I realized recently that I am very much in possession of a freak flag — and it flies fast and free. For example, last week I went to the store and I bought 6 pounds of butter and a small bouquet of daffodils. The strangeness of my making such a purchase was, no doubt, considerably amplified by the fact that I carried out the task in the middle of a major snowstorm. Like it was an emergency.
I was the only customer in the entire store. And I bought every bit of butter on the shelf.
When I got home, I unwrapped the butter and dropped it into the slow cooker to make ghee. Each of my roommates passed by, watching me as I carefully packed the 24 slippery sticks into a 6-quart cauldron of soon-to-be-bubbling-butter. There were a couple of stares, and a loud guffaw from one particular roommate, who regularly indicates his contempt of my kitchen monopolization with such audibles (or so I’m paranoid enough to believe). They all wondered what I was doing, no doubt. Just like they wonder what I’m doing whenever they happen upon me standing on top of a kitchen chair first thing in the morning, earnestly photographing an errant plate of Brussels sprouts below — in my slippers, of course. Always in my slippers.
For the first time, I am starting to feel in proper possession of my freak flag, though. I think, in a sense, it’s always been there. The flag, I mean. I’ve always been a bit of a weirdo, always had very specific interests and curiosities that I’ve investigated with the urgency and the eagerness of a woman whose been told she has just 3 months more to live. I am hungry for authentic moments — for ways of doing, for ways of seeing. I don’t want much, really. I just want to know things, do things, create things. I want the tangibility of agency.
I think that, as we grow up, there is a natural inclination towards self-editing behavior. We become more aware of ourselves, of our bodies, of the way we express our thoughts and moods. We become more aware of our freak flags, too. We see ourselves for what we are, and we have to make a decision to either be that thing, or to be some other thing.
I pick being that thing. I pick the freak flag. I pick 6 pounds of butter and a small bouquet of daffodils.
And in so doing, I feel like I’m finally starting to do something that’s adding to my happiness in a real and substantial way: I’m being my own friend. And what more to life is there, really, than being your own friend?
I used to be afraid to be corny, to be sentimental, to be a dork. When do I want to start listening to Christmas music? As soon as my tank tops are packed away for the season, of course. And I owned that this year. My tree was up in early November, and my holiday wreath still hangs, intrepid, on my bedroom door — its bendy, faux-evergreen branch adorned in a big yellow bow that I tied up myself.
But the best part isn’t the few extra months of Bing Crosby Christmas carols, or even the clarified butter. Though the butter is really very great and reason enough to celebrate. No, the best part is the exuberance of it all. The exuberance of suddenly being so completely and totally sated by your own sense of self — once such a bantam thing, now so kaleidescopic. So yours.
So we stir caraway seeds into the batter of our chocolate donuts, and then we dust them in sea salt. Because we want that donut, that very specific donut that perhaps nobody other than ourselves will ever want. We don’t want the jelly donut or the cinnamon-sugar donut. We want this one. We want the one that we’ve dreamed up. We’re bold enough to admit that now — that that’s the donut that we crave. The weird one. The uncertain one. The donut that is native to our hearts and to nothing else, amen. And we love ourselves enough to provide for that craving — we love ourselves enough to wave that freak flag.
Double Chocolate Paleo Donuts with Caraway and Sea Salt — Gluten-free and Paleo.
Makes 6 donuts.
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses (*see note)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 ounces good dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-3/4 cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (plus more for sprinkling)
- 1-1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, coarsely ground
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray or grease your donut pan.
In a small pot over medium low heat, whisk together the chopped dark chocolate and the almond milk. Heat until the chocolate is just melted, then set it aside to let it cool.
Add the banana, molasses, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla into your food processor. Pulse several times until well combined and smooth. Add the cooled chocolate-almond milk mixture.
Add the almond and coconut flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and caraway, and pulse again, until the batter is well formed. Scoop the batter into a medium-sized zippered plastic bag. Cut one of the tips off the bag and use it to pipe your batter into your donut pan. You can fill the batter up to the top. Sprinkle each donut with coarse sea salt.
Bake for 25-27 minutes, or until the donuts are browned on the top and cooked through. Allow to cool before removing from the pan and icing.
*A note on molasses: There are varying viewpoints about whether or not molasses is technically Paleo. I don’t follow a strict Paleo diet, but, assuming you might, here is some more information. Molasses is made when sugar cane syrup is boiled down — and when that syrup is boiled down again, blackstrap molasses is made. My position is that blackstrap molasses is totally acceptable as a Paleo sweetener, as it doesn’t suffer the same disadvantages of refinement that white table sugar does. Additionally, I think you could go as far as to consider blackstrap molasses one of your best choices for Paleo sweetening, since it contains many vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6), Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Sodium, Potassium, and Selenium. This again differentiates it from table sugar, which does not contribute anything nutritionally (other than calories). If you’re still not drinking my Kool-Aid, feel free to substitute honey or maple syrup. You can read more about molasses here and here.