Recipe: Lemon Meringue Donuts

It's been a long time since I've baked anything for you and I'm sorry for that. It's been all cocktails and frozen treats on here for a little while now and though I would have LOVED to have baked you something sweet, I couldn't risk turning my oven on for most of the summer. It just wasn't worth the amount of sweat, which then triggers my allergies to kick in and turns me into a serious Wreck. And that's a Wreck with a capital W.

But between the heat/humidity letting up a bit and the addition of an AC unit in my living room, I was able to spend Sunday morning in the kitchen, which was much needed and extremely relaxing. And the result is lemon meringue donuts, because I enjoy turning desserts into other desserts. (Examples here, here, here. Oh and here.)

These donuts are a fun play on a lemon meringue pie but bite-sized (or maybe more like 3 bites). Lemon spongey cake donuts topped with a super simple meringue topping. A word about meringue: make sure to use an egg separator, or be very careful when separating your egg whites from the yolks. Even a little bit of yolk in there can stop your whites from frothing up and getting to stiff peaks. Believe me, been there done that. 

Lemon Meringue Donuts

Makes 2 dozen donuts

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a donut pan by spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and lemon zest with a spoon, working them together until the mixture is clumpy and fragrant. This helps release the lemon oils for more lemon flavor. Set aside.

In a large mixing, whisk together flour, cake flour, lemon sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Cut your half stick of butter into cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or my preferred method, your hands, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and sand-like. You'll want tiny pieces of butter throughout the mixture.

In a medium bowl or a measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla until frothy. Add sour cream and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and fold it in with a rubber spatula. Before completely combined, add the lemon juice and continue to fold together until mixture is smooth. 

Scrape the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip (or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off) and pipe the batter evenly among the wells of the greased pan. Before placing into the oven, lightly tap the donut pan on a flat countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let cool completely on a cooling rack. 

I find that because of the moisture level in the donuts, it’s best to eat these within 24 hours, or stack on a plate and wrap with plastic wrap. Keeping the donuts in an airtight container may cause them to sweat and the meringue to soften. Enjoy!

Lemon Meringue Donut via Unusually Lovely

Meringue Frosting

Makes more than enough for these donuts

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
brûlée torch (optional, but recommended)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy and white in color. Begin slowly adding sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, scrape meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Once donuts have completely cooled, pipe meringue onto the tops of each donut. Use a brûlée torch to toast the meringue and get that traditional toasted look.

Donuts should be enjoyed within the day or two. 

Recipe: SNAP and Cider Cocktail

One of the items on my Fall Bucket List was to figure out a new favorite Fall cocktail and I think I can cross that off the list. My trouble with Fall/Winter cocktails is that I unfortunately don't like 99% of dark liquors. As much as I want to be that girl who loves bourbon and whiskey, even the smell of them makes me gag. This is a source of humiliation for me among my group of friends. They don't understand. But I keep trying; committed to finding a way to like them. But in the meantime, I stumbled upon Art in the Age spirits and I'm in love. Great alone on the rocks, I'm more of a cocktail girl so I threw together this apple cider cocktail with one of my favorite products by them, SNAP

As someone who loves apple cider, you probably don't understand how excited I was to find a spirit I could mix with apple cider. Are you excited for apple cider season? Yeah? Then maybe you do understand how excited I was!

SNAP and Cider Cocktail

Makes one cocktail

  • Ice
  • 2-4 oz Art in the Age SNAP
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice, strained
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Cinnamon stick, orange slice, and cinnamon sugar for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add apple cider, orange juice, SNAP, and bitters. The amount of SNAP you add depends on how strong you like your cocktails, but I usually stick with the 2 oz. Cap your shaker and shake to combine. Mix up some cinnamon and sugar and using your orange slice (or a little honey) to wet the rim of your glass, dip in the cinnamon sugar mixture for a fancy rim. Add ice to your glass and pour cocktail over ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange.

Because it's easier, I usually use apple cider I have in the fridge. If you were making these for a party, or you have a little more time, try making spiced cider and cooling it down in the fridge prior to cocktail making. 

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bark

Somethings are complicated. Relationships, taxes, trying to read my student loan statements, boys, European clothing sizes when you live in the U.S., hormones. The list is really endless. But then, Somethings are easy. Like the combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzels. So let's focus on those things, throw them together, and make something simple.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bark

  • 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 handful broken up pretzel pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil. Pour melted chocolate onto the center of the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out slightly until chocolate is about a 1/4 inch thick.

In saucepan over medium heat, heat peanut butter until it warms and thins out. Stir continuously so it doesn't burn. Pour the warmed peanut butter into the center of the melted chocolate and swirl them together with a fork. Top the crushed pretzels over the top of the chocolate/peanut butter, and press down very slightly. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours and once set, break into pieces. 

That's really it. Somethings are just simple and great. So when things get crazy and complicated (which is secretly how I love my life to be) make something easy and enjoy a moment of simplicity. 

Recipe: Coffee Cake Donuts

Hi, 2015! Let's fill you with laughter and fun and donuts.

Maybe you've made your New Years resolutions to go to the gym more, or eat a better diet. But over here in my little apartment, I'm making a resolution to eat more donuts. It's a resolution I feel pretty confident I'll be able to stick to all year long. And it's so much better than heading to the gym.

Coffee Cake Donuts

Yields 24 donuts

Adapted slightly from A Baker's Field Guide to Doughnuts

Topping:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour

Donut Batter:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick cold butter (I used salted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a standard-sized donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Start by making the crumb topping. In a large bowl, combine sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over the mixture and stir until combined. Stir in cake flour and continue to stir until mixture becomes a smooth, thick dough. Set aside.

To make the batter, whisk 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. Whisk in 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. 

Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large tip and pipe the batter evenly among the wells of the greased pan. Keep the wells on the light side, you don't want to overfill them. Break the crumb topping up with your fingers and evenly distribute the crumbs on top of each donut. Lightly press the crumbs in place and be generous!

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. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy the same day.

Recipe: Baked Pumpkin Donuts

It's Fall and I'm back wanting to bake everything with cinnamon, pumpkin, and apples. The temperatures have started to really cool off here, I figured out how to turn my heat on, and broke out the heated blankets and hot apple cider. And since donuts are always fabulous in my book, I figured I'd start my pumpkin-cinnamon-everything-baking obsession  with baked pumpkin donuts.

I wish every decision in life was as easy as deciding to make pumpkin donuts. 

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Yields 12 donuts

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar for about 5 minutes. Mixture should be fluffy and light tan. Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one at a time. Mix in pumpkin puree. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add half the dry ingredients, then the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until only combined and don't over mix.

Spray donut pan with a light coating of nonstick spray. Using a spatula, spoon the mixture into a pastry bag with a large open tip (or a sandwich bag with a corner cut off into a 1/2 inch hole). Pipe into donut pan and tap the pan once lightly on the counter to get any air bubbles out. Bake donuts for 7-9 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Pumpkin-Donuts_5.jpg

Basic Vanilla Glaze

  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the three ingredients until combined. Once the donuts are cooled, dip each donut into the glaze and let the extra drip off a bit. Place on a cooling rack with aluminum foil underneath. Depending on how much glaze you want, dip each donut 3-5 times in the glaze, letting them dry in between. Top with ground cinnamon and embrace the drips!

Pumpkin-Donuts_2.jpg

For some reason, I'm very sloppy at dipping donuts into glaze. When I was done with these, I not only had glaze all over the counter, but also spots of glaze all over my shirt, pants, and some on my face (??) If you're not the neatest of bakers, like me, be advised this can get a little messy. And maybe grab an apron.