If you're looking for something fun to make for your family and friends this holiday season, why not make some of my jelly-filled donuts, or a dozen - or two, or three - of our festive fruit bowl cookies?
If you caught my Facebook LIVE yesterday, you know just how easy these treats are to make. I invited our director of food development, Thomas Joseph, to join me and we had so much fun talking about donuts and cookies, sharing our favorite tips and ideas, and answering all of your questions. It's the perfect time to start baking for those holiday gatherings, so if you missed my Facebook LIVE special, you can still watch - just click on this highlighted link. Enjoy these photos.
Thomas and I always have lots of fun working in the kitchen together. Here we are with all the ingredients for our jelly filled donuts. Whenever cooking or baking, it is important to prepare everything you need ahead of time, and to clean up as you go – it makes everything so much easier and more enjoyable.
We are making yeast risen donuts. The recipe for these delicious treats is on my web site. http://www.marthastewart.com/1147707/jelly-filled-doughnuts
Thank you to Domino for being a steadfast sponsor and supporter of our Facebook LIVE broadcasts and my television show, “Martha Bakes”.
Domino is used on the east coast, while their C&H brand sugar is used on the west coast. https://www.chsugar.com https://www.dominosugar.com
The dough should be kneaded until it’s smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger – about eight minutes, and then set aside to rise. This dough is all ready to be rolled out.
Once it is rolled out onto a lightly floured surface, cut out the donuts with a two and a half inch round cutter – and try to use up all the dough, so there aren’t any scraps.
Place them on cookie sheets, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until they almost double in size. This recipe should make about 20-donuts. Do you know… more than 10-billion doughnuts are made in the United States each year?
Look how golden brown these donuts are once fried. Watch our Facebook LIVE to get our baking tips. We answered a lot of your questions. Be sure to keep these donuts in a cool place if you’re making them a day before your holiday party.
For the jelly, we used disposable pastry bags with long filler tips – Ateco 230. These tips are specifically made for filling donuts or eclairs, etc.
We are also using Domino confectioner’s sugar for the glaze. Confectioner’s sugar is a finely ground sugar produced by milling granulated sugar into powder.
Always sift confectioner’s sugar to make a nice, smooth glaze. Sifting confectioner’s sugar will remove any hard nuggets that may have formed in the box.
Here is our counter all set up for our second treat – almond enriched fruit bowl cookies.
These cookies are made using a two and a half inch biscuit cutter. We filled ours with apricot, blueberry, and cherry jam in the center.
The recipe for these cookies in this month’s Living Magazine. This issue has lots of great ideas, tips and stories for the holidays – you’ll love it. http://www.marthastewart.com/854165/magazine-subscriptions
My newest collection from Macy’s is called “From the Garden” and includes this White Flowers hand soap, with a lush bouquet of fresh white flowers, blooming with gardenia, tuberose and jasmine. goo.gl/zBx9DA
Look how pretty these cookies are fresh from the oven. These are about quarter-inch thick with a dollop of jam in the center. Watch the broadcast to find out how easy it was to make the fun crumb edge of these cookies.
Place the cookies in a single layer on a decorative tray or cake stand – the colors are so festive, and you can use any jam you like.
These cookies are wonderful for the holidays, and so easy to make – you and your guests will love them.
What is your favorite go-to comfort food on a cold and snowy day?
I hope you caught this week’s Facebook LIVE when I made two very popular cold weather comfort foods - grilled cheese and tomato soup! According to historians, the modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became readily available. The similar French croque monsieur is a baked or fried boiled ham and cheese sandwich, which originated in European cafés and bars as a quick snack. Both are so delicious and both can take on so many variations - I shared several grilled cheese ideas during our broadcast.
Our New York City studio is set up with all the ingredients for making grilled cheese and tomato soup – two easy recipes that can be made quickly after work, school or any time you crave them.
We love doing these Facebook LIVE shows – I shoot one nearly once a week when I am not traveling. Many of them are done right here in our Martha Stewart Living “Turkey Hill Kitchen” from The Home Depot. http://www.homedepot.com/c/SPC_BRD_MSL_Kitchen
For these sandwiches, I am using Borden® Cheese, which is brought to you by a cooperative of more than 8,000 family-owned dairy farms across the United States.
We also have lots of other ingredients for our grilled cheese, including fresh tomatoes, bacon, pickles, mustard, pears, apples, and ham – the possibilities are endless.
I prefer to use fresh bread for my sandwiches – bread made at one of my local bakeries or bread I’ve made myself, such as brioche, whole grain or country white. What type of bread do you like with your grilled cheese?
Kevin Sharkey loves grilled cheese, so he joined me in the kitchen for this special broadcast. Kevin chose a grilled cheese with gouda, tomato, bacon and pickles on white bread – sounds very tasty.
And, while some prefer to butter their bread, others like to use mayonnaise – what do you use?
