Friday Favorites: Holiday Breakfasts

How was your Thanksgiving? My family spent ours at my godparents’ ranch. The food and company were great and there were five dogs, so it was basically the best day ever.

Friday Favorites: Holiday BreakfastsBefore I start with the Christmas cookies, let’s talk about breakfast. It may be the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Today, I’m bringing you seven show-stopping recipes guaranteed to make your family and friends feel at home for the holidays.

Friday Favorites: Holiday BreakfastsMonkey Bread

Monkey Bread is basically cinnamon rolls, deconstructed. The sweet dough is cut into small pieces, dipped in butter, rolled in cinnamon-sugar, and baked in a tube pan. I like to finish it off with warm homemade caramel sauce.

Friday Favorites: Holiday BreakfastsScratch Biscuit Monkey Bread

Canned biscuits are a popular alternative to making Monkey Bread from scratch. If you’d like to cut down on time and skip the yeast without sacrificing flavor, this is the recipe for you. It’s made with a simple cream biscuit dough and can be ready in 90 minutes or less.

Friday Favorites: Holiday BreakfastsMarzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are a popular Christmas morning breakfast for a reason. Swirls of buttery cinnamon-sugar goodness, fluffy rolls, and sweet glaze are hard to beat! But if you add in a can of marzipan, some almond extract, and some toasted slivered almonds, you might come close.

Friday Favorites: Holiday BreakfastsPuff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes were a common weekend breakfast in my house and remain a favorite to this day. The batter comes together in the food processor and is super easy to scale up and down to feed any number of guests! Everyone will love seeing you pull a big, puffy pancake out of the oven, and the crispy edges and custard-like center will have them coming back for seconds.

Friday Favorites: Holiday BreakfastsCaramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes are a classic for a reason, but this time of year, I go for this Caramel Apple version. Sliced apples and pie spices are tossed together and baked into the pancake batter. When it comes out of the oven, it gets a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce–totally impossible to resist.

Friday Favorites: Holiday BreakfastsApple Cider Coffee Cake

Speaking of apples, I cannot say enough good things about this Apple Cider Coffee Cake. It’s super moist from an apple cider reduction, sour cream and tart apples, and it has two layers of that crunchy coffee cake crumb we all love!

Friday Favorites: Holiday BreakfastsOvernight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts

If there were ever a time to pull out all the stops and make homemade doughnuts, the holidays are it. This recipe is formulated so that you can make the dough one day and cut and fry doughnuts the next. Give them a dip in a simple chocolate glaze and shower them with sprinkles (or crushed candy canes!) before serving. These are the best doughnuts I have ever had, and I know you’ll love them too.Friday Favorites: Holiday Breakfasts

Did you make any of my recipes for Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments or on social media using #e2bakes 💗

French Crullers

French CrullersLately, I’ve been all about homemade doughnuts (see here, here, and here). In that time, I have learned that a) homemade doughnuts are the best in the world, and b) they are easier than anyone would imagine. Seriously, if can make a quality homemade doughnut, anyone can!

French CrullersFrench CrullersToday, the obsession continues with homemade French Crullers, a.k.a. those light, fluffy, ridgy doughnuts you see behind every shop counter. While I was content with the Dunkin’ Donuts variation of this classic for years, I am now a homemade cruller convert. There’s no comparison between these and the mass-produced variety. The crispy piped ridges and airy middles are what my (current) doughnut dreams are made of.

French CrullersSo, what makes these crullers so French? Well, it’s all in the dough. Where most doughnuts rely on yeast or baking powder to help them puff, French Crullers are made with a classic French pastry dough: pâte à choux. You might be familiar with it in eclairs, cheesy gougeres, or as the airy shell in cream puffs (more on those soon).

Pâte à choux (pronounced “pat-a-shoe”) is unusual. It contains no chemical leaveners, instead relying on trapped steam to help it puff. Don’t worry–it’s only got six ingredients and it’s simple to make.

Like Churros, pâte à choux starts on the stove. Bring some whole milk, butter, a touch of sugar, and some salt to a boil over medium heat. Then, stir in some bread flour (we need the higher gluten content that it provides). Next, cook out the excess moisture. Turn down the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until you have a ball of dough. You’ll know it’s ready when there is a thin veil of dough on the bottom of the pan.French CrullersFrench Crullers

Transfer the dough ball to a mixing bowl and mix it with an electric mixer for one minute. This allows the hot dough to release a lot of steam. Next, beat three room temperature eggs in a measuring cup. With the mixer running, slowly stream in the eggs. The dough will start to become richer and thicker as it mixes. Once all three eggs are incorporated, lift the beater out of the bowl. Does the dough hanging off create a v-shape? It probably won’t at this point. Beat another egg and add it little-by-little, checking frequently to see if that v-shape is there. It may take all or part of another egg (the fifth, in this case) to achieve the right consistency. There is no guaranteed amount of egg in pâte à choux. This past weekend, I had one batch that only required 3 1/2 eggs, while another required 4 1/2. It all depends on how much moisture was cooked out on the stove. Long story short, make sure to have extra eggs.

