Happy Valentine’s Day

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We like to use acronyms here at Tickled Pink, but there’s one thing that just shouldn’t be acronized (?), and that is Valentine’s Day (you know what I mean).

Very much like the purple penguin-tastrophe I blogged about here, last night the Blond texted me (yes, that happens), to ask if we could make cookies for his class in lieu of handing out Valentines.  Of course we can.  And we did.  With limited time I converted my favourite go-to Imperial Cookie recipe which did not require overnight refrigeration (or eggs, which I also did not have) prior to rolling out and baking, and we made 22 beautiful heart shaped cookies.

Have you seen this red thing before?  I picked it up at Williams-Sonoma a few years ago and I always forget about it.

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It has a little grid, and comes with letters, like this:

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I forgot I had these and decided to dust them off for these heart-shaped cookies.  The problem is the Imperial Cookie base I was making doesn’t lend itself to the lettering.  So they got a little puffy:

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But good enough for grade 5 and I’m happy to report that the Blond made nearly everything himself. He’s a talented little baker.

The cookies he made turned out pretty good too:

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That’s one lucky class today.  I’m also pretty lucky – since we’re on the topic of acronyms: the ECBF has nicely transitioned to the ECF. . .

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

xo

DOUGHNUT WEEK: Top Secret Finale

Warning: the images you are about to see here may be graphic in nature and may be unsuitable for some readers.

I don’t even know where to start with this post.  For a long time I’ve been wanting to blog about the cronut phenomenon.  Unless you’ve been living in a  cave, you know about these delicious inventions that are taking over the baking world, a cross between a croissant and a donut and a little bit of a big deal, with their own black market and knock offs everywhere.

They even (get this) have their own Wikipedia entry (no joke), where they attribute the creation of the cronut to Dominique Ansel of Dominique Ansel bakery and TIME magazine has named the cronut one of the 25 best inventions of 2013.

I was lucky enough to get to try the Bacchanal Buffet knock-off version, in Las Vegas, called the Bacchronut.  Worth every delicious calorie.

So back to the blog – I’ve been thinking about blogging about the cronut for a while now.  It’s delicious, it should be celebrated – that’s what we do here at Tickled Pink after all, but I just didn’t have enough to say.  A friend at the office gave me a copy of her top secret Cronut recipe, believed to be the “real thing” – and I thought about making them, but I’m not going to lie to you – the recipe was three pages long!  Getting up the energy to deal with a three page recipe these days would be a miracle.  And, furthermore, what’s with a THREE PAGE RECIPE??  This is essentially a donut, right?

Well we’ve been celebrating Doughnut Week all week here at Tickled Pink and the Blond has been helping me with all things doughnutty.  We woke up Saturday morning and the Blond suggested croissants might be nice for breakfast (and you can’t argue with logic like that) so I did what every self-respecting step-monster who is an awesome baker does, and I pulled out the can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls when KAPOW – it hit me.  WE CAN TOTALLY MAKE CRONUTS OURSELVES.

So we did.

I scurried to the computer to see if I could find some information on deep frying Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and a few tap taps on the keyboard and I got to the bottom of things.  Apparently not two days after the Cronut craze hit New York, Pillsbury themselves came out with a recipe for Salted Caramel Crescent Doughnuts.  Hmmmm.  Well I looked at a few more sites, like this one, and even watched a video courtesy of Huffington Post – and guess what?  I can DO THIS.  Easily.  And so can you (what good is power if you can’t share it with people, am I right?).

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Here’s how we changed it (we had limited time):

You take the dough?  You turn it into two (or three) donut-shaped things:

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You fry them for about a minute on each side (I use my frying pan with an inch and a bit of oil):

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For the filling: I had a container of oreo pudding, and a half a bowl of whipping cream.  I mixed these together.  I sliced the fried cronut in half, and I slathered that on there, then I put the two halves together.    THEN?  Then I drizzled it with plain old frosting.

THIS WAS THE BEST FLIPPIN’ THING I’VE EVER TASTED IN MY LIFE.

