Monday, September 29, 2014

Glazed Pumpkin Donuts

There's a day for everything, it seems. National guacamole day was a great excuse for a margarita and burrito. And national coffee day seems like a great excuse for some pumpkin donuts. October is just around the corner and I've filled my head with pumpkin recipes, lattes and cider. Not to mention monster cupcakes, caramel apples and candy corn. So to kick it off, this breakfast treat is a double-whammy of pumpkin.

My friend gave me donuts pans and cookbooks for Christmas a couple years ago. I've taken to crossing the recipes between the books, using the cake from one and glaze from another. I always bake my donuts but my mom would fry them when we were kids. In making this recipe, we talked about the good old days when we had donuts and wondering why we stopped.

 It is my recollection that we stopped having weekend breakfasts with donuts because we started going to church. This may explain why I resented having to go to church when I was a kid and I must admit, my mom didn't disagree with this memory.

These are very simple to make and can be made say on a Sunday night to make Monday a bit sweeter. The dry ingredients are mixed together and then slowly added to the combined wet ingredients. 15 minutes later and you have baked donuts, just enough time to make the pumpkin glaze. The two pumpkin components go well together as the glaze is very sweet. I even double-dipped some of the donuts in glaze as an experiment (it was a great success). I will say that now I understand why donuts come in flat boxes. After wrapping these up last night, I found that the glaze had sort of melted off the donuts. I think it would have been safer to let them air out overnight before packing them up for transport. Still tasty though.

I hope your Monday is going well and if you have a moment, find a local Dunkin' Donuts and you'll get a free dark roast coffee. Happy National Coffee Day!


  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a donut pan or follow the instructions on a donut maker if you're using one.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt together. Make sure all ingredients are sifted together.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and egg until creamy. Add the pumpkin, oil and vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the large bowl, alternating with the milk until all ingredients are together. 
  5. Fill the donut pan 3/4 of the way. Cook for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Allow donuts to cool slightly before dipping in glaze.
  • 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (1 lb.)
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  1. Combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup, salt, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin and vanilla in a large bowl. 
  2. Slowly mix the ingredients together and add the hot water until all is combined. 
  3. Once the donuts have cooled slightly (but not completely cold), dip the to half of the donut in the glaze. 
  4. Place the donuts on wax paper to dry. Consume in bulk.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Barbecue Marinade

Somebody pinch me. September is ending, October is imminent and it's 80 degrees outside in New England. What is happening? I suppose I should relish these warm autumn days before things turn cold but really Nature? Really. I'm over shorts and sweating when I move. I've embraced the fall boots and bought new leggings for those bitter weather days. I'm ready for sweaters and pumpkin and cider. Move along, summer, you're done.

But if it's going to be unseasonably warm for one last weekend, let's take advantage and grill something. I saw lots of people this weekend outside enjoying the sunshine and embracing the opportunity to have another yard party. While I didn't actually throw this meat on the grill, this barbecue sauce is clearly versatile and can weather the seasons and ovens of the world.


My go-to marinade is the teriyaki version of Soy-Vay. Mostly I think Soy-Vay is a clever name and teriyaki chicken is one of my favorites. I keep a bottle in my fridge just like I keep chicken in my freezer for those crazy weeks when I don't have time to go grocery shopping but still need to eat. This barbecue marinade was similar but it won't keep quite as long as something store-bought.

This is a one pot + immersion blender situation. Super simple and you can use it on different cuts of meat. The onions and garlic are sweated together until fragrant before adding the barbecue goodness of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, broth and spices. Allow all of the ingredients to simmer together before using an immersion blender to blend it all out smooth.

You can chill the marinade prior to use or like me, just dump it on some chicken and pop it in the oven. Technically, this was created as a sauce but I prefer marinading for extra flavor. I got all hipster and stored this in a mason jar and used the rest of the sauce on steak the following week. This sauce has more bite than sweetness to it, I think that makes it Kansas style--or maybe it's Memphis. There's a difference, for realzies.