Keep the flame on low, so the bread does not burn – it should just turn a nice brown color.
How do you stack your grilled cheese? I like to use three pieces of cheese, but watch the show for my special tip to prevent the tomatoes from making the grilled cheese soggy. I am using my favorite Enameled Cast Iron Pots. This deep cranberry is so popular, but they come in several different colors. They’re available exclusively at Macy’s and make great holiday gifts. goo.gl/L4KuDR
Our SVP Managing Director of Corporate Development stopped into the studio with his friend, Cory Rosen. Maybe they’d both like some grilled cheese…
I made Noah a grilled cheese with Colby and Monterey Jack, and bacon on whole wheat bread.
Oftentimes, grilled cheese is paired with a bowl of hot tomato soup. Our recipe is so easy to do – made with crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, onion, salt and pepper – watch this Facebook LIVE for the how-to. It’s so easy to make your own. https://www.facebook.com/marthastewart/videos/10154818080866289/
Here, I am pouring the chicken stock. If you make a lot of tomato soup, just store in containers and freeze it for later.
You can use your own garden fresh tomatoes, but you can also use canned crushed tomatoes.
And here is one of our grilled cheese sandwiches – perfectly browned with lots of melted cheese.
Grilled cheese with delicious tomato soup – the perfect pair on a cold, snowy day.
Our great "burlapping" project continues at the farm.
As many of you know, I've been covering shrubs and hedges with burlap for many years to protect the branches from splaying and even breaking from the weight of snow and ice. Every season, our wrapping methods become easier and more streamlined, giving me peace of mind during the cold weather months.
I feel it is equally important to protect my outdoor garden ornaments from the harsh winter elements. A winter freeze, alternating with thaws, could crack or crumble any kind of stone, or cement, especially if it is antique. During this time, all my outdoor containers, planters, and birdbaths, are drained, and covered in the same burlap used for my live specimens. Here are some photos of this process.
I have many outdoor containers at the farm. These are two smaller planters on my terrace parterre – they’ve been emptied of plant material and soil and are now ready to be fitted with burlap covers.
Because stone and cement are porous and sensitive to harsh elements, the urns are first covered with plastic. Heavy duty trash bags fit perfectly over these smaller vessels.
Wilmer and Carlos unroll the burlap. This is the same burlap we use to cover my boxwood. When we can, we reuse burlap from seasons past; however, it is also available in giant rolls of 40-inches or 60-inches wide.
Carlos cuts enough burlap, so it can be doubled for extra protection. Also called hessian, burlap is made in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India from jute, a tall, grass-like plant grown for its strong fibrous stalks.
Wilmer wraps the burlap around the plastic covered urn.
Then, using the end of a screw driver, he tucks the fabric as far under the container as possible.
Once the burlap is secured underneath, Wilmer begins working on the rest of the urn – pulling the burlap snug around the container.
To sew the burlap, we use jute twine – the same twine we use for so many of our outdoor projects. I love using jute twine around the farm – it is 100-percent bio-degradable and recyclable.
The needles are specially designed for sewing jute. These five-inch long needles have large eyes and bent tips.
Starting at the bottom, Wilmer makes small knots along the opening to hold the burlap together as he sews.
Here is a closer look at one of them – very simple and easy to make. Wilmer is an excellent burlap sewer, and has been covering my urns for several years.
There was a lot of tucking involved, and a lot of knotting.
And, then he began sewing.
Wilmer sews from the base to the top, making sure the burlap fits snug around the container as he goes.
At the top of the urn, Wilmer makes one more knot, and it’s completed.
The same process is done for the other urn. First it is wrapped in plastic, and then in burlap.
Then, the burlap is tucked underneath and several knots are made along the opening to keep it together.
Wilmer sews the opening closed using jute twine and a large needle.
Finally, Wilmer sews the top of the urn, so the entire container is wrapped snug for the cold season ahead.
The burlap nearly conforms to the shape of the urn.
These two urns look like sculptures.
Next was a pair of urns in my back courtyard behind my kitchen.
Plus a large antique birdbath.
This birdbath was covered in the same way as the urns, but because it is so large, it needed special industrial strength plastic sheeting instead of a trash bag.
The plastic was also tied near the top and bottom to keep it secure and to prevent water from seeping inside. Now it is ready for its burlap cover.
Because these urns are also larger than the ones on my terrace, the burlap is draped over the top of each vessel and then sewn on two sides.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it takes just one cracked urn from the elements of winter to learn this lesson. For me, it’s all about precaution.
Wilmer also made sure the burlap protected as much of the bottom of each vessel as possible by carefully stitching one end and then connecting the twine to the other side.
Nice sewing, Wilmer!
And in the end, my outdoor planters and urns are protected from the heavy ice, damaging moisture, and high winds. There are still quite a few to wrap – what should we burlap next? How do you protect your outdoor planters in the winter? Let me know in the comments section below.