Just Desserts and Vegan Apple Cinnamon Donut Holes

Top Chef: Just Desserts last night was a good one! I actually was so tired that I went to bed and had to set an alarm to watch it. But I’m glad I did, because I ended up having very sweet dreams! No wonder I was craving donuts this morning.

Anyway, on to last night’s episode…

I just love it when we see the chefs back at the house. It’s like a peek into their real personalities when they think no one is watching. The Katzie-Sally rivalry is apparent as ever when Katzie makes some comment about Sally being too good to hang out with the girls. Sorry, Katzie, but I’d rather hang out with Matthew too! 🙂

The chefs go into their Quick Fire challenge, which is making donuts, and Mark Israel of Donut Planet is a guest judge. I have been wanting to try one of Donut Planet’s iconic donuts for the longest time. I always wish they would have the guest judge participate in the challenge too, so we can at least see what they would have done within the same perimeters. Especially if they are going to be so critical!

Everyone seems relaxed and excited that the challenge doesn’t include chicken liver or something. That is, until Johnny walks into the room. Dun dun, Duuuunnn! He manages to strike fear into everyone. It is announced that the maker of the least favorite donut will be sent home immediately.

Time starts now…

Carlos explains that a yeast donut is risky. He also explains that as a kid, he baked while all the other kids were joining gangs. I want to laugh and applaud him at the same time. The donuts presented in this challenge are really beautiful, and I like how Sally really thinks about the fact that the donut will be served with coffee. There seemed to be a lot of cardamom in the donuts, and I can’t say I’ve ever tried a cardamom donut. But do try our cardamom cupcakes!

Chris makes a churro, which makes me want a churro SO bad. Love them. Especially the ones in front of the haunted mansion at Disneyland. All sugar-cinnamon-y and crunchy but warm and doughy in the middle… enter Homer Simpson gurgling noises here…

Carlos wins the challenge and now one of his many kids can go to college, thanks to the $10,000 cash reward that went with the challenge.

Megan is sent home because she overcooked her glaze and it stuck to the plate like glue, but it should have been Orlando because he has the biggest ego ever and I can’t stand his arguing with the judges all the time! Katzie is sad that her confidant is gone (Anyone else notice the weird way she said “con-feee-dont”?)

The elimination challenge is revealed and everyone is again relieved that it is focused on chocolate. The teams are chosen and Chris is worried that Katzie is the weak link on his team. At the time I was thinking, Well Katzie has won way more challenges than you, Chris! But I guess he ended up being right.

The twist in the challenge is that the cheftestants have to serve and critique each other’s dishes and showpieces. Orlando says he likes his showpieces tall, the way he likes his men. Me too, Orlando! High five. Carlos makes yet another chocolate/peanut butter/banana dessert, which seems to be his fall-back ingredients. He can be my personal chef any day. Stick with what works. No jasmine in my chocolate, thank you very much! Orlando trusts his teammates to make his dish for him so he can create an elaborate showpiece and beat Chris. Why, Orlando, are you trusting your competitors to make your food for you at this stage in the game? It ends up working out but that was a super risky move, my friend.

Wylie Dufresne is guest judging and I like him but I think it is because he reminds me of Alton Brown. Love my food geeks! The Blue Team sits down with the judges and Carlos is the only one with anything nice to say about the Red Team’s food. Matthew decides to keep his opinions to himself while tasting the Blue Team dishes, which is smart. I know it is a competition, but Orlando and Chris were just not classy. Couldn’t they have found something nice to say about their fellow contestant’s desserts? Orlando totally tears into Katzie’s dessert, Chris’s beautiful showpiece, and pretty much everything.

The judges declare the Blue Team the winners of the challenge (Orlando seems to think he is the sole winner of the challenge and his team contributed nothing).  At this point I find myself getting nervous because I don’t want any of the Red Team to go home! Chris is starting to bug me but that whole story we heard last week about his 1 month old baby in intensive care makes me like the guy. And Katzie, though probably not a true redhead, is still slightly strawberry-hued, so I feel compelled to root for her. Unfortunately, she ends up being sent home and the bromance lives on!

P.S. Hubert, if your reading this (hahaha), I miss you!!!!



Today’s recipe, by Jen:

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Donut Holes

Recipe adapted from here

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
tiny pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Kelapo Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup peeled and diced apples

Kelapo Coconut Oil, for frying

Spiced Sugar: 1/2 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons cinnamon

In separate small bowls mix together flaxseed meal with the water and the soy milk with the vinegar. Set aside for a few minutes.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Beat together the sugar and coconut oil.
Add the flaxseed meal and beat until creamy. Add the vanilla, apples and soy milk mixture and stir together.
Add the dry ingredients in 3-4 stages mixing almost until combined each time. With the final addition of dry ingredients mix just until combined.
Cover and chill the dough for at least an hour.
Heat several inches of oil in a heavy bottomed pot slowly over medium low heat. Have a frying thermometer ready and watch the oil’s temperature.
Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet near the frying area. Begin frying donuts when the oil reaches 365-370 degrees F. Gently drop 3-5 holes at a time into the hot oil. Rotate the donut holes with a wire spider strainer or slotted spoon for 2 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before tossing in spiced sugar.



– JR

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