Photos © 2012 Curly Girl Design, Inc./Leigh Standley. all rights reserved.

Apple Cider Donut Ice Cream Sandwich with Bourboned Salted Caramel Sauce

The Dish

Happy Halloween!! I have been on a little hiatus from the blog while I have been in studio getting ready for 2013, but I have had time to whip up a little something special to share with you!

This time of year, all-things pumpkin-flavored really take center stage for me. Well, actually, you could pretty much tempt me with a pumpkin-flavored flat tire at any point of the year and I would eat it. But this little delicacy is a celebration of one of my very favorite temptations of the fall. The apple cider donut.

Now, in all fairness, and lucky for me, there is a place local to me that makes these hot and fresh (and perfectly) all year round (genius!). But there is something about the falling temperature and the smell of dried leaves that makes these easier to eat by the, ahem, half dozen.

After finding a version of this concoction on a trip last spring to Charlottesville, VA, I have not stopped dreaming it, and how to make it a tiny bit more delicious. Salt. Caramel. Bourbon. You might want to sit down.

For this recipe, and really, to get to the eating faster, I would recommend buying your donuts and ice cream, but if you don't have a local source there is a good recipe here. Other than that, get the best vanilla ice cream you can and try not to burn the caramel (it's easy to do!) I recommend having a candy thermometer on hand.

These keep well in the freezer, just swaddle them in parchment paper and keep them snug in your freezer. Let them warm up for a few minutes before serving them. Be prepared for folks to ask you to bring them everywhere you go.


Apple Cider Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches with Burboned Salted Caramel Sauce

You will need:

12 apple cider donuts

1 gallon vanilla bean ice cream

1 cup sugar

6 tbs unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbs bourbon

1/2 tbs fleur de sel


To make the sauce:

1. Add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan with a light colored bottom if you have one. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. Sugar will form clumps, but keep whisking. Continue whisking until sugar melts.

2. Cook until the sugar reaches a deep amber color. It will have a slight toasty smell (not burned, but it is a fine and fast line). This is the point where caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so keep a close eye. If you have a candy thermometer, heat the sugar to 350 degrees F.

3. As soon as the caramel reaches 350 degrees, add the butter all at once. The caramel will bubble up when you add it, so be a little careful. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mix will bubble up. Whisk until smooth. Add the bourbon and fleur de sel and whisk to incorporate.

5. Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into your favorite glass jar and let cool to room temperature.

The sauce will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. You can easily make this ahead of time.


To assemble:

Set the ice cream out for about 15 minutes before you start making the sandwiches.

Slice each donut in half and lay out on a cookie sheet.

Using a spoon, drizzle each half with caramel sauce

Use an ice cream scoop, scoop ice cream onto one half of the drizzled donut, and put the other half on top. Press down, and use the spoon (or your finger...) to smooth out the overflow.

Either eat this completed sandwich immediately, or wrap it up in parchment and stick it in the freezer.

I do these one at a time to prevent melting and help them keep their shape.

Unwrap them at your leisure or take them to a party and enjoy!



By Leigh 10.31.2012 – 7:08 pm


Hello! I need your thoughts.

The Biz and Sketchbook

Hello all! I hope the past couple of weeks have found you well and enjoying fall! I had to take a brief hiatus so that we could get our new website up and running and our servers all spit-spot. I also had to pop over to Montana to visit our new warehouse and give a little kissy to the 7000 pounds of Curly Girl product that we just shipped there this month. I will fill you in on all of that a little later.

Right now I need your help!
I am getting us ready for 2013 and have a new little line that I am going to introduce called "Just Our Type". It focuses on the quotes and my love for typography and graphic design and I think it is really going to be fun! My thoughts are that even though we all love the illustrations, there are times when you just need to get the words across. One of my favorite parts about my job is the writing part, and I wanted to celebrate the original quotes in a special way. There will be a couple applications of type in this line (this is one, I will post the other a little later). We will start with greeting cards and potentially some wall art based on feedback.

As with any stray from a well-plodded path, I am meeting some resistance. I did a gut check and know where I stand, but I wanted to throw it out there to y'all, as my first-line feedbackers and see what you thought. Am I spitting into the wind here? Do you see what I see?

PLEASE feel free to be honest with your feedback (be nice, of course) and also know that this is NOT in lieu of a new release of traditional Curly Girl cards, merely an addition. Another way to say it. Something that is 'just our type'.

Thanks in advance!


By Leigh 10.19.2012 – 10:17 pm


On Vulnerability.


It's funny how the universe works. Rather, how those invisible, yet highly tuned invisible connections that we have with one another operate so deftly.

Recently I have been struggling a bit with a couple of variations of courage, authenticity and vulnerability in a couple different sectors of my life.

I have been working out the things that come up for me around taking a big risk with my business. Staring the 'unknown' in the face and seeing which of us blinks first. I have been here before. I will be here again. And we will do the dance all over again.

I am also dealing with the tandem issue of having my judgment challenged. Or rather, worried about.

You see, as a risk-taker by nature, (not a thrill-seeker, that's different) I have surrounded myself with worriers. Some by choice, some by birth. They are actually a very important part of the balance of my life. I have built them into my business, my marriage, and (though I can't take credit for this) my family. In essence, I have bumpers on. I have a naysayer around every corner. I am built to say "YES! Let's do it!" and they will naturally, well, worry about it. This works out most of the time. And most of the time, I do what I want anyway but with a healthy dose of possible ways it could go terribly wrong.

This is a great system for me in business, and when navigating relationships in a lot of ways, but I am realizing recently, that it is not great on a personal level. On a personal level, it often reads as disconnection. Now, I do something pretty personal for a living, and even as I write this, I am putting a LOT out there in the way of my thoughts, and feelings and opinions on things. I welcome feedback, and try to encourage conversation. I crave the connections between all of us.

This, I discovered, is nerve-racking for my worriers.

I am currently being confronted with the issue of how to be authentic and vulnerable in a way that inspires connection, while protecting yourself from all the terrible things that could happen when you do that. The only answer to that that I can come up with is that... you can't.

Which is inconvenient, since it's sort of the foundation of my life's work.

You can see the kind of pickle I'm in.

Enter the universe. Yesterday, as I am hashing this out in full self-righteous Taurus mode, I get an email from my darling friend Cate a million miles away in Guatemala, asking me if I had seen this video of Dr. Brene Brown. I had in fact seen it many months ago, been so taken by it that I immediately bought all of her books and fully intended on being a full-on devotee of hers...until I got too busy for that. But at the very moment I needed to be reminded of her, unknowingly, Cate did just that.

So, this oh-so-well-timed reminder, and incredible lecture brought home to me exactly what I knew in my gut and my heart.

That I am always right. (remember, I'm a Taurus.)

No, but in a way, I am. If we are operating from a place of vulnerability and authenticity and we have the courage to be imperfect, right (in this case, meaning whole, or in entirety) will find us. Connection will find us. And that is what we are all after.

So, PLEASE do yourself a favor and take 20 minutes out of your day to watch this video. Then look up Brene's other talks and books. She is a brilliant mind, a visionary and an excellent storyteller.

Let's talk about it! What do you think?

By Leigh 10.03.2012 – 9:45 am

flora bowley ad Where Women Create hippo brigade Junkyard Arts Ad Mati Rose Ad powers of healing ad Close to my Art Ad Kelly Rae Roberts Ad kid power yoga One Fine Day ad Lacy Like Ad andrea scher ad jessica swift ad sousabells ad ForGivingWorks ad hannah marcotti ad

Become a sponsor