Posts Tagged ‘review’

Baked Maple Doughnuts {Crown Maple Review}

Friday, February 7th, 2014

There’s nothing like a snow day to get one craving something sweet, and making baked doughnuts lets me feel like it’s a slightly healthier choice than the fried versions. Even if I top it with a rich maple glaze. I hadn’t realized that maple bars were a West Coast thing until reading about an article about them a couple years ago. I can’t recall eating many doughnuts as a child, but realizing that something isn’t available where you now live has a way of spurring a sudden sense of nostalgia. Of course you can get maple doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts, but I’m not a fan of that chemical aftertaste that artificial maple extract imparts. So it’s safer to make my own maple glazed doughnuts at home. As I’ve said before, baked doughnuts are really just muffins in the shape of a doughnut, but the glaze transforms them into a special occasion treat.

Maple Doughnuts | FoodieTots.com

We were recently sent some maple syrups and maple sugar from Crown Maple, and I was eager to try out the maple sugar in some baked goods. Unlike the maple sugar crystals I’ve used before, Crown maple sugar is very fine in texture and gives the baked doughnuts just a subtle maple flavor while baking up light and moist with a great crumb. Just take a peek inside.

Baked Maple Dougnuts with Maple Glaze | FoodieTots

Recipe: Baked Maple Doughnuts with Pure Maple Glaze

Adapted from Shutterbean
Makes 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the maple glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure maple extract*
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk

*Note: If you don’t have maple extract, use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. It won’t have as rich a maple flavor, but will still be delicious.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease doughnut pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and maple sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together butter, egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined.
  5. Scoop the batter into a plastic sandwich bag. Snip off a corner and pipe batter into doughnut pan.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until top bounces back when poked. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.
  7. While doughnuts are cooling, whisk together the glaze ingredients using just enough milk to make it smooth but not so much that it’s runny. I made it slightly thinner and dipped the doughnuts in it, but you risk getting crumbs in the glaze that way. I’d recommend keeping it just thin enough to drizzle with a fork and drizzling it over the doughnuts.

Crown Maple Sugar Review | FoodieTots

About Crown Maple Syrup: Crown Maple Syrup is certified organic syrup produced from 25,000 sugar and red maple trees on an 800-acre sustainably-managed estate in New York’s Hudson River Valley. They use a unique reverse osmosis system to remove 90% of water from the sap before the evaporation process, resulting in an extraordinarily pure syrup. The syrups, available in light, medium, dark and extra dark amber, are pure and delicious drizzled on pancakes and waffles; I also like to use them in vinaigrette over salad and even in cocktails. You can visit Madava Farms, home of Crown Maple, on the weekends for a tour and tasting — and March is the peak tapping season to see it in action.

Disclosure: We received product from Crown Maple for review purposes; no other compensation was received and as always, all opinions are our own.

Southern Comfort at Evening Star Cafe

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

We may live in (Northern) Virginia, but aside from my occasional, tongue-in-cheek “y’all,” we haven’t adopted too many Southern mannerisms. But every once in a while, you just get a craving for something artery-clogging, particularly on a cold, snowy January day. Rather than channeling Paula Deen and deep-frying something at home, we opted to head out to one of our neighborhood restaurants, Evening Star Cafe. I was eager to try their new Saturday breakfast dishes — the fried chicken and waffle, to be precise. Though I will admit it was a tough decision between that and the biscuits and gravy, something I learned to love when visiting my grandparents in Florida many years ago. (The trip that ended my vegetarian phase, coincidentally … just couldn’t resist Grandmom’s daily bacon.)

Despite its casual neighborhood restaurant vibe in the kid-filled neighborhood of Del Ray, Alexandria, Evening Star doesn’t have a kids’ menu. On past brunch/lunch visits, we’ve been offered choices like chicken tenders and pasta off the secret menu, and I’ve even seen patio patrons order hot dogs for their dogs. (It was one of the pooches’ birthday, their owner explained. I can only assume they topped off their meal with puppy pops from the Dairy Godmother.) Anyway, I was able to order a plain waffle and scrambled egg for the boy today, which worked out perfectly. The husband had the huevos rancheros, a colorful and flavorful dish, artfully arranged and kicked up with another Southern nod, Andouille sausage.

Back to my meal, I never really understood the appeal of fried chicken and waffles — chicken for breakfast? — but I have to say I get it now. A touch of sweet honey butter on succulent, savory chicken wrapped in the warm carb embrace of a waffle, it really is perfection.  When I was pregnant with the boy, I had a freak KFC craving one night. I regretted indulging the craving for days after… now that I’m pregnant again, it’s nice to have such a delightful alternative should the fried chicken craving strike again. (And to assuage any guilt over the calorie-heavy meal, Evening Star uses local and organic ingredients “whenever possible,” according to their website.)

Evening Star is open for brunch from 10am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday. The fried chicken and waffle is only available on Saturday, while Sunday has the more traditional eggs benedict, French toast, etc.
2000 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1310
703.549.5051

Spreading Fair Trade Holiday Cheer (a Giveaway!)

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Happy December! It’s been a little quiet around here, but I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and are enjoying all the holiday preparations. We’ve lit our (organic, real) Christmas tree and visited New York, now we’re counting down the days to Hanukkah and Christmas. Phew. As we get down to gift-giving business, I have a little holiday gift for you. Read on for the giveaway instructions.

