Tag Archives: cinnamon sugar

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}

Monkey Bread

Monkey BreadHave you ever had Monkey Bread? I thought everyone had, but in the last 24 hours, I have found out that at least two of my friends have never even heard of it! That’s a real shame–I can’t imagine living my life not knowing that this sticky cinnamon-sugary masterpiece exists.

Monkey BreadUnlike those friends, I am a Monkey Bread connoisseur. I remember sneaking into the choir room at my church on Christmas Eve and Easter just to pick at their leftovers. Imagine it: me in my hideous purple plastic glasses and acolyte robes, breaking all the rules to sneak a few bites before the service began. What can I say? I’ve always been a little rebellious.

Monkey BreadI have made many Monkey Breads since my acolyte days. New York City has some incredible public parks, so picnicking is very popular up here. Let me tell you this–if you show up to a picnic with a fruit tray or sandwiches, everyone will be happy. If you show up with Monkey Bread, people will lose their freaking minds! Nobody, myself included, can resist this soft, sticky treat.

Monkey BreadIn the past, I have stuck to making Monkey Bread with cream biscuit dough (see here). It’s simple to throw together and doesn’t require the patience that working with yeast dough does. It’s super delicious, as all things coated in cinnamon-sugar ought to be. I really thought I’d be happy with that being the only Monkey Bread in my repertoire forever…but then, I went and created a yeast dough that I totally love. I used it in my Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls earlier this week, and I’m posting it again today because it’s just. that. good.

Monkey BreadMonkey BreadAs I’ve mentioned before, working with yeast is much simpler than you might think–it’s just another leavener. I like to work with instant yeast, which makes the whole process even easier. The dough comes together quickly. Once it’s nice and smooth, place it in a bowl, cover it, and let it rise for 60-90 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to work with when you punch it down and it doesn’t spring back.

Monkey BreadMonkey BreadRoll the dough into a square and slice it into pieces. Take each one, form it into a ball, dip it in melted butter, and roll it in a mixture of dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Repeat that process 63 more times and place all of that cinnamon-sugar laden dough in a tube pan (or a bundt). Let it rise a bit at room temperature while you crank the oven to 350F, then let it bake for half an hour or so, just long enough to go totally crazy from the smell of cinnamon-sugar magic. Invert it onto a serving plate and voilà! Monkey Bread.Monkey Bread

Monkey BreadNow, you could totally eat this as is. There is no real way to improve upon this classic…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try 😊 I put together a quick caramel sauce while I was waiting to invert this Monkey Bread, and let me tell you, it was a brilliant idea. Cinnamon, sugar, sweet dough, *and* caramel? Little 10 year old acolyte me wouldn’t be able to tear herself away.Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread
makes 1 10-12 cup tube/bundt pan

Dough:
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour*
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, beaten, room temperature

Coating:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Caramel:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or mild honey)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in milk mixture, followed by egg and yolk. Add more all-purpose flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-6 minutes before forming into a ball and placing in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Move covered bowl to a warm, draft-free environment* for 60-90 minutes, until dough has doubled in bulk.

Heavily grease a 10-12 cup tube (or bundt) pan with butter. Make sure to get butter into all the nooks and crannies. Set aside.

Make coating. Melt butter and place in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, use a fork to mix together dark brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll risen dough into a 10-inch square. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut dough into 64 squares. Coat each ball in butter, then roll in cinnamon-sugar. Place in prepared pan. Repeat with all remaining squares. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature while the oven heats up.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake Monkey Bread for 30-35 minutes, covering with foil at the ten minute mark. Let baked Monkey Bread sit in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the outer edge before inverting onto a serving dish.

Make the caramel. Arrange all ingredients except pecans within arm’s reach of the stove. Place sugar in a small, light-colored saucepan. Turn heat to medium-high. Whisk constantly while sugar melts and turns a deep copper color (but doesn’t burn). Whisk in butter. Remove from heat. Whisk in heavy cream–be careful, the hot caramel will expand quickly and dramatically. Whisk in corn syrup, followed by vanilla and salt. Let cool slightly. Drizzle over Monkey Bread immediately before serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a day or two.

Notes:

1. If you do not have or do not wish to use bread flour, you may use an equal volume of all-purpose flour. The texture will be slightly different, but your rolls will still be delicious.

2. I preheat my oven to 200F, turn it off, and slide the covered pan inside. After 60-90 minutes, my rolls are ready to bake. Works every time.

Monkey BreadMonkey Bread

Snickerdoodles

 Oof. Sorry for the radio silence.

It’s been a crazy two weeks around here–I’ve been working my butt off. In addition to my regular child-wrangling, I’ve recently taken a job as a personal chef. I absolutely love it, but I am so tired, it’s stupid. In addition to my day jobs, I made seven cakes last week for various friends. They all turned out wonderfully, thank goodness, but that’s a lot of cake for someone who doesn’t have an assistant or a professional grade oven.

Unfortunately, my responsibility to this little blog got pushed to the side, but I’m back, and I have loads of new recipes to share with you! 

Let’s start with cookies. After thirteen days of near-constant work, I think I deserve a few! And what is better than a classic Snickerdoodle?! Soft and chewy with an in-your-face cinnamon-sugar flavor–there’s nothing more comforting. 

 Now, you don’t need for me to tell you how to make Snickerdoodles. You’ve probably made them before. I mean, they’ve been around forever. But let me say that this particular version is the best I’ve ever had. 

  There are three little touches that make these cookies absolutely irresistible:

1. Brown Sugar. Most Snickerdoodles are made with all granulated sugar. Replacing 1/3 cup of the white stuff with light brown sugar ensures that these cookies stay soft for days! They actually get softer and chewier the day after they’re made. Plus, brown sugar and cinnamon are BFFs.

2. Cornstarch. I put cornstarch in almost all of my cookie recipes, but this recipe has double the usual amount: two whole tablespoons. This lightens the flour and, with the help of the brown sugar, keeps these cookies super tender.

3. Cinnamon. Yes, Snickerdoodles have to have cinnamon. But some bakers just add a teaspoon or so for a fairly subtle flavor. Not me! Between the cookie dough and the coating, this recipe has 3 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon! As I said above, these Snickerdoodles have a bold, in-your-face flavor. 

Enough shop talk! You guys, I am seriously obsessed with these cookies! I have eaten way too many in the last two days, and I’m still totally in love. Make these for your friends and family, or even just yourself, and you will be too! 

 Snickerdoodles
makes about four dozen

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cream of tartar*
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar,* packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Coating:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugars, followed by egg and yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in three installments, mixing until completely combined. Dough may look crumbly, but should hold together well when pinched with clean fingers.

Cover dough with plastic wrap, and chill for two hours, or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make the coating. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Scoop the dough by the tablespoon, and roll into balls. Roll each dough ball in the coating mixture. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes, until puffy and no longer raw-looking. Let cool on pans for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat scooping, rolling, and baking with any remaining dough.

Cookies keep well covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes:

1. There are no substitutions for cream of tartar. It is required for this recipe.
2. Dark brown sugar may be substituted, however the final cookies will have a darker color.