When your pâte à choux is ready, it will be sort of sticky and gluey and look like this.French CrullersFrench Crullers

Load it into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe rings on individual squares of parchment. You could fry them immediately, but they’d likely lose their signature ridges. I like to let my piped doughnuts sit uncovered at room temperature for half an hour–this allows the dough to rest and a sort of skin to form, guaranteeing a classic ridged final product.French CrullersFrench CrullersFrench Crullers

Next up, it’s time to fry. Heat a quart or two of frying fat (I used canola oil) to 350F. Carefully slip one cruller (still adhered to its parchment) into the oil. After a second or two, use tongs to remove the parchment from the oil. The doughnut will puff and turn deeply golden after 45 seconds or so. Flip it and continue to fry until it has a nice even color all over. Remove the doughnut from the oil and wait one minute. If it is properly cooked, it will stay intact–if not, it will collapse. Once you’re sure your first cruller is as it should be, continue frying the rest of them.

French CrullersFrench CrullersThe last step is to give these beautiful doughnuts a dip in a classic glaze. Let it set for 20 minutes or so before eating two. French Crullers are lower in sugar and calories than most doughnuts. I’m not saying they’re health food (because they’re definitely not), but you shouldn’t feel too much guilt about having a third. I sure didn’t.French Crullers

French Crullers
makes 12-16 doughnuts

1 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cup bread flour (I use King Arthur Bread Flour)
3 large eggs + 1-2 more, room temperature
1-2 quarts frying fat (I like shortening, safflower oil, or canola oil)

Glaze:
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (or mild honey)
4-5 tablespoons warm tap water

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine whole milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring frequently so that a skin does not form. Add bread flour all at once and stir in with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir dough for 3-4 minutes, until a thin veil of dough covers the bottom of the pan. Remove dough to a large heat-proof mixing bowl.

Crack 3 large eggs into a liquid measuring cup and whisk with a fork until combined.

Use an electric mixer on low speed to beat the warm dough for 1 minute, until some steam has been released. Continue mixing while adding eggs in a thin stream, stopping occasionally to scrape down the bowl.

Once all three of the beaten eggs have been added, test the dough. Dip the end of the mixer into the dough and slowly pull upward. If the dough is sort of gluey and makes a V-shape, it’s ready. If not, beat another egg. Stream it in slowly–you may not need the whole egg. Check frequently to see if the dough is right. You may need part or all of a fifth egg.

Load dough into a piping bag (or gallon freezer bag) fitted with a large star tip. Cut a sheet of parchment into 16 3-4 inch squares. Lay squares on rimmed baking sheets. Pipe rings of dough onto squares. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Doughnuts may be frozen at this point, if desired.*

Position a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Place near stove.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat frying fat until it reaches 350F. Slip one doughnut into the oil. After a second or two, it will detach from the parchment. Remove parchment with tongs. Continue to fry for 1-2 minutes, flipping when one side becomes deep golden brown. Remove to prepared rack. Wait one minute to make sure that the doughnut does not collapse (it will if it’s undercooked). Continue frying in batches of 1-2 doughnuts, until all have been cooked. Let doughnuts cool to room temperature.

Make the glaze. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, vanilla, light corn syrup, and 4 tablespoons warm water until smooth and pourable. Add more water by the teaspoon, until the desired consistency is reached. Dip doughnuts one at a time, letting any excess glaze run back into the bowl. Place glazed doughnuts back on the rack. Glaze will set after 20 minutes.

French Crullers are best eaten the day they are made. If you must keep them overnight, leave them uncovered at room temperature.

Note:

To freeze piped crullers, lay them on a baking sheet and freeze until frozen. Transfer to a labeled freezer bag for up to a month. Let crullers thaw slightly while your oil is warming before proceeding with the recipe as written. They may take an extra minute to cook.

French Crullers

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}I am doughnut-obsessed, y’all. Obsessed. Cannot get enough. You’re just going to have to excuse me while I fry a bunch of dough over the next few weeks. That’s not to say I won’t be making anything that doesn’t involve heating a quart of fat, but just know that that’s where my baking brain is right now.

