Tag: disnerd

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

France EpcotWhile we were in Disney World at the beginning of August, we took some time to stop at the Boulangerie Patisserie in France. While I was there, I got a Hazelnut Chocolate Beignet. I’d show you a picture… but I ate it too fast. If I hadn’t been so hot, I might have gone back and gotten a second one! It was more like a filled donut than what I picture as a beignet, but it was still delicious.

When I came home, I kept thinking about it. And I kept thinking that my grandmother’s donut recipe would probably work really well with a hazelnut chocolate filling.

Really, really well.

So the other day I broke out all the ingredients and made donuts. And you know what? They’re pretty darn close to what we ate there!

How to Make The Beignets

I will fully admit that I did cheat for part of this. My breadmaker has a “dough” setting, and it will mix, knead, and let the dough rise, knead again, and do a second rise. This is great when you’re short and its hard to get enough leverage to knead bread easily on the counters.

Because I also had lots of things to do in the meantime, I scalded the milk and mixed everything into it until it was dissolved and let it cool for a bit. Once it was room temperature, I put my ingredients into the breadmaker, following the methods for my machine (For mine, you have to put all the liquid ingredients in first), and let it run on the bread setting. I did not let it go through both kneading and rising cycles. I stopped it after the first one, because I wanted to cut the donuts out.

Once the dough was ready, I pulled it out and floured the counter and my rolling pin. I will warn you, this makes A LOT of donuts. Like, around 4 dozen regular donuts. I forgot this.

In any case, its easier to divide the dough up into thirds or fourths and roll it out in smaller chunks. Unless you have a really big counter to spread out on, in which case, have at it!

Anyway, roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thick, and then cut it with a 2-3″ cutter (size is your preference). If you want regular donuts, you’ll have to cut out the inside with a smaller cutter. If you want to make these beignets, just leave it in a circle.

I move mine to a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, and cover them with a tea towel. Let them rise for about 45 minutes.

While you’re waiting for them to rise, you’re going to heat up about 3-4″ of oil in a pan, or pull out your fryer. You want the oil to heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I used a clip on thermometer to monitor the temperature. Make sure you’re using canola, peanut, or vegetable oil.

You’re going to gently slide the donuts into the pan, cooking for a couple minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. drain them on racks placed in cookie sheets lined with paper towels, newspaper, or kitchen towels. If you run out of space, you can always just put the towels on the counter and the racks on top, but it means a lot of counter cleaning later. Trust me on that.

Filling the Beignets

Once the donuts are cool enough to handle, you will need to get your jar of Nutella and pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until it is a little more liquid and easier to pour. Make sure you get all the metallic seal off before you put this in the microwave!!!!!

Now, you can just use a round cake decorating tip to fill these, but a cannoli filling tip would be better. It is longer and will get farther into the middle of the donut. You are going to prep a piping bag just like you would for frosting, and pour your Nutella in.

Filling the donuts is easy. You just pop the piping tip into the side of the donut (don’t do the bottom – it will leak out!) and squeeze some Nutella inside. How much is up to you, but at some point it will ooze out around the tip. I recommend squeezing lightly for a count of 1-2-3 and then moving on. You can judge as you go if you’re getting the same amount inside by weight. As you squeeze the Nutella in, the donut will get heavier in your hand. Nutella is rich stuff, and while I love it, sometimes less is more, you know?

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

Once you’ve got your donuts made, they’re pretty much ready to go. The one I ate at Epcot was dusted with powdered sugar, and I do think it needs that little extra bit. BUT – these donuts are moist, so I don’t recommend dusting them until you are ready to serve. If you do it earlier and put them in a baggie or container, it will turn to liquid. (which is still tasty, just really sticky and messy)

I recommend using a shaker filled with powdered sugar to sprinkle the beignets once they are on the plate. The hardest part is not eating all of them your self! They’re best when still warm, but they’ll last in an airtight container for a few days. If you and your family can keep from eating them all!

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

What do you think? Have you tried the beignets at the Boulangerie Patisserie?

Print
Chocolate Hazelnut Beignets
Prep Time
1 hrs
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 30 mins
 

My grandmother's donut recipe tweaked to try and recreate the amazing beignets from the Boulangerie Patisserie at Epcot!

Servings: 4 dozen
Ingredients
  • 2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 6-8 cup flour
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk, then add the sugar, butter, salt, and water. Let the mixture cool, and add the eggs, yeast, and flour.

  2. Knead or put in a bread maker on the dough setting and remove after the first knead and rise cycle has finished. If kneading by hand, knead and let rise for 2 hours.

