Cinnamon Caramel Donuts

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‘Tis the season..Fall that is! The season of cinnamon, apples, soups and stews is upon us and I have to say it’s one of my favorite times of the year. I willingly embrace the change from sandals to boots, iced tea to warm cider and humidity to a warm blanket.

One change that always signifies the beginning of Fall to me is the opening of the cider mill just outside my hometown. The excitement of waiting in line for a freshly made donut while watching the cider being made has not waned since childhood. Unfortunately, since moving six hours away, I don’t always make it home while they’re open. You can imagine my jealousy this weekend when my best friend back home instagramed a video of those freshly made cinnamon donuts being churned out.

In an attempt to curb my craving (and my jealousy) I set out to make my own donuts. Last year I brought you my Mini Apple Donuts but I think these cinnamon donuts with a caramel topping are even better. Don’t have a donut pan? I impulse bought one like this a few weeks ago and I’m already dreaming up plenty of other ideas for it!

Since I’ve been gone for so long I think I owe it to my amazing fellow bloggers to bring two treats to our Fiesta Friday get together today! Hope they like these!

Cinnamon Caramel Donuts
Makes about 12 donuts
Donuts:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1/4 cup honey

Caramel Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease your donut pan. Combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until combined, the mix should resemble a cake batter.

2. Pour about 1/3 of the batter into a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, a zip loc bag with the tip cut off works just as well. Carefully pipe the mixture to fill about 3/4 of the donut pan. Bake at 350 for about 13-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in one comes out clean.

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3. Allow the donuts to cool a but then carefully remove them from the pan.

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4. To make the caramel add the sugar, cream and butter to a pan on low heat. Whisk the mixture for a a few minutes until the sugar melts and it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.

5. Allow the caramel to col for a few minutes, then dip the cooled donuts in the caramel or drizzle it over the top, enjoy!

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Cornbread Strata and Meet Bindi!

My apologies again for disappearing. I know I said I was back after my last hiatus, but then something very exciting happened….we got a puppy! Meet Bindi our lab mix little cutie.

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I absolutely love this little pup, so much so that I find it difficult to spend time cooking or writing instead of playing with her! I think we’ve now gotten into a more routine schedule and I hope to posting much more often. If any of you have suggestions for how you balance blogging with family, work, pets and other priorities I’d love to hear them!!

And now for the food. The mornings have started to get a bit cooler, which makes me want to just curl up with something warm and cozy for breakfast. I had 3/4 of a loaf of cornbread and some sauteed onions left over from earlier in the week and decided to try a strata to use it up. You can really make this with any type of bread, but cornbread gives it a nice fall feel. I like to add a little
King Arthur Vermont Cheese Powder to my cornbread. I know, I know cheese powder? But this is a great ingredient that can add extra flavor to mannny dishes. Bread that is a day or two old generally works best for this as well.

Cornbread Strata
Cornbread (note: this is half the amount that I make if I’m making the bread to eat, the strata doesn’t require as much unless you’re feeding a crowd)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon King Arthur Vermont Cheese Powder (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Sauteed Onion:
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
pepper

Strata:
1 pan cornbread (see above)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Make the cornbread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, cheese powder, thyme and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until the edges start to brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Saute the onions: Add the olive oil to a pan on medium-low heat. Slice the onion thinly and add to the pan. Cook the onions slowly for about 10 minutes until they’re soft and start to brown just a little. Salt and pepper to taste. Let the onions cool.

Make the strata: Cut the cornbread into small chunks and place about 1/2 in the bottom of a baking dish. Combine the rest of the strata ingredients and the cooled onions in a bowl and whisk lightly. Pour half of the mixture over the bread. Place the rest of the bread in the dish and pour the remaining mixture evenly over the bread the cover it. Add some more grated cheese on top if you like. Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes until the eggs are cooked. Enjoy!

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Baked Eggs

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Well I don’t know about you, but I really think every weekend should be a three day weekend 🙂 I had a great time over the weekend, including co-hosting Fiesta Friday and I hope all of you did as well! We spent one day of the weekend looking at apartments since we’ll be moving soon. I know apartment searching can be a very time consuming and trying experience so I figured we’d start the day off with a delicious and very filling breakfast to help us make it through!

These baked eggs are super warm and tasty. I made them in individual dishes since it was just the two of us, but you could definitely double or triple the recipe and bake them in a larger baking dish if you’re feeding a crowd.

Baked Eggs
Serves 2
2 slices of day old bread
1/2 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese (whatever kind you like, I used fontina)
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
salt
pepper
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh basil, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear the slices of bread into small pieces and layer them on the bottom of ramekins or a baking dish.

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2. Divide the tomato sauce over the bread.

