How Will You Boo?

trolli boo matt and susie While there are many places in the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs where you can celebrate Halloween, none are as spectacular as the Brookfield Zoo. Boo! At The Zoo happens in October during the last three weekends of the month where the zoo transforms into one of the best places to trick-or-treat thanks to the Ferrara Candy Company. This past Saturday we spent the morning exploring the zoo and here are some of the great things you’ll see there. matthew boos at the zoo

First there’s the fact that the Ferrara Candy Company which donates 10,000 pounds of candy to be given out by 400 of their own volunteers. If you didn’t know, that’s a heck of a lot of candy. We weren’t even trying to trick-or-treat and we came home with bags full of candy. Ferrara makes some of Chicago’s most beloved candy brands like SweeTarts, Brachs, Trolli, Black Forest Gummies, Lemonhead, Now And Later, basically all of our favorites.  boo giant pumpkin carver

The Zoo also has fun things like a Corn Maze, a live master pumpkin carver and costume contest. There is also a tractor pulled hayride and the pumpkin smasher. The pumpkin smasher is huge and easily visible from all over the Zoo. It looks like a hugely gothic trebuchet, but it just smashes things.  Of course to the delight of many children, someone will be randomly picked to unleash the smash!  I guarantee those kids will be bragging for a long time that they operated the pumpkin smasher!  boo bear pumpkin

Every day there are special events happening with the animals as well. To special pumpkin feedings, where different animals get pumpkins for enrichment. We got a great view of the grizzly bears enjoying their pumpkins.  There are also a variety of keeper talks so your little ghouls and goblins can learn more about the animals living at the zoo. We already learned all about arachnids this summer, but there is always something new to learn about the animal kingdom!  boo pumpkin smasher

I particularly love visiting the Brookfield Zoo in the fall because cooler temps equal more active animals. Let’s face it, Chicago has pretty hot and humid summers so fall is a break for not just you but the animals too.  We saw some great playtime from the Amur leopard family.  The cubs were having a great time outside with their mom.  Of course, every trip to the zoo is special because you never know exactly what you will see.  Plan your trip to Boo! at the Zoo here!

Caramel Apple Doughnuts: Serve Up Fall

apple donut long view Doughnuts are something we go out of our way to find.  We don’t always make them, because we quickly make them disappear.  However, with freshly picked organic apples, we had to do something fancy.  The doughnut is our favorite food.  

The original dough recipe isn’t my creation.  However the filling and glaze are my recipe.  I would certainly suggest that you take the time to let your cut doughnuts rise for about 15 minutes before baking.  Also bake them separately one pan at a time.  Of course, you can always fry them, but frying is something we don’t do in our kitchen.  If we could fry our food, then we would never be making healthy choices.   donut cut pan

So I too some of the Snowsweet apple, and made a super fine dice.  This is going to be our piped filling so it really needs to be able to fit through a piping tip.  The rest of our flavors come from apple cider, caramel and whiskey. A perfect fall combination. 

The filling is fast once your apples are chopped.  The glaze is a little slower, but most importantly your holes must be big enough so you get filling throughout.  There is nothing worse than an underfilled doughnut.  Don’t suffer and be sure to judge your doughnuts by weight if you want to go that extra step. 

This month we are a tad apple obsessed.  Actually, we are entirely apple obsessed.  We have picked at least 70 pounds in one month alone.  So we have a some apple recipes in store for you.  There is of course apple cider which is essential to our fall baking, but we also had pie and hand pies along with our apples.  The variety of apples really allows you to play with flavor even when using apples as your base.  The Snowsweet are pure white flesh but the flavor is sweet yet tart and buttery.