Homemade doughnuts aren’t for everyone–if you’re afraid of yeast, not into multi-step processes, or opposed to making a mess, you may want to steer clear. But really, there’s nothing to fear. We live in a world where instant yeast exists, as do lazy weekends and cleaning products. But if you’re still not ready to jump on the doughnut train, today’s recipe is still for you.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Y’all, these homemade Churros are crazy easy and super delicious. If you start making dough now, I can guarantee that you’ll have a dozen cute little cinnamon-sugary treats in under an hour.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Unlike yeast-raised and cake doughnuts, churros don’t require any long processes or temperamental leaveners. Nope. This dough requires minimal ingredients (and is accidentally vegan!) and comes together in about five minutes on your stovetop. Just heat some water, oil, sugar, and salt until it comes to a boil. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in some flour and a bit of cinnamon. And then forget about it for fifteen minutes. The soft dough will initially be very warm, so you’ll need to step away so it can cool to a temperature you can handle.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Once it’s cool, load the dough into a piping bag (or in my case, a gallon freezer bag) fitted with a large star tip. The dough will be thick, but should be pipable. Test the bag’s integrity by piping a little on a clean surface. Any issues with piping? No? Great! Put that little test churro back in the top of your piping bag and get to heating your frying fat. I have been fond of using shortening lately, but a recent trip to Costco has left me with 1 1/2 gallons of canola oil, so that’s what I used here. Use whatever fat you like, just make sure it’s at 375F. Here’s a link to my trusty oil thermometer.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Pipe churros directly into the oil, cutting off each length of dough by swiping it off with your finger (or a butter knife, if you’re more cautious than I am). I usually fry them in batches of 2-3, but do whatever makes you comfortable. Remove the golden brown churros to a paper towel-lined pan. Once they’re all fried, toss them in cinnamon-sugar.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Churros {Accidentally Vegan}Now, churros are great by themselves–who can resist that soft interior, crispy fried exterior, and all that cinnamon-sugar?! You could certainly eat them as-is and be blissfully happy. But apparently it’s traditional to serve churros with a warm chocolate sauce (in the case of these churros, a decidedly not-vegan dark chocolate ganache). I don’t know about you, but when it’s suggested I dunk something that’s already delicious in chocolate, I don’t question it.Churros {Accidentally Vegan}

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}
makes about 12-15 small churros

Dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1-2 quarts frying fat* (canola oil, safflower oil, shortening)

Coating:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Make the dough. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour and cinnamon. Set bowl near the stove.

In a medium skillet, combine water, oil, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in flour mixture until the dough forms a ball. Let dough cool until it can be handled, about 15 minutes.

Load dough into a piping bag (or freezer bag–not a regular zip top bag!–with a corner snipped off) fitted with a large star tip. Pipe an inch or two of dough onto a clean surface, just to make sure everything is working properly. Put test dough back in the bag.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and set near the stove.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat frying fat until it reaches 375F. Pipe 4-6-inch lengths of dough into the hot fat, cutting them off with your finger or a butter knife. Let dry until golden, about 1 minute. Use tongs to remove them to the paper towel-lined pan. Repeat with any remaining dough.

Coat the churros. In a small dish, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Coat churros in mixture, making sure to coat them completely. Serve warm or at room temperature, with Chocolate Ganache (below), if desired. Churros are best the day they are made.

Note:

Frying fat can be cleaned and reused. Here’s a link to some instructions on how to clean and reuse your oil.

Chocolate Ganache
makes about 1/2 cup

3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus bar)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Set aside.

Pour heavy cream into a separate microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Cream will be hot (mine was boiling). Pour over chopped chocolate. When chocolate is soft, stir ingredients together with a fork. Divide chocolate ganache into small bowls and serve.

If ganache begins to harden, reheat in 10 second increments until it reaches your desired texture.

Ganache will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Churros {Accidentally Vegan}

Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts

Overnight Yeast-Raised DoughnutsYou guys, I have achieved a lot in my life, but I’m pretty sure I am proudest of these doughnuts. Today, at least.

Overnight Yeast-Raised DoughnutsAfter my yeast dough success with my Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls and Monkey Bread, I set my sights on yeast-raised doughnuts. I thought about them for a week, doing tons of research and reading about ratios. I started a batch on Saturday morning thinking that this would somehow be a simple one-and-done success. It’s safe to say I was a little over-confident.

Overnight Yeast-Raised DoughnutsThe first batch over-proofed and collapsed. I immediately started a second batch, wherein I killed yeast for the first time in my baking career. Neither batch made it to the point of frying. Frustrated, I decided to give up for the day and concentrate on making soup instead–it’s hard to screw up a pot of soup. I had dinner, watched Netflix, and tried to forget about my double failure.

