Friday, December 11, 2020

Doughnut Seeds

Made some deviously decadent, gluten-free Doughnut Seeds today with cereal toasted in home rendered tallow and tossed with cinnamon sugar. Sweet enough to satisfy but not overwhelmingly so, they're a great lunchbox treat (even when you're a grown up).

I grew up close to a doughnut shop that fried their pastries in house. Walking through that plaza when they were making a fresh batch was nothing short of heaven with the aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon and the hint of "old fashioned something" from the beef tallow they added to the oil. As I got older and the shop changed hands (and methods), the experience became one I only associated with city fairs and expos. However, I never lost the memory of those bites of heaven.

While I don't deep fry anything (a bad grease burn as a kid ixnayed that!) I do have a deep appreciation for using traditional recipes and rendering my own cooking fat when possible. I started making tallow when we had large roasts that I was in charge of trimming, and now I am lucky enough that I have a fantastic butcher nearby who will sell me local, raw beef fat for pennies a pound when my jar runs low. While I usually use it (or schmaltz, or duck fat) for savoury applications, the smell of the tallow always brings me back to the old school doughnuts. I've made some "doughnut flavoured" items with it before - including a coffee cake that always seems to disappear before I can photograph it - but it wasn't until I came across a butter-toasted cereal "snack mix" in a kids' cookbook earlier this year that I figured... "why not make mini-mini doughnuts... doughnut seeds?".
Now obviously these are not your cakey, soft deep fried treat. But in all honesty, they're perfect in their own way! They are toasty, caramelized and crisp, crusted in spices and sugar and infused with the butter-tallow richness so that every handful is indescribably moreish. They store really well too (up to a week in an airtight container!) so you can pop a ziploc in your lunch and have a treat all week. While I made these with gluten free cereal, you can absolutely use your favourite (the kids at work voted a tie between Multigrain Cheerios and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios as the "best ever"). Lastly - these are easy to make and a great way to get the kids involved with measuring and tossing the cooked cereal with the sugar. With the school holidays fast approaching, it may be your ace in the hole when all the novelty of freedom has worn off!
Doughnut Seeds
Makes 4 cups
1/4 cup + 3 tbsp superfine sugar, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt (if using unsalted butter)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp tallow (or more butter)
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups gluten-free "O" cereal (I used Nature's Path)
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and salt (if using). Set aside.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter and tallow. Add the vanilla and swirl.
  3. Add the cereal and cook, tossing, until coated with the fat.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and cook, stirring often, until the cereal is toasted and well coated with the fat and sugar.
  5. Pour the cereal into a large mixing bowl and immediately sprinkle with the entire spiced sugar mixture. Toss to coat for about 1 minute, until well mixed.
  6. Pour the cereal onto a baking sheet and let cool (this prevents steam getting them soggy) before packaging.

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