Month: August 2016

Oreo Doughnut

For reals, y’all. Oreos and doughnuts in one bite. It’s like dessert for breakfast without having to justify it. (E.g.: “Of course, I can eat cake for breakfast – it’s the day after my birthday, first day of work/school, etc.” OR “Cupcakes are muffins with frosting – so pretty much the same thing.” You get the drift.)

How did I decide on the Oreo Doughnut? I learned from Gibson’s Donuts Instagram that it was once a doughnut of the month (like the Jolly Rancher is the Doughnut of the Month of August), but the Oreo doughnut was so popular, Gibson’s added it to the regular line-up. There were only three left in the case, so you know that the people of Memphis love this doughnut

Before we evaluate the Oreo Doughnut, let’s examine the Oreo cookie:

Image result for oreos

Photo from The Christian Science Monitor

Creamy filling inside two chocolate cookies – a nice treat. But I ask you: do you think the cookie part is realllly chocolate? Here’s why I ask: I am of the “twist and eat” school of Oreo consumption.  I twist off one cookie, eat the filling, then eat the remaining cookie. As opposed to those who eat the whole cookie on one bite. (I have also been known to carefully lift the filling out of a chocolate Oreo and place it inside a vanilla Oreo if I think the flavors would taste better that way.) As a result, I feel I am familiar with the taste of the Oreo cookie part of the Oreo. I think I last ate one in May or June, in case you’re wondering. So not so long ago that I can’t remember what it tastes like.

Anyway, I say all this to say this: the chocolate cookie of the Oreo doesn’t really taste chocolatey. This is important as we evaluate the Oreo Doughnut.

Oreo2 II

As you can see, Gibson’s created a kind of deconstructed Oreo: crushed Oreo cookie on top of white (vanilla?) glaze. They were very liberal with the crushed Oreo, which I appreciated. The glaze was also quite generously slathered on the doughnut – a very good doughnut-making decision.

The taste: like an upscale Oreo cookie, except there was no chocolate taste. But as we’ve discussed, the Oreo doesn’t really taste chocolatey.

I feel a little conflicted about the score. I can’t penalize Gibson’s for the lack of chocolatey flavor of the Oreo. But that ended up creating  a less than satisfying doughnut. Not on the part of Gibson’s, by any means, of course.

It is true to the taste that should be expected, so:

Tastee score: 8

Doughnut News: Gibson’s Instagram, which they apparently started on August 6. There are beautiful photos of doughnuts, and some videos showing how they make the doughnuts! One day, I hope I can ask them lots of questions about their doughnut-making process and how it makes their glazed doughnut so superior to all other glazed doughnuts.

 

 

Cinnamon-Blueberry Crumble … Or Is It?

I mean, does it get any tastee-ier sounding than this?? I was so, so excited to hear about this flavor at Gibson’s! As was Cousin Gwen, who in the spirit of the Olympics, pre-scored this doughnut as a 10.

After I ordered, my very helpful Gibson’s person tried to talk me into another doughnut, like Glazed. At any other doughnut shop, that’s a pretty easy no. But at Gibson’s? The mere mention of the Glazed doughnut instantly makes visions of sugarplum fairies dance in my head and my mouth start to water, due to the doughnut perfection that it is.

Somehow, I managed to exert my very weak doughnut-will power to say no to the additional doughnut. That was hard. Really hard. But I know it will be there every single time, so I can have another whenever I want.

But back to the Cinnamon-Blueberry Crumble. One would think the taste would be equal parts cinnamon and blueberry, right? But look at it. (hint: foreshadowing)

BlueVinCrumble 2

The TINY, TINY bits of blueberry should have been my first clue. But I still had the memory of the blueberry doughnut in my mind. I wanted some blueberry!

BUT it was mainly cinnamon. As in, you wondered if the blueberry was an imaginary flavor. Now, I’m not complaining about the cinnamon – this tasted like a delicious cinnamon crumble coffee cake. So delicious. BUT (again) the doughnut was advertised as Cinnamon BLUEBERRY. Should the secondary placement of “blueberry” in the name have indicated that the blueberry flavor wouldn’t be as prominent?

I’m not sure. But I wanted more blueberry.

