Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Donut-Fried Apple Rings for "What You Wish For" by Katherine Center {#WhatYouWishForParty}

Two Blog Parties in one month? Yes! I am very excited to be joining The Book Club CookbookSt. Martin's Press, and a group of fellow bloggers today to celebrate the paperback release of What You Wish For by Katherine CenterFor this #WhatYouWishFor party, we received copies of the book and were tasked with coming up with a dish inspired by it.  

Publisher's Blurb:

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way. 
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen. 
But he wasn’t always that way. 

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before―at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him―but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school―and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love―which is the riskiest move of all. 

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

St. Martin's Publishing Group

On Sale: 07/13/2021

ISBN: 9781250219374

368 Pages

My Review:

My first Katherine Center book was How to Walk Away, which I read and loved a few years ago. I have Things You Save in a Fire downloaded on my Kindle and I will get to it soon. She writes books that balance the sad and the joyful parts of life with wonderful characters and What You Wish For is exactly this. I so enjoyed this book! I think it was a case of the right book at the right time--it's funny but poignant, light but deeper than you think. Mixed into the romance, friendship and family relationships is a message about embracing who you are--the scars both visible and not, and living with joy despite all of the ups and downs and pain that comes with life. This is a message I think we can all use right now. I especially loved Sam, the main character and her friend Alice and friend/mentor/mother-figure, Babette--they made me laugh and made me tear up. The setting, the romance, all the quirky characters that made up the school and community, it all worked for me. Sure, at times it was a bit predictable, but I relished every page. It engaged me and gave me all the feels. One of my favorites of the summer❣️


Author Notes: Katherine Center is the New York Times bestselling author of over a half dozen novels, including What You Wish For, Things You Save in a Fire, and How to Walk Away. Katherine has been compared to Nora Ephron and Jane Austen. The Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” Katherine recently gave a TEDx talk on how stories teach empathy. Her work has appeared in USA TodayInStyleRedbookPeopleThe AtlanticReal Simple, and more. She lives in Houston with her husband and two kids.

You can connect with Katherine on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Food Inspiration:

Although it was not a huge focus in the book, there was food to be found in What You Wish For. Mentions included: cake, cookies, booze, coffee, blueberry muffins, pasta and tomato sauce, frozen dinners, pizza, bakery items--cinnamon rolls, donuts, eclairs, a birthday cake, honey, chocolate bar, tacos, hot chocolate, warm tea, baking, fudge, funnel cake, chocolate, lemon cake, home-brewed beer, and cookie-decorating competitions. 

My recipe inspiration came from a scene where Duncan is challenged with juggling and walks among the school lunch tables looking for round objects to juggle. He grabs different fruits from the kids lunches but calls them by the wrong names to get the kids laughing and involved: 

"So I'm sticking with easy," he said then, lifting up the apple, and saying, "Like this donut!" 
"That's not a donut!" the kids called out.

A tangerine becomes a watermelon, then he mentions a pomegranate, a tomato, and a cactus, before finally settling on an unpeeled kiwifruit on Sam's plate, calling it an avocado, as his final fruit to juggle. 

At first I was going to make a fruit salad or a salsa with all of the fruits named, but the apple and donut combo kept replaying in my head. Since I am not much of a baker, apple donuts or fritters were out, but apple rings deep-fried like donuts? That I could do! This is not an original idea, there are lots of recipes for deep-fried apple rings online, but this is what I did for mine. 

Donut-Fried Apple Rings
By Deb in Hawaii
(Serves 3-4 as snack or dessert)

a few cups of cooking oil for frying
3-4 large apples of choice (I used tart Granny Smith apples)
fresh lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
a good pinch of baking soda
a small pinch of sea salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp granulated sugar 
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with vinegar or lemon added)
cinnamon-sugar topping (buy prepared or use a mix of 1/2 cinnamon & 1/2 sugar)

Heat a large shallow pan with 2-3 inches of cooking oil and heat over medium heat.

Prepare your apples by slicing them about 1/4-inch thick and removing the core with a small round cookie cutter. Sprinkle slices lightly with lemon juice and set aside. 

Mix your batter by combining the flour, baking soda, sea salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. In a mixing cup, blend egg into the buttermilk until thoroughly combined, then pour the milk and egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix together until well blended. Place some cinnamon sugar mixture on a plate or shallow bowl. 

A few slices at a time, dip apples into the batter mixture and let excess batter drip off before placing slices into the hot oil. Just put in a couple slices at a time so they don't touch/clump together. Let the slices cook for a minute or two until the bottom of the slice is golden brown, then gently flip slices over and cook until the other side is golden brown. Carefully remove slices from oil with a slotted frying spoon and allow excess oil to drip off on paper towels before dipping them into the cinnamon-sugar mixture--making sure both sides are coated and gently sharing off excess. Place on a plate and keep warm. Repeat until you have dipped and fried all of the apple slices. 

Enjoy immediately (while they are still warm). You can east them as-is or dip them into caramel or chocolate sauce. 

Notes/Results: OK, YUM! My fall flavor is never pumpkin spice and always apple-cinnamon, so these tasty little battered apple slices with soft and juicy tart apple inside the sweet, slightly crispy cinnamon crust were right up my alley. My shaking off the excess batter technique needs a little work for their appearance, but extra fried batter is no hardship. The batter will make probably 4 to 6 apples or more worth of slices. Because it was just me, I sliced up 2 apples and I am saving the batter for more later because they are best when fresh and warm. These are great as-is but a caramel (salted) dipping sauce or even a chocolate sauce would not be unwelcome. I will definitely make them again. 

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event  being hosted by Marg at The Adventures of An Intrepid Reader. It's a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. Here's a link to this week's post

Check out this link for the #WhatYouWishForParty at The Book Club Cookbook to see the other bloggers taking part in this event and their delicious recipes!

Mahalo to St. Martin's Press (@stmartinspress) and The Book Club Cookbook for the review copies of the book, and for hosting this fun event. I received no compensation for my participation and, as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Find The Book Club Cookbook here: 

Facebook: TheBookClubCookbook
Twitter: @bookclubcookboo
Instagram: @thebookclubcookbook
Pinterest: @bookclubcook


  1. I always enjoy how you combine a book with a food dish! These Apple Rings look delicious!

  2. I would love to sample one of these babies!!


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