Buttermilk Doughnuts

Homemade doughnuts are the ultimate comfort food. Warm, fluffy, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth perfection.  Surprisingly, they are also fairly easy to make. I think the key to success is using in a Fry Daddy. It keeps the oil at the perfect temperature, which prevents the dough from absorbing too much oil. A word to the wise, don’t try substituting ANY of the ingredients called for or you’ll regret it. Don’t ask how I know…

Buttermilk Doughnuts

1 Tbls. dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 Tbls. shortening, melted
3 Tbls. sugar
2 1/2-3 cup flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Vegetable oil for frying
2 1/2 cup sifted powder sugar
1/4 cup milk

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add buttermilk, melted shortening and sugar.
In a separate bowl combine 1 1/2 cup flour, baking powder and salt; mix into wet ingredients using a wooden spoon. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead several times. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 2 1/2 inch doughnut cutter. Place doughnuts on lightly floured surface, (I use cookie sheets) cover and let rise 45 minutes or until double in bulk. Heat 2-3 inches of oil to 375°F. Drop in 2-3 doughnuts at a time. Cook about 2 minutes or until lightly golden in color, turning once. Drain well on paper towels.
Combine 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup milk, stir until smooth. Dip each doughnut in glaze while still warm; allow excess glaze to drip off. Cool on wire rack or serve warm.
Yields 12-14 doughnuts

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Years ago, I found a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins in a Taste of Home magazine. It quickly became one of our favorite quick breads. They are excellent for breakfast, as a snack or even dessert. I’ve tweaked the ingredients and amounts over the years to make them healthier and tastier. Below, is the version we prefer.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

4 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil or light-tasting EVOO
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 (16 ounce) can solid packed pumpkin
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semisweet mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, mix first 6 ingredients together with a wooden spoon. (You can use any combination of oil and unsweetened applesauce, as long as it totals 1 1/2 cups. I’ve found that you need to use at least 1/4 cup oil, or the muffins end up gummy.)
Separately, mix dry ingredients in another bowl. Blend the dry ingredients into the wet mixture by hand, fold in chocolate chips. (Regular sized chocolate chips work fine too. We just prefer mini.)
Generously fill 24-30 greased muffin cups.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 16-20 minutes.

If you double bag them in Freezer Zip-loc storage bags, they freeze beautifully. Just let them thaw on the counter for a couple hours.

If you’d like to make mini muffins, bake them for about 10 minutes.

Avocado Toast

While thumbing through a magazine in a waiting room, my attention was grabbed by a food presentation I had never seen before. I didn’t know what the dish was, but I knew I wanted it. The caption informed me it was “the latest crazy on Instagram” i.e. Avocado Toast. Apparently, I wasn’t hanging out in the right corners of IG and was being deprived of this amazing discovery.

I slipped the magazine back in the rack when my name was called, forgetting to make a note of what issue it was. The delectable memory was called to mind recently when I spotted some lovely avocados in the grocery store. After returning home, I searched the internet in vain for the image I had seen in the nameless publication. I finally gave up and decided to just try creating my own version. The results were aesthetically pleasing and satisfyingly delicious.

Avocado Toast My Way

  • 1 slice, multi-grain bread
  • 1/2 avocado
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • fresh basil, chopped, to taste
  • fresh garlic chives, chopped, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Lightly spray a small frying pan with EVOO. Heat to medium. Add the prepared tomatoes, chopped herbs and fresh ground pepper to pan. Stir and cook until slightly soft. Meanwhile, toast the bread. Mash half the avocado onto the toast. Spread the cooked tomatoes mixture over the avocado. Return the frying pan to the stove top. Fry the egg to your liking. Transfer to the plate and top with fresh ground pepper, salt and additional herbs if desired.

Breakfast Cookies

These are so much better than store-bought breakfast cookies or bars for a quick grab-and-go option. The oats, whole wheat flour and peanut butter help keep you full for a long time. The cookies were soft & delicious which contrasted nicely with the crunch of the Cheerio’s.

Make sure to use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to make the cookies. If you make them smaller, they will be too dry and hard. My kids prefer dates over raisins. I’ve used both old fashioned oats and instant without difficulty. The recipe works well with either wheat or white flour. I have used store brands, but the cookies are definitely better with Cheerios. It also makes a difference to use real butter rather than margarine.

Cheerios Jumbo Breakfast Cookies

1 1⁄4 cups sugar
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄2 cup peanut butter
1⁄4 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup raisins or dates
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups Cheerios toasted oat cereal

Heat oven to 375°. Stir together sugar, butter, peanut butter, water, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except cereal. Gently stir in cereal.
Drop dough by rounded 1/3 cupfuls 4 inches apart onto ungreased large cookie sheet. Flatten dough to about 1 inch thick.
Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Store in a zip-lock bag.

Yields: 18 large cookies

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