The doughnut part was almost like an Old-Fashioned, but more coffee-cake-ish. Appreciating that taste alone was very nice. In fact, it saved the doughnut from a lower score due to the lack of blueberry:

Tastee score: 7

Doughnut news: I’m so sad the Olympics are over, although I’m glad I can have a decent bedtime again. If you’ve been wondering what you can do to achieve the peak physical performance of the Olympians, you’ll be glad to know that doughnuts can be part of a successful Olympic diet:

 

 

Who is the Jolly Rancher?

It seems that Gibson’s comes up with new flavors on a weekly basis. This week, as I scanned multiple doughnut choices for this week’s doughnut, I noticed something new: this very happy looking doughnut amongst the reliable favorites:

JR 2

Gibson’s had a little sign in this section of the display case announcing this doughnut flavor is “Jolly Rancher,” the hard candy that comes in dozens of fruit flavors.

Photo from CandyFavorites.com

But then I started wondering: why is a candy brand named Jolly RANCHER? Should that brand name be for beef? Think about it, you don’t really need a ranch for candy, right? And is the Jolly Rancher related to the Jolly Green Giant? The Jolly Green Giant grows vegetables, so if the Jolly Rancher is raising cattle, this would be a logical partnership, no? To add to my confusion, I’ve just realized the Jolly Green Giant’s chant of “Ho, ho, ho!” references either the Hostess snack cake or Santa’s traditional greeting.

Ay yi yi, who knew candy could be so confusing? But I digress. You came here for doughnuts, not for discussions about beef and branding questions. (Oh! Almost a pun there, my apologies.)

This doughnut gains points for appearance:  doesn’t it look so fun, with all the different colored candies dotting the white (vanilla?) glaze? In the interest of full disclosure, this doughnut suffered a travel snafu – the doughnut got tumped over on its glazed side. Before that unfortunate turn of events (pun intended, no apologies), the doughnut was a little more 3D: the candies were not mushed into the glaze.

The candy bits were small enough that you won’t break a tooth while eating them, but there’s still a slight crunch, assuring you that the candy is indeed the real thing.

Gibson’s creativity is also notable – I would have never thought of adding a hard candy to a doughnut topping.

The taste? HOO-BOY, the topping is VERY sweet. Like you’re eating a candy doughnut. The doughnut part did not taste as if it contained additional sugar, or this doughnut would have been sweet enough to curl my toenails.

Tastee score: 8

Doughnut News

This week’s doughnut news: when Olympic swimming gold medalist Simone Manuel returned to Houston (my former residence), how did she want to celebrate? By eating doughnuts, of course!

 

 

Olympic Birthday Celebration

Have you been watching the Olympics? I’ve been glued to the TV watching sports I usually don’t get to see often (or at all), such as rugby and equestrian events. And who knew trampolining was an Olympic event? The synchronized diving, swimming and gymnastics have also been so fun to watch. It’s so exciting to watch these athletes achieve triumph over sometimes difficult personal situations or injury to compete at this level.

As Providence would allow, the Opening Weekend was the same weekend as my birthday, AND it was a Houston weekend! I asked my friends to bring Olympic-themed dishes to a celebration. What is an Olympic-themed dish? I’ll show you how my very creative friends interpreted it:

Brazilcaprese 2

Jody brought personal caprese in the colors of the Brazilian flag. These were all gone by the end of the evening, so he shared the award of Tastiest with:

Lasagna 2

Regina and David, who made this lovely eggplant and sausage lasagna. It was almost all gone by the end of the evening.

Next is the winner for the Most Patriotic:

Patrioticfruit

Angela brought this berry salad with Cool Whip – it was very refreshing!

The award for Most Creative Use of Theme was also a tie:

Olysnacks

Carolyn brought this lovely snack assortment in the colors of the Olympic rings. Plantain chips with guacamole is going on my healthy snack list SOON!

Olypizza

Ami made this pizza with each ring representing a different country:

The red ring of pepperoni for the U.S.;

The black ring of olives (and sausage, I think?) for Mediterranean/Greek;

The blue ring of blue corn chips (and more sausage?) for South America;

The yellow ring of corn and curry for Asia; and

The green ring of green bell peppers for vegetarians everywhere.

AND she made an Olympic torch of Cheetos in the corner. BRILLIANT!

