Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts

Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts
OMG! Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts! So good…

Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts

These Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts are BETTER than those at Krispy Kreme because you can taste all the necessary components of a doughnut – the sugar, the soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the yeasty, fried dough. Amazing.

I’ve never been a fan of Krispy Kreme doughnuts because their doughnuts are too sweet for my taste. Albeit soft, warm, and delicious, these sugar “pillows” are so sweet that they overpower the bready, fried dough underneath. When I lived in Texas, my favorite doughnut shop was Shipley’s Donuts, where you could get your sugar fix as well as taste the soft, fried, yeasty layer, which made them more substantial and fulfilling. Continue reading “Krispy Kreme Copycat Doughnuts”

Buttermilk Waffles

 

If you have visited my blog enough times, you may have noticed that I love using buttermilk in place of regular milk. I got this love of buttermilk from my mother and share in her sentiment that buttermilk makes almost everything better, haha. Now don’t get me wrong, I could NEVER and would NEVER drink the stuff by itself, blech! Also, I am not a fan of its smell. However, I firmly believes buttermilk makes my baked goods more moist and adds another dimension of flavor that regular milk cannot produce. Also, I use brown sugar in place of white sugar for similar reasons.

The batter is quite thick, but the waffles come out fluffy, not dense. I have heard of folding egg whites into the batter to yield fluffier waffles, but I thought using a bit of cake flour would create comparable results. I was very pleased with the end result and am now compelled to buy my own waffle iron (I used my friend’s). I hope you try out this recipe soon! In the meantime, I hope the following close-up shots will convince you to make these waffles on Christmas Eve or the morning of Christmas Day:

So fluffy and light (and blurry. sorry!)!
Ah much better!
YUM! Look at that slightly crispy and caramelized bite!
This shot makes me want to jump and make another batch!

Excuse me while I make some more!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ¡FELICES FIESTAS! BUONE FESTE! BOAS FESTAS! JOYEUSES FÊTES!
Buttermilk Waffles
heavily adapted from allrecipes

2 cups all-purpose (AP)/plain flour (I used 1 cup cake flour/1 cup AP flour)
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or regular milk
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the waffle iron. In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder). In a medium-sized measuring cup, pour (and measure) in the milk, then add the butter, vanilla extract, and eggs. Whisk the eggs into the milk mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and mix until combined. Do NOT overmix!

Ladle the batter into the preheated waffle iron, and cook the waffle until ready or until desired doneness. Serve immediately. For leftover waffles, wrap cooled waffles individually in cling wrap and place them in the freezer.

For future consumption, just place the frozen waffle in a toaster or toaster oven until hot and eat! 🙂

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Fluffy, Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Fluffy, Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

biscuits
Biscuits fresh from the oven!

Hi, my name is Memoria, and I LOVE fluffy, southern buttermilk biscuits. In the south, it is not uncommon to see homemade buttermilk biscuits show up on the dining table, especially on Saturday mornings. Because of the buttermilk, butter, flour, and accompanying dishes (e.g., gravy, sausage, eggs, etc.) that pair with biscuits, I do not recommend eating these often. . .unless you have great metabolism, which I don’t.

biscuits

Consequently, I made biscuits with fat-free, Greek yogurt, and they came out so well that I had promised to make them with yogurt from there on out. Well, I fibbed. Although those biscuits were indeed amazing (and I do plan to continue making them with yogurt), I felt as a Texan, food blogger, it was my duty to have a recipe for Southern, traditional, buttermilk biscuits.

biscuits

Also, these biscuits were so gorgeous, I had to share these photos and recipe with you all. The layers, texture, and flavor were perfect. They were so soft, tasty, and fluffy that no extra butter (because that’s how we do it in the South) was needed. Instead, I tried one plain, one with pure jam (homemade or natural, Bonne Maman bluebery jam), and one with eggs, cheese, and turkey sausage.

biscuits
Do you want a sausage, egg biscuit or a biscuit with jelly?

All the varieties were fantastic, but my favorites were with jam and plain. PLEASE try out this recipe ASAP! Then try it with fat-free yogurt and compare the goodness! Both are great! ¡Hasta luego! 🙂

biscuits
Buttermilk biscuits with grape jelly!

Fluffy, Southern Buttermilk Biscuits 

(I always halve this recipe; full recipe below)

250 grams (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour (or half wheat flour!)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder (without aluminum/aluminium)
1 tsp kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
85 grams (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, very cold or frozen
237 ml (1 cup) cold buttermilk, approximately

PREPARE COLD BUTTER AND BUTTERMILK MIXTURE: Grate the butter with a cheese grater or cut the butter into small cubes. Place the butter in the freezer. Measure out the buttermilk mixture, and place it in the refrigerator as you prepare the dry ingredients.

DRY INGREDIENTS/BUTTER INTEGRATION: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Add the grated/cubed butter into the dry ingredients and mix into the dry mixture with a fork or pastry cutter until the butter bits resemble small pebbles. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

ADDITION OF LIQUIDS: Next, add the cold, buttermilk mixture and stir until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! Make sure the mixture is not too dry or too wet. Adjust accordingly. The biscuit dough should be wet.

PAT IT OUT!: Turn the dough out onto a floured board or clear wrap/cling wrap. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1″ thick (I fold the dough using the cling/clear wrap so that my warm hands do not directly touch the dough or warm the butter. I also prefer a thick dough to create more layers.). Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1″ thick.

