Too soon for a Fall treat?

photo(2)I know it’s still Summer but I’m already aching for the flavors of Fall. Maybe after surviving a 3rd Summer in the DC heat, humidity and tourist mobs I’ve finally transferred into a Fall person? Who knows why, but I’ve decided to go ahead and embrace Fall even if it’s still a bit early.

I’ve decided I’ll begin my foray into Fall flavors with a baked apple doughnut. Just a hint of Fall flavors from the apple and the cinnamon, but baked instead of fried so it’s light enough to eat even during the hot of the hot Summer months. Finished with a vanilla and cinnamon glaze these are just sweet enough carry you through the seasons transitions.

Don’t have a doughnut pan? No problem, you can use the same batter and put it in a cake pan instead and it’ll be just  as good! I happen to live above a Sur la Table, which is dangerous place for a food enthusiast. They’ll lure you in which great displays and signs for sales, and you’ll walk out with cooking and baking supplies you never knew existed! I admit, I’ve fallen victim to this, hence, the reason I own a mini doughnut pan.

Baked Mini Apple Doughnuts
1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 stick of butter (melted)
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 apples peeled and cored

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Cut the apples into small chunks and put them in the food processor with 1 stick of melted butter and the brown sugar.  Pulse the mixture until it’s only slightly chunky. I definitely suggest a taste test at this point – butter, sugar and apples yuuum!

3. Combine the flour, white sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.

4. Add the eggs to the dry ingredients, then add 3/4 of the apple mixture and stir until incorporated.

5. Spoon the mixture into a plastic bag and snip off the end. Pipe the batter into your doughnut pan.

photo(3)6. Bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes, test doughnuts with a toothpick before taking them out.

7. Let the doughnuts cool for a few minutes before removing them from a pan. While you’re waiting combine all of the ingredients for the glaze and add the remaining apple mixture to the glaze 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

8. When the doughnuts have cooled use a small spatula or spoon to top them with the glaze. Enjoy!

The Real Delights of Turkey

20130821-215626.jpg This post is waaaay overdue, it’s now been a few months since my husband and I returned from Turkey, but I still find myself wanting to greet people with a “Merhaba” and a double kiss.  And, of course, I’m still day dreaming about the food.  The culinary delights started from the meal on the plane (supper impressed by Turkish Airlines) and didn’t let up until we were back home.  I can hardly pick a list of favorites, but here’s my best try:

This is one of the most unique candy’s I’ve ever tried. When my father in law first described it as cotton candy I thought eh I’ll give it a try. To my delight this is NOTHING like the artificially colored balls of sugar kids beg for at state fairs. Pismaniye is a soft melt in your mouth bundle of sugar and pistachio that I couldn’t get enough of. Warning: it does stick to you fingers and clothes just as badly as our American cotton candy!

Pastries Galore I’ve always thought of the French as the masters of pastry but I have now been convinced that Turkey has a hand on the competition. My husband has always told me I need to try Turkish pastries because I will love them and he was absolutely right. First of all, the assortment in the stores was amazing. Everything from homemade ice cream, cookies, eclairs to cakes that could double as art work. It quickly became clear I would not be walking out of the bakery with just a cookie for the road. About twelve eclairs, twenty cookies and an entire cake later we decided we had enough loot to bring home.

Street Food photo
An unexpected culinary find was Turkey’s street food culture. Most of this food was some version of bread which made is extra appealing to my carb-loving self. I was super happy to discover treats such as simit, which I can only the Turkish version of a sesame seed bagel, and the late night kokorec, a kind of lamb sandwich which was perfectly satisfying after a very late night.

Of course, the real delight of this trip was the people. I was blessed to meet and get to know the rest of my Turkish family and I couldn’t feel luckier to have such become part of such a great group of people. The amount of love and belonging I felt was truly special and won’t ever be forgotten.