Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"do-nut" doubt the virility of the grasshopper

At long last, it's October...my favorite month.  Right on schedule came the chilly temperatures and the steady rain.  I'm happily padding around the house in a sweater and slippers, sleeping in my warm flannel pajamas, within warm flannel sheets, but with all the windows open to let the cold breeze shiver down my spine.  Especially after the long, hot, dry summer, I'm delighting in every cool rain drop.

I love fall in the garden.  The rain pools on the spider webs...

...and collects on my nasturtium leaves, which look like miniature lily pads.

It glistens on the lilac blossoms...

...and weighs down the delicate, graceful stems of the cosmos.

The little wet-weather creatures are out in force, like this slug.

Others, not so fond of the rain, hide where they can.  Beneath the arching stems of the Russian Sage bush, like this carpenter bee...

...under the leaves on the lilac bushes, like this fly...

...or under the protective lip of my bird bath, like this grasshopper.

Grasshoppers seem especially prolific this year, and that was never more in evidence than this past week.  Fall is grasshopper mating time, and, well, they've really hopped to it.

Grasshoppers prefer to mate in the protection of bushes or other similar covering, because their preoccupied, immobile state makes them particularly vulnerable to birds and other predators.

Grasshoppers have a fascinating courtship.  Many species sing to each other, or emit pleasing pheromones, or drum on their thoraxes to attract a mate. 

One species of American grasshopper can perform up to 18 elaborate poses to draw in an admiring female!

Not all the grasshoppers I saw in the yard were mating pairs.  Several were singles, either pre- or post-mating.  Eating...

 ... or resting.

Soon their jobs will be done, they'll die with the coming cold weather, and we'll have to wait for the life cycle to begin anew in the spring.

There's no easy segue between grasshoppers and donuts, unless you acknowledge the obvious fact that both life cycles and donuts are circular.   If you can accept that air-tight logic with the knowledge that donuts are a delicious treat and that this is a recipe you'll want to try, we can move on!

I have a particular aversion to stale pastries, so I rarely buy donuts.  I also have an aversion to gaining more weight, so I've avoided learning how to deep-fry foods.  But when I saw a donut pan at Jo Ann Fabrics on clearance, I couldn't resist.  Fresh donuts with no deep frying?

Now, of course, frying does something remarkable to donut batter that baking just cannot replicate, such as provide the firm exterior and additional flavor.  But these baked donuts are nothing to sneeze at.  They have a nice, chewy texture and a really soft, flavorful interior.   And I'll take any excuse to incorporate more "fall" into my fall.  Pumpkins?  Spices?  Bring it on!

Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Adapted from Blue-Eyed Bakers
Makes 16 - 18 large donuts

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the spices and flour together with the salt and baking powder; set aside.  In your mixer, combine the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk.  Slowly add dry ingredients and combine. 

Spoon into your greased donut pan and bake about 10 minutes.  

Cool on rack.

Now, how do you want to top your donuts? Chocolate?  Vanilla?  Melted candy melts?  Powdered sugar?  It's up to you.  I chose a mixture of turbinado sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  I melted 3 tablespoons of butter into another bowl...

  ...and dipped the donut tops...first in the butter, and then in the sugar mixture.  That's all there is to it!

They were really good and I was only twenty minutes from I ought to try out those new donut pans to the finished product. 

I hope you'll give them a try this week.  They're perfect for good-book-and-flannel-pajama evenings.

Have a great week!


  1. Gonna have to try this recipe.....looks soooo good. Loved all the pics,