8/4/16

Homemade Old Fashioned Sour Cream Donuts - (Whole Grain Sour Cream Donuts)




After craving cake donuts and crullers for a  couple months now, I decided to give in and make some old fashioned sour cream donuts.  Better to give in, have one, get a little sick from the wheat and sugar and not want them again for a couple years than to crave them and build them up in my brain.  Yesterday was the day!  And yes, I did use sugar in these instead of a substitute - but I've gotten picky about the sugar I use as I found out last year during Christmas baking that the brand and style of sugar I used made ALL the difference in how my baked goods turned out.  I used Zulka Morena Pure Cane unrefined, non-gmo sugar.  I had bought it at Sam's Club - which my Sam's doesn't have anymore, I saw some at Amazon so I linked to it if you are interested. 

I also grind my own wheat berries - so these donuts are not only sweetened with unrefined, pure sugar, but are whole grain wheat, ground with soft white wheatberries (also non-gmo and organic - I'll put a link at the very bottom of this post to the kind I order and use in our home).

I do not have a donut cutter, but I have various sizes of round cookie cutters, so I used one large and one small to cut the donut and the hole.  The only other hint I have this recipe would be use fresh, clean oil to fry - as the flavor of the oil is a big part of how your finished donut tastes.

Homemade Old Fashioned Sour Cream Donuts

3 c flour - I used soft white wheat berries, ground in my WonderMill on pastry setting which is similar to 'cake flour' but whole grain
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
2/3 c good quality sugar
3 T butter, soft
1 t vanilla
2 egg yolks
1/2 c sour cream

In a bowl, place the cake flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and creamed together well.  Add the vanilla and egg yolks, beat briefly, add the flour mixture and the sour cream.  Mix just until blended smooth.  Chill for about 30 minutes while you prepare the oil for frying and get out a sheet of parchment paper, sprinkled with flour.

Roll the dough out about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick.  Cut out rounds and smaller rounds in the center for the donut shapes.  When the oil is hot enough to sizzle drops of water but not too hot (I use about a number 7 on my 1-10 stove) carefully add about 4-5 donutes in 1 inch hot oil.  They should cook about 1 minute per side - if they are dark immediately, your oil is too hot - remove from heat and turn it down.  If they sink and are taking 2-3 minutes to get golden brown, your oil is too cold and they are going to be a greasy mess.  Remove and throw away.  If they break apart, you don't have enough flour in the dough - gather up the cut raw donuts, put them back in the bowl and mix in 1/2 or more cups flour until you have a nice dough you can work with. 

When both sides are golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon, drain on thick layers of paper towels.  Drain well.  If the paper towels are saturated with oil for the 2nd batch, use new ones.  You want them drained nicely.

You can sprinkle with powdered sugar, sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, or eat plain but to make them like bakery and store bought donuts, use a simple glaze.

3 c powdered sugar
3 T warm water
dash salt
dash vanilla

Whisk and then dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze, place on a wire rack or parchment paper to let the glaze harden.  These donuts are best the next morning after setting overnight in a container that allows air flow - nothing with a lid or air tight. 

Showing the 2 cookie cutters I use - round circles



One large cookie cutter ring for the donut
A smaller one for the holes



Fry in hot, shallow oil


Dip the tops in a glaze and let harden
These are best stored in an open air container - nothing air tight or the glaze gets sticky wet


Products related to this post available through Amazon;

Ateco 2-1/2-Inch Stainless Steel Doughnut Cutter
The WonderMill
Soft White Wheat Berries | Non-GMO
Norpro Stainless Steel Donut Biscuit Cutter with Removable Center
Norpro Donut, Cookie Cutter

 


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8/1/16

Nature's Candy: Dehydrating fresh pineapple (only 1 ingredient needed)


The photo is silly with little sunshine's because it's a screen shot of my snapchat picture I put on my storyline for my family that day.  One of our favorite snacks this summer has been freeze dried fruit slices I ordered online.  I bought a multi pack of freeze dried peaches, cinnamon apple slices, strawberries and bananas.  (You can see what I'm talking about here as they are available through Amazon;  Fresh Essentials Freeze-Dried Strawberry Slices)  Freeze dried foods are expensive but I can make the next best thing by dehydrating and boy has our dehydrator been busy! 

Dehydrating pineapple slices is so quick and easy - I found I do not need any other ingredients at all.  You don't need to dip them in a lemon juice mixture or use citric acid or anything.  Just slice and dry!  

Dehydrated Pineapple

1 fresh pineapple

Clean and core your pineapple.  Slice it into either small 1" pieces or thin slices, depending on what you like best.  The idea is to have your pieces or slices pretty uniform in size and thickness.  Dehydrate according to your machine; ours does not have a temperature control, just a simple 'on' and 'off'.  It takes about 6-7 hours dry time for our machine (Weston Food Dehydrator, 4 Tray)  Flip the slices or pieces over half way through cooking. I also like to rotate the trays as they dry faster on the bottom rack than the top.  Remove slices to a plate to cool as they become dehydrated. 

Eat immediately or put in plastic baggy or vacuum food seal. 







Products related to this post available through Amazon;
 
Fresh Essentials Freeze-Dried Strawberry Slices
Emergency Essentials Freeze Dried Banana Slices - 16 oz
Weston Food Dehydrator, 4 Tray






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7/24/16

Can eggs be frozen? How long can eggs be stored? I just bought 15 dozen eggs!

