Tag Archives: game day eats

Game Day Eats – Apple Cider Doughnuts

Consider the doughnut.

In the words of M.F.K. Fisher does it live, “a dreadful but exciting life”?  Naw, probably more like a short and delicious life.

Who doesn’t love this fried confection?  It is one of my favorites without a doubt.  But, they are best eaten quickly after frying.  It is indeed a brief and joyous time for us.

If you are planning a brunch for your friends this weekend or your tailgating starts early, might I suggest you wow them with some apple cider doughnuts?  You won’t be sorry…

Apple Cider Doughnuts
Makes about 20 doughnuts and holes

Modified from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for  working with the dough
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
not small quantity of vegetable shortening (aka Crisco)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, reduce apple cider to about 1/4 cup.  It took me about 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until each is incorporated into dough.

On low speed, gradually add the apple cider and buttermilk, mixing until just combined.

Add the flour mixture, and continue to mix until dough just starts to come together.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with flour.

Turn the dough out onto one of those sheets and using your hands, flatten the dough until it is about 1/2-inch thick.

Add more flour, as necessary.  Place the baking sheet of dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until it is slightly hardened.

Pull the dough out of the freezer, and cut out doughnut shapes.  Place the cut doughnut onto the second baking sheet.  Place the cut doughnuts in the refrigerator for another 20 minutes.  If you need to re-roll the scraps, refrigerate them again for a while before cutting.

Add enough shortening to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 2 inches.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side and heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.  Have a plate lined with paper towels ready to receive the fried dough.

While the shortening is heating, you can make your toppings, if you like.  We made both cinnamon and sugar (self-explanatory) and a glaze of apple cider and powdered sugar.  Set them aside until the doughnuts come out of the oil.

Once your frying oil is ready, carefully add just a few doughnuts at a time.

Don’t crowd the pan to ensure even frying.  Fry until golden brown and gently flip to the other side.  Drain on paper towels for a minute or so and then dip in toppings.

They are best if served immediately.


Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Snacks

Game Day Eats – Harvest Blondies

I’ve said it before  and I’ll say it again…I really feel no get-together is complete without something sweet to eat.  Game watching or tail-gating is no different.

But, these gatherings are not really the place to bring out a tiered cake or serve complicated desserts.  Something simple is better.  Something that is easy to make and transports well and folks can serve themselves.

Bring on the bar cookie…

Harvest Blondies
Makes 16 bars

1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp coarse salt
about 3/4 cup M&Ms or other candy coated chocolates

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with butter; line pan with parchment paper with about a 2-inch overhang, and butter paper.

Melt butter then, combine with sugars until smooth.

Whisk in eggs and vanilla.

Add flour and salt; stir until just moistened.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top.  Arrange candies in rows on top of dough.

I used only autumn colors of yellow, orange, red, and brown, but you should do as you prefer.  You can use team colors, or mix them all randomly.

Bake about 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and a tester comes out clean.

Set pan on wire rack to let cool completely.  Then, using edges of parchment, lift from pan and transfer to a cutting board.

Cut into 16 squares.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  If the cookies make it past the first night, they will last about 2 days in an airtight container.


Filed under Dessert

Game Day Eats – Boozy Caramel Corn

When I was single, I would sometimes make dinner out of beer and popcorn.  Occasionally, it was followed by ice cream.

I would come home too tired to do much of anything but take off my high heels and plug in my air-popper.  But, that was enough.  The salty, crunchy, buttery (real butter, of course) corn would improve my mood in minutes.  Okay, okay…the beer and ice cream helped, too.

I’ve spread the popcorn habit to my husband, but we don’t eat for dinner.  Just lots of snacking.  I so clearly convinced him of the value of regular popcorn that he bought me a huge table top popcorn popper for our bar.  Now, we can make big batches for our friends when they come over to watch a game.

But, when I want something a bit more than butter and salt  on my popcorn, I mix up something like this…

Tequila Caramel Corn
Makes about 4 quarts

4 quarts popped popcorn
1/2 cup unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp agave syrup
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp tequila
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts

Place popped popcorn in a large, buttered roasting pan.  Place the roasting pan in a 200 degree oven to keep the popcorn warm while you make the caramel.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar, syrups, and salt.  Stirring constantly while it heats.

