Recipe: Caramel Delite Donuts

Sometimes, great things take a little bit of work, messy fingers, and a lot of caramel and toasted coconut to get right. These Caramel Delite Donuts fall under that category. These take a bit of time and good amount of ingredients to assemble, but the end results are impressive (if I do say so myself!) and delicious. They taste like caramel delite Girl Scout cookies (or you may call them Samoas), but they're donuts so they're already better. It's the truth.

Caramel Delite Donuts

Makes 12 donuts

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup coconut almond milk**
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 14 oz jar of favorite caramel sauce
  • 3 cups sweetened coconut
  • 2 cups milk or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup coconut almond milk**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by whisking both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together. Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and sand-like.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Stir in coconut almond milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract until combined. Using an wooden spoon, fold wet ingredients until dry until dough comes together. Small pieces of butter will still be visual throughout the dough. 

Now you have two options to get the batter into the donut pan: pastry bag or spoon. You can either spoon the batter into the pan, or cut a large 1-1 1/2 inch hole in the bottom of a pastry bag (or plastic sandwich bag) and pipe the batter around each donut. I prefer the piping method, since the batter is sticky and it's quicker. 

Before baking, tap the pan on the countertop to release any air bubbles. Bake each donut for 8-10 minutes. You'll know when they're done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. After cooling 5 minutes in the pan, transfer to a wire rack with parchment paper underneath to continue to cool completely.

To build your topping, spoon a large tablespoon of caramel sauce over each donut to create a glue. Toast your coconut in a dry pan over medium heat until lightly brown. Mix toasted coconut with three or four heaping tablespoons of caramel sauce and mix together. This is where things get messy. Grabbing about a teaspoon of coconut, lightly press it around each donut until all are covered. Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and start melting your chips, starting with one minute, then adding an additional 30 seconds. Mix in 1/4 cup of coconut almond milk so mixture is very thin. Using a spoon, immediately drizzle chocolate over coconut topped donuts. Serve the same day.

**coconut almond milk can be subbed for regular almond milk, buttermilk, or regular 2% milk.

Having messy fingers is worth it. You'll impress your friends.

Recipe: Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie, hands down. (Well, besides these Funfetti Cookies...) and it's been bothering me that the photos in my original recipe post were so...bad. Even though I've only had this blog for 2 years, I've learned a ton about photography, photo composition, and what works best for me. And those photos weren't cutting it anymore. So I've updated the photos, but the recipe remains the same. 

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Yields about 36 large cookies or tons of smaller ones

  • 1 1/2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined. Chill the dough in the mixing bowl for 5-10 minutes in the refrigerator. Mix together the 3 tablespoons of both sugar and cinnamon in a small dish. Remove the dough from chilling and begin rolling into balls, then coating them in cinnamon sugar.

For smaller and softer cookies, roll 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes or until slightly golden brown around the bottom edges. For larger and crispier cookies, roll 2-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Cool cookies on a cooling rack, but I think they're served best still slightly warm.

Store cookies in an airtight container or plastic bag. My goal is to try not to eat all of them in 2 days.

Recipe: Nutmeg Donuts with Speculoos Frosting

I'm going to tell you a not-so-secret secret. I love donuts. I don't care if you spell it "doughnut" or "donut," I'm always on board. Every. Time. And you don't have to be hungry to eat one. There's always room for a donut (or two.)

So I don't know what took me so long to get on-board with the baked donut thing. Maybe I thought it would be hard? Maybe they wouldn't turn out great? But neither were the case, so get ready for me to spam you with donuts of all kinds and flavors. I'm starting with these simple Nutmeg Donuts...

PS: Do you know about Trader Joe's Cookie Butter? It's a peanut-butter-like speculoos spread that taste like a warm, spiced dream. It's the new Nutella. And it's better. Deal with it. 

Nutmeg Donuts

Recipe based off A Baker's Field Guide to Doughnuts

Makes 12-14 donuts

  • 2c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2c cake flour
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 rounded tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2c sour cream
  • 1/2c buttermilk
  • 2tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan with nonstick spray.

Whisk together both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl until combined. Add butter and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender (or an electric mixer, or your hands if you are really in a pitch!). Cut in until the texture is slightly more crumbly and small bits of butter are evenly throughout the mixture.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Then add in sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until just combined. Batter will be thick, with bits of butter throughout.

Now you have two options to get the batter into the donut pan: pastry bag or spoon. You can either spoon the batter into the pan, or cut a large 1-1 1/2 inch hole in the bottom of a pastry bag (or plastic sandwich bag) and pipe the batter around each donut. I prefer the piping method, since the batter is sticky and it's quicker. 

Before baking, tap the pan on the countertop to release any air bubbles. Bake each donut for 8-10 minutes. You'll know when they're done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. After cooling 5 minutes in the pan, transfer to a wire rack to continue to cool completely.

Speculoos Frosting

Makes more than enough for 12 donuts

Combine butter and cookie butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in powder sugar, cinnamon, salt, and 2 tbsp of milk until smooth. If frosting is still too thick, add more milk until desired consistency. 

