Saturday, May 22, 2010

French doughnuts, Apple bread, and more!

We had a community preparedness fair today. My assignment was to make (or delegate making) 3-4 different food samples made from food storage items. Of course, I was totally in my element so even though it was a lot of work, it was fun. I delegated granola bars to a friend and then had to decide what else to make. When I got the assignment, I reached out in blog land to a fellow food storage enthusiast, who is WAY more advanced than me, and she suggested a few ideas.

I ended up making jam-dotted kuchen (which I've made before), apple bread (a recipe found on another one of my favorite preparedness websites), and french doughnuts, because I had to try another recipe from the bread cookbook. I included powdered milk where it called for milk, and substituted flax seed for eggs in two of the recipes.

Last night was quite the experiment, I tell you! You can find the original Apple Bread recipe here, but I altered it all along the way. I tripled the recipe. I re-hydrated apples, but since I didn't know how much they'd expand, I didn't do enough.

It got crazier from there.... I've been wanting to try another egg substitution, gelatin. I looked up the instructions but they didn't seem very clear. I wasn't sure how long the chilling step was to last (you can google it yourself if you are adventurous), so the first batch was completely set when I pulled it out to whip it to a froth.

I ended up flinging bits of gelatin around the kitchen with the hand mixer. What a great night.
With everything else already mixed up, I had to start a second batch. I got it whipped to a frothy state, but it didn't seem thick and the instructions only said "thickened." I threw it in the batter anyway, expecting the worst...

...but somehow it turned out fine. Here's the crazy thing. I put 2/3 whole wheat flour instead of white flour. I also didn't have enough sugar upstairs (and was tired/lazy), so I added honey too. But I didn't measure the honey, just eyeballed it. I didn't have enough honey upstairs either, so I added brown sugar. But since I had no clue how short I was on sweeteners now, I just eyeballed that too (and tasted the batter!). Surely apple bread needs spices, so I added a generous amount of cinnamon and a touch of cloves. I ran out of oil (totally, not good), so I added butter, but I ran out of butter that was defrosted, so I made up the difference with water. As if this wasn't odd enough, I measured the vanilla. I never measure vanilla. Ever. I guess I needed the peace of mind in believing I was following a recipe.

I had Pampered Chef caramel and cinnamon toppings in my cupboard, so I did one loaf caramel, one cinnamon, and one plain.

I was up way too late and got up early to start laundry and make French Doughnuts, and the pans of goodies just stacked up on my table. Fortunately I had saved frying oil from the last batch of doughnuts, and I used the smallest pan I had to make it deep enough. I sure hope oil goes on sale next month when I have grocery money again. :(

We rushed off to the fair, barely on time. My wonderful husband told me to haul him out of bed so he could help me. It was rather amusing. I woke him while heating the oil, but he rarely gets up on the first awakening. I spent the next 30 minutes running around. Pop two doughnut squares into the oil, and while counting to 30 seconds, either sprinkle powdered sugar on the last two doughnuts or run into the bedroom to shake Nathan yet again. Flip the doughnuts and count to 30 again while separating the next two squares from the pan of risen-together squares. Finally it was, cook doughnuts while stressing over the time and giving Nathan instructions to pull laundry from the dryer or pack the car. Ugh.

When we got there and started to set up food, I realized the wax paper had melted into the granola bars. I put Nathan to work prying them free while I set out the other items. He did much better than my initial attempts.

We set food out on most of the tables and I finally had time to take pictures of my finished products.

The French Doughnuts weren't that amazing. I won't make them again. Anyway, the rest of my day has been really productive! Long daylight hours are a blessing and a curse. I love having it light for so long, because it keeps me in a good mental state, but it means I have hours and hours to be productive.

I utilized the self-cleaning feature of my oven, which has always sounded scary. The house smelled funky for a couple of hours, but I have never seen an oven this clean unless it was brand new. I'm so in love with self-cleaning ovens. If I'd realized it would work this well, I would have taken a 'before' picture. My oven was encrusted with tons of spills and now there is only one tiny black spot.

I also tackled cleaning out my sewing room, which is the catch-all room when company is coming, etc. I made a lot of headway but I'll have to finish it another day. I finally decided to direct my productivity toward blogging. And now it's probably too late to watch the movie I planned on enjoying. Bummer.


Jaime said...

wow wow wow! You are so amazing. I can't believe that apple bread came out! But I'm so glad. So fun to find recipes to make again!

X Melissa said...

Way to go! That's too bad about the donuts being less than exciting, but it's good to hear that you pulled off your projects just in time. I'm thinking about joining the next farmers' market in Singapore and can see myself running around until just the last minute in a similar fashion.