Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Downtown Bakery and Creamery's Doughnut Muffins


Maybe double yum.

Not only are these amazing, but they might even be better than the originals.

I watch food network alot, and I always take notes when I see them feature restaurants or bakeries in my area. So when I went to Napa a few weeks ago, I knew I had to take a sidetrip to Healdsburg to check these babies out. And they were good.

So good in fact, that I decided to make them the next weekend for a road trip we were taking with friends. Not only were they gobbled up, but Diesel told me they are better than the first ones we tried.

And you know what? I agree.

Doughnut Muffins
For the muffins:
12 oz. (24 Tbs.) unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 lb. 11 oz. (6 cups) all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1-2/3 cups milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping:
8 oz. (16 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more as needed
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon

To make the muffins:
Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
In a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar for 5 mins, until lighter in color and sugar particles are not obvious.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Combine the milk, buttermilk and vanilla extract.

With a wooden spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Then mix in a third of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry. Mix until well combined and smooth, but don't overmix.
Grease and flour a standard-size muffin tin. Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup, about 1/2 cup. (An ice-cream scoop gives you the perfect amount.)
Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 min.

To Finish:
Melt the butter for the dipping mixture. Combine the sugar and cinnamon.
When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, dip them into or brush them all over with the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Make Ahead Tips:
You don't have to bake all the muffins right away; the batter will keep, covered and chilled, for up to three days in the refrigerator.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Leite’s Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Leite’s Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from David Leite via The New York Times

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
Sea salt

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and try to incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. [Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.]

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

* I found Valrhona’s fèves or oval-shaped chocolate pieces, at Whole Foods in half pounds. Baking discs can be found from a number of brands, from Jacques Torres to E. Guittard (Fresh Direct used to sell these by the quarter pound, but now just in one pound boxes, but still at a very reasonable price) to Ghiradelli. Can’t find them? Use the largest chocolate chips you can find. Ghiradelli sells some slighly larger ones in the brown bag (as opposed to the standard-sized chips in the gold bag) though I may have mixed the two varieties up. It wouldn’t be the first time.
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