Caramel Apple Bismarcks
These are baked doughnuts with a caramel glaze and a fine apple filling.
Write a review
  1. 3 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  2. 1 1/2 whole milk at room temperature
  3. 3 cups bread flour
  4. 3/4 cup flour
  5. 1/4 cup sugar
  6. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. 6 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
Apple filling
  1. 4 fist sized baking apples, extra fine dice
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 juiced lime
  4. 1 rounded tsp cornstarch
  5. 1 Tbsp Apple pie whiskey
Caramel glaze
  1. 6 Tbsp cider
  2. 1 cup caramel
  3. 1 cup white chocolate
  1. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine milk and yeast. Blend on low for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients and add to yeast mixture. Mix until combined.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, mix.
  4. Then, add butter mixing until incorporated.
  5. Increase mixer speed to medium and work dough 5-8 minutes. Dough should feel smooth and a little sticky.
  6. Form dough into a ball. Place in large greased steel bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let triple in size (roughly 20-30 minutes).
  7. Turn risen dough out onto floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll to 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out doughnuts in 2 1/2 to 3 inch circles.
  8. Let the dough rest at least 15 minutes after cutting.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Pierce sides with a knife. Fill after cooling 1 hour with a pastry bag.
Apple Filling
  1. Combine apple ingredients in a pan on the stove. Cook until soft about 5 minutes. Let cool completely before piping.
Caramel Glaze
  1. Melt ingredients in a double boiler on the stove. Dip doughnuts into glaze. If glaze hardens, heat until loose which means no resistance when stirring.
  1. Bake doughnuts one pan at a time for perfect bismarcks.
Adapted from Glazed Sugared Dipped: Basic Berliner
Adapted from Glazed Sugared Dipped: Basic Berliner
Rosie Discovers

Boo At The Zoo: Brookfield Zoo Trick Or Treat

So, Halloween is coming.  Fall is finally here.  Those perfectly crisp days are great, but it is even better to spend them outside wandering around.  The perfect matchup is of course Brookfield Zoo’s fabulous animal habitats alongside Ferrara Candy Company stations.  Every Saturday and Sunday from October 13th to October 28th is full of fall […]

Rose Braid Challah Bread: Recipes That Impress Everyone

You know we bake.  You probably know baking is not all that great in the summer heat.  Especially when we had 90°F days with a heat index of 100°F.  Turning on the oven is basically irresponsible in such heat waves, you don’t want to be heating up your house when trying to cool it down.  […]

The Art Of Coloring With Disney!

Celebrate National Coloring Book Day! When traveling and especially flying, it always amazes me what people do during a flight. As adults, we have a variety of reasons we travel, but for most of us, it fits into one of two categories business or personal! But when it comes to what we do on the […]

Best Buy Photography Workshop Tours!

You are in luck.  Best Buy is starting photography tours in a few cities including Minneapolis, Seattle, San Diego, Houston, Atlanta, Tampa and New York City this weekend (July 28, 2018).  You can sign up for their intermediate course and learn from professional photographers.  With 4 individual photo shoots during the excursion including using a variety of […]

No More Pie, Serve Rhubarb Cake

My Rhubarb Jungle Gardening may not be your hobby. However, at our house we seem to have endless rhubarb.  This stuff is hearty and gigantic.  Truly you might think we were growing pumpkins if it were the season. So what is a lady to do with endless stalks of vibrant rhubarb? Bake cakes of course.  […]

Sweet Corn Fusion Elotes Pasta

Mexican Street Corn Elotes are Mexican street corn.  Normally, eaten straight from the cob.  Since that is a tad messy, this recipe is all of that flavor but less mess.  Adding pasta so this can be considered more of a filling main dish.  That and Susie is generally against corn.  So pasta is one way of […]

Forget Sugar Cookies, Frost Ube Cookies

Not Just A Purple Cookie Sugar cookies are great.  We especially love those super soft pillowy ones with the colorful thick frosted tops.  Well, we are here to tell you that softness can be found with sweet potatoes.  A softness we found from ube treats at Warm Belly. This recipe is partly inspired by their ube […]

Guaranteed Rate Field – A Foodie Destination

WGN Invited Me To The White Sox Game Did you read earlier this week about my being a brand ambassador for WGN Radio? Weeellll our April event was attending a White Sox game in a suite with WGN, as WGN Radio is now the voice of the Chicago White Sox. While I’m not a huge […]

WGN Brand Ambassador

Announcing Your Newest WGN Ambassador I’ve got exciting news!! For the rest of the year I will be one of six brand ambassadors for WGN Radio here in Chicago.  You’re probably thinking why are you telling me this? Well throughout the year I’ll be doing special things with WGN Radio. As you probably already know, […]

Amazing Summer Spotting Brookfield Zoo Arachnids

Now Appearing Amazing Arachnids This year, Brookfield Zoo celebrates arachnids with Amazing Arachnids.  The special seasonal exhibit opens this Saturday, May 26.  With over 45,000 documented species, there is a lot you might not know about arachnids.  We certainly thought we knew about these eight legged creatures, but it turns out we missed the impact […]