Monday, December 23, 2013

Baked Crullers

So I *finally* have to energy to bake again.

After a long hiatus from the kitchen except for that brief muffin stint in November, I popped back in last week to make doughnuts. Why doughnuts? Well, I was looking through Buzzfeed’s Food section and saw the post about doughnuts. Then I remembered I have a cruller pan that’s only been used once for a failed doughnut recipe over the summer.

After those gummy fails, I knew I needed to find a recipe that would *actually* work so I turned to Joy the Baker who does no wrong in my eyes. Her recipes are legit. After scouring the recent posts because I get distracted like that, I refocused on baked doughnut recipes.

BOOM.

Brown butter baked doughnuts. Her’s had a chocolate glaze which I skipped because I really wanted the doughnut not the frosting.

baked-cruller-doughnut

I wasn’t sure how many crullers equaled a doughnut (or vice versa), so I kept her measurements. Turns out, 6 doughnuts equal 3 crullers. Remember that when you’re ordering one.

I didn’t quite brown my butter because I got impatient, but it still had a nice flavor. I slathered a bit of Nutella on a cruller half as a little treat since I had (and still have) a head cold. Nutella totally cures what ails you.

These would be great on Christmas morning. Just slice them in half for more reasonable portion sizes.

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Baked Crullers

Yield: 3 crullers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 22-28 minutes

Total Time: 27-33 minutes

Simple vanilla crullers with a toasty, buttery kick.

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
3 Tbsp butter (I used Kerrygold)
1 egg
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used the last of the bottle so it was more intense thanks the the bean "sludge" at the bottom of the bottle)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil the cruller pan (you only need to oil half the pan).

Add all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Give it a stir to make sure everything's mixed.

Melt the butter over medium low heat in a saucepan. I only waited about 3 minutes before scooping two Tbsp out into a small bowl and removing the butter from the heat. If you have more patience than me, wait until the butter actually browns before removing 2 Tbsp to reserve.

In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients including the butter. Continue stirring to keep the egg from curdling in the warm butter.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, and stir just until incorporated.

Using a spoon, scoop the batter into the pan. I filled mine about 1/2 - 2/3 full. Smooth the batter out to make sure the cruller is even.

Bake for 22-25 minutes. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don't brown too much. I had to rotate the pan every 8 minutes or so.

Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Feel free to make a glaze or frosting or to roll them in cinnamon sugar. I loved them as is and with just a dab of Nutella.

Joy the Baker

Monday, December 16, 2013

We’re Going from DINKs to…Parents!

If you’re cool enough to be my Facebook friend (say hello if you’re not!), you may have seen our news over the weekend.

we-are-going-from-dinks-to-parents

I’m having a baybay!

Baby Art Nerd is due in the middle of May, so I get to miss the “fun” of being pregnant in the summer. That’s the major reason I’ve reduced the frequency of posting here over the last few months. I was just too tired to write a cohesive, understandable post.  That’s also why I kept a pretty low profile at TBEX. I was exhausted, trying to disguise that I, the Guinness lover, wasn’t drinking, and not really feeling up to networking/socializing/attending the side trips. Thus, why I never did a recap post. I attended sessions, but I skipped a lot of other things. I learned that I get to either do the metal detector or oh-so-fun pat down at the airport. I also learned that attending TBEX with the energy of a mononucleosis patient is not the most brilliant thing to do.

I *promise* to not turn this blog into all baby. I will say that I’m hoping to bring our munchkin to lots of museums, restaurants, and continue to travel as he or she gets older. So the focus won’t change, but we’ll have an extra person’s tastes and personality to contend with.

Oh, and we’re not finding out if baybay is a boy or a girl ahead of time. I like being surprised, I prefer gender neutral rooms, and I don’t want to reveal the name until he or she arrives since I know EVERYONE has an opinion about every name in the universe.

I’ll try to post a handful of times during those exhausting early months, but I’ll warn you that June and July may just have a couple of posts.

So yeah, that’s the “personal project” I’ve been working on 🙂

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: Snowy Waltham

snowy grounds

It’s supposed to snow 3-10 inches in the Boston area this weekend. Here’s a shot from Tuesday when it snowed just an inch or two. It’s from the second floor of the historic home that I work at, Gore Place.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Top 2013 Moments

my-top-2013-moments

2013 wasn’t a particularly busy travel year. We “only” went to Paris, Montreal, Ireland, and jaunted around the Boston area with quick trips to Atlanta, Newport, and Pittsburgh last month. But HELLO, PARIS.

I know frequent travel isn’t for me. After traveling to three cities in 5 months for work last year, I know that I am not a fan of business travel (among other things related to that particular position). I like to stay put for a week if I can swing it. Long weekend trips to places I’ve been before are fun to revisit favorites and discover new ones. 16 countries in 12 days? Nope. 3 months to backpack? Also, no. I’m not a backpacker (if you’ve met me IRL, you’d laugh at the idea). A week to 10 days? Perfect. I get to see a city, but I also get to have a cat that’s not neglected.

mfa-lunch

Some favorite moments this year are from exploring my (still relatively) new home. My mom came to visit for a few weeks, so I got to gallivant around to Concord and the MFA and cheese shops with her. Our artsy day at the MFA was full of wine, cheese, and laughing at awkward portraits.

cat-festival

I also attended a cat-themed film festival. Really, it was just a small-scale knockoff of the Cat Festival in Minneapolis. Instead of Grumpy Cat, we had Stroller Cat. But how can you not count a marathon of cat videos as a top moment?

I quit my job, volunteered at a museum in their collection department, took a temporary job inventorying public art, and found a job at a house museum doing a little bit of everything part-time. Working part-time AT A MUSEUM (FINALLY) is the best of both worlds for me. I have time for personal projects (you’ll hear about one big one soon), but I get to do what I’m good at in a setting that makes me ridiculously happy. Definitely a top moment.

Then there’s Paris. I have a billion top moments (like seeing my all time favorite church Sainte Chapelle), both art and food related. But I narrowed it down to two that still stick with me more than anything.

picnic-in-chartres

Having a picnic in the shadow of Chartres cathedral on a relatively leisurely day (until we crammed in the evening hours at the Louvre later) was how I envisioned visiting France. It was warm and sunny, my sandwich of ham and cheese was ungodly delicious, and I could sip on wine al fresco while staring at a church I had studied in multiple classes. For maybe 12 euro total for the two of us?

cap-paris

The other Paris moment was a surprise. After struggling to find the place, and being kind of tired from walking all day, the hubs nearly axed the visit. But the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine turned out to be my favorite museum of the trip. It wasn’t crowded, the views were gorgeous, and THERE WERE TONS OF MEDIEVAL THINGS. Rooms of architectural models and casts of famous medieval structures in France. It was like walking through half my major. Le sigh.

tbex-guinness-dublin

TBEX was a bit of a whirlwind, but I learned some valuable tips. And had free Guinness and piles of Irish cheese at the opening party. Always a win.

bellinter-tree-navan

Another random moment was seeing a tree that I had seen on Pinterest. You know how so many of those popular pinned photos are doctored or labeled wrong? I thought there was no way a tree like this was anywhere near Navan. Turns out, it was on the property where my in-laws took us to lunch on our last full day.

What were your top moments this year?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: Cacti and Chihuly

cacti-and-chihuly

In the cactus and succulent room at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, you can find a strikingly spiky Chihuly “chandelier” that mimics the desert plants below. I think the yellow is a perfect pop against the shades of green and brown in the room.