Not Neiman Marcus' Chocolate Chip Cookies...Round II!

. Redemption!!

I'm so happy about it.  And I think Brett was, too.  Let me explain.

It's been a long few weeks with work and all, so Robbie and I decided that this last weekend was a good one to just get outta town.  So we packed up our bags and the pups and headed down to Kansas City to visit Robbie's sister, Kelli and [her hubby] Brett.  Unfortunately Kelli had to be back in Omaha this weekend, so we ended up just switching places with her.  We realized that Brett had probably been looking forward to a weekend on his own but that didn't stop us.  Sorry, Brett...

But to make up for it, I decided to bring Brett some of my all time favorite cookies.  All.  Time.  Favorites.  You may be familiar with these if you've been reading my blog for awhile, I posted about the Not Neiman Marcus' Chocolate Chip Cookies on a Tried & True Tuesday post a while back.  However, the [one] picture was absolutely horrendous [taken before I even knew about the blogging world} so I know these cookies haven't gotten the attention they deserve.

Anywho, I didn't want another disaster happening like the Fourth of July trip to Colorado.  So I made for certain these babies were making it to KC.  And guess what?  They did!  The entire plate, dog slobber-free!  See, I told you I redeemed myself.  And here's my proof.

I took this just so you know I'm not lying.  They really did make it!

These cookies are to die for.  They have a great thickness, ultra chewy, lovely texture from ground up oats, and fully loaded with both semisweet and milk chocolate.  This is a go-to recipe of mine, I seriously can't get enough of these suckers!  Someone vouch for me, please.  Robbie?  Brett?

I suppose you may be wondering what the name of this cookie is all about, too.  Well from a little research, I found out.  So basically, a woman was eating at a cafe in Neiman Marcus (surprise, surprise) with her daughter and the two enjoyed a chocolate chip cookie for dessert.  The cookie was so fantastic that the woman asked the waitress for the recipe.  The waitress informed the woman that she could purchase the recipe for 'two fifty' and the woman readily agreed, telling her to add it to her tab.  However, when she received the bill a month later, she was astounded to find out that the clerk had meant '$250'!  Enraged, the woman preceded to e-mail the recipe to every she knew to get back at the department store.  Which now brings us here!

Just kidding, that situation is actually a myth.  But it is the story behind this wonderful cookie, not sure if I would pay $250 for it but I would definitely front some cash [wink, wink].

Our weekend trip turned out really great, by the way.  We got into town late Friday night [after a couple several wrong turns] and then Saturday morning, after a quick walk with the pups, Robbie and I headed to The Plaza for a little bit of work time and shopping!  Not gonna lie though, the shopping trip was kind of a bust.  Both Robbie and I were beyond exhausted for some reason so we weren't exactly in the shopping mood.  I felt like I was fighting my eyelids the entire day, not fun.  So we headed home, picked up Brett, and headed out to our all time favorite BBQ joint [all time favs were in abundance this weekend].  And what place is this you ask?  You may have seen it on The Food Network, or maybe not.  But if you're ever in the area, put Arthur Bryant's on your to-do list.  GAH!  This place is one fabulous hole-in-the-wall.  No offense.  HUGE servings, juicy meats, best-ever baked beans, fries, and homemade BBQ sauces.  What's not to love?  I think one of Robbie's secret motivations for taking the trip to KC was that he knew we would be making a visit to this place.  It's that good.

Irritated.  He wanted to eat, not take pictures!

Well hope every one had a wonderful weekend!  And if you didn't, make a batch of these cookies.  They'll brighten your mood up in no time .