BISCUIT FORMATION: Use a round cutter to cut into rounds OR with a sharp knife, cut the dough into circles and/or squares! (For the leftover dough, I fold the dough together 2 more times and then cut them into squares with a dough cutter or a knife. Most recipes say the leftover dough does not yield great, aesthetic results, but even my leftover, square biscuits came out perfectly because I did not refold it too many times.)

COOKIE SHEET PREPARATION: Lightly brush the cookie sheet with butter, and place the biscuits on a cookie sheet. If you desire the sides of the biscuits to be soft, put them on the sheet touching each other. If you like”crusty” sides, put them about 1 inch apart.

PREHEAT OVEN: Place the cookie tray of biscuits in the freezer or refrigerator while the oven preheats to 450F/230C. This step will allow the butter in the dough to remain cold and to create a flaky biscuits with light layers.

BAKE AND ENJOY!: Once the oven is at temperature, bake the biscuits for about 10-12 minutes.

Items I used (minus grater) to make these biscuits may be found below; the OXO cheese grater is on my wishlist.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangioeviaggiodasola.com

Applesauce Pancakes

In the United States, most of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day (Tday) on the 27th of November, and I’m sure you’ve seen many Tday recipes floating around the blogosphere.

In the States, most people cook and eat large amounts of food with families and friends from near and afar. It is a great day to appreciate and be thankful for what we have whether it be little or too much.

These apple pancakes are a good meal to have the day before or the day after Thanksgiving (or any day!). I amped the recipe that came from Everday Food by substituting milk with buttermilk and by adding fall spices and vanilla extract. Also the recipe calls for applesauce, which prompted me to use my crockpot applesauce!

So whether you’re celebrating a holiday or not and whether it is fall or spring in your hemisphere, I suggest conjuring up the ingredients for these pancakes along with some fluffy eggs and lightly burnt (just how I like it!) turkey sausage! Feel free to eat the pancakes plain, with syrup, or honey!

Applesauce Pancakes
adapted from Everday Food
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated/caster sugar
2 tsp of cinnamon or pumpkin spice
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (473 ml) buttermilk or milk, room temperature
3/4 cup (177 ml) applesauce
4 Tbsp (43 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Optional topping: Sour cream (did not use) or applesauce
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F/121 degrees C. Whisk together dry ingredients, including the sugar. Add in wet ingredients and combine until combined and still lumpy. DO NOT OVERMIX! There should still be lumps. 
Heat a cast-iron skillet, flat-top, or griddle over medium heat. Brush surface with butter or cooking spray. 
Pour batter onto griddle 1/3 – 1/2 cup at a time. Cook batter until bubbles form around the edges (2-3 minutes), then flip pancake over and cook for approximately 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter and allow previous pancakes to stay warm in the 250/121 degree oven.
Feel free to serve with sour cream, applesauce, syrup, honey, or plain!
Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Pan de muerto Revisited

This weekend (el primero y 2 de noviembre), the day after Halloween, a very sacred holiday will take place – El día de los muertos. Although I am not Mexican, I celebrate and respect this holiday even more than Halloween. Why? Because I am comforted by the idea of honoring loved ones who have passed on and “bringing them back” into the present world via a multitude of tangible symbols such as altars showcasing loved ones’ photos and momentos, skullface paintings, sugar skulls. I especially enjoy the culinary dishes that are usually present around these two days, such as mole and pan de muerto.
In 2009 (whoa!), I made pan de muerto for the first time. I enjoyed forming the “bones” on top of the round domes of dough. The bread was delicious as well :o). This year, however, I decided to make pan de muerto using a different recipe that has now overshadowed the previous pan de muerto.

The inside of this bread is dense yet soft; the texture reminds one of the inside of panettone. It is best to eat warm and with leche, atole, champurrado, café, or chocolate caliente, but the bread is good cold as well (my students can attest to that!). I also preferred this recipe over the previous one for another reason: the simplicity of ingredients. In the old recipe, I remember driving everywhere for special ingredients that I never used again. With the current pan de muertorecipe, however, the only non-everyday ingredient, for some, is anise seeds, and many of you probably already have this ingredient sitting in your pantry and waiting to be used by you in such a recipe as this one ;o)!

Even if you’re not Mexican, try out this lovely bread and dedicate it to a loved one who is no longer physically present on this earth. You two can enjoy eating it together. 🙂 In the meantime, watch this video I show to my students every year around this time. It is a cute way to express the importance of this 2-day holiday of remembrance. Then come back here and make this bread! 😀

I am submitting this post to Yeastspotting!

