Saturday, 20 October 2018

Apple Cider Donuts

Last fall and winter I was pregnant which meant I avoided a lot of treats that could be bad for a pregnant lady (deli meats, unpasteurized treats, highly caffeinated drinks). I avoided apple cider for the most part because typically fresh apple cider is unpasteurized. Now, not all apple cider is unpasteurized; a lot sold in grocery stores actually have the word 'pasteurized' on their jugs. But I just avoided buying it out of the convenience of not having to look for that word on the packaging when grocery shopping.

Though, a bit of information for all you hot apple cider drinkers at coffee shops - most coffee shops just heat up plain old apple juice and add a caramel syrup and serve it as apple cider. I worked at Starbucks for a short period of time and this is how they make their hot apple cider. This gave me the confidence to drink it at coffee shops while pregnant.  Anytime we went to a coffee shop last winter I would get either a hot apple cider or hot chocolate. I always inquired if they used apple cider or apple juice. Every place told me apple juice and I'd watch them pull out their 99 cents carton of Allen's Apple Juice to pour... so silly.

Now this fall and winter I plan on indulging in all the things I avoided last year. I want my apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, and egg nog. And I don't have to read any packaging to check for caffeine content or if it's been pasteurized.

So when I came across a recipe for apple cider donuts that I found on Instagram I knew I had to make them! The recipe can be found here.

The recipe calls for apple cider concentrate. I was confused until I continued reading the recipe. It's just regular apple cider boiled down into a dark, thicker concentrate. So it's super easy to make. I avoid all complicated recipes.

The other ingredient this recipe calls for that confused me was apple pie spice. Apparently it's easy to find in the U.S. but I've never seen it in Canada and after checking 2 grocery stores, I couldn't find it.

You can make a batch of it with these other spices (thanks Betty Crocker!):
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 cups apple cider (1/2 cup apple cider concentrate)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

To make apple cider concentrate:
1. Pour 1 1/2 cups apple cider in a small pot. Simmer it over low heat on your stove. Stir occasionally. This will reduce the apple cider. Mine took about 30 minutes for it to reduce to half a cup. Let it cool completely. I made this in the morning and baked the donuts in the evening.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease donut pan.
2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl.
3. Whisk the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together in a medium bowl.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and add the reduce apple cider. Whisk everything together until smooth and combined.
5. Pour batter into donut pan. I used a ziploc bag to do this neatly. Put batter into ziploc bag, snip corner and pipe the batter into the donut spots. It's so much easier doing it this way.
6. Bake for 10-11 minutes. To test if done, poke your finger into the top of the donut. If the donut springs back, they're done. If the fingerprint stays, put them back in!
7. Cool donuts completely on wire rack.
8. Mix sugar, cinnamon and apple pie spice together in a medium bowl for coating. Melt butter.
9. Dunk donuts in melted butter (both sides) and then dunk in the apple spice coating. Place on wax paper to dry.

Needless to say these donuts didn't last long in the house. I'll probably need to make another batch during the cold months coming up. They were a yummy breakfast along with a hot coffee.

xo Jen

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Fall Cookies

October is here and the weather is perfect! I'm back to wearing oversized sweaters, chunky knit socks, and drinking all the hot drinks my body can handle. I love this time of year.

This cool weather makes me want to bake. I have a huge list of things I want to try baking this month and I hope I have time to make most of them.

One thing I had an urge to make was fall-decorated sugar cookies. Now, I'm not a huge fan of sugar cookies. They are an absolute pain to make and they're just not my favourite cookie to eat. Adam, however, loves them and they are fun to decorate. So I usually make them once or twice a year. I had some fall sprinkles that I wanted to use so I made a batch of sugar cookies.

The icing and sprinkles were definitely the best part of these cookies. I almost didn't want to eat them because they looked so cute.

Sugar cookie dough works for me sometimes and other times it frustrates me. Because it worked so well this time, I might try my hand at another batch closer to Christmas. Plus, that means I can buy more sprinkles!

What do you plan on baking in October?
xo Jen

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Craft Life

It's been ridiculously hard getting back into sewing since Emma arrived. Between being tired, mentally and physically, having less free time, and feeling drained creatively, it's tough to go into the craft room and create things.

So what got me back into the swing of things? How did I sew and prep for my shows this past Summer?

First, just applying for shows (Fan Expo was paid for last year while I was still pregnant so I had no option to back out) lit a fire under me to get sewing. I didn't want to waste money and I didn't want to miss out on the shows I was signed up for. Graphic-con, Harry Potter charity event, and Fan Expo were shows I wanted to be at.

Second, having an amazing husband who would volunteer to be on baby monitor duty in the evening or during naps so I could put on my headphones and zone out while I sewed was a great help. I had no excuse to not try to get some things done.

Third, just doing it. Did I really want to go sew when Emma finally fell asleep for her afternoon nap? Nope. I wanted to sit on the couch with another cup of coffee and read my emails. But forcing my butt in the craft room and starting on projects actually helped me get my creative juices back. Finishing a pouch that I thought turned out great, or finding adorable scrap fabric I forgot I had made me excited for creating again.

All these pouches are for sale in my Etsy shop!

I've realized that for the next couple of years my sewing habits will never be the same as they were pre-baby. I'll have to head to the craft room only during naps, bedtime, or when Adam can help out. I'm going to be extra tired from now on, and some days I'll have to drag myself towards my sewing machine. But that's ok. I've streamlined the shows I want to sell at. My plan for 2019 is definitely low-key on the craft show front. I want to just create for the fun of it and to keep my Etsy shop updated and to gradually build up stock for the biggest show of every year - Fan Expo!

So my goal for the fall season is to get my Etsy shop completely updated. This never happens because I get too busy but with no more craft shows for a while, this is something I should be able to accomplish during daily nap times.

I updated my shop with 8 new pouches this past week and I have loads more to add. Check out my shop and keep an eye on it over the next little while for more new items!

As a bonus, I created a coupon to thank everyone for the support they've provided me over the last year!

Until next time!
xo Jen

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