My Notes:
  • Depending on what you're going for will determine how much you ground up the oats.  Last time, I ground the oats quite a bit so you most likely wouldn't have known they were even there.  They just added volume to the cookie.  However, this time around, they didn't get ground up quite as much, which you can tell by the pictures.  The oat flavor was a bit more prominent and the texture resembled more of an oatmeal cookie.  Either way, they're still my favorite!
  • Also, last time I made these cookies, I used light brown sugar as the original recipe called for.  However, I wanted the cookies to be a little more eye appealing.  So I chose to try out dark brown sugar and the cookies looked beautiful!  It gave them that golden brown look and I loved it.  But taste wise, you can definitely use whatever you have on hand.
  • I chose to use three bars of Guittard semisweet chocolate and chopped them up and also Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips [another one of my favs!].  I also excluded the nuts this time, but I know they would add fantastic flavor and crunch!
  • The directions say to let the dough rest for a few minutes to set up.  I found that my dough was quite sticky so I stuck in the fridge for that time.  Also, keep the dough refrigerated in between baking batches, the dough will be much easier to handle.

2 c. old fashioned oats
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. light or dark brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 (4 oz.) milk chocolate bar, coarsely grated or finely chopped
1 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

1.  Heat oven to 350F.  Move oven rack to upper third of oven.  Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

2.  In a food processor or blender, grind oats to a very fine powder.  

3.  In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

4.  In a large bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat until evenly incorporated.  Add half of flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Beat in chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, and nuts (if using).  Beat in remaining half of flour mixture and beat until evenly incorporated.  Let stand 5 to 10 minutes or until dough firms up just slightly.

5.  Divide dough into quarters.  

6.  Divide each quarter into 5 or 6 equal portions.  Shape each portion into balls with lightly greased hands.  Place on baking sheets about 3 inches apart.  Pat down balls to 1-inch thick.

7.  Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and centers are just beginning to firm up.  Transfer baking sheets to wire rack and let stand until cookies firm up slightly (about 3 to 4 minutes).  Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool completely.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies


Wedding Wednesdays: A Little Help, Please

. So I haven't actually started any cupcake making.  Life has gotten in the way quite a bit, but it will happen.  SOON!  In the meantime, I've been chatting with the groom quite a bit about this whole adventure and we agreed that asking the advice of friends, family, and the infinite blogging world seemed like a great idea.  So here goes.

The couple gave me a few cupcake combinations that they'd be interested in taste-testing, and then eventually [if I can even come up with good enough cupcakes!] they'll narrow down the selection to two for the actual wedding.  Here's their list:

Churro Cupcakes
Italian Wedding Cake Cupcakes
Lemon Cupcakes
Key Lime Cupcakes
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcakes with Blueberry Filling
Limoncello Cupcakes

Okay, so the Churro Cupcake.  I previously made the cupcake the groom is referring to a little while back, but have failed to post about it yet.  I will though, trust me.  It's good.  And apparently the groom thought so, too!  As for the rest of their selections, I've never attempted them.  Except for the Carrot Cake Cupcakes but I think I want to try out some other recipes for that one.  

So what I'm asking from you is if you have any recipes, ideas, suggestions, etc., for any of these cupcake combinations that you'd care to share!  Any and all advice is welcomed with wide open arms.  Please!  

Also, isn't this picture lovely?

This is the couple's wedding bouquet!  Bright, colorful, and fun, huh?!  In one way or another, I'm going to have to incorporate these colors into the cupcakes as well.  Ideas?

Oh, and if anyone knows where I can order very nice, fancy cupcake liners, please do tell!  I haven't started looking yet, but I know there's plenty of sites and businesses out there that I don't know about.  

Thanks guys, can't wait to get going on this project! .

A Couple More 'Features'!

. Woooo!  Just wanted to let everyone know LSM had a couple more features this last week on fellow blogs.  So head on over to Must Try Tuesday at The Ricket Chronicles to see the White-Out Cake I made for Robbie's birthday AND to the Tasty Tuesday Party at Naptime Creations for my Chocolate Amish Friendship Bread!  There's also a bunch of other features that I know you'll be interested in, happy clicking! .


Tried & True Tuesday: Blueberry Oat Scones

.  Can you believe what time of year it is already?  August.  Which means that Fall is right around the corner [or maybe it's already here, who knows].  A part of me is a little sad about this thought, where did the freakin' summer go?  I haven't had enough time to try out all of the seasonal fruit recipes I have bookmarked!

