Mini Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts
It’s impossible to visit a fall fair without falling prey to the seductively sweet, sugary smell of mini-doughnuts. If you foolishly convinced yourself that they were a once-a-year treat, surprise! You can easily make them at home, too. For this recipe, you will need a mini-doughnut baking pan, which can be ordered online or purchased at any baking supply store.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp + 2 tsp cinnamon, divided
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
4 tbsp softened butter + more for greasing pan
1/4 cup + 1/2 tsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon and salt; set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the remaining 2 tsp cinnamon; set aside.
Grease the mini-doughnut baking tray with butter.
Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat 4 tbsp butter and 1/4 cup oil with the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs until just combined. Add vanilla and mix until just combined.
Slowly add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with buttermilk and mixing just until batter comes together. Using a spatula, scrape the bowl and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Using a piping bag or a zip-top bag with one corner cut, pipe batter into each doughnut well about halfway up pan. Do not overfill. Bake in the oven until doughnuts are puffed and golden but still soft, about 7 minutes.
While doughnuts are still warm, turn over pan and allow doughnuts to fall out onto the counter or a baking sheet. Rub the remaining 1/2 tsp oil on your hands and carefully rub your hands over 12 doughnuts at a time, to help the cinnamon sugar stick.
Toss warm doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, in cinnamon sugar and place on a serving tray. Repeat until all doughnuts are coated. Serve warm.
TIP If you have a piping bag, using it to get the batter in the pan will help achieve a smooth donut; if you do not have a piping bag, place the batter into a large zip-top bag, carefully cut one corner to make a 1/2-inch hole, and use it to pipe the batter into the pan.
Spritz it up! Gin adds some quick personality to cider…with a twist. It’s the perfect conversation starter. Local sparkling apple cider is available all across Canada. Use one that is crisp and not too sweet.
4 oz Quebec or Canadian gin
1 bottle pink sparkling apple cider, about 350 mL
4 slices seasonal apple
4 cinnamon sticks
In a cocktail shaker, stir together gin, cider and some ice. Strain into 4 glasses. In each glass, add a splash of soda and garnish with 1 apple slice and 1 cinnamon stick.
TIP Can be served with or without ice. If serving with ice, strain into glasses filled with fresh ice.
Beer-Battered Rice-Puffed Onion Rings
Who can resist onion rings when they arrive to your table in a crispy tangle of golden goodness? Here’s a fun take on a perennial favourite that will leave everyone fighting for the last one.
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings
1 large Spanish onion
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 to 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper, or chili powder if you want it spicy
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup beer (ale is best, but whatever you have will work)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water
Crispy Crumb Coating
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs or panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 cup puffed rice
3 tbsp dry millet
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
Beer batter: In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper and paprika. Pour in beer and water and stir until mixture is well combined. You may need to add some more water to adjust the consistency. The batter should be the texture of heavy cream (still on the thick side, but not gloppy), as you want a nice thin coat of batter on each ring. Set aside.
Crispy crumb coating: In a food processor, pulse bread crumbs and puffed rice until puffed rice is mostly broken up but still visible. Add in millet, 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp salt and cumin and pulse once or twice to combine. Place in a medium bowl and set aside.
Slice onion into discs about 1-inch thick, and then undo each disc into rings. In a large zip-top bag, add 1 cup flour. Place onion rings inside, about 5 at a time. Toss rings around until well coated. This will help the batter stick once the rings are fried.
You should have about 20 rings. (Save the inner disc pieces, which are not ring-like, for another purpose.) To coat them in batter, set a baking sheet next to the bowl and dip each ring generously in batter until well coated. Place each coated ring on the sheet. Once all rings are coated, wash and dry your hands well.
Place another, clean baking sheet next to the crispy crunchy coating and dip each ring, one at a time, into the bowl, making sure you shake the bowl to coat each onion well. Try not to handle the rings too much. Lay each coated ring on the new, clean baking sheet. Once all the rings are prepared, line a third baking sheet with paper towel.
In a large frying pan or pot, heat oil to 325°F to 350°F. Gently place rings, about 4 at a time, in the hot oil and fry until golden, turning once, halfway through. Remove the rings when golden and allow to drain on the paper-towel-lined baking sheet before serving warm.
TIP If desired, make a dipping sauce by combining 1 cup mayonnaise with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and 2 tsp hot sauce, or 1 cup mayonnaise with 2 tsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp finely chopped herbs.
Spicy Kettle Corn
If Netflix night is a regular fixture in your home, this spicy kettle corn will become a mainstay, too. With the delicious kick of chili powder and sugar in one bowl, everyone’s palate will be satisfied, even if the movie is a flop.
1/2 cup popping kernels, preferably organic
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp smoked chili powder, or whatever chili powder you like
1/4 vegetable oil
In a small bowl, stir together kernels, sugar, salt and chili powder once or twice; set aside.
Before you start popping the corn, place a baking sheet beside your stove. This is where you will spread out the hot kernels.
In a pot just large enough to hold 8 cups of popped corn (see tip), add oil and a few kernels and place over medium-high heat. When you see the kernels beginning to pop, your oil is ready. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add in the reserved seasoned kernel mixture.
Stir until the sugar has absorbed all the oil. Leave the cover off until you see the sugar beginning to melt and bubble very slightly. If the heat is too high, the sugar will burn, so keep an eye on the sugar to ensure it does not brown too quickly before kernels begin to pop. Cover with the lid and shake the pan over the heat as the kernels pop. Continue until you hear them beginning to slow down. Quickly remove the pan from the heat and turn out onto the baking sheet. Once cooled, break popcorn apart slightly and enjoy!
TIP Use a taller pot to allow the kernels to move upwards as they pop, which will yield a better result than a wider pot would (wide pots allow for a lot of area for sugar to burn).
Dark Chocolate and Cointreau Fudge with Pralines and Cocoa Nibs
Fudge. It’s what childhood dreams are made of. Our grown-up version is the perfect marriage of Cointreau, pralines and cocoa nibs.
Makes about 12 slices
14 oz bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
10 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp light corn syrup
2 tbsp Cointreau or other orange-flavoured liqueur
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup praline almonds or other candied nuts, crushed
2 to 4 tbsp cocoa nibs
Line a tart pan, pie plate or other 8-inch vessel of your choice with parchment, or lightly grease with vegetable oil spray if it’s a non-stick vessel.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate for about 1 minute. Stir chocolate, which should be just melting, and continue microwaving for 20 seconds at a time until barely melted and just barely warm but not hot. If you heat the chocolate too much, it will burn. Set aside. //TK: Stir after each 20 seconds?//
In another medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave condensed milk, butter and corn syrup until butter is melted and mixture is warm but not hot (alternatively, you can do this using a bain marie or saucepan over medium heat). Stir in Cointreau, vanilla and salt.
Pour half of the condensed milk mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir well. Add the remaining half of the milk mixture and stir again. Pour the warm fudge into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the candied nuts and the cocoa nibs on top, and then place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight to fully set.
Once set, unmould the fudge and slice it into pieces. Fudge will keep well in a tightly covered container for up to 2 weeks.