Donuts + The Future

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Stop the World I Want to Get Off, is the name of a musical I have never seen. It is also how I feel. I’m having hard time being a person this week. Things keep exploding. And flooding. And being shameful. And being racist. And being anti-gay. And being irresponsible. And being ridiculous. And all anyone does is complain about it on Facebook.

***

My best friend had a baby last week. Best friend doesn’t really do it justice. We are kin, and the most powerful kind of kin because we adopted each other—there were no obligations. She and her husband made the most beautiful baby that I have ever seen. Yes, I am biased but he really is perfect and I can already sense his extreme intelligence and creativity. He is currently experiencing his 7th day of life. Everything is new to him. Life is stretched out before him—The Future.

There are weeks (like this one) when the future seems completely terrifying to me. My initial response is always flight. I want to move to a forest (I can’t really explain this one). I want to move to another country (What is the name of that country that doesn’t have any problems?). I want to watch American Idol (the final three better be Kree, Amber, and Candice— otherwise I’m coming for you America). Then, I get angry and scream about fucking politicians or those idiots to Bryan who is overwhelmed by my intensity, but sympathetic.

But mostly I don’t do anything. I sit here, angry sometimes, and I eat donuts. And I look for good news. And there is always some good news. And the good news makes me forget all of the terrible stuff for a while. I have the privilege of being able to forget.

***

So once again it is hard to write about food. We gotta get out there and make things better—stand up to a bully, call your representative, recycle something, teach somebody something. Because donuts are important, but not as important as not getting shot. Or love. Or babies.

So make some donuts to celebrate surviving this week and share them with friends. And then, figure out how you’re going to make things better so that more people can have the privilege of reading food blogs, and making donuts, and temporarily forgetting.

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These are from the spectacular Saveur donut issues which is a real stunner. These are crunchy and heavily spiced and SO delicious. They also, remarkably, tasted almost as delicious the next day. I can’t wait to make them again.

Old-Fashioned Spiced Sour Cream Donuts (from Saveur)

  • 4 cups (1 lb. 2 oz.) bread flour, sifted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ cups sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Canola oil, for forming and frying
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, 3 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tsp. nutmeg, ginger, 1½ tsp. allspice, salt, and cloves in a bowl; set aside. Combine eggs, sour cream, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; beat until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until a soft, sticky dough forms.

Heat 2″ oil in a 6–qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325°. Using lightly oiled hands, roll about ¼ cup batter into a loose, sticky ball; pat gently into a disk. With your thumb, make a 1½″ hole in the center of dough; carefully slide into oil and fry, flipping once, until puffed and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet with a wire rack; repeat with remaining dough and let donuts cool completely.

Whisk remaining cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, plus confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and ¼ cup water in a bowl until smooth. Dip tops of donuts in glaze and return to wire rack until glaze is set.

60 comments to “Donuts + The Future”

  1. The future is scary. But I’ve got to admit – the video of NZ parliament breaking out in song made my heart so happy and reminded me that there is good stuff swirling around the world, despite the bad.

    Cheers to a new baby and donuts.

  2. OMG those doughnuts! Someone once told me that Canadians eat more doughnuts then any other country in the wolrd per capita. I’m Canadian and I do have a penchant for doughnuts, I mean I just can’t resist a good one. If any of you are in NYC go to Doughnut Plant (the best). Anyway I’ve never actually tried to make doughnuts, but these bad boys are kind of making me want to dive in and just try them. They look so delicious.

    xo Quinn

  3. Hahaha I do the same thing. As if your BFF had a baby! I know people have babies all the time, but I would feel way to grown up if my bestie had a human..whoa…or me! AHHHH!!! I need like 20 of these donuts right now to calm down.

  4. I am reading this In Boston. Your words of confusion resonate with me. I just baked scones while watching swat teams on TV – things need to change and the world needs love, peace and baked goods!

  5. You know, I almost never feel connected to the posts that accompany the recipes on cooking blogs. I love them, but they are like – - you know, a little too someone else’s life. But not this: I was charmed, comforted, relieved to know someone is is feeling the same way I am. All that is to say, I needed to read something like this today; thank you!

  6. Good Words.

  7. Thank you for writing such a touching post. Nice to know others have had a difficult time with this Week.

  8. Hey – de-lurking to say hang in. I’m a teacher and it’s end of quarter/term and thought yesterday it must be a full moon with all the craziness I’m dealing with/experiencing. Sometimes it’s enough to know it’s NOT JUST ME! However, the donuts sound like something to make celebrating making it through. And a glass of wine, of course! Thanks for the post and the idea

  9. I’ve been feeling the communal dread so strongly that I can only sleep with ENO’s discreet music playing on random as a audio cocoon.

