Fudge-y Cocoa Brownies

“A party without cake is just a meeting” -Julia Childsquare

I just realized recently that there are ZERO brownie recipes on this blog, which is upsetting in like, 13 different ways. Why would I never share a recipe for brownies? Why would I be holding out? If you had asked me a week ago, I would have sworn up and down that there were at least three. This is, in fact, the very first one.

photo 2Let’s just square up about this whole cocoa thing before I go any further. I don’t generally think that brownies made with just cocoa and not actual chocolate are very good–they tend to be dry, cakey, and sort of flavorless. However, I stand corrected (thanks to Deb of Smitten Kitchen) once again: these brownies have only cocoa and almost no other ingredients and they still kick ass.

Processed with VSCOcam with s1 presetThat’s partly because of the fancy Dutch-processed cocoa powder that I used, but not entirely. I know, I know, I can hear you over there gagging and saying, “Ugh, what the H is dutch-processed cocoa powder and why do I care at all??!” so just calm down, I’ll explain. I just recently learned about regular cocoa vs. Dutch-processed, and it’s cool stuff to know, but you can use either for this recipe, so don’t rush out on a crazy-ingredient hunt or anything.

(Get ready–I’m gonna throw you some science. In a nutshell, Dutch-processed cocoa powder is treated to remove the acids that are naturally found in cocoa beans. Therefore, when you’re baking, you would probably want to use baking powder with Dutch-processed cocoa rather than baking soda. Regular cocoa powder still has acid in it, so baking soda is a better partner because it is a base rather than an acid! It’s all about balance.) Fun fact: this is all easy for me to remember because I KNOW that baking soda is a base and not an acid because my Dad always drinks baking soda and water to cure heartburn (AKA Arm & Hammer Slammers).

photo 4For these brownies, just a few ingredients come together to make fudge-y, chocolate-y goodness.

Fudge-y Cocoa Brownies
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
{Print Recipe}

10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and any exposed sides of the pan.

In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, add the cocoa, sugar, butter, and salt. Stir with a silicone spatula until everything is melted and smooth.

Remove the bowl from the heat and let it begin to cool.  Then, add the two eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, stirring between each new addition. Last, add the flour and stir until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, put in in the oven on a middle rack, and let the brownies bake for 25-30 minutes. They’re ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out with just a couple of crumbs hanging on.

These puppies are rich, so I cut them into small squares (I got 25 out of the 8×8 pan). Dust with powdered sugar. They’ll keep in an airtight container for about a week!

New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas & Collards


I have this weird habit of writing down quotes from books or famous people or random not famous people and then sticking them up on walls, to the refrigerator, my computer at work, inside of books, and anywhere else that I can stick tape to. I believe in the power of words, and I like to read and re-read the things that have touched me. So instead of sharing my accomplishments from 2013 or my resolutions for 2014, I’m going to share some of the notes that I scribbled to myself this year.

“Now, my faith goes beyond theology and religion and requires considerable work and effort. My faith demands–this is not optional–my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can, with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”
-Jimmy Carter

“I will not forget you, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”
-Isaiah 49:15-16

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world”
-Mahatma Ghandi

On colored Christmas lights:
“It’s fun. It’s festive. It says go ahead, have too many cups of spiked hot chocolate and wear that Santa hat, we’re all friends here.”

“Just remember, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?”
-It’s a Wonderful Life

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
-The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

“There are friends who pretend to be friends, and then there are friends who stick closer than a brother.”
-Proverbs 18:24 (I have a Bible that my grandmother’s best friend gave to her, and on the inside cover, she wrote “To Sue, Love Connie. Proverbs 18:24”)

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
-Albus Dumbledore

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
-Theodore Roosevelt, via Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly

“If you are careful,’ Garp wrote, ‘if you use good ingredients, and you don’t take any shortcuts, then you can usually cook something very good. Sometimes it is the only worthwhile product you can salvage from a day; what you make to eat. With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane.”
-John Irving, The World According to Garp

“May you grow up to be righteous/
May you grow up to be true/
May you always know the truth/
And see the lights surrounding you/
May you always be courageous/
Stand upright and be strong/
May you stay forever young”
-Bob Dylan, Forever Young

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “Well, if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

“She stood in the storm, and when it did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.”
-Elizabeth Edwards


Now, go out to the store and buy some collards and black-eyed peas so that you can eat them on New Year’s Day. It’s good luck!