I hope you enjoyed the sun this weekend and think about having one last hurrah before the leaves fall all over your yard. Or concrete slab of a yard like mine.


Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 1 Tablespoon Canola oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  •  1/2 cup of ketchup
  • 3/4 cup of beef broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan before adding the chopped onion and garlic. Allow the onion and garlic to cook until translucent. 
  2. Add the ketchup, broth, Worcestershire sauce and spices to the pan. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from heat and use an immersion blender to make a smooth mixture. You can also use a regular blender or food processor. 
  4. Use the marinade on chicken or steak and cook as desired. You can store the marinade in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Peach Blueberry Crisp (Round Two)

At this point, we're most of the way through September and pumpkins are showing up at the farmers stands. But not too long ago, the summer produce was just on its way out and fresh fruits like peaches and cherries were in dwindling supply. Before the summer ended, I wanted to try a stone fruit cobbler/crisp. Unfortunately, I waited a little too long and cherries were no longer available for a peach-cherry combo so instead, I fell back on an old friend, peach-blueberry instead.

Because blueberries are so juicy and full of antioxidants, the crisp came out a little soupy. Overall, cobblers and crisps are super simple to make. The secret is all in the crust and topping. You can make a denser more doughy crust using Bisquick or shortening or you can make a more oat and streusal topping like you get on Dutch apple pies.

This recipe was torn out of Bon Appetit magazine ages ago and only recently organized into plastic sheet protectors. I got organized over Labor Day and sorted all the haphazardly piled pages into neat sections. My compulsive baker is shining through.

For the body of the crisp, peaches and blueberries are mixed together with sugar and optional spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. If you prefer a thicker filling, and less juicy, you can add additional corn starch to thicken it up. Next, the topping is created by mixing quick oats, flour, brown sugar and butter together. It's important to make sure the butter is well distributed or you'll end up with pockets of dried topping instead of a nice crust.

After an hour of deep anticipation, the crisp should be done. You can tell by checking if the fruits are soft and the crisp has turned golden brown. This is best served in a bowl and I highly recommend it be served with ice cream.


  • 8 cups sliced stone fruits (peaches, cherries, or blueberries)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon or orange juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger
  • 1 cup of oats divided into 3/4 cups and 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 brown sugar (dark brown will add more mollasses flavor but light can be used too)
  •  1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
  • Optional: coconut, sliced almonds instead of last 1/4 cup of oats
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. 
  2. Toss the fruits, sugar, corn starch, lemon and juice together in a bowl. And the pinch of salt, that should also be mixed in here.
  3.  Spread the mixture into a baking dish, roughly 1.5 quarts large. If it's smaller, you'll just have a denser crisp.
  4. In a food processor, pulse together the old-fashioned oats, flour, brown sugar and salt until blended.
  5. Add one stick of butter, in cubes, to the food processor mix. Pulse to combine until there are no dry spots.
  6. Transfer the food processor mix to a bowl and add an additional 1/4 cup of oats.
  7. Spread the oat mixture over the fruit in the baking dish.
  8. Bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Note: It might be helpful to place a cookie sheet under the baking dish in the oven in case some fruit juices bubble over the edge. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Turkey Taco Salad

When I was in college, there was a cafe that had milkshakes and barbecue pizza and on occasion, taco salad. It was one of their specials so it was always a pleasant surprise when it was on the menu randomly. Once, I had a dream where I went to this cafe and ordered my taco salad and was really excited but as I was about to pick it up from the counter, I woke up. My friends and I had a theory at the time (and presently) that there's a conservation of food law. The Conservation of Food Law is highly scientific and basically means that if you dream of ordering or buying food but you wake up before you eat it, that the food is still out there somewhere in the universe creating an imbalance and the only way to correct it and restore balance is to go and purchase/consume the food of which you dreamt. In my case, I went to the cafe that day and miraculously, they were serving taco salad. Premonition or Conservation of Food, I do love my taco salad.