Yesterday was our bi-weekly shopping trip.  I typically go to a larger membership warehouse first for some of our items, followed by a regular grocery store for the rest. Unfortunately, my local warehouse has been steadily going downhill in customer service, in-stock items and the quality of produce.  For the past year they regularly do not have signage up for prices, they are always running out of 'regular' stocked goods and the quality of their produce has gotten so bad I refuse to purchase most of it.

Yesterday my shopping list was fairly small.  About 12 items and 4 of which, I wasn't able to purchase!  Out of sour cream (again), the celery had to have been over a month old as the 8 or 9 bunches left were literally yellow and brown and had mushy spots, and the bananas were all brown and/or brown speckled and needing to be used ASAP in banana bread or pudding but absolutely not edible as a fresh, firm 'nana'.

And then I got to the eggs.  Our regular 18 count egg 'out'. Again.  My options were a different brand 18 count egg for almost $4 a pack (and I need two) or large box of 15 dozen eggs for just over $16.  Hello?  Spend almost $8 for 36 eggs or $16.60 for 180?  That is the difference between paying $.09 and $.20 per egg.

I told my 20 year old who was with me I was going to buy the 15 dozen.  She didn't believe me.  That is, until I grabbed the box out of the refrigerator and transferred it to our cart.  "We don't have room for those in our refrigerator!"  she exclaimed.  "Oh yes we do", I replied determinedly.

Although I've never bought this many eggs before, we do go through a lot of eggs as my husband would love to take 3 hard boiled eggs in his lunch every day if he could; but he can't as he goes through so many hard boiled eggs that I am often left rationing the eggs for my daily cooking and baking against his love of hard boiled, protein packed eggs and deviled eggs.  I can now make my blueberry bread with abandon (6 eggs) and homemade angel food cake 12-15 egg whites, and all the breakfast pizza and scrambled eggs my heart desires.

I planned on getting my own chickens this year, but when Spring came, so did a crazy life-schedule that had me gone cross-country more than I was home!  I couldn't get a chicken coop built and get the baby chicks and take care of those chicks as I am usually about 1000 miles from home more often than not.  But in anticipation of those chicks, I had started to save Styrofoam and cardboard containers from our store bought eggs (to store our fresh eggs in the refrigerator once they started laying abundantly).

Although we don't have room for a large box in our refrigerator, the top shelf (where we keep our eggs) had enough room once I cleared it out and repacked the eggs into cartons for freshness and longer storage.  (Don't store your eggs 'open' in the refrigerator nor in your refrigerator door.  More on that below.)

I may not be an egg 'expert' but I'm a pretty smart cookie with some wisdom and knowledge in me.  I already knew eggs can be safely stored and eaten for over a month in your refrigerator, in a carton, on a shelf away from fluctuating temperatures . I also know you can freeze eggs - although I that's never been something we've done (we go through eggs too fast in this family!).  Eggs that you buy and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 week peel easily when made into hard boiled eggs, and store bought eggs kept in right conditions in the refrigerator rarely ever spoil - even after 2 months - they just get a little drier or runnier.

But did I know enough general egg knowledge to store 15 dozen eggs?  Especially when I had already decided I would like to freeze some of them for emergency longer-term storage.  (Remember last year when chickens were getting sick and there was a run on eggs and suddenly all the stores jacked up their prices for eggs to more than double and triple?  Dried and freeze dried eggs went from $31 a can to up to $90 a can.)

I am getting ready to go do some freezing right now but thought I'd add this information to my recipe blog for my own information storage as well as my 3 young adult kids, and like the rest of my site; public use too.

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STORING EGGS
Refrigeration and Freezer


Eggs are perishable and must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Many factors can affect how long eggs last. When properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil. However, if you keep them too long, they are likely to dry up.

Refrigerator Storage: Refrigerate eggs at 40°F or less. Store them in their original carton on an inside shelf and away from pungent foods. The temperature on an inside shelf remains more constant than one on the door, which is opened and closed frequently. The carton keeps the eggs from picking up odors or flavors from other foods and helps prevent moisture loss.
Raw eggs that have been removed from their shells should be refrigerated in a tightly covered container. Refrigerated whole egg yolks should be covered with water to prevent them from drying out; drain before using. The following chart shows how long hard-boiled eggs and raw eggs last when stored in the refrigerator.

Eggs Refrigerator (35°F to 40°F)
Raw whole eggs (in shell) 4 to 5 weeks beyond the pack date or about 3 weeks after purchase
Raw whole eggs (slightly beaten) Up to 2 days
Raw egg whites Up to 4 days
Raw egg yolks Up to 2 days
Hard-boiled eggs (in shell) Up to 1 week
Hard-boiled eggs (peeled) Use the same day for best quality

Freezer Storage: If you have more eggs than you can use within a few weeks, you can freeze them, out of their shells. Freeze only clean, fresh eggs. Place them in freezer containers, seal tightly and label with the number of eggs, whites or yolks and the date. Defrost frozen eggs overnight in the refrigerator.
Egg yolks thicken (or gel) when frozen. To hinder gel formation, beat in either 1/8 teaspoon salt or 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar or corn syrup per ¼ cup yolks (4 Large) before freezing. Indicate “with salt” (main dishes) or “with sugar” (desserts) on the label. The following chart shows how long hard-boiled eggs and raw eggs last when stored in the freezer.

Eggs Freezer (0°F or colder)
Raw whole eggs (in shell) Not recommended
Raw whole eggs (slightly beaten) Up to 1 year
Raw egg whites Up to 1 year
Raw egg yolks Up to year
Hard-boiled eggs (in shell) Not recommended
Hard-boiled eggs (peeled) Not recommended (the white become tough and watery)



Source:  American Egg Board
The American Egg Board (AEB) is appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.




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