I've been thinking about doughnuts quite a bit, lately. Doughnuts have always occupied at least a portion of my mind, but their territory has been rapidly expanding over the past few months.
Throughout my pregnancy, I've been very lucky -- no bouts with morning sickness, little fatigue and minimal aches and pains. I also have not experienced any of the odd food combination cravings that you always hear about -- nobody was more relieved about this than Eric, who had been bracing himself for 2 a.m. runs to Smith's for capers and Cocoa Puffs.
Sure, I've had cravings, but they've all been for foods that I enjoyed long before being pregnant: hummus, chicken kebabs from Crazy Pita, and yes, doughnuts.
Here's the thing: Recently, I've noticed a trend. It's happening in Las Vegas, and I've noticed it happening in other major cities as well. Doughnuts have gone high-fashion, similar to the way that cupcakes did ten years ago. We've had a handful of doughnut shops pop up in our city over the last year, each swathed in vibrant, retro decor with bubbly-font bright neon signs hanging out front. These are not your mother's doughnut shops, offering up flavors such as S'more, Captain Crunch, and even savory options like Monte Cristo.
While these doughnuts are definitely innovative, they are also definitely not the doughnuts that I have been craving. The doughnuts that I have been craving are the old-school bakery doughnuts from my childhood: the glazed, sugar-coated, maple-frosted or sprinkle-topped. THAT'S about as fancy schmancy as I want to go these days. They can be cake texture or yeast-raised, chocolate or plain, round or oblong.....but if you start throwing marshmallow fluff, cream cheese drizzle or, God forbid, Nutella on top, you've lost me.
Fortunately, we have a couple of great old-fashioned family-run doughnut shops here in Las Vegas, like Real Donuts, where rows of freshly made crullers, fritters and jelly doughnuts welcome you upon arrival, and a dozen will cost you a very un-fancy $10. It's a bit of a drive for me (and totally worth it), but in a doughnut-emergency-pinch I might have been known to stop by my neighborhood Smith's for a glazed.......although as a food professional I will vehemently deny this, if questioned.
The only doughnut varietal that I have not been able to successfully locate here in Las Vegas is a nostalgic one from my childhood growing up on the east coast: the apple cider doughnut. This shouldn't come as a surprise, seeing as everyone knows that the best apple cider doughnuts are found at roadside farm stands and, well, Las Vegas isn't exactly in the running for The Farm Stand Capital of the World.
So, I decided to make my own version of these quintessential fall treats, incorporating a double-dose of cider via the spiced apple mixture in the dough and the slightly tart glaze, which helps to cut through the sweetness of the hazelnut-sugar crust. They make equally good doughnut holes as they do traditional doughnuts. I know this because I taste-tested them both extensively. It's my job as a blogger, after all.
Let's just say that my craving has been cured......for now.
These doughnuts are of course best eaten warm, freshly coated in glaze and sugar, but they were also pretty darn good on days 2 and 3, after being stored in air-tight containers.