If you were to ask me what it is I love most about baking, I’d tell you it’s how it connects people. If you’ve never bonded with someone over a seriously good slice of chocolate cake or the delightfully finicky (and occasionally frustrating) process of making macarons, you’re missing out. You don’t need to be a hard core foodie to appreciate perfectly smooth buttercream frosting or the fact that a warm brownie served with vanilla ice cream is pretty much the best thing EVER (or that the pan-side brownie pieces with their thick, extra chewy crusts are the best brownie pieces HANDS. DOWN.).
Everyone, from novice to expert, appreciates good food.
Which is exactly why I’ve built 90% of my social interactions around food. I’m sure this is just me and none of you awesome folks can relate, but I can get… awkward… when meeting new people or talking to people I’d like to get to know. There’s just something in my brain that goes, “You seem like a cool person. Please, let me ruin everything by being awkward.” Thanks brain, thanks a lot.
And so what I lack in not-occasionally-being-awkward skills I make up for in food. I have less of a chance to stick my foot in my mouth if your busy eating, right?
What’s more, I’ve found few things that endear a person more than good food. I once had a friend in high school observe, as I was handing out 30 hand-piped Valentine cookies to classmates, “This is how you pick up guys, isn’t it?” Well yes… guys, friends, favors, the odd computer repair…
But more than anything else, baking is my little way of putting happiness back into the world. Seriously, when was the last time you saw someone eat a cupcake and be sad about it? Or a doughnut? Or, more importantly, an adorable chick doughnut?
- 1¼ cup flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- ¾ milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 12 almonds, halved lengthwise
- 10 oz yellow candy melts
- A handful black candy melts
- A handful orange candy melts
- In a medium size bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and poppy seeds) in a large bowl and whisk until well mixed. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (butter, egg, milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice/zest). Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet until the mixture is completely lump free.
- Pour (or pipe) the batter into greased doughnut pans and bake at 350F/175C for 9-10 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the doughnuts comes out clean).
- Once the pan is cool enough to handle (about 5 minutes), invert the pan over a cooling rack and gently shake the pan until the doughnuts come out.
- In a piping bag, melt a few pieces of the yellow candy melts. Pipe a generous amount onto the flat side of your almonds and press them into the cooled doughnuts.
- In a deep bowl, melt your yellow candy melts using 20 second increments in the microwave. You won't use the whole bag, but you can melt them all and wrap up any leftovers in plastic wrap for later use. Dip each doughnut into the candy melts, allow the excess to drip off, then turn right-side-up and tap gently against the counter until the coating is smooth. If the almonds show through the candy coating, coat them a second time.
- Once the yellow candy coating has hardened, melt the black and orange candy melts in two separate piping bags, and use them to pipe the chicks' beaks, feet, and eyes. Optional: brush on a little pink powdered food coloring.