Overnight Yeast-Raised DoughnutsBut, if you know me, you know I can’t move on quite so easily. That’s how I ended up making a third batch at 1am on Sunday morning. I mixed a shaggy dough and kneaded until it was smooth, before praying a little prayer to the doughnut gods and placing it in the fridge to rise overnight.

Overnight Yeast-Raised DoughnutsOvernight Yeast-Raised DoughnutsWhen I woke up around 10am, I took the cold, risen dough out of the fridge, rolled it to 1/2-inch thickness, and cut a bunch of doughnuts. I proofed them while I inhaled the first of two large iced coffees.

Yes, I did all the rolling and cutting pre-coffee. I deserve a medal. Or an extra doughnut.

Overnight Yeast-Raised DoughnutsI heated some shortening in my largest cast iron skillet and got to frying…and I had my first glimmer of success. Sometimes the third time really is the charm. I gave that batch a dip in a classic glaze and took a bite. They were soft and a little chewy with a crisp edge–they were just a little one-note in terms of flavor.

Sunday night, I made a fourth batch of dough, this time with the tiniest bit of nutmeg. I cut and fried again on Monday morning, gave the doughnuts a dip in a quick chocolate glaze, threw some sprinkles on top, and…

Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts
🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩!!!!!!!!!!

Y’all, these are the best doughnuts I have ever had. Ever. Ever ever ever. I logically know that there is someone out there who makes a better homemade doughnut than I do, but…damn, these are GOOD. I can usually resist the treats I make, but not these. Nope. The crisp fried edge, the slightly chewy interior, the chocolate dip, the smattering of sprinkles–I just can’t help myself. Add in that this recipe basically comes together in the fridge–meaning that you can have warm, fresh doughnuts pretty soon after you wake up–and…well, this is about as good as breakfast gets.Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts

Looking for more doughnuts? Check out my Glazed Cream Cheese Cake Doughnuts and my Coffee Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts.

Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts
makes about 2 dozen 2 1/2-inch doughnuts and doughnut holes 

2 cups bread flour*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise)
1 cup buttermilk*
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
2 quarts shortening or frying oil (like peanut, safflower, or canola), for frying

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and instant yeast. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula to fold liquid into dry ingredients. Fold in eggs until a sticky, shaggy dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until dough is smooth. Shape dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Cut a large sheet of wax paper into 30 4-inch squares. Place squares on two rimmed baking sheets.

Remove risen dough from refrigerator and punch it down. Turn cold dough back onto a floured surface and roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Use a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or graduated cookie cutters to cut doughnuts. Place cut doughnuts on individual squares. Place doughnut holes at least one full inch apart on wax paper. Re-roll scraps as necessary.

Gently lay plastic wrap or a sheet of wax paper over the tops of the pans and allow doughnuts to rise in a warm, draft-free environment* for 45-60 minutes. Once puffy, remove doughnuts from oven.

Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet, and set in close proximity to the stove.

Heat shortening or oil to 350F. Working in small batches, fry doughnuts 1-2 minutes per side, until golden. Remove to rack. Continue with remaining doughnuts. Doughnut holes will only need 30 seconds per side.

At this point, unadorned doughnuts and doughnut holes may be frozen for up to a month. Otherwise, proceed with dipping (see Chocolate Dip recipe below).

Dipped doughnuts are best the day they are made.

Notes:

  1. If you do not have bread flour, you may substitute an equal volume of all-purpose flour. Your doughnuts will not have as much chew as those made with bread flour, but they will still be delicious.
  2. If you do not have buttermilk, you may make a substitute with lemon juice (or vinegar) and milk. Pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk until the liquid reaches the 1 cup mark. Let sit for five minutes before proceeding with the recipe as written. Whole and low-fat milks are fine, but I do not recommend skim or nonfat.
  3. I preheat my oven to 200F, turn it off, and slide the doughnuts inside. After 45-60 minutes, they are puffy and ready to fry. Works every time.

Chocolate Dip
makes enough for 2 dozen 2 1/2-inch doughnuts and doughnut holes 

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (or mild honey)
3-5 tablespoons milk
rainbow sprinkles, optional

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix in corn syrup and 3 tablespoons of milk. Add additional milk by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached.

Set a cooling rack over a sheet of wax paper.

Dip doughnuts one at a time and place them on the prepared rack. Decorate with sprinkles before dip sets, if desired (I usually do this after I’ve dipped four doughnuts). Dip and sprinkle doughnut holes.

Chocolate Dip will set after about 20 minutes.

Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts