My next book, The Diva Haunts the House, won't be out until September 6th, but I wanted to share my cover with you. Once again, talented artist Teresa Fasolino has created a cover that I want to walk into. I can just imagine walking along the sidewalk on Sophie's street and seeing this scene!
That's Sophie dog, Daisy, looking up at the bat. Teresa captured her perfectly!
And now to food!
When I was in grade school, once a year my mom made Faschingskrapfen. (f-awe shings kr-awe pfen) Not as hard to say as it looks. Even better, how about carnival doughnuts? It was always a special treat to come home from school and find a platter of them on the table. Mardi Gras is big in Germany and Austria, and the celebratory food that is found in bakeries is an apricot jam-filled doughnut. I was a little late making them this year, but they're every bit as good. Unless you've given up sweets or doughnuts for Lent, it's not too late to celebrate Mardi Gras with a carnival doughnut.
What I love about this recipe is that the mixer does all the work, even most of the kneading! It's also fun to watch them puff up when they're cooked in hot oil -- not to mention eating them. They're not as light as Krispy Kremes, but they would be fabulous dunked in a cup of Cleo's coffee!
1/2 cup milk
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups flour
1 packet yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 egg white
canola oil for frying
1 jar apricot preserves
Place the butter and milk in a microwave safe bowl and microwave briefly (30 to 50 seconds) to melt the butter and warm the milk. It should not be hot. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
Use a large bowl that fits into your mixer and a bread hook. Sift the flour into the bowl. Mix the yeast, sugar, and salt with the flour. Slowly add lukewarm butter and milk. Whisk the eggs a bit and add them to the mixture along with the vanilla. Beat with the bread hook for about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm draft-free area to rise.
When the dough has roughly doubled in size, knead briefly and roll out. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut out rounds approximately 2 3/4 inches in diameter. Place on sheets or plates and allow to rise in a warm draft-free area.
When the doughnuts have risen, heat the canola oil. It should be hot enough to sizzle slightly around the edges of a test doughnut. The doughnut should fluff up a bit on the upper side. After about a minute, flip to fry the other side. You can cook several doughnuts at once, but don't crowd them. Place the fried doughnuts on a paper towel. Ideally, they will have a characteristic light ring around the sides, but if they don't -- not to worry, they still taste good!
Put the preserves through a sieve to eliminate any chunks. Using a long decorating tip, fill a pastry bag with the preserves, insert the tip into each doughnut and fill. Hint: Most of the doughnuts will have an empty spot inside. You can feel it when you insert the tip. Do not overfill! It will ooze out of the doughnuts if you use too much.
Dust the doughnuts with sugar and enjoy!