Here’s a recipe (of sorts)
2 bunches collards
Dry or fresh black-eyed peas
Some kind of fatty pork product (I use bacon because it doesn’t gross me out.)
1 medium onion, diced
2 32-oz boxes of chicken or vegetable broth (or one recipe of  “Homemade” Stock)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cooked brown rice enough for everyone

If your beans are dry, soak them tonight so that they’re ready tomorrow morning. If they’re fresh, don’t do anything!

To prep the collards, wash, wash, wash them (they’re gritty), remove the ribs in the middle of each leaf, and tear them into 1-2 inch pieces.

In 2 large, heavy bottomed pots, brown the bacon or other porky-product (fatback, etc.) If you have a ham hock, skip this step and just put it in with the broth later. When the bacon is browned in the first pot, add the collards and 1 box of broth. Add more water to cover the leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 hours. Taste the liquid after about a half hour and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain to serve.

In the second pot, add the diced onion and sautee until translucent. Add the black-eyed peas, broth and water as needed. Bring to a boil, season to taste, and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are soft.

Serve black-eyed peas and collards over rice and with chow-chow if you have any. The folded collard leaves are supposed to look like money!


Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and meaningful 2014!

“Homemade” Stock

photo 1

It’s back to business time. Resolutions time. There’s New Year’s to think about, and then come January and February. In order to make them a little easier, I like to spend the coldest months of the year with big pots of good smelling things simmering on the stove, winter root vegetables roasting in a hot oven, and big sweaters tucked under an apron.


In order to make the most of the soups, melty greens, and sauces of the season, I like to cheat a little. Everyone knows that homemade stock and broth would really be the best, but who has time for all that? I’m notorious for stashing vegetable ends, chicken carcasses, and pan drippings in the freezer for future stocks; I’m not as good at actually making them. (Side note: check OUT the fancy new knife that Jason gave me for Christmas–it’s great, right!?)

photo 5

This is the solution! It’s easier and faster than making a stock from scratch, but you get all of the same delicious depth and control of salt content as you would with a homemade stock. The key is the boxed or canned broth that you start with. I like Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable or Chicken stock for this, but really any unsalted or low-sodium broth or stock will be fine.

photo 4

To the boxed broth, I add dry white wine, carrots, onion, celery, canned tomatoes, garlic, a few whole cloves, bay leaves, basil,  kosher salt & pepper. After simmering for a half hour or so, you’ll have a stock that’s as close to homemade as you could hope for.


“Homemade” Stock*:
{Print Recipe}

2 32-ounce boxes either chicken or vegetable broth, preferably unsalted or low sodium
1/2 cup dry white wine (cheap sauvignon blanc) fun fact: did you know that mason jars have milliliter measurements on them? A cup is about 250 ml, so use that as a guide. This is for rough measuring–never bake this way.
1 whole carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped, including leaves
2 small to medium onions, roughly chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
2 canned whole tomatoes
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves, broken
1 teaspoon dry basil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the stock into a bowl and let cool. Store in a jar in the refrigerator or the freezer, and use as normal.

The stock will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, and the freezer for several months. Enjoy!


* The images in this post are for a single-batch (1/2 of everything), but I think that it’s always worth it to double this one.

Holiday Recap

I kind of skipped Christmas here. Is that bad? I think sometimes it’s better to just do the thing rather than try to do it while also capturing it. This year, I just did Christmas. Jason and I only had a few days off, and we spent them with Jason’s family and mine. We opened presents, watched Christmas Vacation, ate way too much of everything, drank good beers, and spent time with the people that we care about. I’ve gathered a weird collection of pictures that I think actually capture it all pretty well.

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It all started with a wildly successful Friendsgiving for 25 people.
Processed with VSCOcam with t2 presetI wrote what seems like a million Christmas cards for work.
Processed with VSCOcam with t3 presetThen it was real Thanksgiving, and I cooked with my Mom at her house.
Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetPost-Thanksgiving nap.
Processed with VSCOcam with t3 presetScarf Beagle
Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetWe brought some oysters back from the beach.
Processed with VSCOcam with x5 presetRight before Christmas, Mona fell through the railings off the third floor porch at my mom’s house, landed in a palm tree, then fell from there to the ground. Other than a cut on her head, she was totally fine, which further proves that she’s actually going to outlive us all.
Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetChristmas lights!
Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetShopping for a holiday cocktail dress…wearing Christmas socks
Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetJason got some new digs, too!
Processed with VSCOcam with t3 presetThen we went to Alabama for our good friends Elisa & Wil’s engagement party.
Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetBaking cookies
Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetPresents wrapped and ready
Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetPersimmons!
Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetCinnamon Raisin Swirl bread
Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetWinter sunset!
Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetBaking Habitat cookies for coworkers…
Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetAnd marshmallows for friends & family. (There are peppermint)
Processed with VSCOcam with t3 presetAnd these were plain pink ones.
Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetMerry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter

