Well hello there!
It feels like it's been ages since I've posted! About two weeks, which in my life really is a long time. Since you last heard from me, I've been road-tripping, concert-going, and birthday-celebrating. It's been a wonderful whirlwind, and I'm tired, but I'm also grateful to be living a life that presents me with such enjoyable occasions so frequently. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to say that, quite often, my life is fun.
And although I am very much a creature of routine, I can absolutely appreciate the value in leaving my routine behind for a while. Letting life get hectic and scattered and over-tired, and then settling back in at home - both literally and figuratively - gives me a chance to clear my head of the mundane clutter of daily living and really see my life for what it is. To understand what is right in front of me, to re-prioritize and brush aside the distractions preventing me from truly appreciating what I have. And boy, do I have a lot. Two incredible, enchanting children, who humble me every day with their wisdom and intuition and overflowing love. They are, quite simply, two of the most stunning people I know. I have a gracious husband, one with surprising reserves of strength and commitment, who turns dreams into reality and who believes in me more than I do. And I have an extended family of relatives and close friends, people who fill my life with love and friendship and laughter, and who give me more unwavering support than I could possibly be entitled to. I stand in awe of my good fortune. Really, this should be enough.
But then there is this space, where I come to share images and favorite recipes and random bits of my life with all of you, you who are mostly strangers to me and yet still kindred spirits, bonded as we are through this strange medium called food blogging. When I started down this path nine months ago, I never could have imagined the amount of gratitude I feel when I get compliments from readers. When you contact me to let me know you made one of my recipes and liked it, or to say that something you saw here inspired you, I feel amazed that you are not only reading what I write, but going a step further and taking me into the kitchen with you, to feed your loved ones. A true compliment if there ever was one. Honestly, I am bowled over by the kindness of strangers on a regular basis, and know without a doubt that my life is enriched by it.
On top of all this, I've made some dear friendships with incredible people as a direct result of blogging, something that I heard happened to other people but which was never an intentional goal of mine. But, like so many good things in life, these friendships happened almost on their own, picking up steam before I was fully aware of what was happening. I don't mean to imply I wasn't paying attention. But I never before believed that something so impersonal and abstract as the Internet could facilitate true, life-enhancing relationships. I stand 100% corrected.
There are so many unknowns in life, so many experiences that we won't see coming, and won't have much control over once they get here. Some of them will be bad. This can be quite an unsettling thought. But I'm realizing more and more that if you learn not to take anything for granted, and can see the beauty in everything and everyone around you, all the unpleasantness of life can be handled with a lot more grace and understanding than you ever thought possible. It's the best win-win situation I can think of.
And so, with my renewed sense of gratitude, I'm giving you a gluten-free doughnut recipe. It's a recipe that was intended for you all along, created specifically for placement on this blog. That is, until I gave some to my celiac father, and he took one bite and said, "You have to sell these. Find a way to make money from these! They're better than any other gluten-free doughnut I've bought!"
This brought my very deliberate steps of recipe development → product tasting → blog posting to a halt. Suddenly, I didn't know what to do. Was I unknowingly in possession of a potential money-maker? Certainly, these are delicious cake-style doughnuts, and goodness knows the idea of doing something to financially contribute to my family is appealing. But what would be a realistic next move for me? I didn't know. So I've been sitting on the recipe for about three weeks now. Which is a pretty boring place to be, actually.
The more I thought about it, the more I didn't see any reason to keep the recipe secret. I'm not working on a cookbook that it could be included in. I don't have any contracts to develop recipes for other companies. I don't have a dedicated gluten-free commercial kitchen in which to produce them for the wholesale market. I can't even get my own kitchen certified for commercial production due to our lovable, but fur-dropping, Lab. I'm not in any position to turn a doughnut recipe into a new career.
But what I do have is this space, something that gives my baking a purpose and brings me personal satisfaction. And this blog would be nothing without readers. I believe that you deserve this recipe more than anyone, as a thanks for all the feedback and encouragement you've given me this year. Thank you, truly.