  3. Punch down the dough and roll out to around 1/4" thick. Cut into rounds with a cookie cutter. Let rounds rise for 45 minutes.

  4. Heat oil in a skillet to 375 degrees. Fry donuts until golden brown on each side. Usually 1-3 minutes per side. Remove and let drain on a baking rack.

  5. Fill a piping bag with a cannoli tip or round tip with Nutella. Fill doughnuts with 1-2 tablespoons of filling.

  6. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

table rating
This is a Table recipe – mainly because it requires advance prepping, and a few more steps and ingredients. It’s worth the extra effort!

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

A Ratatouille Remy Would Be Proud Of!

A Ratatouille Remy Would Be Proud Of!

Ever since I watched Ratatouille, I’ve been planning to try making my own Ratatouille. The movie version just looks so good, and so fancy, that I had to try it. Since we had eggplant ripening on the vine outside, I decided this week was going to be the time!

The important thing (in my opinion) to remember when you’re making this is that there appears to be no set recipe for this! Most recipes for traditional French dishes are very similar. However, this one seems to be more of a comfort food, and every Mom and Grandma has their own version. Some are very “organized” like this one, made with layers. Some are all cut up and mixed together. Some recipes I’ve seen have you roast the vegetables separately first, and then cook them together.

What does that mean? It means you can pretty much do whatever you want. 🙂 If you don’t like eggplant or squash – leave them out. Substitute them. Some recipes called for potatoes. Some didn’t. You can alter this to fit you and your family’s tastebuds. You can also alter the amounts. My recipe makes a small 8″ round dish. There are only two of us, and squash and zucchini aren’t our favorites. I didn’t want to make a huge amount and then end up not eating it. I chose to slice and arrange everything as well. You can just chop them up and dump them in – they’ll still taste good – maybe even better because it will all be mixed together!

Ingredients for Ratatouille

Overall, it’s a healthy, pretty easy dish, though it does require some time.

You need a lot of veggies for this. Again, feel free to swap or leave out things you want to change. You can also put more of the things you like most. But a couple cloves of garlic, an onion, red pepper, a couple of tomatoes, a couple zucchini, a yellow squash, an eggplant, bay leaves, thyme, basil, oregano, and olive oil are what I used in mine. I used fresh thyme because I had it – feel free to use dried instead.

The first thing I did was to slice my onion thinly. I wanted to caramelize them before putting them in, but it’s an optional step. You can just saute them until tender and it will work just fine. If you want to caramelize them, you’re going to put them in a non stick skillet with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and let them cook over low heat for about an hour. (See? This is why I say you may not want to do that.)

Once they are cooked, you’re going to seed and dice your tomatoes. I seeded them over a strainer so that I could add the juice to the skillet. I also diced my red pepper, and minced two cloves of garlic. All this went into the skillet, and I turned the heat up to medium and let it cook for about 5 minutes, until the peppers were starting to get tender.

You’re going to pour this into the bottom of your baking dish. If you decide to just chop things and bake them together, you’d mix in the other ingredients. But in this case, I wanted to use it as a base to help hold the slices of vegetables in place. Does that make sense?

This is probably the hardest step of the whole process. Seriously. The next hardest thing is slicing the squash, zucchini, and eggplant. Mainly because I used a mandolin. You don’t have to. I did it because I like that I put in minimal effort and they come out thin. But I also know that mandolins are sharp. Do not find this out first hand. Just trust me on this. I was at a bridal shower once helping to set up when one of the other bridesmaids was using a mandolin and chatting it up. She ended up in the bathroom holding her finger over her head while others applied pressure, and a few girls had to step out to get fresh air because there was blood.

Don’t worry – in the end, she was fine. It didn’t even require a trip to the urgent care.

But believe me when I say those things are sharp!

Anyhoo… once everything is sliced, the rest is pretty simple. Before you start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make sure there are no cookie sheets stuffed inside to dry. (Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t do that.) Layering everything takes a little time, but it looks pretty awesome. Having the onion mixture in the bottom helps keep everything in place as you layer them in. I alternated the types of vegetables so it would look pretty – zucchini, squash, and eggplant. In the dish I was using, I ended up only needing one of each vegetable (though I bought more). If you use a bigger dish, it may take longer and take more slices. I even had some left over.

Remy's Ratatouille

Drizzle another tablespoon or so of olive oil over the top of the vegetables, and then tuck your bay leaves in. You could put them in the onion mixture as well if you wanted. Sprinkle the top with thyme, basil, and oregano, and then place your parchment paper over the top. Put an oven safe plate or bowl to weigh it down, and pop it in the oven. I put it in for about 1 hour.