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3. Crack the eggs one by one into a separate bowl and then slide them from the bowl on top of the tomato sauce and bread.

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4. Top with cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over each egg. bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes until the whites of eggs have turned white and the yokes are cooked through.

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5. Remove them from the oven and top with a small amount of chopped basil and parsley. Enjoy!

Breakfast Bites

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I have to admit, these aren’t the prettiest little things but they came about out of necessity. I usually start my mornings with a large coffee and a yogurt. Unfortunately, the past couple months I haven’t been feeling great after eating my morning yogurt. I’m not sure if I’ve developed some type of lactose intolerance (is that possible?) or what, but I’ve decided I need to switch out my yogurt for something else at least a few days a week.

While trying to figure out what else would be a good morning snack, I rummaged my cupboards for healthy ingredients. I also knew I would need a little bit of sweetness in this to make it just as appealing as my delicious creamy yogurts, hence the chocolate chips. These little breakfast bites only take a few minutes to make and you can add whatever you like into them. If you don’t have wheatgerm, feel free to leave that out. Add some dried fruit or try another kind of nut if you want.

Breakfast Bites
1/2 cup almonds
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons wheat germ
2 Tablespoons chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons honey
pinch of cinnamon

1. Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse them a couple times, then add the water and continue pulsing them until you get a sticky mixture. It should be a little soft but still have tiny bits of almonds in it.

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2.  Add the almond mixture and the rest of the ingredients to a small bowl and mix to combine.

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3. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them, enjoy!

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Apple and Nutella Cinnamon Rolls

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I have to give credit to my husband for the genius behind these cinnamon rolls. While I was debating what I should put in them, he suggested Nutella, I immediately decided to go with that idea and it I’m glad I did. This weekend I ran my first 5k. I begrudgingly signed up for it after my husband and friend decided to do it and had been dreading it ever since. For those of you who don’t know, I absolutely HATE running, I never run and I certainly never understood the idea of paying to run. But it turns out the 5k was actually pretty fun and kind of motivated me to see if I can do another.

After successfully finishing the race, I decided I deserved an indulgent Sunday morning breakfast. Given the chilly weather and my seemingly endless surplus of apples I decided a cinnamon roll was the perfect choice. These were great treats, super soft and gooey on the inside perfectly browned on the outside. These would definitely make a great breakfast Thanksgiving morning to tide your family over until the big meal is ready.

Apple and Nutella Cinnamon Rolls
Dough:
3 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons meted butter
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg

Filling:
1 large apple cut into small chunks
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup Nutella

1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a separate bowl add the milk, melted butter, the egg and combine. Using the dough hook attachment slowly combine the wet ingredients with the dry until it forms a ball. If your dough seems really sticky add a bit more flour.

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2. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise for 60 minutes.

3. To make the filling add the cut up apples to a bowl and then mix them with the lemon juice. Combine the rest of the fillings ingredients with the apples.

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4. When the dough has risen place it on a floured surface and begin rolling it out (I have limited counter space so I had to do this in two batches). Roll the dough out evenly until its
about 1/4 inch thick.

5. Spread the filling in the middle of the dough. Roll the dough up and cut off the ends. Cut the dough into 2-3 inch segments and place on a baking sheet.

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6. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until the rolls begin to brown. Some of the filling will likely spill out while they’re cooking but that’s ok. Enjoy!
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Baked Apple Crisp French Toast

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Yes, I know it’s supposed to be 90+ degrees in DC this week but I’m still blissfully pretending it’s almost Fall and I’ll soon feel a cool breeze.  I was very excited last Friday when I made three very successful loaves of homemade bread – not an easy feat. I’ve had my share of attempts at bread making that turn out to be brick-like loaves of a waste of good flour. But this week’s batch actually came out really well so I’ve been thinking up ways to eat it all up. Then, Saturday my husband and I went apple picking and now I have waaay more apples than I know what to do with. So, Sunday morning breakfast was an apple crisp french toast to use up both the bread and some of the apples!

Baked Apple Crisp French Toast
(This recipe is only enough for two people, so you’ll want to double or triple it if you have a large crowd).
4 medium sized apples peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
4 thickly cut slices of bread
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick of cold butter cut into small chunks
3-4 tablespoons flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a shallow bowl and whisk.

aple crisp43. Dunk the bread slices in the egg mixture until completely covered on both sides.

4. Place the bread in a baking pan.

5. Place the butter, 2 tablespoons of flour and both sugars in a food processor and pulse until just combined. Add more flour as needed until you get small chunks.

6. Arrange the cut up apples on top of your bread and and pour the butter/flour/sugar mixture on top of the apples.

7. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, until brown and bubbly! Enjoy!

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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
Batter:
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

Glaze:
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!