But then I think about the Fall.  And Fall to me means pumpkin, apples, and spices galore!  And I have quite a number of fabulous Fall recipes that I can't wait to share.  Okay, I guess I'm not that sad.

However, I feel like summer needs to be ushered out the door rather slowly.  I really do love summer fruits and creating wonderful fruity baked goods, so a post or two more of fruit desserts seemed appropriate [let's see how many times I can include 'fruit' in a sentence].

For this Tried & True post, I decided on the Blueberry Oat Scones I made a while back when my relatives were in town.  They were supposed to be a breakfast item, but the moment these lovelies came out of the oven my uncle and cousin were swipin' on some butter and fully enjoying a late night snack.

These truly are a wonderful.  They're delicate and slightly crumbly.  The majority of the flavor comes from the juicy blueberries and a little crunch comes from a sprinkling of oats and sugar.  I will warn you that these are very light in a flavor, more of a true scone (i.e., not extremely sweet).  Probably why I would prefer these more at breakfast time.  But delicious nonetheless .

My Notes:
  • You can switch out the blueberries for any type of berry available.  I've made these with raspberries as well and they were fantastic!
  • If you don't have a food processor, cut in the butter with a pastry blender or rub the mixture in between your fingers.
  • The scones spread quite a bit while baking (as you can see, they're large!), so make sure to space the scones out on the baking sheets accordingly.

Blueberry Oat Scones

3 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. packed golden brown sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
11 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 c. plus 3 tbsp. old fashioned oats
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1-3/4 c. half & half, chilled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 tsp. raw sugar (turbinado or demerara sugar)

  1. Heat oven to 350F.  Position one rack on top third and one rack on bottom third of oven.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in food processor; blend for 5 seconds.  Add butter.  Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Transfer mixture to large bowl.  Add 1 cup of old fashioned oats and blueberries.  Gently stir to blend evenly.
  3. Stir half & half and vanilla extract in small bowl.  Gradually add to flour mixture, tossing until dough just comes together (dough will be very moist).
  4. Using 1/2 cup measuring cup, drop dough in mounds onto baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.  Sprinkle tops with remaining 3 tablespoons oats and raw sugar.
  5. Bake 15 minutes.  Reverse sheets and bake an additional 12 minutes or until scones are golden and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.
Yield: 1 dozen scones


White-Out Cake and a Birthday Re-Do

. August 18, 2011.

It should have been a celebratory day and a night filled with a birthday dinner, birthday cake, and who can forget the presents. But August 18, 2011, didn't go quite as planned.  And the birthday boy was not happy.

Instead of the previously mentioned events and also a brand new episode of Jersey Shore [which we were both excited about!], we spent the night a little differently.  A little darker-differently.

Mmhmm.  The one night out of the year, the day of Robbie's birth [25 looong years ago], Omaha decided to have a rather brutal storm and knock out our power.  Lights, T.V., and all.  So from 8:00 P.M. and into the next morning, Robbie, myself, and the three pups, spent the hours in the dark-as-night living room bored. as. ever.  What the heck did people do before electricity?  Because we couldn't figure it out.

This is what we felt like.

But how did this effect our cake eating?  Well the power decided to shut off mid-blending of the frosting.  Figures.  The rest of the cake was set and ready to go, but no frosting means no birthday cake for Robbie.

No lights, no Jersey Shore, no birthday cake.  All in all, a crap birthday.  And my sweet boyfriend was not a happy camper.  He went to bed at 9:30 P.M. claiming he was tired.  But the next morning he admitted he was a little upset about his botched birthday.  And can you disagree with him?    I'm not a huge fan of my own birthday, but even I would have been a little upset if the power went out on my birthday and we had to [literally] sit in the dark without anything to do.

Don't worry, I decided that we needed to re-do his birthday the following night and it was much better.  I finished the frosting, assembled the cake, we ordered a pizza [Robbie's fav] and watched the Chiefs preseason game.  I think he was much happier on the 19th.

