Whew! It has been a busy week--thus the lack of posts and new tasty treats to share. For me, the saying "when it rains, it pours" definitely applies. It seems that I will have one week where I have all the time in the world to take care of my to-do list of little projects, while other weeks are so jam-packed that I barely have time for a sit-down meal. I actually prefer the latter. The more that I have to accomplish within a set period of time, the higher my level of productivity. When I have a relatively low-responsibility week, I tend to take on a mentality of "Hey! It's only Monday. I have plenty of time to write the article/pay the bill/clean the bathroom before Friday, so why do it now?" Whereas this week, I knew that if I had one spare iota of time, I have better make it a productive iota. My DVR'd Ellen shows would have to wait.
Looking back on this week, although it went by in a whirlwind, I did have a great time, and I feel like I accomplished quite a bit. Among many other things, as you might have noticed (unless of course this is your first visit to my blog), I have a brand spankin' new blog design. No, I am not enough of a techie to be able to take credit for the actual design, but I still needed to work on the new layout and content (still a work in progress.) The credit for the new logo goes to my genius graphic design friend, Brian Felgar, and the rest of the design was done by Hannah Cramer. Thanks to both of you!
I also helped with the food for a baby shower, which was held yesterday. Usually when I do a cake or cookies for a special event, I like to work with a theme, as this helps to make the dessert extra special and personal. For a baby shower, this typically means customizing cupcake frosting colors or making baby onesie-shaped cookies in either pink or blue. In this case, the mom-to-be gave me a bit more to work with. Throughout her pregnancy she had been craving doughnuts. Krispy Kreme, Dunkin, glazed, filled. You name it. Ashley, the girl who threw the party, and I thought that it would be fun to create doughnut shaped cookies for the event.
I recalled seeing a doughnut cookie recipe in the King Arthur's Cookie Companion (great cookbook by the way), so I rummaged through my cookbook collection and decided to try a variation on that recipe. Because I didn't want to stray too far from the original, I only changed up the flavoring with a little bit of orange zest, and I increased the butter content slightly. I also played around with the glaze, incorporating lemon juice or cocoa powder. In the end, I was thrilled with how the cookies turned out. I named them"Homer's" cookies because at first glance they reminded me of the doughnuts that Homer gobbles down on The Simpsons. Mmmmmm.....they are delicious too--perfect with a glass of milk and no frying required.
The week was nicely rounded out by a visit from a new friend, also named Julie, and her husband, both of whom I met through my Food Network Ultimate Recipe Showdown contest. Some of you might remember her as the creator of that oh-so-delectable looking spin on chicken 'n waffles in the Hometown Favorites episode. We had a fantastic time, and I am beginning to think that we were separated at birth (c'mon mom, fess up!) Sorry Julie, I meant to save a few of these cookies for you two--something to look forward to on your next trip (as long as you make the chicken 'n waffles for me, that is)! Here are a few extra tips for these tasty trompe l'oeil treats:
- Don't fuss too much trying to make your doughnuts perfectly round and uniform. Having slightly different shapes and sizes yields a realistic-looking batch!
- The dough can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to two days.
- The baked doughnut cookies can be stored, covered at room temperature, for up to three days (but I sincerely doubt they will last this long.)
- Feel free to eliminate the orange zest from the dough recipe. I just think that it adds a nice flavor to the cookies. I also add orange zest to my regular sugar cookie dough.
- Instead of using safflower oil, either canola or vegetable oil can be substituted.
Homer's Doughnut Cookies
For the dough
2 tablespoons safflower oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
For the glaze
3 cups confectioner's sugar, divided
Food coloring, Cocoa powder, Sprinkles
Prepare the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil, butter, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest until well combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, baking powder, sugar, and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until well incorporated. Gather the dough together and shape it into a flat disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working with about 2 teaspoons of the dough at a time, roll the dough into a rope about 4 inches long and 1/2-inch in diameter. Coil the ropes into round doughnut shapes, leaving a small hole in the middle. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough. Place the formed cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, until the tops are slightly golden but not browned. Transfer the baked cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the icing: Depending on how many colors you want to make (I made three), use 1 cup confectioner's sugar for each color. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup confectioner's sugar with 1 teaspoon milk, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons corn syrup, and a few drops of food coloring. If making chocolate icing, add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder and replace the lemon juice with milk. Stir the mixture until you have a spreadable icing. Dip the top of each cookie into the icing, and place them back on the wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles if desired, and allow the glaze to harden.