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I warned you.

You’re welcome.

DOUGHNUT WEEK: Kicking it Old School (?)

I got a mini doughnut pan a couple years ago, used it one, and then never used it again.  Why?  Because the ECBF told me that baked doughnuts were gross and totally not a real thing.

I see.

Doughnuts come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes (and ingredients, for that matter), but let me explain to you the key differences in what you’re stuffing your mouth and washing down with that cup of coffee, courtesy of a very wonderful website called Serious Eats, who have written a comprehensive guide on the subject of doughnuts.  Serious Eats, however, as well as just about every other source on the internet, defines a doughnut as a confection that is fried – not baked (point, ECBF).

The Blond wanted to make mini doughnuts this weekend.  In keeping with our Doughnut Week theme I thought – yes!  Perfect!  I did not, however, want to stick the 10-year old in front of a vat of boiling splattering oil.  I have my own fear of frying, I’m not going to give him one (we have enough to work with).  So, into the basement I went, in the search for the dusty doughnut pan.

If you decide you’d like to try doughnuts, and you would like to bake, not fry them, you need to remember that not every doughnut recipe translates perfectly from frying to baking.  I had to do a little bit of research but I found a recipe that I thought would be easy enough and would make just a small batch of mini doughnuts for us to try, and you can find it here.  Note: we didn’t do the apple part or the glaze part of the recipe, but will next time we make them, for sure.

Things were going well until I stupidly over-filled the little doughnut cavities in the pan, ending up with more of a mini bundt cake than anything else, but always on top of his game, the Blond suggested we use that to our advantage – and we did exactly that.

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The best part of this whole story is that the ECBF loved them (and didn’t even realize they had been baked until we told him – so, point, KK).

A tie, which as far as I’m concerned, is a win for KK.

DOUGHNUT WEEK: The Beginnings

Welcome to Doughnut Week here at Tickled Pink.

That’s right – the deliciousness we are celebrating in a week-long bakestravaganza is the Canadian favourite: the doughnut.

Have you ever wondered where the doughnut comes from?  This has plagued me for years.  So I asked our good friends at Wikipedia, and here’s what they had to say:

Doughnuts have a disputed history. One theory suggests they were invented in North America by Dutch settlers,[5] who were responsible for popularizing other American desserts, including cookies, apple and cream pie, and cobbler.[citation needed] Indeed, in the 19th century, doughnuts were sometimes referred to as one kind of oliekoek (a Dutch word literally meaning “oil cake”), a “sweetened cake fried in fat.”[6]

Hanson Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was only 16 years old. Gregory was dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship’s tin pepper box, and later taught the technique to his mother.[7]

According to anthropologist Paul R. Mullins, the first cookbook mentioning doughnuts was an 1803 English volume which included doughnuts in an appendix of American recipes. By the mid-19th century, the doughnut looked and tasted like today’s doughnut, and was viewed as a thoroughly American food.[8]

Really?  Because I can think of a few Canadians who would claim the doughnut as a Canadian food, no?  Canada has more doughnut shops per capita than any other country in the world.  Yet, we don’t have a National Doughnut Day as is celebrated in the US, the origins of which I find really interesting (Source: Wikipedia):

National Doughnut Day started on June 7, 1938 when a young military doctor by the name of Morgan Pett was sent to a military base. On his way there he stopped at a bakery and picked up 8 dozen doughnuts. When he arrived at the base he started helping many wounded soldiers, and would give them a free doughnut. One man he helped was a Lieutenant General by the name of Samuel Geary. Samuel Geary greatly appreciated the help on his leg, and the doughnut ( as he was a very comical man) so he decided to make a fund raiser with Morgan Pett to give every wounded solder, and the needy a doughnut. This fund raiser was later joined with the Salvation Army. Soon after the US entrance into World War I in 1917, The Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to France. The mission concluded that the needs of US enlisted men could be met by canteens/social centers termed “huts” that could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps, and provide a clothes-mending service. Typically, six staff members per hut would include four female volunteers who could “mother” the boys. These huts were established by The Salvation Army in the United States near army training centers.

