Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

     Last fall, Roy and I came home from being in northern Michigan via the Detroit area.  We spent a couple days seeing The Motown Museum, The Henry Ford Museum Complex, and (probably unwise) the neighborhood where his grandparents, parents, and he grew up.  Although it was sad to see what had become of some once beautiful neighborhoods, we did have a great lunch at The Polish CafĂ© in Hamtramck. One unexpected discovery however, was the cider mills found in the suburbs around Detroit.  We stopped at three different ones during our time in that area and our favorite one - imagine this - was Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills.  We were there early one morning and watched the cars stream in and out as people were picking up brown paper bags of pumpkin doughnuts to take to work.  Of course we had to try them and they were delicious - warm, spicy and covered with cinnamon sugar.  This year when a bit of fall crept in the air, I found myself thinking about those yummy pumpkin doughnuts.  I found a great recipe on the King Arthur Flour blog, and tweaked it a bit by adding cranberries and the cream cheese icing. 

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts


Ingredients for a dozen doughnuts:

1 1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of raisins, dried cranberries, or nuts.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Glaze

4 oz. cream cheese

4 oz. powdered confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons chopped nuts for sprinkling



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat everything except for the flour together until smooth.  Then mix in the flour.

Once you have a well blended mixture,  add the nuts, raisins or dried cranberries if you wish.

Use two standard nonstick doughnut (or muffin) pans.  I lightly greased mine as well.

 Fill each well about 3/4 full (about 1/4 of a cup for each doughnut.


Bake for 15- 18 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.

  If adding the dried fruit, give them a couple extra minutes in the oven.

  Let the doughnuts rest in the pan for 5 minutes and them turn them out onto a cooling rack. 


Directions for Cream Cheese Glaze


In a blender or using a mixture, combine the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together until smooth.  Now you are ready to "dress" the doughnuts.

If you choose to dust the doughnuts with cinnamon sugar, combine the sugar and cinnamon together and either spread it on a plate and invert the warm doughnuts onto it to coat. Or, put the cinnamon sugar in a small paper or plastic zip lock bag, put a doughnut in, and gently shake.


If you are icing them, either dip the doughnuts into the glaze or use a knife to spread it more thickly if you want nuts to adhere to it. Dipping gives a transparent look, but spreading  allows more to stick.


These are yummy with a good cup of coffee or a mug of warm spiced cider.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tailgate Time

     According to Google Search, the definition of tailgating is:

 1. drive too closely behind another vehicle

 2. eat an informal meal served from the back of a parked vehicle


Although I have been guilty of the first definition, it sounds pretty stressful to me!  I would much rather spend my time doing definition number two.  The recipes posted here are really easy  - especially if you skip the dressing step and just use bottled Italian dressing.  The antipasto salad and muffuletta recipes are even better if made the night before. Using mason jars for the salad makes it portable. 


Chicago Dog Sliders

To make a dozen sliders, grab 12 dinner rolls.  I use frozen yeast rolls, but before I bake them according to package directions, I put 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds on a plate and press them into the top of each dinner roll.  That gives the slider "bun" the authentic Chicago Dog look.

To assemble the sliders you will also need:

3/4 cup chopped lettuce

3/4 cup finely chopped tomato

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1/4 cup yellow mustard

2 kosher dill spears, each cut lengthwise and then into thirds

4 jumbo all beef hot dogs, each sliced into thirds

12 smallish pepperoncini



Procedure for assembling:  Warm up the hot dog pieces using microwave, boiling, or even grilling if you are tailgating on site.  Using 1 teaspoon of mustard for each roll, spread it on the inside of both halves.  Slice one of the hot dog pieces open and place on the bottom half. Add 1 tablespoon lettuce, 1 tablespoon tomato, 1 teaspoon onion, 1 pickle piece, and one pepperoncini.


Marinated Antipasto


To make 6 servings you will need:

Ingredients for salad:

1/3 lb. pepperoni slices

1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichokes hears, drained

                                                  1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved                                                    

8 pepperoncini peppers (or more if you like)\

½ cup black olives, pitted

Ingredients for dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

2 cloves garlic put through a press

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried coriander

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

Procedure for assembling:  Place all the pepperoni, olives, cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini, and artichoke heart quarters in a large bowl.  Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour into the bowl. Gently toss to coat. Either spoon it into individual mason jars or arrange on a platter.  I love to put it on top of spinach leaves.  You can also add some cut up Mozzarella.

Muffuletta Sandwiches

Ingredients for six 2" servings: 

1 loaf of crusty Italian or French bread


1 cup of jarred pickled vegetables, drained and chopped

3/4 cup green olives, chopped

1 small can black olives, chopped

1/2 cup capers, drained


Dressing for vegetables, olives, and capers:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 lb. combination such as: Provolone, salami, ham, turkey, pastrami

Place the chopped vegetables, olives, and capers in a bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add the dressing to the ingredients in the bowl and gently toss. 

Spread each bread half with the vegetable mixture.  Layer the meat and cheese on the bottom slice, and then put the bread halves together.  Wrap in parchment paper of plastic wrap and refrigerate. This is delicious if made ahead.  To serve, cut into 2 inch slices. A toothpick helps secure.