Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes

Finally—a good donut recipe I am happy to share! After beginning my quest for the best gluten free donut last month, and trying three different baked donut recipes with varying degrees of success, the overwhelming consensus is that this is certainly the best one. Don’t worry: while these are fried, most of the oil is not absorbed at all! We enjoyed them in under 5 minutes flat with a large cup of amazing Blue Bottle coffee from San Francisco. We took a little longer with the coffee.

I had another one of my This is My Life epiphanies yesterday.  Like, this is my LIFE. You know? These thoughts always leave me feeling exhilarated (because I love my life) but also anxious (because I could be doing so much more with it). I feel like I’m going to figure it all out this summer. I’ll let you know what I find out! Meanwhile, I came across this great article about on MindBodyGreen.com with 20 fun date ideas. With so much deliciously sweet time this summer on my hands, I look forward to trying all of them! Why not? Which ones would you try?

1. Surprise yourselves with new music.

Grab a local newspaper or magazine, find the live music section, close your eyes and pick a band neither of you knows. Go check them out! You might discover your new favorite band (or you might remember why you hate heavy metal). Either way, there will adventures and bonding.

2. Take a really long one-way walk.

Take a really long walk in one direction — passing through different neighborhoods, stopping for coffee or lunch, checking out shops and parks. Take a taxi back to ease the pain!

3. Go halfsies planning the evening.

One person organizes the dinner, the other organizes the entertainment: tickets, reservations, the whole thing. All this collaboration will help you learn more about your date’s taste and interests.

4. Make a fort.

Use your sofa cushions and an old blanket and hide out under a card table. Make out.

5. Have a seven-course dinner… at six different places.

Try appetizers at one place, soup at another, salad at another, entree at another, dessert someplace else, and coffee or after dinner drinks at your final destination.

6. Try something neither of you have done before.

Salsa dancing? Pottery class? Rock climbing? Renting a Vespa and driving along the coast? (Groupon can help with this!)

7. Do a double feature.

Each of you brings your favorite movie to watch and neither of you know ahead of time what the other is bringing. Maybe this will be a rom-com paired with a Hitchcock thriller?

8. Check out a drive-in movie.

The double feature at home not adventurous enough for you? Try a drive-in movie! I admit, this one seems uber-cool to me just because I’ve never done it. It’s even more fun if you drive a hatchback and make a nest in the back.

9. Make a music mix for each other.

If you’re feeling ambitious, give your mixes a theme: Songs I Loved In High School, Songs We Heard On Our Trip To Mexico, Songs I’m Ashamed To Admit I Like.

10. Hit the video game arcade.

Everyone likes Pac-man, right?! If you’re feeling really brave, challenge your date to a Dance Dance Revolution dual!

11. Get ice cream.

Go big! Choose each other’s toppings, mix and match scoops, walk around afterward and talk about how you feel.

12. Have a “cultured” date.

Go to an art gallery, a poetry reading, or a lecture. Check out a fancy restaurant that serves things like escargot. Pretend to be sophisticated and talk about more than the last episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians.

13. Shhhh. Make it a silent date.

Get cozy near each other and read books.

14. Sneak into a rooftop pool.

Sneaking plus swimsuits = sexy!

15. Visit the old neighborhood.

Take your date to your old stomping grounds. Which bars did you go to in college? What was your favorite coffee shop when you lived here? What did you always order at that deli?

16. Make it a mystery dinner.

Type your neighborhood into Yelp, and search the restaurants. Sort by “highest rated” and walk there for dinner. Maybe you just discovered your new favorite place?

17. Re-enact your first date.

This one is the most fun for married or long-term couples. Get ready separately, meet somewhere new, and pretend you’ve never met before. Just start over.

18. Cook a five-course meal together.

Plan appetizers, soup, salad, a main, dessert and then spend the day chatting, stirring, sauteing, and drinking wine.

19. Pop over to the nearest playground.

Have a go on the swings, play horseshoes, and see if you can still make it across the monkey bars.

20. Pretend to be tourists.

Go do the stuff you’ve never done because you live here! Check out the Tripadvisor suggestions for your city and work your way through them together.

Dating should be a time to reconnect with your partner and remember why you chose them in the first place. Use your imagination and you can do just that!

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes

Half the prepared dough recipe yielded about 40 small holes—good for the 2 of us!

1 bag Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough Mix (I got mine at Whole Foods. I prepared the whole package, but only used ½ of the dough for the donuts. I reserved the other ½ for a pizza later!)

2 organic eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

Yeast package (in the mix)

1 ½  cup warm water

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups organic extra virgin olive oil, for frying

2 cups organic high-high heat canola oil, for frying

Instructions:

In a large bowl add the yeast packet and the warm water. Stir and let sit for a few minutes. Add the eggs and blend with a hand mixer until combined. Add the pizza dough mix and blend with your hand mixer for 1-2 minutes, or until well blended. It will be very sticky. Take a butter knife and separate the dough into 2 pieces (leave in the bowl). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20-30 minutes. It will not rise all that much. This is ok!

Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Once the dough is ready, only use 1 of the dough pieces (half the recipe), and flour a clean surface and roll out the dough like you were going to make a pizza. Use more flour if it sticks. Use a 1 inch cookie cutter (or improvise! I used half of a loose-leaf tea ball) to cut out little circles. Take each circle and roll it in your hands to make a ball. Set on a plate.

In a medium to large heavy-bottomed pot or frying pan, add the 2 oils (I needed 4 cups. You just need enough to submerge the balls), and turn burner on to medium high heat. Use a *candy thermometer clipped to the side to monitor the temperature; it will take a few minutes to get up to 350-375.

Working in batches, add the dough balls. Use a slotted spoon to move them around a bit. They will be very pale in color but will puff up nicely. They take around 45 seconds to cook. Use your slotted spoon and place cooked donuts on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

While still warm, add the donuts to the bowl with the cinnamon and sugar. Use a spoon to move the donuts around and cover completely with the topping. Transfer the donuts to a cooling rack until ready to serve.

*If you do not have a candy thermometer, I would heat the oil for about 5 minutes, and then I would test a piece of dough. It should start to puff up after a few seconds or so.

Inspired by: Giada De Laurentiis 

photo (46)