About 250 Salvation Army volunteers went to France. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, the two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. These are reported to have been an “instant hit”, and “soon many soldiers were visiting The Salvation Army huts”. Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day: “Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee.”

Now can we talk about the spelling variation between “donut” and “doughnut”?  That is something that has been bugging me too.  I once wrote a letter to the Minister of Revenue complaining that they used the word “judgement” throughout my Notice of Assessment and it should have been spelled “judgment” (the Canadian variant).  Yes, that happened.  If anyone can explain to me how it happened that we have two spellings (doughnut and donut), I will send you a dozen delicious Tickled Pink donuts.  Err, I mean doughnuts.  And I promise, I will be giving you the answer somehow in the next few posts.  Post your answer in the comments or message me directly.

Listen, doughnuts are delightful and delicious and deserve to be celebrated.  Enjoy Doughnut/Donut Week everyone.

The Blond Bakes: Three Shades of Chocolate Cup

The Blond picked out a holiday-ish recipe for us to try this weekend and he picked a good’er.  Three Shades of Chocolate Cup – a duo of chocolate mousses, inside a delicious chocolate cup.  I guess he googles recipes in his spare time (what 10-year old doesn’t) and came across this one so he jotted down the url for me (how cute is that?).

Here’s the link to the recipe he found.

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I wish the picture wasn’t so fuzzy.  Sigh.

Coconut Cream Liar

Oh boy.  I’m a liar.

I rushed home late for dinner tonight and had promised the Blond we would make a pie.  Not just a pie.  A layered strawberry blueberry coconut cream pie from my absolute favourite blogger, Sugar Plum.  What the fajita was I thinking?  I found the recipe online here, and printed it and showed it to him about a week ago.  We were pumped.  It was going to be our Thursday night plan while we watched the Jet game.

Here’s the thing about the Blond – and one of the reasons we make such a great team in the kitchen.  He’s about as OCD as 10 year olds come.  If the recipe says unsalted butter, by golly we better have unsalted butter (I feel the same way, btw).  The problem with this type of conviction is that when I have to <ahem> cut some corners to save time, or modify ingredients, he’s not on board.  Nope.  Doesn’t like it.  Not one bit.  Not at all.

So…in my panic to make this recipe work, I may or may not have ripped the ‘crust’ portion of the recipe off the page and shoved it back into the plastic sleeve as I urgently barked orders to the ECBF to run to Galen’s to pick up a pie crust.  A frozen pie crust <audible gasp>.  He rushed off and I ran around trying to figure out a way to make a 4-hour recipe in the one hour and 45 minutes before I needed to put the Blond to bed.

The ECBF comes tearing into the kitchen with the bag of groceries.  These were the planned substitutions:

Homemade pie crust = frozen Tenderflake crust

Coconut Cream Custard = whipped cream with coconut milk and coconut emulsion

Blueberries = bananas (I know, it was a stretch, but luckily the Blond hates blueberries so he pretended not to notice)

Strawberries cooked with pectin = frozen strawberries in the microwave for about 10 minutes and then strained

Yup, this was about to happen.  The recipe went in the garbage – I was flying by the seat of my burning pants (see what I did there?).

But the ECBF came tearing in a little too fast.  The bag maybe got knocked around a bit.  The frozen pie crust got knocked around too – and it broke.  Oh, fantastic.  Here I am, trying to put together the puzzle pieces of the frozen pie crust and the ECBF is trying to distract the Blond so I can fix this thing before we have a situation on our hands.

Situation averted – the pie actually turned out quite lovely.  More importantly, it turned out quite lovely before 9:00.

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The pictures aren’t the greatest.  The Blond was blocking all the good light.  The pie was delicious AND it got some fruit, coconut milk, and coconut into the Blond’s belly.  Win.  I only had a mild panic attack in the making of this pie basically throwing everything I know about following a recipe out the window in favour of the eccentricities of a 10 year old.  Whatever.