Once it starts to boil, stop stirring and let it boil for 5 minutes.

Remove the popcorn filled roasting pan from the oven.  At the end of 5 minutes, quickly stir in baking soda and tequila.  You may want to add spicy tequila, like I did.

Working very quickly, sprinkle 1 cup of peanuts (I used chile lime peanuts!) on top of the popcorn.  Then, pour the  caramel on top.  It is very helpful to have an assistant here so one person can scrape out the caramel and one person can stir it into the popcorn and peanut mixture.  It is very hot, so be careful.

Once the popcorn and caramel are well mixed, put the roasting pan back in the oven and increase the temperature to 250 degrees F.  Bake the mixture for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Break apart and let cool before storing.

Charley is not my only four-legged friend.  I also have a cat, Izzy.  He apparently wanted to see what that other black cat was doing…

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Filed under Snacks

Game Day Eats – Make Ahead Snacks

You’ve had a busy week.  Maybe things didn’t go as you planned or you are in a bit of a funk.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel – the weekend approaches.  You are looking forward to hanging out with friends and family, and you can’t wait to watch your team win the big one.

But, said friends and family are coming to your house to watch said game.  And, you are expected to feed them.

What snacks can you make in advance before kickoff?  What can you do to avoid an even longer trip to the grocery store without resorting to the freezer case?  Not that I don’t sometimes enjoy pizza rolls or  7-layer Mexican bean dip, but sometimes you want to mix it up…make something a little more special for your guests.

Or maybe you don’t.

If you do, though, then here are a couple of sophisticated snacks for even the pickiest eaters.  And, most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry or cabinets.  They are both easiest if you have a food processor, however.

These straightforward recipes are not only perfect to make in advance and keep in the refrigerator for a few days, but they also travel well (to a tailgate or friend’s house) and they taste just as good in the fourth quarter as they did during the pregame hype.

White Bean Dip
Makes about 2 cups

1 (15 oz) can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 – 3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
about 1/4 cup fresh parsley, packed, plus more for garnish
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
pita chips, carrot sticks, and/or celery sticks for serving

Place beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse until coarsely chopped.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pulse again until smoothly pureed.

Transfer bean puree to a small serving bowl.  Sprinkle lightly with minced parsley for garnish.

Serve with pita chips or crunchy carrot and celery sticks.

Black Olive Tapenade
Makes about 2 cups

about 3 cups Kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
juice of one lemon
about 1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 – 2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
black pepper, to taste

Add olives, capers, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes to bowl of food processor.

Pulse until it makes a smooth paste.

Slowly add olive oil while processor is running.

Season with black pepper, to taste.

This pungent olive paste is great spread on crostini or sandwiches.

Or include a small bowl of the tapenade on a platter of grilled vegetables (think eggplant, peppers, tomatoes) with mozzarella or goat cheeses.  Or mixed into a classic pasta salad.  You get the idea…

Let’s go team!

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Filed under Snacks, Vegetarian

Game Day Eats – Chile Lime Peanuts

When my friends and I watch sports we drink beer.  And when we drink beer we like to snack.  And when we snack we crave spicy, crunchy, and salty.

So what do I do about that craving?  Why, I make chile lime peanuts.  And, you can, too.  Have this simple snack ready for your guests by the time they hit your couch or tailgate.

Chile Lime Peanuts
Makes 2 cups

2 cups raw peanuts (skins are okay)
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp lime juice (bottled okay)
1 – 3 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Stir to combine peanuts, olive oil, salt, and sugar and coat evenly.

Scrape mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast nuts until fragrant and they begin to darken.

It took me about 25 minutes on a dark-colored baking sheet.  Open the oven and stir every 7 or 8 minutes.  Keep in mind they will still cook a bit once out of the oven.

When done, transfer the nuts back to a bowl.  Add lime juice, hot pepper sauce, and cayenne, stirring to coat evenly.

If you’ve added the maximum amount of hot sauce, I recommend you scrape the nuts back onto the baking sheet so they crisp up and don’t get soggy.

Cool nuts completely before serving.  You can make them  up to a week ahead, just store them in an airtight container.

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Filed under Snacks, Vegetarian