I was contemplating what to make for lunch last week when it struck me that taco salad would be a great idea. I'm not very good at making vegetable salads, they usually turn out quite boring, and adding some ground turkey would give this salad some meat (literally). After debating buying taco seasoning, I decided I could just make it up. I probably could if I had measured but I recommend buying the taco mix or looking up proportions online instead of winging it like me.

Add caption
After chopping an onion (and not crying!!!) and garlic, I let them sweat it out a little in the pan before adding the ground turkey. While the meat browned, I removed corn from the cob to cook with the meat and chopped some tomato and avocado for toppings. When the turkey was almost cooked, I added the corn to give it some time to simmer. Chili powder and cumin were also added to the mix for some seasoning.

Once the meat was done, I allowed it to cool for a little while so the tomatoes and other vegetables wouldn't get soggy. Lettuce, tomato, avocado and cheese are mixed in with the meat and corn. I recommend serving this immediately but I reheated it for lunch. The hazard with reheating is the vegetables get all warm and soggy too (I'm not a vegetables on pizza person) so if you have an issue with that, I recommend adding the toppings after you reheat the meat.

Even though my version of taco seasoning didn't work out very well, a little bit of hot sauce went a long way in correcting that situation. This would also be great with some crushed tortilla chips and sour cream. Anything to go alongside a margarita or Corona, am I right? I'm not wrong...


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blueberry Muffins

How many posts does it take to make a trend? Should I switch my brainplan for peach-blueberry crisp to peach-cherry to avoid three posts on blueberries? Time will tell. In the meantime, there's brunch.

I disagree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day--brunch is the most important meal of the day. Something about eating breakfast foods at nearly midday makes it taste even better. Maybe it's that you got a full night of sleep or had time to sip your morning coffee instead of dropping it on the bus. Or maybe we just have more time to bake delicious breakfast foods like muffins for brunch.

Mondays are hard but Muffin Mondays are slightly better. These muffins were rapidly consumed by my coworkers, and fortunately not all by me. Some people even took three muffins (you know who you are)! Like I said, Mondays are rough.

I was proud of myself for remembering to soften the butter for this recipe, only to realize it required me to melt the butter anyways. One day my planning will work out. I also didn't even bother measuring the blueberries, the more the merrier!

After the butter is browned, it is added to the wet ingredients which in turn are added to the dry until combined. The blueberries are 'gently' folded into the batter but realistically, if you crush a couple, you're just making some blueberry swirls in those muffins. The topping is always the hardest part for me. I'm not a fan of using my fingers to cut up the butter so this time I tried a pastry cutter. It worked a little bit better, mostly because my hands were clean, but I still haven't mastered the crumbly consistency. If you don't get enough butter in a spoonful of topping, it just chills on top dried and doesn't melt into the muffin. Maybe that's why I prefer streusel toppings. Yes, next time I will make a topping resembling that of apple crisp. Because you can go wrong with that kind of butter all up in your face.


Sunday nights are usually filled with weekly prep: meal prep, mental prep, laundry prep. Take a moment and make some muffin prep. It will be oddly zen-like and delicious. Plus, you'll be that awesome person in the office making Mondays better. Go be a Monday hero!


Recipe from Joy the Baker

Ingredients for Muffins
  • 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
Ingredients for Topping
  • 3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg if desired
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 and line two muffin pans with cupcake liners (or spray with non-stick spray).
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and allow it to 'cook' until it has browned. The crackling is a good thing and once that subsides, the butter will begin to brown and smell nutty.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. 
  4. Mix the wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Once the butter has browned and has cooled slightly, you will add it to the milk and eggs. 
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Gently fold the blueberries into the mixture. It's okay if you crush a couple, it will still taste yummy.
  7. Spoon the muffin mix into the prepared pan so that most of the liner is filled.
  8. Combined the flour, sugar and spices together in a bowl and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work in the cold butter. Once the mixture is crumbly, you can add it to the top of the muffin to cover it.
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the muffins are cooked through and golden brown on top.