 PAN DE MUERTO
translated and slightly adapted by All Recipes México (en español)
  • ¼ taza de mantequilla / ¼ cup of butter
  • ¼ taza de leche / ¼ cup of milk
  • ¼ taza de agua tibia (45°C/113°F) / ¼ cup of warm water (45°C/113°F)
  • 3 tazas harina / 3 cups all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1 ¼ cucharadita de levadura / 1 ¼ tsp yeast 
  • ½ cucharadita de sal / ½ tsp of salt
  • 2 cucharaditas de semillas de anís / 2 tsp anise seeds
  • ¼ taza de azúcar blanca / ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 huevos batidos / 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cucharaditas de ralladura de naranja / 2 tsp of grated orange peel

 Para el barniz / For the glaze:

  • ¼ taza de azúcar blanca / ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ taza de jugo de naranja / ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cucharadita de ralladura de naranja / 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • 2 cucharaditas de azúcar blanca / 2 tsp of white sugar
  • 2 cucharaditas de canela (opcional) / 2 tsp of cinnamon (optional)
1.     Calienta la leche y la mantequilla en una cacerola mediana, hasta que la mantequilla se derrita. Retira del fuego y agrega el agua tibia. La mezcla deberá tener una temperatura de 45 °C.
      Heat the milk and butter in a medium-sized pot until the butter has melted completely. Remove the pot from the burner. Add the warm water, and allow the mixture to cool to 45 °C/113 °F.
2.     Mezcla 1 taza de harina, levadura, sal, semillas de anís y ¼ de taza de azúcar en un tazón grande. Envuelve la mezcla de leche tibia, luego los huevos y 2 cucharaditas de ralladura de naranja, hasta que estén bien mezclados. Incorpora ½ taza de harina y sigue agregando más harina hasta que la masa esté suave.
      In a large mixing bowl, mix 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seeds, and ¼ cup of sugar. Blend well before mixing in the room-temperature eggs and 2 tsp. of grated orange peel. Mix well. Next, incorporate ½ cup of flour and keep adding more flour (½ cup at a time) until the dough becomes soft and manageable.
3.     Coloca la masa en una superficie enharinada y amasa hasta que alcance una consistencia suave y elástica.
      If using a stand mixer, change to a dough hook and knead the dough for 6-8 minutes. If not using a stand mixer, place the dough on a floured-surface and knead the bread for 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and elastic and strong strands of gluten have formed.
The freshly kneaded dough before I placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Look at the specks of orange & anise seeds!
4.     Pon la masa en un recipiente ligeramente engrasado, cubre plástico adherente y deja reposar de 1 a 2 horas hasta que duplique su volumen. “Poncha” la masa con tu puño y forma una bola redonda con una bolita en el centro. Coloca la masa en una charola para hornear, cubre con plástico adherente y deja que repose de nuevo en un lugar tibio durante 1 hora o hasta que duplique su tamaño.
      [SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTIONS] Once the dough has been well-kneaded, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl (I use my stand mixer bowl) and cover it with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Allow it to rest and rise for 1-2 hours (I left my dough in the refrigerator for about 5-6 hours, and it was fine. The dough is supposed to rise slower in the fridge. You could also leave it in the fridge overnight (check the dough level every few hours though!) and do the next steps on the following day. Allow the dough to come to room temperature first, which should take about 2 hours.).
      Once the dough has risen, deflate the dough and form 7 small dough balls or 4 large balls (I doubled this recipe, so I had seven large dough balls).
Pardon the bad lighting. I made these photos at night.
      BREAD AND BONES FORMATION: Divide dough in 7 small equal parts (or 4 large) (I weighed the dough and divided the total weight by 7 (222 grams/dough ball for me). 6 of those parts will become your loaves and the last one will be used to make the decorations. Form the 6 loaves (or 4 large), place them on a greased baking sheet and let them double in size, covered.
      To form the “bones”, take the extra ball of dough and separate it into 14 parts (I weighed the dough and divided the total weight by 14) roll 12 of the dough balls into a snake-like shape (2 per dough ball). Then roll the “snake” with your finger while applying pressure to form separations in the snake/dough. For the remaining two small balls of dough, divide them into 6 parts and roll them into a ball.
      The recipe doesn’t call for an egg wash, but I used one (one egg + 1 tsp heavy cream), but you can use just water, milk, or egg. The egg wash is needed not only for color, but also to attach the bones and ball to the bread ball.
      Once the dough ball has been brushed with the egg wash, place the bones on the bread in a crisscross fashion. Then place the ball of dough on top.
Shaped dough with “bones” and egg wash.
5.     Hornea a 180 °C durante de 35 a 45 minutos. Retira del horno, deja que se enfríe un poco y barniza la superficie.
      Bake the bread in a preheated oven of 180 °C/350 °F. Remove from oven and allow it to cool on a cooling rack. While it cools or near the end of the baking time, prepare the glaze . . .
Fresh from the oven w/o glaze. For the first 10 minutes, the loaves were too high in the oven! Don’t make my mistake!
6.     BARNIZ: Para preparar el barniz, mezcla ¼ de azúcar, jugo de naranja y 1 cucharadita de ralladura de naranja en una cacerola pequeña. Deja que hierva a fuego medio durante 2 minutos. Barniza el pan con una brocha mientras aún está tibio. Espolvorea el pan barnizado con el resto del azúcar blanca.
      GLAZE: To prepare the glaze, mix ¼ sugar, orange juice, and 1 tsp. of grated orange peel in a small pot. Allow the sugar mixture to boil on medium heat for 2 minutes. Brush the warm bread with this glaze and then roll the bread in sugar and cinnamon (if using).
Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Dessert Braids: Nutella, Strawberry, and Banana/Cinnamon Roll


I’m back in the States.  After living for approximately two and a half wonderful months in Portugal, et al., you can imagine my reluctance to return here.  Still, I’d thought I’d muse about a few homeland items that I had taken for granted and truly missed that are not readily available in Western Europe (at least at the places I’ve visited):


I’m back in the States.  After living for approximately two and a half wonderful months in Portugal, et al., you can imagine my reluctance to return here.  Still, I’d thought I’d muse about a few homeland items that I had taken for granted and truly missed that are not readily available in Western Europe (at least at the places I’ve visited):

1. I missed dryers. I know that it is more economically friendly to hang out your clothes and to allow the sun to dry them, but I missed having my favorite pair of jeans washed and dried in about an hour as opposed to one to two days (on a sunny day). In fact when I was about to wash my clothes for the first time after my return to the States, my automatic reaction was to check the weather to make sure it wasn’t going to rain. Then I remembered that I had access to a dryer again haha.

