More fall holiday recipes for treats and treats and treats.
I promised more Halloween/Harvest Time treats, and here are some. You will probably have another installment next week, just in time to whip up a couple more treats before tricking. My theory on these couple entries is just what the title says; a little fiber with that yum. I mean, if you were going to reach for a candy bar and a Dunkin Donuts donut, my thought is having some of your own fiber- or protein-rich treats on hand would be much, much better. During the season when most of us crave fats and sugars, I would like to encourage smart indulgences.
And since I mentioned them, let me pause over our ingredients. All butter, sugar, etc. is not equal. Making your baked goods with organic or at least unrefined (not enriched) flour is so much better. Your butter would be best raw (if you can even find it), but I settle for no added hormones, no antibiotics, organic if you can afford it, and grass-fed cows really produce butter with a far superior fat profile. I already have a blog entry addressing sugars, although I would like to add that organic is again, good, and I personally look for fair trade. (And a note: sugars like organic, turbinado, demerara, etc. have a much more sophisticated flavor profile than white sugar, so your baked goods end up tasting better, to boot.) As for other ingredients, buy the best you can: natural (like actually natural), conscientious, organic, fair trade foods are generally better for you (and the world) and even taste better.
This lightly spiced caramel corn is basically a boon of Martha Stewart, although as always changed, and it is SO GOOD and keeps for at least a few days (unlike a lot of other caramel corn recipes). You are going to need a candy/confection thermometer and the basics of popping corn.
- Pop somewhere around 12 cups of popcorn. Set aside and preheat oven to 250F.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt 10 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon natural red food coloring (optional), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring here and there, until sugar has dissolved.
- Increase heat to medium-high, drop in your confection thermometer, and DO NOT STIR AGAIN! When the temperature reaches 250F, remove pan from heat.
- Toss caramel with the popcorn and 1 cup raw peanuts and dump into a baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Toss popcorn with another 1/2 teaspoon salt, let cool completely, and store in a sealed container (if you can keep everyone from chowing it all down warm. Good luck with that).
These are not doughnuts/donuts, really, like most of us know them. They are cake donuts, the category which includes some of the kind you get at the gas station and the ones made at cider mills. But they are not deep fried. This makes them more economical, easier, and healthier, so that’s why I go this route. (In fact, I have long claimed that the typical donut is the worst consumable item you can stick in your mouth: traditionally all emtpy carbs and artificial ingredients containing and fried in the worst kinds of fat, and next-to-no redeeming fiber, nutrients, or protein. I do understand that they taste good and fill a little hole is some people’s hearts… in more ways than one.) The baked donuts are still really good and are worth making. We ate ours for breakfast with a side of quickly “mulled” cider.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Dip a pastry brush into a jar of extra virgin coconut oil and grease a doughnut pan (a mini bundt pan would do or just a sheet pan, if you must).
- In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup buttermilk, 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/2 cup melted butter, with a whisk or fork.
- Without stirring, add in 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground clove, and 1-2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon. Gently combine the wet ingredients on top of the wet until it is uniformly tan, then stir the dry down in the wet with a mixing spoon, just until combined.
- Spoon dough into forms until half full, or make into doughnut shapes on the sheet pan. Bake 15 minutes. until golden brown. These are great served warm with a little butter and some cold apple cider.