Using a spoon or a frosting spatula, dollop frosting on and spread evenly, but liberally, around each donut. And don't forget the middle! Dust with a little extra cinnamon so people think you're fancy. Donuts will keep 1-2 days max in a airtight container. 

These donuts are spicy and deliciously springy and moist. The nutmeg almost gives them a Egg Nog-like flavor, without the fancy little glasses and dairy overdose. 

And don't think that covering a donut in frosting takes it away it's breakfast quality, because donuts can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or after hours to prevent a hangover. (Don't quote me on that.)

Baked Brie Recipe

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You should be warned that if you are going to make this baked brie appetizer, you better have people over quick. Once you break into that crust, you might eat the entire thing yourself. I had to force myself to stop eating, and it was quite a struggle.

This isn't a recipe as much as it is a how to. Take a few ingredients that are fabulous on their own and wrap them all together and serve it to your friends and family. If they like brie, they'll love it. I promise.

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Baked Brie

Serves 4-6 people

  • 1 wheel of brie
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Crescent seamless dough sheet
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • optional: 1 granny smith apple in slices and crackers for serving; chutney, jam, preserves, etc, for topping

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Start by removing the rind of the brie. You don't have to do this, but I don't care for the rind. It taste very medicinal to me. Just cut it off with a large knife.

Unroll your crescent dough sheet and place the brie in the center, slightly to the left. Using a pairing or steak knife, cut a 3 inch strip off the right side of the dough, leaving enough room to fold the rest completely over the brie.

Fold one side of the dough up over the brie and work your way around, folding the dough onto it's self. You want to entire top to be covered and overlapping, but feel free to remove any extra (especially once you fold the corners up. Once you're sure the entire top is sealed, flip the wrapped brie over and press it down slightly so it sits flat.

If you want to decorate, cut shapes out of that 3 inch strip of dough and arrange on the top. I used a pairing knife to make my leaf shapes.

Place brie on a baking sheet covered with a Silpat baking mat or non-stick aluminum foil. Brush on enough melted butter to coat the top. Bake for 15-25 minutes, or until golden brown. If your decorations begin to get too dark too quickly, cover with a piece of aluminum foil and check every 2-3 minutes. Don't burn your brie, but if the top is overcooked a bit it will still be delicious.

Serve immediately with apple slices and crackers. If you want to doll your brie up further, top warm brie with one of your favorite preserves, chutney, or jams. I prefer mine just as-is though. 

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Once you crack into that baby it's just so much gooey, buttery goodness. You'll also want to provide a cheese knife or spreader to get that deliciousness from the table, to the apple slice, to your mouth.

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Yum. Happy celebrating! 

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

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Even though I make cupcakes at home and rarely eat the ones I make, I still can't help but buy cupcakes if Tim and I stumble upon a cute cupcake shop. I love seeing the decor and how they frost and decorate. I also like to compare my cupcakes to what people are making on a larger scale and selling for $2-4 a pop. In most cases, I always get some kind of lemon cupcakes because I couldn't quite figure it out at home. With a little guidance from many many lemon cake recipes, here's what I came up with and are pretty darn tasty!

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Lemon Cupcakes

Yields 24 cupcakes

  • 14tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 3/4c castor sugar (I took regular sugar and pulsed it in my food processor for a few minutes)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 1/4c milk
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2c flour
  • Lemon curd

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add each egg one at a time. Once combined and fluffy, add lemon zest and juice, vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until combined.

Add flour to the butter mixture, alternating between flour and milk. Only mix until combined so you don't overmix. Overmixing=dry cupcakes.

Fill each cupcake liner maximum 3/4 full. You want them to stay light yellow, so be sure to not overfill as the batter will touch the sides of the pan and darken. Maybe you don't care about that, that's fine too.  Bake for 15-20 minutes. After 15 minutes, keep a very close eye on them as you want them to almost be uncooked, but still set inside. You want them to stay pale on top. Let cool completely, then top with lemon curd.

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Gooey Marshmallow Meringue Frosting

Yields enough for 48 cupcakes

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1c sugar
  • 1/2tsp cream of tartar
  • 1tsp vanilla

You'll remember this recipe from the S'mores Cupcakes from two weeks ago.

Whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream and tartar in a double boiler over medium-high heat. Whisk frequently until mixture reaches 160 degrees (I used a candy thermometer). Transfer mixture into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beginning at low speed, gradually increase speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in vanilla.

I piped my frosting on with a 1M Wilton tip and then used a creme brulee torch to toast the marshmallow topping. Please excuse that in these photos, I made the mistake of not whisking the meringue enough and the peaks weren't stiff enough. But hey, you win some, you loose some. They are still quite delicious!

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Adding the lemon curd is optional of course, but it definitely adds a little bite to the sweet cakes and sugary meringue. Tim actually said to me after eating one, "You know I'm a chocolate person and I think they're really good!"  So that must mean something!

Happy Baking!