2. I missed cold bottles of water at the grocery store and restaurants. Most places offer tepid water in Europe, and after walking all around the city, I was always craving a big bottle of cold water. They were mostly readily available in tourtisty areas, though. Anyway, to combat this “problem”, I would freeze and refrigerate 2-3 water bottles and take them with me around the city.

3. I missed some of my favorite fast-food and regular restaurants like Braum’s and Charlestons.

4. Easy access to certain ingredients like baking soda (in Portugal you purchase this item at pharmacies, not at grocery stores), pure vanilla extract, powdered sugar in large containers, Mexican ingredients, etc.

However, with all the missing that went on, there are considerably more reasons why my heart will forever remain in Europe, especially Italy, and why I wish I could find a way to stay there permanently.
For instance, I love how easy it is to travel from country to country for under 100 dollars, how easy it is to travel to said countries without the need of a car (thankfully, buses, trains, ferries, metros/subway trains, etc are readily available), and how free I feel when I discover and walk through new cities and countries.
I love hearing quotidian speech uttered by locals, expats, and tourists in various languages. I love the rising excitement I feel when I’m edging closer and closer to a new monument or church I’ve longed to see and had only seen in travel guides, magazines, books, or television. Oh, and that feeling I get when I round that last corner and am greeted instantly by beautiful arches or tall bell towers or unique architecture! It is so utterly thrilling and satisfying!
These indescribable experiences make it easier for me to ignore the petty negatives aforementioned, including the pesky, hard-to-find ingredients.
Speaking of ingredients, on a previous post I mentioned how I resuscitated a lifeless dough by adding fresh yeast afterwards. With the leftover dough, I decided to make a non-puff-pastry version of a Danish braidwith two different fillings: 1) Nutella with bananas and strawberries and 2) cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar (like a cinnamon roll filling).


Both turned out great; I thoroughly enjoyed the cinnamon version while my roomies devoured the Nutella one in fewer than 24 hours!

Dessert Braids
adapted by Use Real Butter

Dough:
1 1/4 cups (296 ml) whole milk
2 1/4 tsp (8 grams) active dry yeast
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
6 Tbsp (85 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
5 cups (625 grams) all-purpose flour (not self-rising)

Dough instructions:
Heat milk over low heat until it reaches a temperature of 100-110°F or 38-43°C. Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Allow yeast mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Add sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt to the milk. Beat with a whisk or paddle attachment until combined. If using a stand mixer, switch to a paddle attachment, and stir in 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough is thick. Switch to a dough hook or turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth (5 minutes with the dough hook or 7 minutes by hand). Lightly grease a large bowl with oil, and place the dough in the bowl. Coat the entire dough ball with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Set covered dough in a warm location to rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Braid creation:

No ruler? ¡No hay problema! 🙂

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Using a ruler or an everyday object (I used a pepper shaker), score the dough to create parallel lines. Next, using the ruler as a guide, cut the “legs” of the braids. Spread the filling of your choice within the parallel lines. Then fold over one leg over another from left to right or right to left until you reach the end. With a brush or back of a big spoon, spread some egg wash or milk wash tot he top of the dough to create a more golden crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Allow braid to cool for 10-15 minutes before digging in!

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Southern Skim Milk/Fat-Free-Yogurt Biscuits

 

Due to my sudden craving for buttermilk biscuits and conflicting unwillingness to go to the store and spend money on buttermilk, I conjured up these Fat-Free Yogurt Biscuits. I am not a fan of the so-called “buttermilk substitute” of milk and lemon/vinegar (too “liquidy” compared to the real deal and not as flavorful) nor did I have lemon, so I decided to combine skim milk with fat-free, Greek yogurt and use that as a substitute.

I was a bit wary about the result of these Fat-Free Yogurt Biscuits until I took them out of the oven, broke them open, and took my first bite…They were AMAZING! I surprisingly didn’t miss the buttermilk at all, even though my buttermilk biscuits are amazing in their own right.

OMG! I want another one right now.

When I usually make biscuits, I make cheese or sausage and cheese biscuits. However, these Fat-Free Yogurt biscuits were so good on their own that I forgot the cheese! I then decided to make sausage gravy using skim milk again. I was nervous about the end result of this gravy, too, but it turned out very well.

Look at that chunky gravy! Yum!
After eating this delicious brunch and appeasing my craving, I didn’t feel as greasy and heavy as I usually feel aftefr eating buttermilk biscuits with whole-milk gravy. I was full, but I felt satisfied and ready to tackle the rest of the day! I paired this dish with scrambled eggs and low-calorie orange juice. I think from now on I’ll be making my biscuits with fat-free yogurt and skim milk (I know you’re shocked, mom!) in place of buttermilk.
  