After the hour is up, carefully take the paper and bowl off, and bake another 30-45 minutes. The liquid should have reduced a little, and the top will be roasted and deliciously brown.

Once its done, take it out and enjoy! You could serve it with baked potato, rice, or just some nice French bread. Either way, it will be melt in your mouth delicious! The only thing I will say is that you HAVE to make sure that you get some of that onion mixture on the bottom. Don’t forget that part! That was my favorite part, and I thought it was crucial to have with the squash. If you were to just chop all this in similar size pieces and roast it, I think the flavors would mingle a bit more. Still, this was pretty delicious as is!

Remy's Ratatouille

 

 

table rating
This is a Table recipe – mainly because it requires a few more steps. It’s worth the extra effort!

 

Print
Remy's Ratatouille
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 mins
 

Inspired by the scene at the end of Ratatouille the movie!

Servings: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 medium zuchinni, sliced thin
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil you can add more as you need
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice a large sweet onion. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring occaisionally, until onions are golden brown. (About one hour)

  2. As your onions are cooking, seed and dice two tomatoes, mince your garlic, and dice the red bell pepper. When the onions are nearly finished, add the rest of these ingredients and turn the heat up to medium. Saute for five minutes, or until the peppers and tomatoes begin to soften.

  3. Pour the onion mixture into the bottom of your pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


  4. Using a knife or mandolin, slice the zucchini, eggplant, and yellow squash into thin rounds. 

  5. Alternating the vegetables, layer them over the onion mixture. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, and sprinkle the herbs over the dish. Tuck the bay leaves between the vegetables, or add before layering squash.

  6. Place a piece of parchment cut to fit your dish over the vegetables, and weigh it down with an oven safe plate or bowl. 

  7. Bake for 1 hour, then remove the parchment and bake another 30-45 minutes, or until some of the liquid has reduced and the dish is brown and roasted.

Spreading a Little Magic at Walt Disney World

Spreading a Little Magic at Walt Disney World

I have to apologize for being a little late with this post. I’m a teacher, and this past week was the last week of school. It’s CRAZY. But I’m back now, and I have lots of great posts planned! Mexico Margarita Cupcakes are coming – and they are fantastic!

But I want to talk about something different today. About magic.

©VanessaEdwards Cinderella's Castle

If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World or any Disney park before, I want to ask you to take a moment and close your eyes and remember walking into the park. Stroll through your memories. There were, I’m sure, a lot of fantastic images there. But I want you to see if you can remember something that most people overlook – the Cast Members (CM).

We talk all the time about magical moments and how to have a magical Disney vacation. Many times it’s a Cast Member who makes that magical moment or memory possible. Usually when you think about it, they blend into the scenery. They are there in the background taking care of serving customers, or picking up a piece of trash, or helping a family find something or do something. Many of the memories where something awesome happened, a cast member was involved in providing that boost of pixie dust for your family.

So today I’m going to suggest something – rather than just being a recipient of the magic, maybe we should help encourage it as well.

Cast Members deal with a LOT of guests every day. They do it with a smile, and in costumes and temperatures that would make lesser mortals melt into puddles of goo. Seriously. I’d die if I had to work outside in Florida in August in those costumes!

They help make all that magic possible, and I believe that you can’t do a job like that unless you have a real passion for it. And while going to Disney World is like nothing else, most people don’t think about making magic themselves. But there is no reason a guest can’t make a little pixie dust for a Cast Member.

Next time you’re there, take a moment to thank a CM. Maybe they helped make your day – maybe they are making magic for another guest and you saw it. But take a moment to acknowledge what they’ve done.

They do a hard job – Disney is supposed to be the Happiest Place on Earth, and working there means that even if you are having a terrible day, you are expected to act like everything is amazing. They work in a service position, and as someone who also works in a service position (sort of – all these things are true in education) where a lot is expected of you every day, often the most attention happens when you are doing something wrong, not when something is going right. It’s always a nice change to have someone tell you thank you for doing a great job. And in a CM’s position – where they deal with hundreds of guests a day, not all of them pleasant, I can see where a simple thank you and smile may go a long way.

In my experience, doing little random acts of kindness helps the giver just as much as the receiver.