But let's get to this cake!  I, of course, let Robbie pick out exactly what he wanted and he [like Hollyann] went basic and classic.  But sometimes those are the very best of things and this cake is definitely one of those things.  Sometimes Robbie's choice of desserts [which are usually the complete opposite of something I would choose] never cease to amaze me just how delicious they are.  Good thing I have him around.

So, Robbie wanted a completely white cake [anything vanilla always attracts him].  After brainstorming a few different combinations, he decided on a white cake with a custard filling and vanilla buttercream, which ironically are all recipes from my new Magnolia Bakery book.  And my goodness, did this combination hit the spot with us both.

The white cake is simple and fantastic.  Soft, fluffy, and sweet.  The homemade custard filling is unlike anything I've ever made before.  Thick, creamy, and a wonderful accent to the cake.  Almost vanilla pudding like but better.  Homemade better.  And last but not least [whatsoever] is that rich, smooth, vanilla buttercream.  Classic yet perfect in every way .

I will admit, the cake assembly consists of a couple steps.  But when you're making it for a birthday, those steps fall to the way side.  These celebrations call for extra special treats and this White-Out Cake [deemed so by me!] did not disappoint.

My Notes:
  • To make the whole process easier and not as time-consuming, you can break up making each component.  The the cakes can be wrapped up and kept for a night or two, the custard can be refrigerated until it's ready for use, and the frosting can also be covered and kept for quite a while.  How do I know this?  Well due to our little power outage, I had to do these exact things and everything was still wonderful.
  • For the frosting, I only ended up using 6 cups of powdered sugar.  You very well might not need all 8 cups, but that all depends on how thick you like your buttercream.  You can also use this buttercream recipe to frost two dozen cupcakes.
  • Before assembling the cake, I chose to cut off the tops of the cakes so the custard would have a flat base and I would end up with a flat, even cake.  
  • I specify to bring the custard to within 1-inch of the edges because if you bring it all the way to the edges, the custard will drip down the sides and it will be very hard to frost the cake.  Odds are you won't use all of the custard, I ended up taking some off because the drippage thing started to occur.
  • If you aren't going to eat the cake right away, refrigerate it, otherwise the custard gets a little runny.
From the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Old-Fashioned White Cake:
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 c. self-rising flour
1 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg whites

Creamy Custard Filling:
1 c. sugar
6 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. milk
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 c. unsalted butter, very soft
8 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  For the cake, heat oven to 350F.  Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with waxed paper.

2.  In a large bowl, on medium speed of electric mixer, cream butter until smooth.  Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).

3.  Add flour in three parts, alternating with milk and vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.  

4.  In separate bowl, on high speed of electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into batter, making sure no white streaks are showing.

5.  Divide batter evenly among cake pans.  Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

6.  For the custard, in a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, and salt.  Set aside.  In medium-sized saucepan, heat milk until very hot but not boiling.

7.  Pour milk into dry ingredients and beat until well blended.  Pour back into pot and stir continually over low for 5 minutes until very thick and smooth.

8.  Add egg yolks and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Add vanilla extract.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.

9.  For buttercream, place butter in large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and then milk and vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Add remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.

10.  To assemble, place one cake on serving platter.  Cover the first cake with the custard filling, bring to about 1-inch of edges.

11.  Gently top with second cake.  Frost cake as desired, beginning with the sides to seal in the custard.  Gently frost the top, so as not to press out the custard.

Yield: 8 servings


Wedding Wednesdays


Right where you are.  Pull back those gasps and decrease your heart rate.  This is NOT what you're thinking. 

Robbie and I are. not. en. gaged.  Don't worry mom, I would never have you find out this way!

No, we're not...but they are!!

Okay, okay, if you know them at all you know that this is actually old news.  But hey, better late than never!  And what I have to tell you is actually a new development.

So, I'm not really sure how this all happened.  It began as a joke and was never brought up again until recently.  But for some [odd] reason, this lovely couple wants me to do their wedding cake.  ME!  Can you believe it?  I get a slight case of anxiety just thinking about it.  