I always have great intentions to make hand-made holiday treats, only to run out of time and have to buy something in a rush. Instead of combing the local mass retailer for something semi-natural (please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t even buy a tiny bottle of hand lotion without reading the ingredient list?), Equal Exchange offers the perfect fair-trade gift baskets for anyone on your list — gifts the recipient will love and that you can feel good about. (Think daycare teachers, the milkman, the boss, etc.)

gift_FTMixer50110_mediumEqual Exchange’s Fair Trade Mixer Gift Basket, for example, includes a variety of coffee, chocolates and nuts in a fairly traded kaisa grass basket imported by Ten Thousand Villages from Dhaka Handicrafts, a non-profit that works to improve the lives of children and rural families in Bangladesh. The gift basket is on sale  for $47 until December 15th. Also find other fair trade gifts that support small-scale farmers, ranging from $27-$75. Order online and get 10% of your order and receive free shipping on orders over $75. Use coupon code: giftme10 during checkout. Coupon expires 12/31/09. Visit www.equalexchange.coop today to order!

And here’s my gift to you, courtesy of Equal Exchange. One lucky reader will receive a FREE Fair Trade Mixer Gift Basket.* Just leave a comment below sharing your favorite holiday treat to give or receive, by midnight (Eastern time), Sunday, December 13. A winner will be selected randomly on December 14. One entry per person, please, and please help spread the holiday cheer by telling a friend! Please enter a valid email address when commenting (it will not be posted) so that I can contact you if you win.

The Fair Trade Mixer Gift Basket includes:

• Organic French Roast Coffee – 10oz, drip grind
• Organic Hot Cocoa Mix – 12oz
• Organic Very Dark Chocolate – 3.5oz bar
• Organic Dark Chocolate with Almonds – 3.5oz bar
• Organic Milk Chocolate with a Hint of Hazelnut – 3.5oz bar
• Organic Tamari Roasted Almonds – 5oz
• Roasted Salted Pecans – 5oz

*Please note the fine print: All shipments are sent via United Parcel Service (UPS). Orders will be shipped within the contingent United States only. We do not ship to PO/APO/FPO’s, American Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or Virgin Islands.

And the FoodieTots.com disclaimer: all reviews are the opinions solely of myself and the FoodieTots family, and are not financially compensated in any way. Equal Exchange is providing the winner’s gift basket.

Dinner at Central

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Last week I attended a FoodBuzz publishers dinner at Michel Richard’s James Beard winning Central in Washington, DC. Together with eight other DC bloggers, we enjoyed good wine, food, and conversation about food, of course.

We started with the much lauded gougeres. While they were enjoyable, I was wishing for a slightly more pronounced explosion of cheese upon biting in. This may just reflect my personal cheese addiction, though.

As an entree, I had the braised beef cheeks with tagliatelle and carrot puree. The carrot was topped with crispy carrot ribbons, a nifty contrast in texture. The beef cheeks were rich, falling apart tender and flavorful. I sampled another person’s brussels sprouts, which were sweet and creamy and appropriately loaded with bacon, of course.

For dessert, I took the advice of our waiter and ordered Michel Richard’s chocolate bar, a rich chocolate bar paired with decadent hazelnut ice cream and caramel sauce. Truly not to be missed. Overall, I thought the food was outstanding. Sort of like the comfort food your mom would have made, if your mom were a classically trained French chef.

Thank you, FoodBuzz! And thank you to Olga (Mango and Tomato) and Rivka (Not Derby Pie) for organizing the dinner. Photos thanks to Anna of Meals from the Girl in the Little Black Dress. And also attending were Lauren from Capital Cooking Show, Quinn from Daily Moderation, Maddy from Cook Like Mad, Matt from Foodphoria, and Taresa from Cook and Book. Check out their blogs for more pictures and reviews.

Around Town: Looking for a good meal next week? Open Table’s Appetite Stimulus Plan offers $24 lunches and $35 dinners at participating restaurants Nov. 17-21. Capital Spice created a terrific Google map of participating DC restaurants, to help you map out which ones you can comfortably hit up on your lunch hour. (This deal is being offered in all of Open Table’s cities, including NY, Minneapolis, Seattle and San Francisco.)

Central Michel Richard on Urbanspoon

Food Fight, A Film Review

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

It is probably fairly obvious that this blog and my cooking are heavily influenced by Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and Alice Waters’ inspirational career. I loved The Real Dirt on Farmer John and King Corn, so naturally I jumped at the chance to review a new food film, Food Fight, directed by Chris Taylor.

This documentary narrates the history of America’s warped industrial food system, with its roots in warfare technology and obsession with convenience over flavor. Through conversations with Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck, and others, it traces the gustatory revolution quietly launched by Waters in Berkeley, California, more than thirty years ago. It follows her dedication to reclaim our food sources, celebrating flavor and the experience of eating really good food, through the creation of an organic, local food chain and the continuing challenges of making healthy, safe food affordable and accessible to all. Milwaukee, Wisc., food hero Will Allen, of Growing Power, is profiled explaining his work to bring fresh food to the inner city. Waters’ Edible Schoolyard program presents a solution to the growing problem of childhood obesity.

The film relates the uphill battle Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) faced trying to reduce subsidies to mega agribusiness to instead fund nutrition and local food programs, and the non-coincidental link between opposing members of the Agriculture Committee and the billions of dollars in subsidies that go to their districts, and to their campaign funds. Lest all this seem discouraging, the film wraps up with a call to “vote with your fork,” by making conscientious decisions about what you consume daily. Until Alice Waters is serving arugula grown on the White House lawn to DC’s public school children, there is much to be done.

Watch the trailer on YouTube:

Southern California readers can catch the FREE Hollywood screening of Food Fight this Saturday, November 8, 3:15pm at Mann’s Chinese Theatre. Anyone else should join the Facebook group to be alerted of screenings scheduled in your area, and visit the website to learn more. Enjoy!