Woodchuck 30th Anniversary Artist Spotlight – Tara Snyder
November 3, 2021
Name: Tara Snyder
Location: Saint Johns, MI
Profession or specified field: Food Photographer // Recipe Developer
How long have you been participating in your specified field: 4 Years
Welcome to our Woodchuck 30th Anniversary blog series where we will be highlighting hand-selected creatives every week through the Fall. This year marks our 30th Anniversary and we have asked 25 creatives from across the country to help celebrate 30 years of creativity and innovation by sharing with us what creativity means to them. We sat down with each creative to hear more about how they use creativity on a daily basis and what influences their work. See below for our conversation with Tara!
W-Hi Tara! Thanks for spending some time with us today. We want to ask you a few questions about how you use creativity in your world of recipe development and food photography. You seem like you really know your way around the pantry. How did you get your start in the world of food photography?
T- I got started out of my love for food and photography. I love baking cakes for my family and friends on their birthdays each year. My friend said I should do something with my passion and I just dove on in. I started an Instagram and a WordPress blog not knowing a thing, and here I stand!
W-The fact that you decided to just go for it is super inspiring. Seems like it’s been working out quite well from the looks of your Instagram page! Both recipe development require a great deal of creativity. From where do you find yourself drawing creative inspiration from? What influences your work?
T- I’m really inspired by the world around me and the people in my life. Some of my biggest inﬂuences tend to be other photographers, nature, food, color, textures, fashion, architecture, music, and just life in general. Even though I primarily shoot food my biggest inspiration comes from portrait photographers. I think it’s important to be inﬂuenced within your own realm of work, but I want to draw inspiration from external sources. I do tend to have an overactive brain, so most of my ideas come to me late at night or after time spent with people who inspire me.
W- External inspiration is so important for creativity. We often draw inspiration from other beverage categories outside of hard cider to develop new styles. Quite often we draw inspiration from certain cocktails. It helps us create something that is new and fresh within our own little world of hard cider, yet still very familiar to cider drinkers. What does the idea of creativity mean to you?
T- To me, creativity means so many things. It means being able to have the freedom to share your passion with the world around you. You’re granting the world access to view your thoughts and allowing others to see the world through your lens. Art can be interrupted in so many different ways, but I think that’s the beauty in it all because no two people will feel exactly the same way when they view a painting, a photograph, sculpture, a building, or going to see an artist perform.
W- Beautifully said. Someone’s creativity can shine through in a number of ways. Ours just happens to be hard cider! Prior to helping us celebrate our 30th Anniversary, what was your connection to Woodchuck, if any at all?
T- I’ve had Woodchuck ciders quite a few times living in Michigan and while living in Vermont. I ﬁrst heard about Woodchuck when I lived in Vermont years back. When I was approached about this upcoming 30th Anniversary and your focus on creativity I was really excited. I have a lot of love for brands and working with companies where my core values lie. I felt more connected to this brand simply because of where your focus is for your celebration and I can only assume your core values align with mine. I love being able to work with companies that are just as passionate about what they do as I am. It’s truly a beautiful thing and I think it helps with growing an even stronger relationship with you and with my community on my social channels. I only work with companies that I feel align with where my heart is.
W- We’re glad we’ve been able to follow you from the Green Mountains to the Great Lakes! Thanks so much for the kind words, and thanks for developing such an awesome recipe for us! We’re excited to share it with everyone!
Tara took her own spin on a classic confection found just about anywhere during the Fall- CIDER DOUGHNUTS! The doughnuts were made using Woodchuck Amber and topped with a Brown Butter Caramel Icing. Keep Reading for the Full recipe From Tara!
Be sure to check out our online cider store and online merch store. There, you’ll be able to stock yourself up with your favorite cider (maybe some cider to make your own doughnuts with) and purchase some all-new Woodchuck swag like t-shirts, Glassware, hats and more!
Cheers, and happy cider sippin’!
Boiled Cider Doughnuts:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup +1 tablespoon cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup Woodchuck Amber Cider + 1 teaspoon loose leaf chai
1/3 cup boiled cider
1/4 cup plain yogurt
5 tablespoons of brown butter***
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, occasionally swirling the pan so the butter cooks evenly. When the butter melts, it’ll start to foam. Once the milk solids drop and the butter turns a toasty brown, it’s done! You’ll be able to tell by the nutty smell. Remove the butter from the heat and add to a bowl to let cool for 5 minutes. The butter will continue to cook if you leave it in the hot pan.
Brown Butter Icing:
1/2 cup brown butter
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons boiled cider
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon caramel
Once the butter has cooled, add the powdered sugar and the caramel to the brown butter and mix well. If the glaze thickens up, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time to thin the glaze out. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, dip the doughnuts in the icing and serve
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Add oil to the doughnut pan to prevent doughnuts from sticking
- Add the cider to a small saucepan and the chai tea in an infuser. Cook the cider at a low temperature and cook until it comes to a light simmer. Don’t let it boil. Remove from he heat and let the chai infuse
- While the cider is infusing, make the brown butter. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, occasionally swirling the pan so the butter cooks evenly. When the butter melts, it’ll start to foam. Once the milk solids drop and the butter turns a toasty brown, it’s done! You’ll be able to tell by the nutty smell. Remove the butter from the heat and add to a bowl to let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk the eggs, brown sugar, cane sugar, vanilla, brown butter, infused Woodchuck Cider, boiled cider, and yogurt togehter in a small bowl
- Add baking powder, baking soda, flour, and mix well
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown
- Let Doughnuts sit for about 5 minutes before removing from the tray with a butter knife.
- Once you have made the glaze, dip the doughnuts in the glaze and serve.