At the risk of sounding like a citrus-loving Joan Rivers, can we talk about clementines? I feel like they’re everywhere right now–great, big cardboard flats of them for, like, five dollars a box or something crazy, calling from across the produce section with the promise of sweetness and light and sunshine, even though as I understand it, most of the country has been in a never-ending winter.
(I say “as I understand it”, because here in California, an occasional rainstorm is as close to we get to anything resembling winter weather, and we mostly just, you know, ride our bikes around in t-shirts to go eat kale salad outside and “LOL” and “OMG” over all the banaaanaaazzz weather we’ve been hearing about online.)
(As it happened, I was actually stranded in New York for a week because of a snowstorm last month, so I guess Mother Nature sensed my meterological la-la-la-ness and decided to show me how soft I’ve become during my 10 years on the West Coast. Touché, fair lady.)
But even in a mild-weathered place like California, we really do appreciate citrus during our “winter”. It’s a burst of happy food no matter where you live, all these clementines in bulk. Every year I succumb to buying at least one flat, intent on being all virtuous and snacking on them instead of spoonfuls of peanut butter or cookies, tucking them into lunchboxes and all that jazz. But even after countless little orbs eaten out of hand and a dozen packed lunches, the pile of clementines never seems to shrink. Not one bit. How many clementines does a person have to eat to make a dent in one of those boxes, for real? My fingertips are permanently stained from all the e-z peeling. Forget this noise. Let’s make doughnuts. (And share a little news with you, while we’re at it.)
I’m all about the easy recipes these days, even more so than ever. Part of that has to do with having two crazy little kids (and a baby boy who started walking insanely early and then just went and turned one (!!) on us last week). The other part has to with the fact that I’ve spent most of this last year basically as a working mother of two: developing, then selling, and then actually getting down to work on writing a third book. I’m not sure exactly what possessed me to start working on a new title while embarking on a life that involved mothering two small children at the same time, but I’m so glad that I did. Now that I’m nearly in the homestretch of completing the manuscript, I’m excited to finally be sharing the news with you. It’s a whole new collection of baking recipes with a special twist, and the book will be finding its way out into the world from HarperCollins in Spring 2015.
This new project is more complex and much more versatile than my first two titles; I’m especially looking forward to giving you a book that can take you through the entire year, for any real world occasion, from the simplest lunchbox treats (for when you just can’t take another clementine, say), to sweets for bake sales and gifting, to blow-minds-and-take-names dinner party showstoppers. I’m all up in it right now (a hot mess, really), loving what’s developing, and can’t wait to share it with you next year. I’ll be putting more details out there via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as publication nears–I don’t want to bore you with specifics right now, but I do want to let you know that that’s why I’ve been so spotty here in recent months (I can’t blame it all on the baby), and that it might be like that for a little bit longer until I can get the manuscript on its way. So it goes when you don’t have any local family members onto whom you can shove your kids and only a handful of childcare hours per week. But it’s all coming together, nonetheless. Hooray! I’m pumped.
But! I can tell you a few things about how this process has streamlined my baking. This new book will have weights (ounces and grams) in addition to volume (cups and spoons), and after months of testing recipes by weight, I think I’ve finally crossed over to the sort of preachy “you must buy a kitchen scale!” camp. I’m sorry. It just sort of happened. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my cups and spoons and use them, too, but man, oh man, when you’re making, like, three recipes at once and having to test and retest and make sure the amounts are precise every time (especially with wheat flours, whole grains, nut flours, etc.), grams are like a balm for my haggard soul. I can count on grams. They’re good to me. They’re good for the vast majority of the world (read: not America). They’ll be good to you, too. Try it for me if you haven’t already.
From here on out, mostly because it’s become a habit after writing countless recipes with them and volume-only recipes now appear naked to me, I’ll be including weights in addition to volume measurements on this site. Maybe someday when I find myself with infinite amounts of time, I’ll go back and update the entire index. (Haaa!)
I’d like to kick off my baking-with-weight love fest and my manic need to use up all these clementines with a super simple, seriously flavorful baked doughnut recipe. These little gems are a burst of sunshine–so tender and light, they’re really basically a legit way to eat cake for breakfast. Speaking of cakes involving clementines, you could also check out this baby from way back in the archives. (Turns out I had a lot of the same feelings about clementines then, too. Will I ever learn?)
Baked Clementine and Vanilla Bean Doughnuts
I measure my flour via the fluff/scoop/sweep method, which yields a cup of flour that’s on the lighter side. I’ve been playing a lot with whole wheat pastry flour for the new book, and now often find myself subbing at least half of the all-purpose flour in a recipe with whole wheat pastry flour, if not a full substitution. It’s so good, offers a nice boost of nutrition, and in many recipes you can’t tell the difference, especially if you go for a half and half mix. So why the heck not? I buy my whole wheat pastry flour in bulk at natural foods stores, which saves a bundle.
Admittedly, the glaze for these doughnuts is a classic case of gilding the lily–it’s gorgeous and delicious and I think you’re totally worth it. But of course you can skip a topping altogether, or just dust them lightly with confectioners’ sugar for an extra bit of pretty.
For the doughnuts:
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces/120 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces/50 grams) evaporated cane juice or white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons clementine zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) fresh squeezed clementine juice (from about 3 clementines)
1/4 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) whole milk
1/4 cup (2 1/8 ounces/60 grams) Greek yogurt (lowfat is fine)
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) canola oil, or other neutral-tasting oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1/2 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) organic or regular confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) fresh squeezed clementine juice
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Grease a 6-well doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, evaporated cane juice or sugar, clementine zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the clementine juice, milk, yogurt, canola oil, egg, and vanilla bean paste until smooth. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet mixture. Whisk just until smooth. Tranfer the batter to a large zip-top bag. Use scissors to snip off one corner of the bag and squeeze the batter into the wells of the doughnut pan, filling them almost to the top. Bake until the doughnuts are golden and springy to the touch, and a toohtpick comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool briefly in the pan on a wire rack before turning the doughnuts out onto the rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until smooth, adding a bit more confectioners’ sugar or clementine juice as necessary for a thick, but still pourable, glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the doughnuts and let the glaze set for about 30 minutes before serving.
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