My friends Ai Leen and Aaron hosted this event (HUGE THANK YOU)! Ai Leen made a sangria with fruit in the colors of the Olympic rings, but I forgot to photograph it. I didn’t sample any of it, but I heard good things about it all evening. I remembered to take a photograph of the charcuterie board she designed:

Charcuterie 2

Isn’t it beautiful?! She had three types of cheese to the side (another missed photo opportunity). This photo is a little blurry because I was in a hurry to sample all the delicious options. If you’d like to know exactly how she plans her charcuterie boards, she details it here, including the recipe for her kumquat compote (the lovely orange creation in the top middle).

Other dishes included KFC fried chicken (inspired!) from Carolyn and Doug, a green salad topped with berries (yummy) from Jill Ann, chicken skewers (also yummy) from a local Greek restaurant from Brooke, and grape leaves from Costco brought by Mark (Ai Leen declared they were really good quality). My goddaughter TLT (for “The Little Tigress” and daughter of Ai Leen and Aaron) displayed her budding hostess abilities by placing a bowl of her play fruit and play pizza slices on the table.

My Olympic tradition is baking an Olympic Cake:

Olycake

Although this is not a baking blog (Cousin Gwen is the expert in that area), following is how you can bake this cake: pick your favorite white cake recipe. One option is the  funfetti boxed cake mix from Pillsbury. I wanted to make everything from scratch, so I used Mrs. Billett’s White Cake Recipe that I found on the Southern Living website. (Southern Living is Bible Truth for baking and cooking – it’s hard to find a bad recipe on that website.) After mixing the batter, I stirred in about 3/4 to 1 cup mini-M&Ms. TLT took on the painstaking work of removing all the orange M&Ms so only the Olympic-ring-colored M&Ms were included in the cake. She also helped mix the batter. She did an fantastic job with both!

Unfrosted cake 2

This recipe is made for a layer cake, and as you can see, I baked the cake in a 13×9 pan. It took a little longer to bake than the recipe instructed and the cake seemed a bit dense, but it was still good.

Oycakeside

For the frosting, I again turned to Southern Living and made the White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Y’all, it was really, really tasty! Almost as tasty as the cream cheese frosting on Gibson’s Donuts’ Red Velvet Doughnut. The ever-gracious Ai Leen let me use a biscuit cutter to make a slight indentation in the frosting to use as a guide for the Olympic rings. TLT helped me add the M&Ms around the edges – didn’t she do a great job? She cooks and bakes with her mom, who is beyond excellent, so she is a very reliable sous chef.

Ai Leen and Aaron were so very gracious in opening their home to my friends. They were also very patient with my baking MO: I got powdered sugar and frosting in some unfortunate places. I tried to clean it all up, but Ai Leen somehow managed to get it all cleaned up and put away before I could turn around from different parts of the cake preparation – even though she was also feeding their 8 month old, keeping careful watch on TLT, and arranging party preparations. She is a dear, dear friend!

Doughnut news: My Cousin Gwen gave me this book:

doughnut book

So I hope to have all sorts of Doughnut Knowledge to share!

Next week, my trek through Gibson’s Donuts’ menu will continue. Stay tuned!

 

A Healthy, Weight Loss Doughnut

My goal of saving lots of sweet calories for my birthday cake is still in effect, so this week, I got only one doughnut: Apple Cinnamon Filled.

Which is a totally healthy choice: apple = fruit = healthy, right? Then I found out that cinnamon increases your metabolism and burns belly fat, among other healthy outcomes. So really, I couldn’t have picked a better doughnut! It’s almost like this doughnut burns off all its calories just by eating it.

And there’s MORE! Next week is National Apple Week, so it’s the perfect time to pick up this tastee doughnut.

ApCin 2

Look at that appley-cinnamony goodness literally oozing out of the doughnut! The aroma was heavenly: I was salivating all the way home with the scent of this doughnut wafting in my car.

The margin of doughnut was very small, allowing for apple cinnamon in every single bite. Baking this filling in a sugar doughnut versus a glazed doughnut was also a great choice on the part of Gibson’s. The sugar topping accentuated the tastee flavors. A glazed doughnut, on the other hand, would have detracted from the apple cinnamon flavor and made it too sweet.

Tastee score: 9

One more note: the Olympics start this weekend! Even though this news does not appear to be doughnut-related, think of doughnuts as medals, since they’re kind of the same shape. That way, eating a doughnut is basically an award for whatever goal you met this week (like being able to eat only one Gibson’s doughnut).