I used my go-to recipe for buttermilk biscuits. The only change was the buttermilk substitute and the amount of yogurt/milk mixture. I add a bit more than suggested.

  Southern Skim Milk / Fat-Free-Yogurt Biscuits 

I always halve this recipe; full recipe below
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or half wheat flour!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (without aluminum)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1/2 cup skim, fat-free milk
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage)

PREPARE COLD BUTTER AND YOGURT/MILK MIXTURE: Cut the butter into small cubes or grate the butter with a cheese grater. Place the butter in the freezer. Measure out the milk/yogurt mixture (or buttermilk, if using), and place it in the refrigerator as you prepare the dry ingredients.

DRY INGREDIENTS/BUTTER INTEGRATION: Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cubed/grated butter into the dry ingredients and mix into the dry mixture until the butter bits resemble small pebbles. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

ADDITION OF LIQUIDS: Next, add the cold yogurt/milk mixture and stir until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! Make sure the mixture is not too dry or too wet. Adjust accordingly. The biscuit dough should be wet.

PAT IT OUT!: Turn the dough out onto a floured board or clear wrap/cling wrap. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick (I fold the dough using the cling/clear wrap so that my warm hands do not directly touch the dough or warm the butter). Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.

BISCUIT FORMATION: Use a round cutter to cut into rounds OR with a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares, like I did!

COOKIE SHEET PREPARATION: Lightly brush the cookie sheet with butter, and place the biscuits on a cookie sheet. If you desire the sides of the biscuits to be soft, put them on the sheet touching each other. If you like”crusty” sides, put them about 1 inch apart.

PREHEAT OVEN: Place the cookie tray of biscuits in the freezer while the oven preheats to 450F/230C. This step will allow the butter in the dough to remain cold and to create a flaky biscuits with light layers.

BAKE AND ENJOY!: Once the oven is at temperature, bake the biscuits for about 10-12 minutes.

Easy SAUSAGE GRAVY with skim milk

2 links of raw sausage, remove casing
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 – 2 cups skim milk
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper

Cook sausage in a thick skillet, like a cast-iron. Once the sausage is cooked thoroughly, add 1 Tbsp of oil to the sausage, if needed. Next add the flour directly to the meat. Stir until the meat is coated with the flour and oil. There should be a brown film on the bottom of the skillet. Next, add the milk 1/2 cup at a time until the gravy reaches the thickness you desire. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

White Chocolate Crumb Muffins

White Chocolate Crumb Muffins.

Wow. I haven’t updated in more than a month! Things have been pretty rough for me here in LA because I hadn’t found a job even after submitting 10-20 applications a day and 3 interviews. To make matters worse, I will have to move out of my girlfriend’s house very soon because she is allowed to have only 3 people in her rental home. I will have to live in my car if I don’t start earning money soon! After having worked so hard in school for so many years, the thought of living in my car is a terrible one. Fortunately, I just landed a job teaching Spanish online for Oklahoma public schools (if you knew my family background (most of them live in OK), you would understand the irony in all of this). I will be teaching 7 hours a day as a substitute until I get my emergency certification to teach in Oklahoma while still residing in California (ah, the power of the internet and Skype). Anyway, I just hope you all can keep me in your thoughts and prayers while I go through this difficult time.

ONLINE LANGUAGE TUTOR:

I thought that I’d inform you all that I started an online business called Online Language Tutor! For months, I have been thinking about starting this business but was afraid it would fall through. I still have that fear, but I have decided to keep moving forward, start small, and unofficially advertise it to you all first. I first shared this idea of online tutoring with my mother, and she was excited about it and agreed to be my (very) silent partner. I allowed the idea to marinate a little and almost gave up on it. However, a few weeks later, Marly from NamelyMarly emailed me and asked me to help her out with some Spanish grammar questions her personal tutor was unable to answer. After happily helping her out, she suggested I start an online tutoring business without even knowing I had already formulated the same idea. Anyway, because I enjoy and miss teaching Spanish on a one-to-one or two-to-one level, I thought that I would provide a tutoring service for anyone interested in learning or retaining Spanish, English, or a beginner’s level of Brazilian Portuguese.

I plan to offer online tutoring via Skype to anyone around the world and in-person tutoring to those in the Los Angeles area. The website I created is extremely rudimentary due to lack of funds. However, I hope to buy a true domain for it and all that jazz once my business improves. I’m also still working on the business registration and all the other stuff to make my business legit. My mom, a PhD-holding English professor, plans to help with editing and proofreading papers for anyone interested as well (as you can tell, she didn’t proofread this post LOL). Please check out my website, and provide any suggestions via email. Also, if you know anyone who would be interested in my tutoring services, please let them know about Online Language Tutor. I have also added a link to my site on this blog.

BAKING/COOKING IN MY NEW LOCATION:

I have been cooking and baking a little here in LA, but I never get around to taking photos because 1) the lighting in this house is bad, and 2) my girlfriend and 2 daughters (along with many other guests) are pretty impatient and unaccustomed to people taking photos of food for long periods of time. Now that I’m with my girlfriend, I’ve realized why I was so addicted to blogging. The act of blogging and cooking was a filler of the void I felt without my girlfriend. Even though we are still adjusting to each other, I don’t feel as empty anymore and many times, I forget to blog or even look at Google Reader. I’m sure that will change once I find my own place.