DSC_2104I have a peanut butter problem. I love any kind–from JIF to the fancy all natural kind to the kind that comes in the middle of a resse’s peanut butter cup. I’m not picky. My interest extends into all sorts of nut butters–almond especially. The other day, I thought I’d make some almond butter, and then I considered that some chocolate would be a welcome addition, and when I reached into the cabinet to find the chocolate chips, I saw the coconut. The rest is history!

DSC_2083The thing that really took this idea over the edge is that I toasted the almonds and coconut before I pureed them into almond butter. It made the coconut flavor a little stronger and more pronounced, and that can’t be a bad thing.

DSC_2089Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter:
{Print Recipe}

Yields about 1 ¼ cups

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (really any kind of coconut is okay, I think)
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
3-4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate
pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coconut oil, in liquid form

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.

When the oven is preheated, toast the coconut and almonds for a few minutes, or until the edges of the coconut are browning. (Be careful—I’ve started like three fires in my oven trying to toast coconut.) When everything is done toasting, pour the nuts and coconut into the bowl of a food processor. Process for several minutes until smooth. Add the salt, too.

Using a double boiler (or heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water), melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil. Then, pour the melted chocolate into the food processor, too. Mix everything together and pour it into a jar (or two).

Keep in the fridge, covered, for 4-6 weeks or so.


Fall-Inspired Veggie Burgers

DSC_2129As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, I’m feeling the need to clean out the fridge and freezer and fill them with things that are actually useful. Gone are the frost bitten cubes of mango that I kept trying to make into popsicles this summer, along with the weird sample bottle of coconut flavored rum that I keep pretending I’m ever going to drink. I’ve replaced those things with cranberry sauce, homemade nut butters, frozen pie crusts, breakfast burritos, jars of sweet potato soup, and veggie burgers. I’m perfectly prepared for the fact that there will be days when I need to grab a frozen burrito for breakfast, a jar of frozen soup for lunch, and come home to defrosted veggie burgers for dinner. The good news? Even though eating a full day of meals from the freezer seems like a terrible idea, I’ll actually be getting some vegetables in.

DSC_2106Weirdly, these veggie burgers start with with onion, brussels sprouts, and apples. Later, they’re combined with cooked quinoa, chickpeas, an egg, and some spices, all of which give them a really nice, not too apple-y sweet flavor. It’s the sort of veggie burger that you know is not a real burger, but makes an interesting and delicious substitute.

DSC_2120I have to confess: as a meat eater, a veggie burger really has to be something special. I like veggie burgers that are made with beans and veggies rather than soy and obviously not with mushrooms (ew). I love black bean burgers, but not so much on a bun. I like them best with an egg on top. If I’m going to eat a veggie burger on a bun as if it’s a real burger, it has to be good–and texture has a lot to do with that. All these ingredients are pulsed in a food processor, then shaped into patties and pan fried. They’re soft and warm on the inside, and crispy on the outside. They’re bun-worthy. (Although also delicious with an egg on top for breakfast.)

DSC_2122The most important thing to remember is that you’ll need plenty of cheese, because… well, because everything is better with plenty of cheese. I used havarti with dill and it was just perfect. (Thanks, TJs!)

Here’s the recipe:
{Print Recipe}

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 small onion, diced
1 small apple, chopped
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced in half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup cooked quinoa
(I used the red kind)
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Havarti cheese for serving

In a skillet, sautée the onion, apple, and brussels sprouts in some olive oil. When everything is soft, pour the balsamic vinegar in and stir to combine. Let sizzle for another couple of minutes.


In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sautéed mixture, chickpeas, cooked quinoa, eggs, and smoked paprika. Pulse until everything is chopped up, but don’t let it get puréed.

Scrape the mixture out into a bowl and fold in the flour to combine. At this point, the mixture will be pretty wet. If you feel like it’s too wet, add a little more flour. When you can, try to scoop some out and form it into a patty. It will be sticky and might not really hold together very well. I actually formed the patties and put them directly into the pan with some hot oil. By the time the bottom is crunchy, you can flip the burgers and let the other side get crisp. When they’re done, they hold together just fine.

