I'm very excited this month, and not just because it's finally, fully autumn and there's all the wonderful cold-weather baking I'm going to do, plus the holidays lurking in the turning of fall leaves (is it me, or do Christmas displays in the stores go up sooner and sooner every year?)
I'm thrilled to finally be hosting Sugar High Friday, the grande dame of online events for sweet-minded bloggers. When I e-mailed Jennifer, The Domestic Goddess and founder of this event, I expressed surprise that I'd been running a dessert blog for two and half years and had yet to play host, and she concurred.
For my inaugural turn as Sugar High Friday host, I'm choosing Spices as the theme. I think it's fabulously appropriate, as fall is the perfect time for filling your kitchen with the alluring and cozy aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and all those other spices that put one in the holiday frame of mind.
It's also a chance, if you like, to experiment with some spices that you may not be as familiar with and perhaps may not associate with baking: star anise, rosemary, wattleseed, to name a few?
The rules for this Sugar High Friday are simple: make something using one or as many spices as you like.
If you need some inspiration for spices to use, there are some great lists here and here. It should still a sweet dish and not a savory dish, of course! Here are some spice-inspired recipes from Dessert First to get you going:
I've also taken this opportunity to make Claudia Fleming's Sugar-and-Spice Doughnuts from The Last Course. I seldom make doughnuts, fearing their effect on my waistline, but these fluffy, yeasty little pillows of happiness are worth it. The dough is a breeze to make and the finished golden fritters boast a distinctly exotic tone with the inclusion of orange flower water and mace. Rolled in sugar, cinnamon, and cardamon, they are delightful way to start the day – or end a meal.
So this month, I hope to see you all adding a little spice to your lives! How can you participate and show me your spice?
1. Make your dish and post about it on your blog before Monday, October 27th.
2. Send me an e-mail with SHF in the subject line. Include in your e-mail:
The name of your dish
The link to your post
The link to your blog
A photo of your creation (250 px by 250 px)
Your name, of course, so I can properly credit your creation in the round-up!
3. Come back on Friday, October 31st (otherwise known as Halloween) for a sweet-and-spicy roundup!
Sugar and Spice Doughnuts
adapted from Claudia Fleming's The Last Course
makes about a dozen doughnuts
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon orange flower water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for frying
Sugar and Spice Topping
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
Warm milk in a saucepan or in microwave until just warm, not hot (you will kill the yeast). Combine milk in a small bowl with the 1/2 tablespoon sugar and the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes, until the mixture has expanded and bubbled.
Combine flour, remaining sugar, mace, and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Mix the egg, orange flower water, and 3 tablespoons of water together in another small bowl.
With the mixture running on low speed, slowly add in the yeast mixture, egg mixture, and melted butter, mixing just until it starts to come together.
Switch to the dough hook and mix the dough together for another 10-15 minutes, until the dough has formed a ball around the hook and making slapping noises around the bowl.
Scrape dough together, place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Roll the dough out to about a 3/16" thickness on a lightly floured surface or silicone baking mat. Chill for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into rings and holes with a donut cutter, or if don't have one, just cut into 1-inch squares. Place on a baking sheet lined with lightly greased parchment paper, cover with another piece of lightly greased parchment paper, and let proof in a warm area for about 30 minutes, until the doughnuts have risen.
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the sugar and spice topping in a bowl.
When you are ready to fry the doughnuts, fill a medium heavy-duty saucepan about half full with the oil and heat on medium-high heat to 375 degrees.
Carefully drop in a few doughnuts at a time, taking care not to overcrowd them – they won't be able to cook properly and you'll have more difficulty pulling them out at the right time.
Fry for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side until they are evenly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.
When they have cooled enough to touch but are not totally cool, toss them in the sugar and spice topping to coat. Serve immediately.