sugary sweetness

If there’s opportunity to eat a donut, I have to take it. It’s not optional in my mind – it’s just how life will always be.

Dieting? Doesn’t matter – I eat it quick it enough that it couldn’t possibly count as calories. Jelly-filled? Doesn’t matter – I may dislike the need to take away from the donuts delicious inside and fill it will gooey and sugary sweetness, but I’ll still eat it. Day old? Who cares! Blame it on impulse control problems Five-Year Engagement style, but if it’s not rock-hard, I will eat it.

Donuts have this magical pull on me that I don’t think I could break even if I tried, especially if there are nuts or maple involved. And if both are involved, I’ll just die happy after I eat a couple dozen.

Now that you know my strange affection for donuts, let’s get on to boring things like how donuts are not Weight Watchers friendly. And how I knew that if I wanted to actually be able to stick with Weight Watchers, I’d have to find a “healthier” version of a donut to curb my cravings. Which is easier said than done because well, who likes healthy donuts?!

Well, I do now. These baked donuts are amazing. And so versatile. And so easy. And so everything that is good in this world. I’d recommend buying a donut pan (here’s the donut pan I bought) but if you don’t have one and don’t feel like buying one, you could always try making these in muffin pans.

Enjoy!

favorite weeknight dish

When we see a book titled Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen, we think, “Yay! A kindred spirit!” But we’re not so sure Food + Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin’s “mistakes” are quite the same as ours. Our mistakes usually end in tears–or at least in a frantic attempt to kill the smoke alarm. That said, we still still feel like we can learn from Cowin’s…mistakes. Take this stir fry dish, for example. While not exactly a kitchen fail, so-so stir fry has always plagued us. With a little help from Andrew Zimmern, Cowin–and the rest of us–can make a stir fry that totally woks. (Sorry, low-hanging fruit.)

“Until recently, whenever I made stir-fried chicken with vegetables, I was disappointed,” Dana Cowin says. “It was really bland, as if all I was doing was sautéing except on a higher heat, with a splash of soy sauce at the end. Then everything changed when Bizarre Food host Andrew Zimmern shared his recipe and technique. It involved more work, but the result was infinitely more nuanced and delicious. First he showed me how to flip ingredients in a pan without a spatula, using peanuts until I got the hang of it. He taught me to thrust the pan quickly forward and then pull back, which is incredibly awkward at first. After a few practice rounds, I got to use raw chicken chunks, which I tossed in the air and then saw land on the floor. I did learn something important as I picked up the pieces. Andrew asked me what it felt like. ‘It’s slippery,’ I said. ‘Exactly. That’s the feel of velveted chicken. It gets that way from the cornstarch.’

“The next time, the chicken stayed in the pan and I tossed in snow peas and water chestnuts. As the stir-fry cooked, the drippings got crusty and brown—what I would have called a fail, until Andrew instructed me to pour in a bit of water. All of a sudden, the browned bits released from the pan and made the most astonishing sauce. And when I mixed in the fragrant sautéed ginger, shallot, scallion, garlic, celery, peanuts and sugar, I knew I had a new favorite weeknight dish.”