Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Happy Election Day! Are you voting, or heading out to vote? The lines are long out there, so it’s probably in your best interest to bring a snack. These apple cider donuts are a perfect candidate (lol at election humor) to nibble on while you wait to exercise your civic duty!

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Need I say more about these? Who doesn’t love an apple cider donut?! These are really so easy to make and as long as you use good apple cider (I didn’t the first time I made these and you can definitely tell what you’re missing), they taste just like the real deal.

Also, now that we’re moving onto Thanksgiving mode over here, I’ve got apple pies on the brain. These are a nice and much easier alternative, I’m even thinking of making & taking them when I fly all the way to San Francisco this Thanksgiving. I know, I know. That might be extra but it’s rude to show up empty handed, ya know? Thoughts?

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Okay, here’s what you gotta do:

Baked Apple Cider Donuts

ingredients:

1 cup good quality apple cider

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch of salt

11 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1/3 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and grease donut tray w/ butter.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the apple cider until it reduces to about half of the original volume, you’ll need 1/2 cup for the recipe itself. This way the apple cider flavor is highly concentrated! Once desired volume is reached, remove the cider from heat and set aside/allow to cool.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.

In a separate microwavable bowl, melt 4 tbsp of butter.  Add the reduced apple cider, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, yogurt, milk, and vanilla . Mix together until well combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined!

Fill a piping bag with the batter and pipe into the donut pan so that each slot is 3/4ths of the way full. Do not fill to the top, unless your donuts to totally lose shape!

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the donuts are golden browned. Transfer donuts to a cooling rack.

While the donuts are cooling, melt the remaining 7 tbsp of butter in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Dip each donut (both sides) into the melted butter, press the donut lightly against the side of the butter bowl to remove excess drips, and then dip each side into the sugar mixture to coat completely.

Boom!

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Dark Chocolate Cookies

It’s me! I’m back!

Guys, if I could even tell you how much of a whirlwind my life has been since I moved from L.A. Both emotionally (moving is so, so hard on the psyche) and physically. Searching for an apartment (the first one was a no-go thanks to pests, let’s just say I’m lucky to have gotten out of it efficiently and with such a clean break) while working and getting used to a new and exhausting job has been something else. And trying to get used to my new city without technically residing in that city yet has proven to be difficult (can’t wait for the days when I can actually start my real life here!) I was able to enjoy a whole 9 days at my family’s lake house with my family and Mark, which was easily the highlight of the summer, but on the whole I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t finding a lot of time to be in the kitchen. That ends now!

Kicking off, dark chocolate cookies! Simple and delicious. I don’t do a lot of cookies, mostly because I always eat the batter before anything even makes it into the oven. But these had a greater purpose in the form of ice cream sandwiches, which we’ll get to later.

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I also got a cookie scoop and how have I gone so long without one of these?! Oh, because I don’t do a lot of cookies. Right. But the thing made scooping out uniform dough balls so frickin’ easy so I’d highly recommend you get one if you do lots of cookie recipes. I got mine from Sur la Table. I get everything from Sur la Table 🙂

Dark Chocolate Cookies (yields 16 cookies)

4 oz (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup extra dark cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a bowl fitted with a stand mixer, cream together the brown sugar and the butter until mixture is light and airy. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the bowl with the butter mixture and stir until combined.

Do everything you can to not devour the dough. Scoop 1-inch spheres onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave 2 inches of space between cookies! Bake for 10-15 minutes, then let cool completely on a cooling rack.

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Valentine’s Day Themed Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies

It’s almost February! Which means whole30 is almost over and Valentine’s Day is almost here! Which means GIMME ALL THE SWEET, CHOCOLATEY, HEART-SHAPED THINGS!

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I’m starting Valentine’s activities now, so that I don’t have to fit a bunch of stuff into a measly 2-week span of time. Plus, what’s wrong with getting into the festive spirit a little early!? I’m thinking a few more chocolate treats, some cozy recipes with some pink or red accents, and maybe a festive DIY or two? I’d also like to decorate a little (duh). Any suggestions here? I also need some inspiration to strike re: ways to make my valentine feel loved leading up to the big day. Also needs to be cost effective. Tall order, right?!

Remember how I said last year that brownies make me think of luv? I made another batch this year, except I did something a little different and followed Broma Bakery’s recipe for blackberry cheesecake layered brownies. So good, y’all!

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Here’s a funny story that my sister often reminds me of: When I was a kid (7 years old, I think?) I learned how to make cheesecake from scratch. Somehow I memorized the process REALLY quickly. One day I came home from school and, for some reason, I had the house to myself. This wasn’t abnormal for me, it was a different time back then! Anyway, I somehow made myself AN ENTIRE CHEESECAKE FROM SCRATCH. And then I PROCEEDED TO EAT THE ENTIRE THING. Like, the WHOLE CHEESECAKE!!! Apparently I felt pretty awful and had absolutely no appetite by the time my parents came home and had dinner on the table. Somehow I was found out (I probably forgot to wash the dishes, lol), and I haven’t really lived that down since. It’s cool. It’s one of my favorite stories about myself. I think it really shows how freakin’ weird and independent I was (am).

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Anyway, the gist of the recipe is this: You make a super chocolatey brownie layer. Then you add on a cheesecake layer and you drizzle the cheesecake layer with some blackberry juice. Then you use a toothpick to create a marbled effect. Once it bakes, it’s a gooey, chewy, fruity/chocolate-y mess and IT ROCKS.

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I froze these so that, once whole30 is officially over, we can enjoy them. But I’ll be honest, Mark and I both had one fresh out of the oven. Because life is short. And I don’t think it’s possible for my New Yorker boyfriend to pass up a treat made up of brownies AND cheesecake! And it’s not like I was going to let him cheat alone. That would be a bad girlfriend thing to do. So unsupportive.

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Here’s what I’d change though: I baked these for over an hour and they still came out too gooey to really cut into real, even shapes (as seen above). Next time, maybe I’d bake for longer. Or I’d bake the brownie layer for a few minutes before adding the other layer… to give it a head start? Or maybe I’ll just have refrigerate the dish longer before cutting into it. Whatever. They don’t look perfect, but they were yummy and the color is still to die for.

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As for what else has been going on around these parts: Right now I’m lying on the couch, drinking a homemade latte, watching the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode. I’ll go on a run in a bit and then head into work. It’s been so nice to have some free time without classes! Mark and I get the apartment to ourselves this weekend so I’m excited to have some uninterrupted quality time together (albeit limited, since I still work all weekend)! Hope you all have the best weekend!

xx