Serve on a toasted bun with melted Havarti. If you’re feeling feisty, slice the remaining sprouts thin and toss them with some oil, vinegar, and grainy mustard for a simple slaw.

To freeze the patties, let them cool and then pack them into bags in single layer. Label and freeze for emergency dinners.






Goat Cheese Sugar Cookies

DSC_2054Before you’re all “Goat cheese? In cookies?” Just chill, because they’re delicious. Honestly, if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t realize that there is anything weird about these cookies. There is a little bit of a tang that you can’t quite place–but it keeps the cookies from being too sweet. Instead, they’re soft, interesting, and a little mysterious. (What more could you want in a cookie?!)

DSC_2052Here’s another good part: there is no need for an electric mixer of any kind. You can whip these puppies up with just a spoon, whisk, and two bowls. The messiest part is the sprinkles (but don’t try to pour them through the shaker attachment). My mom makes these perfect roll out sugar cookies, but they’re a lot of work and she would not approve of me sharing the recipe. These are like those cookies’ edgy cousins.

DSC_2066Goat Cheese Sugar Cookies
{Print Recipe}

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
1/3 cup (3 ounces) soft goat cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkles (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the room temperature goat cheese, melted butter, and sugar. Some lumps are okay. Whisk in the oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture and stir gently until smooth.

The dough should be soft, but you should be able to form it into a ball that holds its shape. Scoop out about a Tablespoon per cookie, roll it into a ball, then roll it in the sprinkles. Place them on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and flatten each cookie just a little bit. (If you use the bottom on a glass, the sprinkles won’t stick.)

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. They will stay good for up to a week in a tightly sealed container.


Curried Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup

DSC_2031Creamy, fall-flavored soup is like a warm, sweater-y hug, isn’t it? For this soup, curry, sweet potatoes, carrots, and shallots are all that you need. It won’t take more than an hour to make, and just goes hand-in-hand with warm socks and friends. We had this soup for dinner tonight, right before carving pumpkins and drinking hot cider.

DSC_2035For the first time this year, we have the heat on tonight. I’m snuggled under a blanket with warm socks and leggings on–it’s supposed to get down into the low 40s tonight, and I kind of love it. I usually look forward to the weather turning cold–it means that Thanksgiving is close–but this year, it seems like it’s all happened just too fast. I feel like summer slipped by, and suddenly it’s nearly November and I don’t know why.

DSC_2044This soup is sort of like a remedy to that. It undeniable that fall is upon us, but with curried sweet potatoes and carrots, it’s okay. Because its creaminess comes from the pureed vegetables, the soup is totally vegan (minus the yogurt topping) and packed with veggie goodness–pretty well completely guilt-free.

Curried Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup
{Print Recipe}


3 large sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes

2 shallots, sliced

1 pound carrots, cut into ½ inch chunks

6 cups vegetable broth (use good quality broth, and be sure it’s low sodium)

2-4 teaspoons curry powder

salt and pepper to taste

Serve with pistachios, croutons,** and a swirl of Greek yogurt and olive oil

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat some canola, grapeseed or olive oil until shimmering. Cook the shallots until transparent and fragrant. Pour the cubed sweet potatoes and carrots into the pot along with the curry, salt, and pepper. Toss everything around, the pour in the vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

If you have an immersion blender, use that to purée the soup while still in the pot. If not, use a blender to purée the soup in batches. Return it to the pot and check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve in bowls with homemade croutons, pistachios, Greek yogurt and olive oil.

**To make homemade croutons, cut a loaf of fresh or slightly stale bread into cubes (½ inch square), toss them with olive oil (and some grated parmesan!), then bake them at 350 degrees F for around 20 minutes or until crispy.

This soup freezes excellently; I usually put it into pint-sized mason jars and freeze them. It’s easy to grab one from the freezer and heat it up in the microwave at lunchtime. It’ll be as creamy the second time around!





Pear & Apple Butter Cake

Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetIf you take nothing else away from this post, you must make this cake. I don’t even mean the pear and apple butter part. Just the cake part. Choose a fruit, really any fruit, and make this cake. It’s so simple: flour, butter, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Fruit topped with lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetWhile this cake was in the oven, I stood in the kitchen and didn’t do anything other than smell.  The cinnamon, pears, and apple butter smells just like fall–apple picking, the state fair, sweaters, and new socks. (Is new sock smell a thing? I think it is, but I’m also a total sock snob.)