MUFFINS. FINALLY!:

Anyway, I made these muffins before moving to California. The original recipe called for regular chocolate chips, but I only had white chocolate leftover from Guittard’s generous package, so I used those. The muffins were good on the first day and improved in taste the next. The interior was very soft, and the white chocolate had a very subtle taste. I liked the crumb on top of the muffins. Next time I make these, though, I will use regular chocolate. If you’re considering making these muffins, I suggest you do the same and just follow the recipe.

 

(White) Chocolate Crumb Muffins

from 300 Best Chocolate Recipes by Julie Hasson

Topping:
1/2 c powdered or icing sugar
1/2 c AP flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt (I used kosher)
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted

Batter:
2 c AP flour
3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used white chocolate but would’ve preferred chocolate)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (I used kosher)
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 c milk (I used buttermilk)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
ground cinnamon (for the top of the muffins)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

ASSEMBLE TOPPING: In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Then, whisk in the melted butter until crumbly. Set topping aside while you prepare the batter.

BATTER: In another medium bowl, combine the flour, chocolate chips, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl or mixer bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir in the dry ingredients just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX!!

Spoon batter (or use a small ice-cream scoop) into prepared muffin tins/cups. Sprinkle the topping over the batter and add extra ground cinnamon.

Bake for 22-24 minutes or until puffed and golden. You may also use a toothpick or knife to test its doneness. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangioeviaggiodasola.com

Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Quesadillas and An Award!

My lame attempt to “tell a story” through a food photo. Before leaving for Brazil, his home country, my friend lent me this collection of works from Mark Twain. I cannot wait to read it!

I rarely eat bacon, but I had some in the refrigerator that needed to be used up. Also, I never buy store-bought flour tortillas since homemade ones are so much better, but my mom was too impatient to wait for me to make some for her, so she bought some instead. Therefore, I took advantage of her impatience and frustration with my laziness by making these quesadillas with her tortillas.

While they tasted amazing. I was just missing one thing – salsa. There weren’t anymore tomatoes in the house, and I didn’t feel like going anywhere, so I had to eat them as is. If you decide to make these yummy, simple quesadillas, please make sure you have some homemade or store-bought salsa on hand. I’m sure that cold, red, flavorful concoction would amp these quesadillas up a few notches.

Versatile Blogger Award: 

I was so blessed to be awarded by Lynne of Cook and Be Merry a few days ago, and I feel so honored to be awarded by such a talented blogger and food photographer. Her photos are so bright and clear; the presentation is lovely as well. I can only wish that I could photograph as well and consistently good as she does. One day I’ll get there, though. Anyway, thank you so much for the award, Lynne!!

The guidelines for accepting this award are:

Thank the person who gave it to you.
Tell 7 things about yourself.
Pass the award on to 15 bloggers whom you have recently discovered and think are fantastic.

So, here are seven facts about me:

1. On my mother’s side of the family, I am an only child and was raised as such since my dad wasn’t around.
2a. I changed my last name to my mother’s last name so that she could get all the credit for how awesome I was to become! 😀
2b. I am humble. LOL
3. Despite what I wrote in #2, I have very low self-esteem.
4. When people write or say “anyway” with an “s” at the end, my mother and I cringe.
5. I have been in a tumultuous, yet amorous relationship with a woman for more than 10 years off and on.
6. Even though I don’t write well, I love to talk about grammar more than any other topic, including cooking and baking.
7. I detest watermelon and very rarely eat fried chicken despite the racial stereotype ;).

I am passing along this award to the following 15 bloggers I have recently discovered. However, I won’t be hurt if you were chosen yet don’t feel like participating. I know how it is.

  1. Hilah Cooking – I love her personality on the videos and the fact that we live in the same city.
  2. Namely Marly – The lady obsessed with names (including mine!) and vegan cooking. She is so lovely!
  3. Asopaipas – He comments on each and every post I create, and I adore him for that, the fact that his native language is Spanish, and that he shares great, simple dishes. ¡Este premio es especialmente para ti, José Manuel! Gracias por ser un lector tan fiel.
  4. Like Mother Like Daughters – One of the daughters of this blog was a student of mine! I adore her and the fact that this blog is written by her, her sister, and her mother. 
  5. Jessiker Bakes – This woman loves sweets even more than I do! I love to see what she makes.
  6. Scrambledhenfruit – I discovered her lovely blog because of the paella pan giveaway, and she actually won! 
  7. Baked Bree – I’ve been going to Bree’s lovely blog for a little while now. I love how bright and clear her process photos are. I’m constantly envious of how much light she gets in her kitchen.
  8. Frieda Loves Bread – She makes bread as much I wish I could make bread. Seriously.
  9. Ambrosia e Nettare – Check out the lemon cheesecake on this blog! Complimenti, Lucia!
  10. Cake on the Brain – The name of the blog itself tells you why I included this one on the list. YUM!
  11. Jolts & Jollies – Another fellow Daring Cook! I love her process photos.
  12. One Cake Two Cake – The blog title lured me in. Then the photos of yummy desserts kept me there.
  13. TheArdentEpicure – Run, not walk to this website, and check out the enchiladas. Goodness!
  14. Baking Powders – I love the title and the blog. Fantastic large photos and delectable treats. YUM!
  15. i am mommy – I’m sure just about everyone knows about this blog. Her treats are so AMAZING!