    BTW. how many donuts does the recipe make?

  10. hey mac- the recipe says 14? I think I got 12…so somewhere around a dozen.

  11. yes, yes, yes. life just seems so hard lately. and the snow flurries that i just spied outside my window almost sent me right back under my comforter. but, as spring is around the corner, so is a friends laugh, or an inside joke, or even a donut, that will snap you back into a better place. in the meantime, it is helpful to to read your words (and the other commenters) and not feel alone in these thoughts.

  12. Appreciate this post Tim, it reflects well the tension right now. The crazy is so so gross. I’m happy that you have a perfect, creative and intelligent nephew-type-love. Congrats xoxox

  13. YES, friend.

  14. I made brownies yesterday, and ate the whole batch! So it seems all kinds of baked goods are in order for mood lifters:-) We can help each other remember that there is so much good happening everywhere……just gotta be on the lookout for it.

  15. It has been a hard week. I haven’t really acknowledged this anywhere just because maybe it’s been easier not to. (Also, I always feel like something of an outsider still when crazy things happen in America, even if I live here now.) But thanks for your words. Big hugs.

  16. Thanks for writing this. Cooking and eating and sharing and planning for the next meal are what get me through sometimes.
    I made that delicious eggplant/ yogurt dip the other night from your site and it made it all better for at least a few meals.
    Congrats on your new baby friend… they are handy at putting life into perspective and are so fun to feed!

  17. It has been a bad week but hope your heavenly doughnuts put a smile on your face and made all the small minded people seem far away :)

  18. You are not alone in your thoughts or your love of donuts.

  19. Ahhhahhahhahh – Planet donut. I hear and feel you and will keep trying to make things better. Triumph over the muck.

  20. I’m glad someone (you) has the guts to stand up and tell it like it is! Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t forget we all need to eat.

  21. Thank you. Oh, and you are not alone in wanting to run away to a forest. I get that, I really do.

  22. On a day like today, it’s all I can do to keep from crying. So thank you for reminding me that there is still good in this world. And babies. And donuts. xo

  23. I feel your pain. We try to make sense out of things that have no logic.

  24. Anne Zimmerman says:

    April 19th, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I’m going to take the candied orange blossom donut I was given by a friendly neighborhood coffeeshop girl as a good sign for the future. It’s the best we can do, right?

  25. Hey, I just wanted to say thank you. And your food writing/posting goes a long way.

    (and I DO live in a never-ending forest of fun, Colorado! it’s awesome!)

  26. Timely and fitting. It’s been hard being a person this week all over, for the reasons you cited and so many more. When do donuts not help this issue? Almost never. Thanks for the great post and delicious suggestion for coping throughout :-)

  27. Really great post, Tim. I think I kind of take the approach that food blogs are our place of “temporarily forgetting,” so I don’t tend to acknowledge these type of really really hard but really really important things. I think you handled it extremely eloquently though. Brief and though-provoking.

  28. Suz in Santa Cruz says:

    April 19th, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks for the lovely and touching post. You are not alone. Babies do a lot to heal us, thank god. And very needed this week. Katie, you are not the only one who feels like an outsider when these things happen – my America wouldn’t pass on gun control, would help poor people and immigrants, would …… My non-food advice is to not watch television news. The visuals are too much for most of us, especially as they are played over and over. Radio, maybe, or newspapers. All the best to you all.

  29. I can’t imagine a better way of connecting the big to the small, the important to the frivolous, the overwhelming intensity of the world and being a part of it to the tiniest bite of something sweet and handmade and reassuring. Well done: the donuts and the writing.

  30. Yes to all of this: the privilege of forgetting, getting out to make things better, love, babies, etc. But I think we’ve still got reasons for hope, like the good news there is, and donuts. Thanks for your wisdom and beautiful words as always.

  31. Yes. Thank you. Thank you.

  32. A great read, Tim. Thank you for summing up so eloquently how so many of us feel. Hugs & donuts!!

  33. So, so good, Tim. There’s no way to explain it and I think there’s nothing wrong with taking some time to focus on donuts. Because really, it’s more than the donut – it’s sharing, it’s taking the time to create something beautiful and that brings you and others around you great joy. And that, I think is one of the best things we can do.
    Thanks for your words.

  34. Thank you for our words today and articulating the tension of the horrible occurrences in the world and the need for family and comforting food and acknowledging the pressing need for action and standing up to this insanity. Thank you!

  35. I’ve been twitching all week. And baking all week. And you said everything I couldn’t articulate and I thank you deeply for it.

  36. SO well put… I feel exactly the same way but would not have been able to express it so perfectly. Now… to figure out where that perfect forest/country is :)

  37. so true. Thanks for this. I admit to never making donuts before as my ice cream habit is guilty pleasure enough, but these look incredible. I may have to cave!

