DESIGNER DOUGHNUTS … the New Cupcake?
In case you haven’t heard … gourmet style doughnuts are to 2010 what cupcakes were for 2009! The doughnut’s somewhat dull, predictable reputation has undergone a complete makeover from glazed and jelly filled to become the latest trend in the pastry scene. Artisan and “designer” doughnuts are popping up at local Farmer’s Markets, specialized bakeries and are even being featured on menus in the “white tablecloth” kind of restaurants. Purveyors of designer donuts have elevated these humble rings of fried dough to a heavenly status.
Dreamy Donuts ran a contest, Australia’s Next Top Donut and the creative winner “designed” a cherry bite doughnut. This ring of pastry has dark chocolate, coconut and cherries and is drizzled with more dark chocolate! In the US, the trend has gone even more extreme with flavor combinations like pomegranate thyme, bing cherry balsamic, iced mint mojito and lemon chamomile crème. One creative baker in Chicago is even adding grape jam to her peanut butter and jelly doughnuts.
So fellow Bakers, join me in shouting “Move over cutesy cupcakes … Doughnuts are staging a comeback!”
CHOCOLATE CAKE DOUGHNUTS with MOCHA GLAZE
adapted from a recipe from Dianna’s Desserts
makes 16, 3 inch doughnuts
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
vegetable oil for frying (I used canola oil.)
Mocha glaze (recipe follows)
1.) In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, buttermilk and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well blended. (I mixed this dough with a wooden spoon. The dough will be stiff and sticky.) Chill at least 1 hour, up to 3 hours.
2.) Once chilled, scrape the dough onto a well floured surface. (The dough can be a bit sticky. The secret is to use only as much flour as necessary to make the dough easy to handle.) Flour your hands and pat the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut your doughnut and a 1 inch to make the hole in the center. (In the pictures you will see that I used a piping tip that was 1 inch to make the center hole!) You can pat the scraps together and cut again. (I got 15 doughnuts from this recipe.) Place doughnuts on a floured baking sheet to await frying!
3.) Fill your deep fryer, electric frying pan, wok or frying pan with oil. Make sure you do not overfill the type of fryer or pan you are using. (I used an electric frying pan.) Heat oil to approximately 375 degrees. Place one doughnut at a time onto a spatula and gently place into the oil. It will fry a bit and slide right off the spatula into the oil. Do not over crowd your pan as it will lower the oil temperature. I fried 3 at a time. Fry the dough, turning once, until puffy and cooked through. (I found that 2 and 1/2 minutes on each side was perfect for me. I suggest you fry only only one doughnut at first and “sacrifice” it to check that your doughnut is cooked through. It is a bit difficult to tell when a chocolate doughnut is done! You cannot go by the color, you must actually check for “doneness”.)
4.) When the doughnuts are just cool enough to handle, but still quite warm, dip the top into a warm glaze. Next, dip immediately into a topping such as sprinkles or nuts. Place on a rack so the excess glaze can drip. Let stand until the glaze sets.
Just before you begin to fry the doughnuts, I would suggest you make the glaze. In a heatproof bowl, combine 6 ounces of choped semi-sweet chocolate (I used dark chocolate chips), 1/2 cup of whipping cream, 1 tablespoon butter, 2 teaspoons light corn syrup and 1 teaspoon of expresso powder. Place the bowl over a pan with a few inches of water. Gently heat the water and it will melt the chocolate mixture. Stir until smooth. (I very carefully combined the ingredients in a micro-wave bowl and in 30 second increments melted the chocolate mixture, stirring after each 30 seconds in the microwave.) I like to keep the glaze warm for the best dipping. If necessary microwave the glaze in short intervals to warm.
CRISPY and CREAMY DOUGHNUTS
adapted from a recipe submitted by Kelly on allrecipes.com
makes 18 doughnuts
2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
5 cups all-purpose flour
vegetable oil for frying (I use canola oil.)
1/3 cup butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (I substitited with vanilla bean paste in the same amount.)
4 tablespoons hot water or as needed
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. (I do take the temperature of the water to make sure it is approximately 110 degrees F.) In about 5 minutes you will notice that this mixture is foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of the flour. At low speed you want to mix for a few minutes. You could use a wooden spoon if you do not have a mixer. Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. (It took all 5 cups of the flour.) Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. (I did use the dough hook on my stand mixer to knead.) Put the dough into a well greased bowl and cover. You will need to set in a warm place to rise until double. The dough is ready if you touch it and the indention remains.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a floured 3 inch cutter to make the doughnut shape. Use a 1 inch cutter to make the center hole. Place the doughnuts on a baking sheet to rise again until double. Cover loosely with a cloth.
- Melt butter in a small pan medium heat. Stir in confectioners sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat, and add one tablespoon of hot water at a time, stirring until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.
- Heat oil (I used canola oil in an electric skillet) in a deep-fryer or large heavy skillet to approximately 350 degrees F (My temperature was closer to 360 degrees F). Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. (This took about 1 and 1/2 minutes per side.) Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot, and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up.