Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes with Pumpkin Glaze or Cinnamon Sugar

My love of fried dough started with a church and a box of Dunkin’ Donuts. When I was younger, I would always drop by my parent’s Sunday school class before heading to my own. Of course, as a dutiful daughter, I wanted to say goodbye to my parents. As a bonus, I also managed to nab a donut out of the boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts virtually guaranteed to be sitting on the back table.

I don’t know why we never had Dunkin’ in my second grade Sunday school (perhaps something about children and massive amounts of sugar?). I guess it doesn’t matter, because I was lucky enough to find another pathway to donut bliss.

But although I had access to plenty of donut flavors, none enticed me so much as the Chocolate Kreme Filled Donut: A powdered sugar donut filled to the brim with delicious chocolate creme (actually, filled past the brim – look at the little rosettes on each donut due to too much filling ahhhhhh). Hang on, let me wipe the drool from my keyboard.  Sorry. But I have not eaten one for years.

Unfortunately, the Dunkin’ in my town closed down, which I despair over to this day (A little courtesy notice, please? I would’ve pitched in my allowance!). The years between the closing of Dunkin’ and my leaving for college were filled with the opening of Krispy Kreme (fine, their glazed donuts are friggin’ delicious just out of the fryer, but do people really need to line up at 3am for the opening?!) and LaMar’s (chocolate glazed is pretty dec).

When I got to college in Houston, though, I found Shipley’s. Ohhhh Shipley’s. Did you know that the one on Kirby used to open at like…5am (before they closed down…like all the great donut shops of my life)?? And that the one on Richmond is open until 10pm? I did.

Unfortunately, upon being tossed from that great blanket of security and fun known as college, I have yet to find a donut love in Dallas. Probably because I am still too traumatized from the Dunkin’ Debacle of 1999. So when I started seeing a plethora of donut recipes pop up (check out this ridiculous milkshake), I knew it was time to make some of my own. And, I found this amazing baked recipe! Plus I replaced almost half the oil with applesauce. So. healthy. Also, I tried out two different topping options. Because when is one (donut) ever enough? Enjoy! Continue reading

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Caramel Apple Dessert Dumplings

When I was in the fourth grade, I designed a restaurant menu for Spanish class. My Spanish teacher, who regularly put the fear of God in her students (me, I thought, most of all), told my class to describe our food offerings in as much detail as possible.

As I harbored no desire to risk her wrath, I determined that El Restaurante Gato would detail its food down to the last garnish on the plate.

Such was my downfall. I remember Señora’s (as we faithful students called her) voice even now: “Grapes, apples, pineapples, I understand. But why does this fruit salad also have mayonnaise, beans, and eggs?” She was confused.

Maybe you, too, are confused. Let me explain. The fruit salad I wanted on the menu was not, in fact, an American style fruit cup or bowl with fresh cut fruit as the sole ingredients.

No, when I wrote down “fruit salad,” I was actually referring to the Chinese fruit salad that my mom regularly made at home – one that includes mayonnaise, kidney beans, and eggs, and is, against all odds, quite delicious. Seriously. Trust me on this one.

This is what I opened my mouth to defiantly explain to Señora. Unfortunately, being a shy, nine-year-old all aquiver in the face of my scary Spanish teacher, I ended up grabbing my eraser to fix the “extraneous” ingredients. And I was, therefore, scarred for life.

…Just kidding. I would be lying, though, if I said that this didn’t greatly impact my Chinese food-eating psyche. I mean, this, along with the third grade incident where I was too afraid to eat my lunch because people were commenting on a gross smell (turns out, it was from the hot food line, not my own innocent lunch) could have killed Chinese food for me.

Luckily, since I am a hungry girl, and no other cuisine besides Chinese really exists in my household, I continued eating – and loving – Chinese food.

Now, at 21 years old, let me share a few life lessons I learned from these experiences:

  1. Eat what you like, and don’t let the (third grade) haters keep you down.
  2. My mom cooks the best Chinese food ever. Duh.
  3. Chinese food rocks.

And so, keeping with the Chinese food love, and because yesterday was Mid-Autumn Festival(!!), I present to you, my totally non-traditional, the-only-Chinese-part-is-the-wrapper, Caramel Apple Dessert Dumplings! Continue reading