A few weeks ago on a nice, bright Saturday morning I took a little road trip with my friend Sharla to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets. We had a great time and scored some awesome bargains. However, my favorite find of the whole trip was this doughnut pan from Norpro. I have been wanting one for some time and was really excited to finally find one that was a great brand at a decent price.
The store where I bought the pan also had this apple cider doughnut mix conveniently placed next to it. I’ve been seriously longing for an apple cider doughnut from Edwards Apple Orchard from when we lived up in Rockford. This place is amazing…the coolest general store with all kinds of yummy stuff, finger lickin’ bbq, some of the best apple pie I’ve EVER had (and yes, we DID try a slice with cheddar cheese and it was good!!) and their beyond drool-worthy apple cider doughnuts! Jeremy and I have seriously discussed taking a weekend trip to Rockford just for the doughnuts at the orchard (of course I’d probably have to sneak in some Chicago shopping hehe). They also have a petting zoo, live music and apple picking galore! Oh how I miss it! Apparently, they don’t have a website but here are some pics I found.
Ok so back to my doughnut mix! I made them this past weekend with the new pan and I have to say that I loved both! The pan worked wonderfully however, the side of the doughnuts that were in the pan got a bit darker and a tad more done than the other side. Not an issue really, just looks kind of funny. And the mix was great! Not quite the caliber of the orchard doughnuts but really, really good. We liked them hot out of the pan, brushed with butter and dipped in cinnamon and sugar but they were even better after they had cooled off and set for a while. You could really taste the apple cider and the texture was very moist and cake-like. Loved them! Of course I’ll be trying from scratch doughnuts next but if I ever need any in a pinch, I’ll definitely go with this brand!
The nights are getting cooler which means it’s time to break out the hot cocoa and apple cider. I thought it would be fun to share some recipes for hot drinks, both classic and new. Oh and for those who prefer a bit of booze in your holiday drink, I’ve got a couple of those too.
There’s only one thing hotter than football this fall…crockpots. Yes, CROCKPOTS. They are blowing up all over the Internet like they were invented yesterday. And there are many reasons to love crockpots…they require simple/few ingredients most of the time, they cook for you while you’re at work and it’s all done in one single piece of equipment. Yay! And there are soooo many recipes that you can make in a crockpot…from apple cider, to mexican casseroles, to appetizers and meatloaf, the possibilities are endless. And I recently discovered another use for my crockpot–cake!
Who would have thought you could make a cake without turning your oven on?? Simply amazing. Now this cake isn’t winning any beauty pageants any time soon, but in the taste department it takes home the gold! I literally threw the ingredients together for this cake in 30 minutes over my lunch break, went back to work for a couple of hours and when I got home my whole house smelled like chocolate. Yeah, I could come home to that smell every day.
It’s an interesting recipe because you make the cake batter and put it in the crockpot and then pour this water/sugar/cocoa mixture all over the cake. I mean, it’s a LOT of liquid! But amazingly enough while the cake cooks, the liquid turns to a yummy fudge sauce underneath. It’s hard to capture the full deliciousness of this cake in a picture just ’cause really, it’s not pretty, but alot of ugly recipes taste the best. This is one of those.
6 T. Unsweetened Cocoa (I used 4 T. regular unsweetened cocoa and 2 T. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
⅔ c. Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1½ sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
1 t. Instant Coffee Granules
1¼ c. Granulated Sugar
⅔ c. Whole Milk
2 Large Egg Yolks
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
3 c. Hot Water
⅔ c. Granulated Sugar
⅔ c. Packed Brown Sugar
⅔ c. Unsweetened Cocoa (I used half regular unsweetened and half Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Cake:
Coat the inside of a 2½ quart to 5 quart slow cooker or crockpot with cooking spray.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Set aside.
In another large bowl melt the chocolate chips, butter and instant coffee granules in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugar thoroughly and then the milk, egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly with a spatula. Pour into the bottom of your slow cooker and spread evenly.
For the Fudge Sauce:
Combine the hot water and both sugars and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the cocoa and vanilla. Pour over the cake batter.
Cover the slow cooker with a tea towel and then put the lid on top of that (the towel will absorb any condensation that occurs). Cook for 2½ hours on high. You will know it's ready when nearly all of the cake is set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides. Let it set for 30-45 minutes and then serve in bowls with whipped cream or ice cream.