Of course I said yes!!!!, but I still can't fathom what is going through their minds...crazy people.

Anywho, the couple recently told me some combinations they would like me to test out and will eventually narrow it down to just a couple for the actual wedding day.  Oh, side note, they're thinking about doing a smaller cake and then tons of cupcakes.  They're getting married in September 2012, and I feel like I'm getting a late start (just kidding...but not really).  Me and my anal self have already been reeling ideas through my mind.  Cupcakes are constantly on the brain!

So here we are with 'Wedding Wednesdays.'  The bride actually came up with this name [which I thought was brilliant!], and I'll be using these posts to blog about all of the experiments.  Good or bad.  And I can guarantee I'll be begging for advice, so many things to think about for such a monumental event!  Eek!  Hope you all enjoy this, I'm overly excited to begin testing out cupcakes [15 lbs, here I come!] and even more ecstatic for the couple.  Let the cupcake adventures begin! .


Mingle Monday Feature

. This doesn't happen very often, so I have to put up this post ☺

Have you noticed the 'Linky Parties' on the right side of the blog?  If you're not part of the blogging world, I would assume that you have no clue what 'Linky Parties' are.  Correct?  Let me [briefly] explain...

If you hop around to different blogs, you'll eventually stumble upon what is known as 'Linky Parties.'  Basically, bloggers host these parties [at their own free will] where fellow bloggers link up their posts.  Some are strictly for posts put up during the last week, desserts, savory items, cupcakes, crafts, etc. Or some just let you link up any ol' thing you want!

So the ones that I've come across and have participated in are the ones whose 'buttons' are on this page [remember, to the right?].

Well one of the very first linky parties I ever participated in was Mingle Mondays over at Add a Pinch, created by the ever-so talented Robyn.  And every Monday, I would venture on over to her blog [with my fingers crossed] hoping to see one of my linked up recipes.  Well guess what?!

I MADE IT!  So head on over to the Mingle Mondays post featuring my very own recipe!  Woop, woop!  And, of course, check out all of the ridiculously wonderful links put up by other bloggers, there's always something for everyone! .


Chocolate Cake Donuts with Chocolate Crackle Glaze

. All right, fellow friends and bloggers, I need your help.

With donuts.

Probably weren't expecting that, huh?

This weekend I set aside some time for baking and nothing else.  No work.  No pups.  No boyfriend.  Just a few hours that I could spend in the kitchen doing something I truly enjoy and haven't had as much time lately, as I would like, to devote to it.  I wanted to try my hands at something that took a little more attention, a goodie that I've been putting off for just a day like this.  Narrowing down my options actually wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Thankfully (but still mourning), the misfortune of Borders, I snagged three new baking books [all for $80!] a couple of weeks ago that I still hadn't tried out yet.  Not even one measly recipe.  So whatever I was doing, it was coming from one of these three books.

And then I saw it.  One of my new gems, The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco, had the most mouthwatering pictures of donuts [or doughnuts, as the book calls them], I had ever seen.  Thick, fluffy, cakey, chocolate donuts, with drips of chocolatey glaze running down the sides.  Irresistible?  I think so.  I'd wanted to try homemade donuts for longer than I could remember, and here was my chance!

Hmmmm.  Somewhere, something went wrong.  Because I definitely did not end up with donuts looking or tasting like my above description.  I mean, certain elements turned out great.  But my donut-making skills are in need of some fine tuning.

Here's what I think happened.  And please keep in mind I've never made donuts before, so don't laugh...

