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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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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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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I think I eat about twice as much mac n cheese as a normal human being should.  Whenever the mac n cheese food truck is even remotely near my office I can’t resist.  It’s just one of those foods that pretty much always sounds good to me.

This week a lone butternut squash was the only farm basket ingredient we had left to use by Sunday, so I was searching for something creative and relatively simple to do with it.  This recipe satisfied the need to use up the squash, and eat something cheesy and carby.  I was afraid adding squash to such a comfort food type of dish would end up kind of strange, but it’s actually not weird at all!

The one thing no one seems to mention about cooking with squash is how difficult it is to cut!  I mean I know I’m pretty weak but I still think cutting open a squash qualifies as a days work out.

Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese
1 medium butternut squash
3/4 box of small pasta (elbows or shells work best)
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 cups of heavy cream
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt, pepper and cinnamon to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and brush the insides with olive oil a bit of salt, pepper and cinnamon. Roast for about 45 minutes, until tender.

2. When your squash is cooked, lower the oven to 350 and let the squash cool for a bit. Carefully scoop out the insides of the squash, being sure not to get any of the skin.

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3. Cook your pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente.  When it’s cooked add it to a large oven pan

4. In a large saucepan melt the butter on medium – low heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk continuously. Next add your heavy cream and continue to stir.  Then add the cheese and the squash and continue stirring until the cheese has melted and everything is combined.  Add a pinch of cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste.

5.  Pour the cream sauce over the cooked pasta and top with breadcrumbs.

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6. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, enjoy!

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