Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Munchies

We send Chanukah out with a bang last night! Complete with latkes and a doughnut bar.  You can find my tried and true latke recipe here.  Someone told me they were the best she'd had all Chanukah #winning 

I knew that I wanted to have a small gathering of close friends and family to help my kids feel the spirit of Chanukah.  Our weeks are so busy, and I knew this year I wouldn't be able to have them truly immersed in the Chanukah spirit because we're constantly on the go.  Swimming lessons, homework, working, gym, cooking, you name it we do it! So, I figured this would guarantee I made latkes and doughnuts. Of course, in true Aaryn fashion, I went a little overboard, but it was totally worth it.  

Let's start from the beginning.  The kids activity was supposed to be paint your own cookies. But due to space and time, that ended up being the goodie bag all the kids took home, which was perfectly acceptable!  I make the cookies and frost as usual, and then you outline a specific design-in this case it was a dreidle and a menorah.  I had seen people do gifts too, but I felt that the gift wasn't necessarily a specific Chanukah symbol, so I opted for those two.  Then an additional cookie was made to be the paint pallet.  

The paint is actually food coloring mixed with a drop of vodka so I could paint it on.  I followed this tutorial which was super helpful since I don't have an airbrush.  I must say that on one hand, a more liquidy gel color gave a lighter, more true appearance, but it dried more streaky.  A thicker gel didn't look as true to color, and it took longer to dry, but it looked a bit neater.  

The paint your own cookies were a big big hit, and I definitely plan on doing them again next year!   
I packaged them up to include their own paint brush, and you could even have add a dreidle and some gelt and it would be the perfect Chanukah gift package!  

The reason this post is still called Monday Munchies is because I'm going to tell you all about my doughnuts.  I must say, now this might surprise some of you, I was really sweating this.  I mean, I kept texting my friend whose recipe it is, how nervous I was.  In hindsight, I can tell you, there's absolutely no reason to be nervous, as long as you have active yeast!  

Doughnuts from scratch
11/2 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening 
2 packages yeast 
1/3 cup warm water 
2 eggs beaten 
1/4 cup sugar 
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
3 cups (maybe more if necessary) flour 
11/2 teaspoon salt 

Place the yeast and water into a small bowl to make sure it's active. 

Place the shortening in another small bowl, then heat the milk. Once the milk is heated, and I just stuck my finger in to see if it was warm, add it to the shortening to melt it.  

Once the shortening is melted, add the milk/shortening, eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the flour into the yeast mixture and beat until all the ingredients are incorporated.  

Continue to add enough flour to make a sticky dough.  I gauged "sticky" by once the dough was all wrapped up in my beater, and it was definitely still sticky.  

You can transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl, or you can spray the dough with PAM on all sides. Cover and let it sit in  warm place to rise for an hour.  If things work out, as they should, the dough should need punched down at least once in the course of the hour. 

Once the dough has risen for an hour, roll it out to 3/8 inch thick. You will definitely need flour at this step. Cut the dough with a cutter, or a glass.  Because we were filling our doughnuts, I did not cut out the middle.  Let the cut outs rise for another 30 minutes.  Heat your oil to 350 degrees.  I did not end up using a thermometer-I used the old fashioned trick of putting some water into the oil and once it sizzled I knew it was ready.  Then just plop the doughnuts in leaving them on one side until browned.  This happens pretty quickly! 

Remove your doughnuts with a slotted spoon and top with powdered sugar immediately so it sticks.  If you're filling or frosting, you can wait until the doughnut cools.  

We made a doughnut bar, but I must say, I need to work on my fillings for next year.  I made caramel, which turned out even better than before since this time I actually made it dairy.  Everyone should try this recipe at least once in their life. It's so easy, and to die for!  I made custard, I've never done that before so I don't know if the end result was a mistake, but let's just say I'm not a custard person.  I used store bought whipped cream, but only after I discovered heavy whipping cream isn't actually whipped cream, so if anyone knows what is actually whipped cream like taste in liquid form, please let me know!  The chocolate filling is the best chocolate frosting recipe ever, the Hershey's frosting recipe.  

I forgot to get the proper tools to fill the doughnuts, so when you live in a medical community, this is what you get! 

 I think for next year, I need to make sure I am properly equipped to fill the doughnuts, but I also noticed that by the end of the night all the toppings got hard and weren't so "fillable."  I found this on Amazon and I'm on the fence about keeping it.  I would't have much use for it otherwise, but it was relatively cheap and seems to do the trick, so it might be worth it!  I can imagine lots of taco, fondue and quesadilla nights with the kids...  

All in all, people were raving about all the food, and we did create some awesome doughnuts!  

My kids already asked where the doughnuts are from last night, so I have a feeling these doughnuts won't just be Chanukah doughnuts...

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