtight container or freezer bag. They can be stored up to 1 month. When ready to bake, thaw the turnovers at room temperature for about 20 minutes then proceed with the formula.

Sugar & Spice Apple Turnovers

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Ground Cloves
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples; peeled, cored, & chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 cup Apple Butter
  • 1 pkg. (2 sheets) Frozen Puff Pastry; thawed
  • All-Purpose Flour; For dusting

Procedure:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle & lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 400°. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  2. Pulse the apples, remaining sugar, lemon juice, and salt in food processor until roughly chopped. Set a fine mesh sieve/strainer over a small bowl. Place apple mixture in sieve. Allow the apple mixture to rest/strain for 5 minutes in sieve. Reserve juice. Transfer apple mixture to a bowl and stir in apple butter.
  3. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 10 in. square. Cut the dough into four 5-inch squares. Fill each turnover with strained apple mixture. Brush the edges of each turnover with the reserved apple juice, then fold and crimp edges with a fork to seal. Place turnovers on a plate and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining sheet of puff pastry and apple filling.
  4. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Before transferring turnovers from the plate, brush the tops with reserved apple juice and sprinkle with cinnamon spiced sugar. Place turnovers on sheet pan and bake until evenly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Be sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time to prevent oven hotspots and promote even baking. Transfer finished turnovers to a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly. Turnovers are best served warm but can be eaten at room temperature as well.

Special Thanks to: Peter Mendoros & Jeremy Sauer

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011

Orange Drop Doughnuts

Old-fashioned drop and fry doughnuts are by far the easiest variety of the doughnut family, so why have they slipped from our modern kitchens??? Maybe it’s the advancements time has made which allowed other doughnut varieties to create more complex appearing confections, such as jelly-filled, bear claws, and crullers. However, drop doughnuts do have one thing over their yeast-raised brethren…simplicity.  The Orange Drop Doughnuts I tested have a delicate texture and are rich with orange flavor yet they didn’t take long hours to achieve.  Their simplicity alone should be reason enough why we shouldn’t completely disregard them but rather resurrect them in our kitchens to learn more about their potentials in flavor and texture.

 Let’s begin delving deeper into drop doughnuts by starting with some history on their origins. Drop doughnuts are a relative of the cake doughnut. Cake doughnuts began as an American trend, starting in the late 1800’s, when the availability of baking powder became mainstream. Cake doughnuts quickly became loved by all Americans as 19th-century cookbooks touted them easier than the rolled and stamped yeast variety. Instead of the tedious rolling and stamping required by yeast doughnuts, drop doughnuts could simply drop spoons of cake batter into hot oil. Fresh doughnuts could now be on the table for dessert or a delicious snack within a few short minutes. But it wasn’t the ease and speed that made these doughnuts so popular. That title belongs to the requests made by returning American Soldiers.

During World War I,  young female Salvation Army officers decided to bring some cheer to the American Soldiers as they fought hard in France. Using limited ingredients, they fried up doughnuts in military helmets to serve to soldiers with coffee. Often trudging through the trenches, these “Doughnut Girls” made sure doughnuts were delivered with coffee to the grateful soldiers. In World War II, the Salvation Army and American Red Cross workers served doughnuts at a rate of 400 per minute to American Soldiers. Upon returning home, the soldiers, called “Doughboys”, brought their cravings for doughnuts back with them. Soldiers raised the demand for drop doughnuts on the homefront and unlike those made in times of war, the wider variety of ingredients allowed for new flavors to be requested. Cinnamon Spice, Chocolate, and Orange became popular flavors in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. Betty Crocker cookbooks and magazines began publishing numerous recipes for drop doughnuts during this period of time. Today however, little popularity remains for the drop doughnut. It’s glory days have since gone…until now.

Being a Floridian and in the land of citrus, I chose to try the Orange-flavored drop doughnuts. Most formulas call for extreme amounts of flour, milk and only a little bit of orange juice for flavor. First off, I wanted lots of orange flavor, so using only orange juice instead of milk and orange juice in the batter was key. Also added to the batter was a dash of orange extract and a heaping amount of grated orange zest. To finish off the orange flavor, the doughnuts are rolled in orange-flavored sugar. The next necessary alteration needed to the usual formula was to delete some of the massive amount of flour which creates a very dense doughnut. By adding less flour and a bit of baking powder, the doughnuts were lighter and less likely to fill up your belly faster (possibly not a good thing for waistlines). To add richer flavor without overpowering the already established orange goodness, I used some eggs and a bit of melted butter.

 As the frying began, citrus scents wafted from the kitchen and throughout the house. It was as if the windows were open during those certain times of year we have here in Florida when the blossoms on the orange trees are in full bloom and the smell of citrus fills the air near the groves. Except this was even better a scent as it was mixed with the smell of cake batter and citrus. I will add a few cautionary notes. When frying these doughnuts, be sure to use a spoon to ladle them down into the hot oil. This will prevent unnecessary splashes of hot oil and burns to precious skin. When adding the spoonfuls of batter, be sure not to overcrowd the pan. About six spoonfuls is the max. Once the doughnuts are finished cooking, they should float to the top of the oil. The easiest way to remove them is to use a slotted spoon. This helps remove excess oil and is the easiest way to scoop up the bobbing confections. Placing the cooked doughnuts on paper towels to cool helps remove the remaining oil that escaped the slotted spoon before the doughnuts are covered in the orange sugar.

Formula: Orange Drop Doughnuts

Ingredients:

Doughnuts

  • 2 qts. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Grated Orange Zest
  • 1/2 cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 tsp. Orange Extract
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted

Orange Sugar

  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Grated Orange Zest

Procedure:

  1. Heat 3 in. of vegetable oil in 4 qt. saucepan until temperature reaches 350°. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl. Whisk in orange juice, orange extract, and then butter, until well combined. Gently stir in flour mixture until combined and moistened.
  2. Using a dinner teaspoon, drop heaping teaspoonfuls of batter into the preheated hot oil. Fry the doughnuts, making sure to maintain the temperature between 325° and 350°, until they are crisp and deep brown on all sides, about 3 to 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the doughnuts to a dish lined with paper towels. Let drain and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. To make the orange sugar, pulse the sugar and zest in a food processor until blended. If you do not own a food processor, you can toss the zest and sugar together in a medium bowl until blended.
  4. Once drained and cooled, add the doughnuts to the bowl of orange sugar. Toss until well coated. Repeat with remaining batter, being sure to regulate oil temperature at all times. Doughnuts are best served warm but can be stored in an airtight container.

 

Special Thanks to: The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, & Bridget Lancaster

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011