So when you’re at Walt Disney World next, and you want to spread a little magic of your own, I’ve made up a couple of free printables that might work. I’d recommend printing them on cardstock or some kind of fancy paper (but that is just me). Have your kids hand them out. Carry one in your park bag and decide as a family that you’re going to give one away every day. These two designs are available to everyone. On June 12, I’ll have uploaded a few more designs that are for blog subscribers only. If you’d like access to those, just subscribe to the blog!Disney Cast Member Appreciation Certificates

Disney Cast Member Appreciation Certificates
Click on photo to download PDF.

 

If you aren’t comfortable walking up to a CM and handing them this and explaining, that’s okay! I’m not the most outgoing of people either. But if a CM or Mousekeeping or other person needs some recognition, maybe try social media. I’d suggest heading to Twitter. Send a shout out telling what the CM has done that was so awesome. Make sure you say where you are, and the CM’s name (if you can), and tagging the WDW twitter account. I’ve seen several times where WDW has seen those tweets and has gone back and recognized the CM for their work.

You can also take a moment to help make a little magic in another guest’s day. If you have an extra set of dollar store glow sticks you’ve brought in, share it with that family with small children next to you. If you’re playing a game in line while waiting for a ride, invite the family in front of you to join in. You never know – that may end up being the highlight of their trip.

Several years ago I went on a roadtrip with a friend. We met up with a group of her friends, and they were going to Harry Potter World at Universal, on opening weekend. I am not that big a Harry fan, so they dropped me off at EPCOT in the morning. I stood in line for Soarin’, and the wait was well over 45 minutes. A CM came by asking for “single flyers” and I got to jump to the front of the line.  I ended up at the end of a row with a large family. When we got off, they asked if I was alone. When I said yes, they were so concerned. “You can be part of our family for the day!” I declined, but it was one of the nicest things I’ve had someone do in a theme park. She genuinely wanted to make sure I had a great day in Disney World.

That kind of attitude is what helps spread a little kindness. Like Cinderella says, “Have courage and be kind.” In the world we live in, it never hurts to help spread a little pixie dust – whether in everyday life, or the Happiest Place on Earth.

If you do this, please comment and tell me how it went – or even send a photo! I’d love to post it on the blog. And if you’ve had a magical experience at Disney World, I’d love to hear about that too!

Friday DisNews: Full Menu for Satu’li Canteen is Out – and Pandora is looking awesome!

Friday DisNews: Full Menu for Satu’li Canteen is Out – and Pandora is looking awesome!

Floating mountains grace the skyline while exotic plants fill the colorful landscape inside Pandora – The World of Avatar, which opens May 27, 2017 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Pandora – The World of Avatar will bring a variety of new experiences to the park, including a family-friendly attraction called Na’vi River Journey and new food & beverage and merchandise locations. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer) Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts.

I’m a little behind in getting this blog post up, but I’m very excited to say that the sneak peeks we’re being given about Pandora: The World of Avatar are looking better and better! I enjoyed the movie when it came out, and I think one of its strongest points was that it was gorgeous to look at. Now that its become a real part of Disney, and we know how well they do bringing things to life, I’m really excited to see what they do with it. I’m also excited to have a reason to stay in the Animal Kingdom park past five. In the past, Animal Kingdom has not been a full day park for my family, mainly because of the heat (it always seems like the hottest of hte parks) and because my family doesn’t ride roller coasters or Kali River Rapids. (With my husband, that may change, because he loves coasters) This, however, looks like two new rides I think I’ll like, and I am hoping for great things from the nighttime look of Pandora, with its bioluminescent features. The possibilities of what this could look like are really exciting! Take a look at this video, provided by Walt Disney World Resort:

I mean, the beginning is a lot of the same opening shots of the entrance that have been posted everywhere. But I’m very excited by the peek into the Na’vi River Ride! It looks like it should be really fun, and really beautiful to look at.

 

Satu’li Canteen

Walt Disney World has also released the full menu for the Satu’li Canteen! I couldn’t get any press photos for the food, but if you want a sneak peek, you can visit the Disney Blog and the full menu on The Disney site. The selection looks interesting, and you can see that they’re sticking with the themes from the movie by creating a menu with healthier fare. I’ve also heard that they will be using an online ordering system where you can order and pay via the My Disney Experience app and then tell the kitchen, via the app, that you’ve arrived. When your food is ready, it can then be picked up at a specific window/place in the restaurant. This should be a nice feature, as I’m sure the restaurant will be crowded, at least to start. It also allows you to customize your meals as well, with a nice selection of healthy foods. The cheeseburger “pod” looks like it might be a bit of a stretch to all that “healthy,” but I like the idea of the “pods.”

What are you looking forward to most in Pandora?