And there you have it! Remember, this is a list of recently-discovered blogs, so there are a LOAD of amazing blogs I’ve known about for a long time that I didn’t include here. Have a great week, everyone!

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Quesadillas
Yield: 2-3 quesadillas

3 – 4 strips of bacon
1 1/2 – 2 Tbsps unsalted butter, separated
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste (don’t use too much salt because of the bacon and cheese)
1/2 – 3/4 cups of monterey jack or cheddar cheese
4-6 taco-sized flour tortillas (homemade or storebought)

Prepare the bacon on a clean skillet. At the same time, prepare the eggs in another skillet after melting the half a Tbsp of butter. Lightly season the eggs with salt and pepper. Set the bacon and eggs aside.

Wipe the skillet that had the bacon in it clean with a paper towel, and place half of a Tbsp of butter in there. After the butter has melted, place one tortilla in the skillet; add some of the eggs and bacon. Add half (or a third if making 3 quesadillas) of the cheese on top of the bacon and eggs. Place a second tortilla on top of the mixture. Grill the tortilla for about 2-4 minutes per side until both sides have browned and the insides are melted. Repeat the process with the other tortillas. Serve with fresh salsa. YUM!

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Lemon-Lime Danishes, my First Blogiversary and a Giveaway!

Danish 2: The “fallen” danish

1. Blog Updated!: Instead of focusing on my dissertation proposal, I worked on updating this blog all weekend. I have come to the realization that while most people like WordPress for its snazzy themes, I much more prefer Blogger for its ease in adjustments and settings (I wrote this before it messed up today). I spent literally hours trying to upload a theme to WordPress.com only to find out that you couldn’t upload unaffiliated themes to wordpress.COM, but you could do it to WordPress.ORG! Then, you have to get a domain host before you can download the .ORG version. So, before I found that out, I had paid money to get a new theme. When I found out I couldn’t use that without paying more money for a domain, I felt like screaming. I bought a cheap domain at godaddy.com and still couldn’t move forward because I couldn’t find some authorization EPP code. At this point, I had spent more than 5-7 hours working on this stuff.

I finally gave up and went back to blogger to find a theme to my liking. I was hoping to find one with a three column footer and a dark, simple, sleek background, and I found it…for FREE. I downloaded it in a matter of seconds and then moved things around and was very pleased. Then, I decided to change the header to add my own photos but didn’t know how. I found a great tutorial on Digital Photography School and was finally able to make my header once I figured out what was going wrong with the Rectangular Marquee Tool on my limited, free version of Photoshop. Two hours later, I made the header you see above. I am happy. I am pleased. I don’t ever want to update my blog again….well, not until my next blogiversary. LOL!

Danish 1: The burnt danish

2. FIRST Blogiversary!/Danish Revisited: Anyway, since this is my first blogiversary, I decided to revisit what I made on my very first post: a cherry cream cheese danish braid. Instead of making a cherry danish this time, I made a lemon-lime danish and a lemon-lime danish with fresh strawberries (I’ll explain next while I ended up making two danishes). Both danishes had a lime glaze on top and the last one had candied lime zest as well.

Danish 2: Before it fell

Well, to go along with all the trouble I went through to update my blog, these danishes didn’t turn out as well as I had wanted. The first one I burnt even after baking it a few minutes under the time suggested (remember I always do half the time and then I went a few minutes under that). It still tasted fantastic, but as you can see, it was burnt and the braid didn’t stay together as well as the one on my very first post.

A yummy slice of the burnt danish

I didn’t burn the second one. Instead, I dropped it on the kitchen floor right before I baked it (fortunately, it was covered with clear wrap), and the braid loosened up and just opened up completely while baking in the oven. Everything was a total disaster but still tasted great. After, drizzling a bunch of glaze and candied lime zest on top, you couldn’t see its “lime pastry cream guts” sticking out as much.

Generous portion of lime glaze to cover the damage

I am sorry that I can’t share with you all a beautiful, perfect danish. I will make another one….next year for the next blogiversary (if I last that long). I will do it well enough ahead of time so that I’m not stressed and pressured for time. I will do it before spending hours on fixing up my blog.

The burnt, yet in-tact danish! It was still so good!


3. FIRST Giveaway!!:
On a positive note, I am offering my first giveaway. I wasn’t sure what to offer. So, I thought of something related to the theme and feel of my blog, which I hope deals with international culture, foods, and languages. So, for my giveaway, I am giving one of the following cookbooks to one of my lucky readers, lurkers, and/or visitors residing in the UNITED STATES, CANADA, or MEXICO (I apologize to readers not residing in those countries; I am a lowly graduate student and can’t afford much more.). Deadline: Thursday, April 1st at 12 midnight, Pacific Time.

THE GIVEAWAY DEADLINE HAS PASSED.

Click on photo to enlarge. Photos of book covers courtesy of amazon.com

In order to participate in the giveaway, answer ALL of the following questions in the comment section below:
Para participar en el concurso, contesta todas las siguientes preguntas en la sección de comentarios abajo:

1. Which cookbook would you like? ¿Cuál libro escojerías?

2. What international (i.e., outside of the U.S. for me) dish would you like to see on Mangio da sola? OR What international (i.e., any dish not traditional to your country of residence) dish have you prepared?
¿Cuál plato internacional te gustaria ver en Mangio da sola? O ¿Cuál plato internacional has preparado tú?