  • I rolled my dough out way too thin.  The directions said to roll the batter out to about 3/4-inch thick.  Mine were easily less than 1/2-inch.  This pretty much doomed every succeeding step, huh?
  • The recipe specified a high-sided skillet [which I have a skillet, but not sure if it was 'high' enough], so I just used one of my basic pans.  Since it was smaller [and I didn't want to overwhelm myself], I only fried one donut at a time.  The recipe also said to fry three at a time, but I'm not sure if this makes a difference?
  • The peanut oil was way too hot to begin with.  I fried the first donut for about 45 seconds [total] and let's just nicely say that it looked like a piece of coal.  I rechecked the temperature of the peanut oil and the gauge flew off the charts.  Whoops.  Once I got the temperature down and lessened the frying time to about 30 seconds [total], the donuts turned out much better.
I had to show the burnt donut because it's quite comical!
  • But remember how I scorched that first donut?  Well, after tasting, both Robbie and I agreed there was a little char-taste to everything.  Uh, gross.  I HATE char.  Can't stand it.  Never will.  Especially on a supposedly sweet donut.  Did I ask for grilled donuts?  I don't think so.  I know, mom, you will beg to differ [she's one of those people who likes burnt marshmallows].  But char is not welcome in my world.  Anywho, I'm not sure if that char taste was due to the first burnt donut or if I simply kept the donuts frying too long?
All in all, I think my biggest mistake was rolling out the dough too thin.  Everything had to be adjusted from there on out and I obviously didn't handle that loop too well.  Dang it.  

You can see that I made a few mistakes, so I need some donut-making advice ASAP!  What's the best thickness to roll out the dough?  What's the best oil to use [peanut, vegetable]?  What's the best type of pan to use?  How do you know when a donut is done frying?  Should you swap out the oil if you burn any of the donuts?  Is there a reason why the donuts were a tad bit oily?  HELP!

Now don't let my donut troubles steer you away, the recipe itself is fantastic.  I can vouch for this because even though we had slightly charry-tasting donuts, the insides were absolutely wonderful.  Like the picture I described, the insides were subtly chocolatey, light, and fluffy.  And the glaze that I have yet to mention?  Perfection.  Completely rich and so simple, rounding out the chocolatey goodness to a 'T.'  So no fault goes to the recipe, only to my amateur novice pre-beginner-donut-maker mistakes.  

So if anyone can offer me any advice, I would greatly appreciate it.  Or if anyone tests out this recipe, please tell me about your experience, what you did differently, etc.  I'm desperate to hear because I will be trying these out again.  I won't let the donuts defeat me.

From The Craft of Baking

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1-3/4 c. cake flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. buttermilk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

Chocolate Crackle Glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Peanut Oil, for frying

1.  In heatproof bowl, melt chocolate and butter together until smooth; set aside.

2.  In large bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  

3.  In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and egg yolk.

4.  Make well in center of dry ingredients.  Pour in buttermilk mixture, and using a spatula, fold two or three times.  Add the chocolate mixture and fold together until dough is smooth and shiny. Sift the remaining 3/4 cup flour over the mixture and fold to combine well.

5.  Transfer dough to large piece of waxed paper.  Place second sheet of waxed paper on top and roll out dough between the paper to 10x12-inch oval, about 3/4-inch thick.  Set the dough, still between waxed paper, on baking sheet and freeze until firm enough to cut (about 30 minutes).

6.  Remove dough from freezer and remove top sheet of waxed paper.  Dust dough with flour and replace waxed paper.  Flip over dough; remove the now top sheet of waxed paper. 

7.  Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Using a floured 3-inch cookie cutter (or inverted drinking glass), cut out donuts.  Cut out centers with floured 1-inch cookie cutter.  Transfer donuts and donut holes to baking sheet.  Re-roll scraps and repeat to make 10 donuts and 10 donut holes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

8.  Before frying, prepare glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and salt in wide, shallow bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons hot water and whisk until smooth (glaze will be thick).  Set aside.

9.  In large high-sided skillet or wide pot, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F.  Working in batches of 3, fry donuts about 45 seconds per side or until cooked through (fry donut holes about 35 seconds per side).  Transfer donuts to paper towels to drain and immediately dip one side of donuts into glaze.  Transfer to rack, glaze side up, and let sit until glaze sets (about 3 minutes).  

Yield: 10 donuts and 10 donut holes

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