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  • Melissa Orquiza

Cinnamon Baked Donuts, More Gnome Culture, Stirling, Bethanis & Respighi

Cinnamon Baked Donuts. Normally, I have tremendous self - control. NOT AROUND THESE!

(Originally Published 12/18/2020)

In my last post, I briefly discussed my introductory foray into gnome culture. Nana and Grandpa bought us indoor gnomes and since she’s German, our inherited Christmas decorations include many of them. I didn’t grow up celebrating the holidays with European gnomes, so it has been a hoot to understand the phenomenon. I love how they’re basically a happy, mischievous lot, obsessed with food.

Because the Philippines had so much Spanish influence, I thought maybe I had missed the boat. (There’s also my theory that just because it was conquered by Spain, the sailors that made the expeditions could not have all been Spanish, with many coming from European countries, as mercenaries. Magellan himself, was Portuguese, but sailed for Spain, after Portugal would not back his expeditionary routes for spice. Some of us may be running around with who knows what. Maybe part of my “Spanish” is something else?)

Then I realized, we do have gnomes (imported from the Spanish and the countries from which they colonized, ie. Mexico)! They’re called “dwende”, derived from the Spanish “duende”, which means goblin, elf, or dwarf or “duen de casa”, owner of the house. They are also alive in Portuguese folklore. (Aha! I knew it!) They basically do the same thing the other gnomes do. They provide good fortune or foretell something ominous. In some cases, the duende takes or hides small children. (Many of our children’s fairy tales are kind of dark, like Hans Christian Andersen.)

Check it out. Portuguese, Latin American, & Filipino Gnomes (derived from the same story).

It is the holidays, so I’ll leave you with tales of good cheer - of the happy European garden gnomes we’re most used to seeing (and the ones we received from family.)

Happy European Garden Gnomes

Thanks for reading! I hope your holiday weekend is filled with happiness and laughter. Have a wonderful week!

Because I still don’t understand why I associate “Carol of the Bells” with gnomes. Here’s the multi-talented Lindsey Stirling playing and dancing. My little girl thinks she looks like “Elsa.”

Lindsey Stirling - Carol of the Bells (Official Video)

Here’s the wonderful pianist, Wayne Bethanis and his new single, “Holiday Wish.” It conjures warmth, happiness, and holiday cheer!

Wayne Bethanis - Holiday Wish

Here’s Respighi’s, “The Ballad of the Gnomes.” A relatively unknown piece, here is a rare performance, from Goldsmith’s College, London, in 1990. Based on a poem of the same name by Carlo Clausetti, it is an orchestral tone poem where two she gnomes drag an “unwilling” male gnome to bed and eventually his death. (WHAT? Who composes a piece about a gnome threesome?) I’m not quite sure where to start with this based purely on an ethical standpoint, let alone as a sociological treatise. Regardless, the music is bombastic and quite orchestrally descriptive, so I’ll leave it at that.

Respighi - The Ballad of the Gnomes - Part 1of 2 (rare Respighi performance)

Respighi - The Ballad of the Gnomes - Part 2 of 2 (rare Respighi performance)

Thanks for reading! If you have food, music, or culture ideas you’d like me to explore, please feel free to contact me. Thanks for indulging in my gnominess. I hope this made you laugh, smile, and forget your troubles for awhile! Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Cinnamon Baked Donuts. Easy, yummy, and perfect for no nonsense holiday comfort!

Cinnamon Baked Donuts

from Ina Garten. Thank you "Barefoot Contessa!"

Here's the original link:


Baking spray with flour, such as Baker's Joy

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 doughnut pans well.

  2. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.

  3. Spoon the batter into the baking pans, filling each one a little more than three-quarters full. Bake for 17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a sheet pan.

  4. For the topping, melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch saute pan. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar, either on one side or both sides. (Please devour while warm! I am literally uncontrollable around these.... Enjoy!)

Tip: If you measure out all the ingredients the night before, active time the next morning is literally 20 minutes (including the baking). Perfect for all us that are used to dealing with unexpected emergencies.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to drop me a comment if there's something you'd like to discuss. I hope this gnomey lesson made you laugh! Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

#cinnamonbakeddonuts, @barefootcontessa, #gnomeculture, @lindseystirling, @waynebethanis, #carolofthebells, @respighi, #theballadofthegnomes

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