3. And because I am a linguist, how many languages do you speak? AND/OR What languages would you like to learn, if you could?
Y porque soy lingüista, ¿cuántos idiomas sabes?
Y/O ¿Cuántos idiomas te gustaría aprender si pudieras?

If you would like to leave a comment without entering in the giveaway, you don’t need to answer the questions. Just leave some love!

¡BUENA SUERTE! BOA SORTE! BUONA FORTUNA! GOOD LUCK! BONNE CHANCE! 행운!

I am submitting this post to yeastspotting!

Lemon-Lime Danish Braid

dough and candied lime zest adapted by Cooking Bread (process photos of dough and danish braid) and lemon-lime pastry cream adapted from Make a Whisk

DOUGH:
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup whole milk
3 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cups bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamon (optional)
1 tablespoon butter2 large eggs (beaten)
2 cups unsalted butter (cold)

DOUGH: Pour milk and water into a saucepan; heat to a scald. In a large bowl, add in sugar, salt, cardamon and flour. Add a tablespoon of butter to the scalded mixture. Stir till the butter is melted. Add in two beaten eggs and mix with a whisk. Cook mixture to 110F.

Once cooled, add in instant yeast. Pour liquid into the bowl of the flour mixture; mix with a wooden spoon. Pour out onto a lightly-floured surface, and knead for 6 minutes or till smooth and elastic. Wrap into plastic wrap and place into the fridge for 30 minutes.

BUTTER BLOCK: Prepare the 2 cups of butter. Place the butter onto some plastic wrap. Place more plastic wrap over the top. Using a rolling pin roll out to a 6 x 12 inch rectangle. If you roll the butter to large, just cut the sides and place the excess butter on top and re-roll. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
DOUGH PACKET: Take the dough out of the fridge, and roll into a 9×18 rectangle. Place the rolled butter onto the bottom 2/3rd of the dough. Fold over the top part of the dough to the middle. Brush off any excess flour. Fold over the bottom half over top the first. Pinch the seams closed. Turn the dough 90 degrees, so the narrow end is facing you. Roll out the dough into another 9×18 rectangle. Brush off any excess flour. Do the three fold again and seal the ends.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and place a black dot or make an impression with your finger on the plastic wrap. Place into the fridge for another 30 minutes. Remove the dough, and roll out again and fold again. Wrap with plastic wrap and place another dot or impression on the plastic wrap. Place back into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Again, remove the dough and roll out again and fold for a third time. Cover with plastic wrap and place another dot or impression on top so you will have three dots to remember how many times you have done this. Place the dough back into the fridge for at least 1 hour or over night. Now the dough is ready to use.

DANISH BRAID:
Remove the Danish dough from the fridge. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface and then unwrap and cut the dough in half. Wrap one piece with plastic wrap and place back into the fridge. Roll the dough into a 10×15 rectangle.

Brush any excess flour from the top. Now, place the dough into a piece of parchment paper. Using a pizza slicer lightly score the dough 3 inches from each side. Do not cut through the dough. It’s just to be used as a guideline.

Place your filling into the middle without crossing the score marks. Using your pizza cutter and a rule cut slices down each side on the dough. Do not cut past the score line. It will be about 9 slices down both sides.

Cut off the two bottom pieces and the two top pieces. Fold over the bottom onto the filling.

Beat one egg and 1 tablespoon of water into a small bowl. You will use this as glue. Brush each piece of dough as you create the braid. Begin at the end of the dough and fold one piece of dough over the filling. Brush with the egg wash. Now, take one piece of dough from the other side and fold that over the other piece. Continue till you have created a braid. Brush the top of the braid with egg wash. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour. Remove plastic wrap and egg wash once again. Place into a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Drizzle with some icing over top.

To make the spirals, roll out the other half of the danish dough in a rectangle shape about a 1/4 of an inch thick. Fold in half and using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1/2 inch thick strips.

Take each piece of dough, gently stretch it slightly and twist it over and over until it is tightly wound. Coil the twist rope into itself.

Place onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof for about 30 minutes. Make an indent in the center of the coil ( I used the bottom of a shot glass to make the indent ) and fill with filling. Brush with an egg wash and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Drizzle some icing over top.

LIME PASTRY CREAM:
2/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
2 cups cream
2 teaspoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I combined lemon and lime)

Mix together egg yolks and cream. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk every minute or so at first, but as it heats up and starts to boil and thicken, you will need to whisk constantly. This should take about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to low/medium-low so that mixture bubbles gently and cook until it coats the back of a spoon, or when you can draw your finger through it and the line stays there. Stir in the butter and vanilla, and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve/strainer to remove all lumps. Because the mixture is very thick, you may have to help the mixture through the strainer by pushing gently with a spoon.

Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, with plastic wrap pressed gently against the surface of the cream.

CANDIED LIME ZEST:

1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of corn syrup
Zest of 3 limes

Using a zester, remove the rind from three limes. In a saucepan, add the water, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a soft boil, and add the lime zest. Continue to boil mixture for 15 minutes. The lime zest with become translucent.

Use a fork, remove the zest from the liquid, and place the cooked zest onto a piece of wax paper. Spread out the zest, and sprinkle on top with a little sugar. Allow to cool and place into an airtight container until ready to use.

LEMON OR LIME GLAZE:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice

Stir ingredients together well, and pour or drizzle on top of danish.

Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com