this week in doughnuts + such

So much to say, so little time.

Let’s get started.

Today, I woke up feeling like Dakota looks.



I felt like a hot mess all day long.  Tell me I wasn’t the only one.

So much to do, so little time.  Did I already say that?

I decided today would be a good day to learn how to make caramel sauce.  I needed it for a doughnut recipe and was determined not to buy it.

Did you know there are about 1 billion recipes for caramel sauce out there??  I had no idea.  I mean, seriously, I could not find 2 that were the same.  So many variables!  Butter, sugar, half + half, creamer, water, corn syrup……ahhhhhhhhh!

I was also working without a candy thermometer.  Nice.

I failed twice but then stuck my head in the fridge an hour later to see that my first fail just needed time to thicken.

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Success!  Don’t ask me the method.  I don’t remember! 

It’s going to be utilized in a few different doughnut recipes. 

Like this one that has a caramel filling.  Oh yes.

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Baklava doughnut anyone? 

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All of the recipes call for a small amount of almond meal.  It helps the texture and also provides a good dose of healthy fats which allows me to reduce the amount of oil used.

Almond meal can be quite expensive to purchase, so I make it easily at home.

The key is using your blender [I know the Vita-mix works, but I bet any high powered blender would as well!].  I found my food processor can’t grind the pieces small enough before starting to clump up.  A coffee grinder may work as well.

The other key is grinding a SMALL amount.  Like, a half cup.  That’s it!  If you use more it won’t all grind evenly but will get stuck in the bottom, become hot, and create moisture.  You don’t want that to happen.

If you do have some small almond pieces left you can always use a sifter to remove them.

edited to add: use raw, unroasted/unsalted almonds to make almond meal

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Some of you have asked what in the heck I do with all of these doughnuts.  Seriously, there are piles + piles of them.  I make about 15-18 batches each week. [but really about 20-28 including re-makes]

I taste test each doughnut before and after glazing and then notify friends [via my facebook “doughnut group”] when they’re ready to be picked up.  If I still have leftovers my friends will take plates full of doughnuts to their work.  [ie: veterinary hospital, new belgium brewery, etc.]  Or, I take them to the college boys who live next door.  Trust me, they don’t go to waste!

Don’t be scared on the green doughnut—it’s matcha green tea!

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There is a crazy amount of cleaning that goes along with this job.  I scrub the kitchen down and wipe + vacuum the floors every single day.  They’re always completely covered in sugar, batter, oil, crumbs, etc.

My absolute favorite kitchen cleaning products are by Twist.  I have been using their sponges exclusively for a few years.  The sponge below is my most recent find.  It cleans my doughnut pans in seconds without scratching the pan.  This is a big deal. 

Yes, I get excited about sponges.

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Did you know it’s Fair Trade month??

The lovely people at Fair Trade USA sent me the generous package you see below.  I was thrilled they asked me to participate in helping raise awareness about the Fair Trade movement.  Buying fair trade is something I keep in mind when shopping as much as our budget allows. 

A few products I really focus on buying fair trade are coffee, chocolate, and bananas.  Not only does it help ensure farmers and workers are compensated fairly, but I’ve found the products are always very high quality.  I may have to buy them a little less frequently but the trade off is worth it.

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I love that this Bhakti Chai comes in a “low sugar.”  Despite all the doughnut-making I am really sensitive to sugar but also hate fake sweeteners including stevia.  With this, they simply lowered the amount of sugar and didn’t replace it with any crazy ingredients.  Score.

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Did you know Larabar uses a lot of Fair Trade ingredients in their bars that include coffee + chocolate? 

I had no idea you could buy fair trade honey or that companies like Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss and Bhakti Chai were certified Fair Trade.  While I knew a little about the Fair Trade movement before, I know a lot more now.  A big thanks to Fair Trade USA.  Their website is loaded with useful information.  Definitely check them out!

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I still make time to work out.  It keeps me sane!  I try to get in about 30min – 1hr 5 days/week.  There is a lot of bike riding in my house watching House Hunters, Friends, and Cupcake Wars.  Many workouts are pretty brief and include 20 minutes of bike riding, pull-ups, pushups, ab rolls, and knee tucks [for abs] hanging from the pull-up bar. 

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No time to walk the dogs anymore, so Chris bikes them instead. They love it.

They also love being weird.

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While I was hoping to give you a recipe for Chana Saag today, it didn’t happen.  I’m so close!!  Expect one soon.

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I should stop now, huh? 

Did I say too much?