Life’s little successes.
Life is all about celebrating them — the little yet huge milestones in life that most often pass unnoticed without a single “woot!”
We often think that successes are all massive ones, like when we:
- Find “The One”
- Get That Promotion
- Buy That Dream House
But it’s the little successes that add up to a whole tanker-full and that often matter the most.
Let me elaborate.
I used to spend most of my life waiting for things to “happen” before I allowed myself to be happy.
I used to think that once I finally got ______, then everything would be perfect.
It was an endless series of “waiting to arrives” — on a train, just enduring the ride — “can’t-waiting” to arrive at my destination(s).
While I was busy doing that, I graduated from a Master’s-level conservatory program in acting, was cast and acted in dozens of theater productions, recorded and released a full-length album with LOLA’S CRUSH, placed Top Ten in the nation in Sports and Entertainment Marketing in Collegiate DECA, and directed a full-length play that played to great reviews. And that’s just for starters.
Did I notice?
Did I celebrate these obvious, huge successes?
No, not really.
Did they even fully register on my Joy-O-Meter?
Nope, I’m afraid not.
Because I had spent most of my life failing to celebrate — really celebrate — the little ones.
Little successes like:
Not blowing up my small kitchen on a regular basis.
Always doing my best, even if the best I could do that day was just getting out of bed in the morning.
Not killing my tiny potted garden but actually making it grow.
Noticing the beauty around me and applauding the little successes of others…
or just choosing to be kind to myself, instead of the self-defeating alternatives. Things like that.
Why do these little things matter?
Because when we make it a habit to never see or celebrate them, the big successes are never enough. We fail to enjoy life. We fail to celebrate ourselves and the wonder of “You”.
Because that’s what your successes are — a part of you.
So, throw yourselves a party and a heartfelt “woot!” And get it all started by baking those guys and yourself these doughnuts.
Warm and chewy and wholly delicious — I won’t lie — they take a bit of effort. But little successes in life are about celebrating them big, and it all starts with you.
Best-Ever Baked Doughnuts
Inspired from Mel’s Kitchen Café
Makes approximately 1 1/2 dozen doughnuts + doughnut holes
1 1/3 cups milk, warmed to 95 to 105 degrees F
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one package)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
two pinches ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1/4 cup powdered confectioners’ sugar
Place warm milk in a large bowl and, with a wire whisk, whisk in the yeast and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Set aside for approximately 5 minutes to let it proof.
In the meantime, in a separate small bowl, mush and mix together the eggs and butter. Pour egg mixture into milk mixture and mix well.
In another large bowl, mix all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, nutmeg, and salt together until well combined.
With large wooden spoon or spatula, begin pouring flour mixture a little at a time into the wet ingredients mixture, folding as you go and combining well each time, before adding in more of the flour mixture.
Keep adding a few tablespoons at a time, repeating step above until dough starts to pull away from side of bowl and is soft and smooth, but still slightly sticky to the touch. Begin using your hands once dough starts to come together, and knead in bowl until dough is the right consistency.
Important: Make sure not to over-flour dough. You may not even use the entire flour mixture; just go by texture and feel. In other words, if dough is soft, smooth, and slightly sticky, it doesn’t need any more flour – i.e. toss the remaining flour, and you’re good!
Next, transfer dough to a large greased pot with lid, cover, and put in a warm, draft-free place and let rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Remove dough from pot onto lightly floured counter. Punch down dough and with lightly floured rolling-pin; roll out to approximately 1/2-inch thickness.
Using a 2-3 inch circle cookie cutter, dusted with flour, stamp out circles in the dough — i.e. your doughnuts. Then, with a smaller cookie cutter, also dusted with flour, stamp out the inner circles – i.e. your doughnut holes.
Important: Make sure that the inner circles are large enough so that when the doughnuts rise again and bake, they won’t fill in those inner holes as they do.
Carefully lift the big circles and remove the inner circles, by “popping” them out with your fingers.
Transfer the doughnuts and holes to a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch of space between them. Cover the tray lightly with plastic wrap.
Let doughnuts rise a second time, for approximately another 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, remove plastic wrap, and bake doughnuts in middle rack until bottoms just barely begin to golden, 8 to 9 minutes.
Important: Start checking the doughnuts at around 8 minutes. It’s really important not to overcook them. They should still be pale on top — just slightly golden — and just barely baked through.
While doughnuts are baking, prepare the spiced sugar and topping fixings. Combine turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in small bowl. This will be your spiced sugar. Mix well and set aside.
When doughnuts are done, remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack for 2-3 minutes.
Dip the top of each doughnut and doughnut hole in the melted butter and sprinkle with either the spiced sugar or plain powdered confectioners’ sugar – whichever one you prefer. Or just enjoy plain.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Doughnuts last 4-5 days stored covered in a Tupperware container. Leftover doughnuts are delicious heated up in the microwave for 10 seconds. Those still plain and without any sugar on them, are wonderful as sweet toast — just split in half and toast. Top with jam, butter, Nutella, or your favorite topping. Just don’t forget to share.