I say little because Becca is 4’11 and officially the shortest person I know. But, although she’s short in height, I’ve always looked up to this girl with the giant smile. Since I became close with her in high school (although I’ve known her most of my life), she’s taught me everything a girl needs to know about hard work, loyalty and what it really means to “do the right thing.” Now, she’s a mother to the ever-entertaining, Brody, and my biased opinion is that there is no better mother out there.
Such a gentelman - offering me a lift in his sweet ride.
On Friday, before the great donut bake, I had the opportunity to go through the motions with Becca and Brody (husband Rory/my other protective “older brother” was out for the evening) through bedtime. I know she’s been doing this whole mommy thing for almost two years now, but I was completely floored with what a natural she is and her patience and intuition with Brody. You should see the way those big brown eyes look at his mommy – this girl was born to be a mother.
Some day, a lucky child will come into this world and get this Sometimes Healthy Girl for a mother, along with lots of experimental healthified baby food (good thing he/she won’t be able to talk in the early years). Thankfully, I’ve got a gold star example of anything and everything I’m supposed to do. Thanks, Becca – does this mean I can skip reading all of those “What to Expect” books?
Dear Child - I shall teach you many things - like how combining eggs with oatmeal in a mug is indeed a balanced/delicious meal. Get excited.
Anyway, after putting Brody to bed, we were both spent. Her, from a long day of working and playing with Brody. Me, because I drank too many glasses of vino on the plane ride back to Omaha the night before…ooops (Wine = cure to my fear of flying).
But, as an avid blog reader, Becca was just begging me to bake in her kitchen (translation – I told her I wanted to bake donuts for the tailgate and she agreed to let me do it in her kitchen because a) she wanted to hang out with me and b) her and Rory are in a rental house right now as they wait for their house to be built, so they don’t care if I mess up the kitchen.
That smile says: "I can't wait to watch my best friend terrorize my kitchen!!"
Nevertheless, when I broke out the food coloring, I think I saw a hint of concern cross her face.
Red and Purple Donuts
I had one primary objective for these donuts: to make them red and purple. Of almost, equal importance was that these babies tasted good. Looks can only take ya so far, right?
Originally, to celebrate the first meeting of my alma mater and hometown football team, I was just going to do some sort of Red Velvet Donut for the Cornhuskers. However then, I realized we’d be tailgating with Northwestern Wildcats, and what kind of person brings donuts in the opposite team’s color to a tailgate?
Thanks to my Northwestern friend for bringing this ridiculously awesome jacket to wear so that I could cover up my Huskers sweatshirt....after they lost.
Not this girl.
So I took the diplomatic route and decided to do both. Becca was super happy about all of this, and my mother was even happier that I spared her kitchen (which according to comments on last Tuesday’s post is pretty extraordinary).
We started with the Go Big Red Donuts, as they were a more straight-forward recipe. I simply modified the original recipe (using red velvet cake mix in place of yellow cake mix) from my Chocolate Chip Donuts .
Here’s how it went down:
We first set up our ingredients on the counter…Becca knows I don’t really have a counter in NYC, so this step is a very special one for this deprived Sometimes Health Girl.
Look at all that counter space. What a treat! Can you spot the baby monitor?
Then, Becca offered to pour in the ingredients and mix to give my “tired” hands a break.
My baking buddy.
She mixed and mixed until the batter was bright and delicious-looking red velvet. She said it looked like blood…I said it looked like Husker Red.
Now, that's what I call Husker Red!
Next, we filled the donut pans with our red velvet masterpiece.
These are going to be good...I just KNOW it!
Becca thought we might get get donuts with a better shape by squeezing the batter out of a plastic bag, rather than slopping it into the pan. Plus, we were testing out a new mini donut pan and using a spoon to scoop in the batter was proving ineffective. Oh Becca, you are so smart.
Piping our mini donuts!
From there, it was into the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes per load (we made 15 donuts and 6 mini donuts).
All filled and ready to go! The messy pans
As those baked away, there was no rest for the weary. It was time to get started on the purple donuts. This is where we got a little creative….
I forgot to take pictures of them without the maple glaze...thus they are not purple. But they were!
Blueberry Purple Power Donuts
Have you heard? Donuts n’ Drinks are the new Kegs n’ Eggs of morning football tailgates. Therefore, you should hop on the bandwagon and create some spirited donuts for your team of choice. Because, nothing goes better with beer and drunken debauchery…than donuts. These sweet blueberry donuts are also perfect with your Saturday morning coffee, if you want to take the more tame route.
Ingredients (makes 18 Doughnuts):
1. In large mixing bowl, pour in yellow cake mix and flour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Stir in wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
3. Gently fold in blueberries and stir away.
4. Add in proper amounts of food coloring to achieve full-on purple “power.” (You can switch up the pie filling/food color to make this recipe suitable to your team of choice.)
4. Spoon batter into donut pan – filling up about 2/3 of the way. Use the above-mentioned plastic-bag method if you’re a perfectionist (I’m not).
5. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes, until the tops get brown.
Here’s what the simple process looked like in Little B’s Kitchen:
Mmmmm....blueberry pie filling. YUMMY!
Blue + Red =?? PURPLE!
Filling em' up ever so gracefully.
Time to bake pretty purple donuts!
A Donut Without Glaze is Like a Dog Without a Tail
Once we finally baked, I noticed that Becca’s eyes were getting a bit heavy. So, I felt bad telling Becca that our baking adventure was not yet complete.
Because a donut is not a donut without the glaze.
She was very excited about this additional step, especially since she had a 2-year-old to wake up with very early in the morning.
I used the same recipe as I used for the Chocolate Chip Donuts making a Vanilla Glaze for the red velvet donuts and dropping in some maple extract to make a Maple Glaze for the blueberry donuts.
The fun is just beginning, Becca!
It looked like a donut shop in B’s kitchen as we whisked, dunked and laid out to dry.
Time for you to take a Maple Glaze bath, Mr. Blueberry donut!
I could see the sheer joy in her eyes as I gracefully slopped glaze on the donuts and unintentionally on the stovepot and countertops.
Welcome to B and J's Donut Shop!
As we waited for them to dry, Becca cleaned up her kitchen. I tried to help but she told me to sit down and take a load off. Translation: She preferred not to redo parts the parts that I cleaned.
Eventually, the kitchen was clean, the donuts were dry and we packed them away for our exciting tailgate the next day.
And as you know, these little donuts were quite the hit at the tailgate the next day. I think I may have started a tailgate trend!
Beer and cupcakes...mmmmm tastes so good when it hits your lips.
While I really enjoyed eating the donuts, I definitely savored the baking process way more. As we moved around the kitchen while our favorite country music songs played in the background, I felt so lucky to have this time to share with Becca and catch up on anything and everything we’ve missed in each other’s lives over the past few months. Our schedules are pretty much opposite (she’s usually sleeping by the time I leave the work or the gym here in New York), so it’s rare we even have time to connect on the phone. When I’m home, I’m usually pretty busy, and it’s hard to find a few hours to slow down and just hang out with my close friends. These donuts gave us the perfect excuse to do just that.
Looking back on my short trip home, it’s nice to reflect on the fun times like tailgating with friends from college and home and watching my alma mater’s football team eat the hometown heroes for breakfast (although this was simultaneously very sad for this fair- weather fan.) But, what I’m most grateful for is the night of baking with Becca and the chance to spend some quality time with her beautiful son.
When’s the last time you had a baking bonding session? Share your story, please. Bonus points if you can make me cry with your story.
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