Over the weekend, one of my best friends from college got engaged to the guy she's been dating for the past eleven years. It was such an amazing weekend and I felt so lucky to reconnect with my group of college friends and laugh about memories from years ago, but also make new memories for the future! I'm so fortunate to have amazing friends from college and to still be connected to everyone even though we have gone down very different paths and live in different cities.
I've said this before, but something about summer always makes me feel nostalgic. I long for the days of middle school and high school where I could spend the summer relaxing and the only thing I was worried about was if I would have friends in my classes in the upcoming year. We all still find time to relax during the summer (in fact today I'm taking the rest of the week off and heading to one of my favorite summer spots - Cape Cod!) but when you're working full time it feels different. This year I think I've finally realized that I'm not on a "set path" anymore in the way that I used to be. You know, four years of high school, four years of college, a first job, etc. Everything used to be SO planned. I'm a big planner so I like structure, and I think that after being in the "real world" for six years now, it's finally hitting me that I'm not on the same four-year structured routine I used to be on and that I can literally do ANYTHING I want with my life moving forward. It's exciting but it's also SCARY! As a chronic over-thinker, I often find myself fretting about if I've made the right choices and considering all the what-ifs. Like, should I have majored in something else during college? Should I have considered grad school more seriously? Is it too late to go to grad school? What if I can't afford to raise a family or even have a wedding?? These sound crazy to be stressed about but they are legitimate questions that come popping into my brain at all hours of the day (and night).
During the easy-going nature of summer, I'm really trying hard to be spontaneous and live in the moment, but sometimes my self-questioning thoughts come creeping up. Does anyone else have this problem?
Every Fourth of July, I try to make a festive recipe. When I was little we used to make a flag cake every year that had blueberries for the stars and strawberries for the stripes. I'll have to make that again soon! But this year, I was naturally inspired by the red, white and blue theme, so I decided to make something that incorporated ingredients with all those colors. Behold the Blueberry Thyme Doughnut, which is a fried doughnut that has fresh blueberries and thyme in it. For the glaze, I used the color of blueberries and cherries to add a bit of tint (although the color didn't end up coming out pronounced as I initially wanted). And they are finished with some star sprinkles! Because as I've said before, sprinkles make everything better.
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Blueberry Thyme Doughnuts
(recipe adapted from The New York Times)
Before you do anything, in a medium sauce pan, heat up blueberries, sugar, water, and thyme sprig until mixture is bubbling and thick and the blueberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and take out the thyme. Transfer the mixture to a glass container and set aside to let cool to room temperature.
Heat the milk until it is warm at 90 degrees. In a large bowl, combine it with the yeast. Stir gently, and let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
With a whisk, beat the eggs, butter, sugar and salt into the yeast mixture. Add in the cooled blueberry thyme mixture and stir and then add half of the flour and mix until combined, using a rubber spatula until combined. Then mix in the rest of the flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. When the dough becomes too thick to beat, transfer it to a floured surface, and gently knead it until smooth. Grease a large bowl with a little oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, and cover. Let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and roll it to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out the doughnuts with a doughnut cutter with a diameter of 3 inches. For the middle hole, I used a large piping tip. Knead any scraps together, being careful not to overwork, and let rest for a few minutes before repeating the process.
Put the doughnuts on two floured baking sheets so that there is plenty of room between each one. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place until they are slightly puffed up and delicate, about 45 minutes.
About 15 minutes before the doughnuts are done rising, put the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, and heat it to 375 and line cooling racks, baking sheets or plates with paper towels.
Carefully add the doughnuts to the oil, a few at a time. When the bottoms are deep golden, after 45 seconds to a minute, use a slotted spoon to flip; cook until they’re deep golden all over. Doughnut holes cook faster. Transfer the doughnuts to the prepared plates or racks, and repeat with the rest of the dough, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the oil at 375. When they are cooled, glaze and decorate!
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoons raw cane sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (one package) active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
- 2 quarts neutral oil, for frying, plus more for the bowl.
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- Blueberry syrup
- Cherry syrup