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UntitledI’m already planning how to switch this cake up for every season. Blackberries, raspberries, figs, and peaches for summer, cranberries, pomegranate, and persimmons for winter, strawberries and rhubarb for spring. This cake’s buttery, crunchy crust and slightly sweet, moist inside is maybe the most delicious thing I’ve ever encountered. It’s amazing how much we can complicate things–cake should be so simple. This is the cake I’ve been missing, no doubt.

Also, we need to talk apple butter for a minute. I made this apple butter in the crock pot. It’s so easy, I don’t even feel right about making it into its own post. (6.5 lbs apples (peeled, cored, and sliced thin), 3/4 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 T cinnamon, 1 t nutmeg, 1 t cloves, 1 t cardamom, 1/2 t salt, 1 t vanilla extract. 10 hours in the crock pot, stir occasionally, then blend either with an immersion blender or in batches in regular blender. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water to seal. Don’t tell anyone how easy it was.)

Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetBefore I get to the recipe, check this out! I’m going to start including printable PDFs for all my recipes, and I’m gonna try to keep them all on one page. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to print a recipe and it says it’s gonna be 17 pages because each picture is on its own page, and the actual recipe only takes 1. Or worse, the recipe fits on one page, but then the printer wants to print a second page with just the URL on it. UGH! I’m gonna try to make sure that doesn’t happen. All you have to do is look for the “Print Recipe” option, click on it, and boom! The PDF will download and you print it!

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Pear & Apple Butter Cake
{Print Recipe}


1 cup all purpose flour

hefty pinch of salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar



1 pear, sliced thin

4 Tablespoons apple butter

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Then, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the bowl while the mixer is on low.  Mix until just incorporated (not too long!) and finish it off with a spatula.

Scoop the batter out of the bowl and into the cake pan. With the spatula, smooth it out and push it to the sides so that the batter is in an even layer.

Spoon the apple butter on top of the batter. It’s okay if there are drops that are bigger than others. You want plain cake to stay uncovered. Then, arrange the pear slices however you’d like. Next, sprinkle the lemon juice over top of the pears, followed by the cinnamon, and then the sugar.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 30-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into a cakey part comes out clean.

Serve warm with coffee for breakfast, snacks, or dessert.

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Malted Pumpkin Brown Butter Donuts

donut in hand // a bushel and a peckLast year, I bought a donut pan to make baked donuts in. At the time, I thought that maybe it was an impulse buy that I would come to regret, but BOY was I wrong. All the recipes that are meant to be muffins can be cake donuts, and they should be. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a donut pan, these can also be muffins. But what you should really do is order one.)

Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetThese pumpkin donuts are a little sweet, dense, and moist. The malted milk powder makes them a little more interesting than you’d think, and the brown butter is just perfect. This is the perfect kind of project for a Sunday morning–maybe you’re a little sleepy, not interested in dealing with things like bacon or eggs or pancakes. All this takes is a little bit of mixing, spooning into a pan, and baking. With the weather cooling down, a warm donut and cup of coffee is just the best idea ever.

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetThe coating is a little more browned butter, and then cinnamon sugar. It’s a little indulgent, admittedly, but worth it, I promise. These become the sort of breakfast treat that will win over colleagues, neighbors, and surly family members, and a little extra sugar is just part of that deal.

Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetHere’s the recipe:
(Adapted from Take A Megabite)

Yields 6 donuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons malted milk powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned

For the Spiced Sugar + Brown Butter Coating:
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned

Preheat the oven to 325˚F and spray your donut pan lightly with cooking spray.

Brown the butter for the donuts in a skillet over medium heat until the butter separates and the solids become a deep brown and smell nutty and delicious. Pour the browned butter into a ramekin and set aside to cool. (You have to get it out of the hot pan or it will burn.)

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In a mixing bowl combine the flour, malt powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Whisk to blend. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, followed by the brown butter, fold until just combined. Either spoon or pipe the batter about halfway up the donut pan molds and bake in the center of the oven for 6-7 minutes. Donuts are done when the tops are dry and spring back to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on a rack slightly before turning out. Brown the butter for coating while the donuts bake.

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In a wide dish whisk together the sugar and spices for the coating, brush the baked donuts with browned butter and roll in the spiced sugar to coat completely.

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