Also, when you get right down to it, all this is is a recipe for doughnuts. Doughnuts. One of the most social, satisfying treats out there. Who doesn't like a doughnut? Who doesn't love the timeless combination of a doughnut and a cup of coffee or (especially this time of year) warm cider? No one makes a batch of doughnuts to save for later, to be eaten here and there throughout the week. No, you make doughnuts to eat piping hot, straight from the fryer, with your friends and family and anyone else you can round up. Doughnuts are for sharing and conversation. Obviously, if I can add to that with a fabulous gluten-free version, I'm going to. Otherwise, I'd be missing the whole point of the doughnut.
So again, thank you. And here, have a doughnut. I made them just for you.
Just in case this post isn't already too overflowing with appreciation, I'd like to mention one more thing. It was brought to my attention that this little blog is among the 25 Food Blogs We Love on the new do it Delicious site, run by none other than Jessica Seinfeld. I'm beyond flattered and honored - I'm flabbergasted. To be among such illustrious blogging company as Jaden, Lara, Matt, Deb, Aran, David, Molly, and Béa is just thrilling to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Old-Fashioned Apple Cider Doughnuts
yields approximately 10 doughnuts and doughnut holes
1 1/2 cups (212 grams) Tara's gluten-free pastry flour mix
1/2 cup (90 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (22 grams) certified gluten-free oat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp guar gum
1/4 rounded tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly-ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp (45 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 large egg (55-60 grams)
1/4 fluid cup (60 grams) buttermilk
2 Tbsp apple cider (Or, if you're feeling particularly motivated, place 1 cup apple cider in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup. Use 2 Tbsp of this syrup in place of the apple cider.)
3 pounds trans fat-free Crisco, or your favorite frying oil, enough to fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of three inches
Granulated sugar, for coating (optional)
Combine all dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse just until there are no pieces of butter larger than a small pea.
Combine the egg, buttermilk, and cider in a small liquid measuring cup (one with a pouring spout), whisking just to break up the egg. With the food processor running, pour in the liquid mix and process just until everything is incorporated.
Line a baking pan with parchment or wax paper, lightly dust it with gf pastry flour, and spoon the doughnut batter onto it. Dust the top with gf pastry flour. Using lightly floured hands, press the dough into a 3/4-inch thick round. Transfer to the freezer until firm, about 20-30 minutes.
Line a second baking pan with parchment or wax paper. Remove dough from freezer, and using a doughnut cutter (mine measures three inches across), cut out doughnuts. Scraps can be pressed back together and cut. Place doughnuts and doughnut holes on the second lined baking pan. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes.
Heat the Crisco or oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat to 375º (use a candy thermometer for accurate temperature readings). I realize that Crisco is shunned in many, many kitchens. Mine too. Except that Deb shared the secret of frying with a fat that's solid at room temperature: foods fried in it don't get soggy and grease-laden as they cool! This is key to making a doughnut that still has a crisp exterior and soft interior on Day Two (assuming you have leftovers). You need to do what feels right for you and your family. But on the few occasions each year that I make doughnuts, I'll be frying them in Crisco from now on.
When the oil is up to temperature, use a thin spatula to pick up and gently lower the doughnuts into the pot. Depending on the diameter of your pot, three or four at a time is good - you don't want to crowd them! Watch your thermometer and adjust your burner accordingly to keep the temperature at 375º. Cook the doughnuts, flipping them over halfway through, until they are a rich golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes total. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the doughnuts to a paper towel-lined plate. If desired, toss the doughnuts in granulated sugar to coat.
Doughnuts are great right away, still excellent on Day Two, and good on Day Three. Don't bother trying to keep them any longer than that - they'll start to taste old and stale.
A photo from this post has been submitted to the GF Photo Contest, which can be found here: http://simplygluten-free.