  38. thanks for all of the nice comments and encouragement, it is comforting to hear other people feeling the same way- isn’t it? keep being awesome.

  39. Tim, I’m in my beloved Boston. I’m literally watching live coverage of police who have the 19 year old bombing suspect cornered under a boat.  It’s incredible. And scary. And surreal.  And while his acts four days ago were despicable, I can’t help think that this is a 19 year old kid…who is injured and will be killed either by police or by his own hand very shortly, or spend the rest of his life in jail.  And then I think there are people and kids who live this violence and stress every day who live in neighborhoods across Amercafar less fortunate than mine.  I’m rambling…
    Anyways, I choose to let this week show me the very best of humanity, of kindness, og generosity in action.  People’s selfless acts of bravery and kindness have brought me to tears, and my chest burst with pride to be part of this amazing city.  I was so scared after 9/11, but the palpable kindness in Boston this week fuels me with resolve and determination to live every moment  of my life go the fullest.  And, your doughnut post brought that into focus for me.  
    I agree.  Keep being aewsome.

  40. I’m sorry, did you say “donut issue”? I was going to comment on how, yes, sometimes I too have those “help, I’m alive” moments. But now I’ve got to go get a copy of Saveur. Maybe next time we can get all existential.

  41. Thank you so much for this post, for so so many reasons. It is heartening to know that there are people everywhere who will keep on keeping on in their own little corner of the world, just as I am trying to keep on keeping on in mine. My area of making things better involves teaching wee children how to play the cello, and keeping the symphonic works of both old and new composers alive. (I will also be glad to offer you a hand if America gets it wrong with their vote. Candice for the win!!!!)

  42. Make donuts, share them with those around you, hold tightly to the people that make you life whole. Thanks for the post.

  43. You do know Dunkin’ Donuts was the only business allowed to remain open during the lockdown in Boston, don’t you?! People need donuts.

  44. Lovely post. I’ve been feeling a bit down all week and couldn’t put my finger on it. It’s amazing the power of the collective unconscious. It’s been a rough week in the U.S. But at the very least, people are feeling something and connected in some way, even if it’s in a kind of sad and confused way. There is some hope in that…

  45. Thank you. Reading this now soothed my tired heart. Loved the tiny emphasis on the bad words. Agree about Fb. Baked all day to feel like I had done something good in the world. Thank you and to all who blog about being kind with baking. Cookies and cakes certainly do make the world go round, and if there were more, perhaps the world would be a little less evil. Heard today from a pastor in Boston that evil provokes good. I would like a little less provocation. Please.

  46. Yes. Doughnuts. I was losing myself in the doughnut issue the other day too… when there isn’t much else you can do, you can always bake up a batch of doughnuts and make a dozen people happy…

  47. I really loved that doughnut issue too, mouthwatering. Just like these, absolutely love the look of these beauties.

  48. oh tim, way to make me cry. I’ve decided on a facebook hiatus for a little while. It’s only been 36 hours but I read a novel and baked 4 things and I can feel it helping,

  49. One of my favorite childhood memories of my mother is her making fried sugar and cinnamon doughnuts out of dough. Nothing like them and so easy to make!

  50. This is a much-needed post. Well said: “I have the privilege of being able to forget.”

  51. Thanks for sharing the donut recipe! I made them with my husband this Sunday (who loves old fashioned donuts) so that we could spend some time together having fun and enjoying the little moments of life. I can’t wait to make this for a brunch party or just for fun another time. Be well and have a great week!

  52. The Onion has a hilarious article called “Jesus, This Week” about last week’s craziness that allows you to smile a little bit, just like these donuts.

  53. I live these same feelings every single day. I sometimes feel so cynical about the whole blogging world, but I don’t feel that way about this post because I ask myself these very same questions all the time. Thank you for sharing your insight and lets hope that the change we want/need will someday come, but know that we can eat doughnuts in the mean time : )

  54. you are a good man tim. your heart and brain are a wonderful contribution to this world. that’s a start.

  55. Thank you, and may your week improve!

  56. Thank you for putting it all into a positive perspective, Tim.

    Yummy donuts that I need in my life.

  57. elizabeth madden says:

    April 24th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    These look amazing. sight for sore eyes.

  58. These donuts bring all the boys to the yard. Mmhhmm.

    But note to amateur bakers like myself: give each donut the full 4-5 min; otherwise, they turn out gooey on the inside.

  59. Awesome recipe thank you! Your blog is inspirational.

  60. These donut were the best thing to happen to me today, and I am not kidding. Now all I have to do is figure out how to hide them from myself so that I won’t EAT THEM ALL.

    Seriously, thank you.

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