Baked Chocolate Doughnuts
Because it’s time to bake the doughnuts.
Ok, I kinda did this backwards. I think I was supposed to make the doughnuts (simple) BEFORE I made up doughnut pie (not as simple). I’d tell you I’m nuts, but you’re reading this blog, so that probably isn’t news. Anyway, I’d never made doughnuts before, mostly because of my lack of a deep fryer and my less-than-stellar attempts at deep-frying in a pan (let’s just say at least no one was harmed). But between finding a good baked doughnut recipe for the doughnut pie crust, and discovering the very adorable doughnut pan, I decided it was about darn time to try making some baked doughnuts.
My friend Scott, who is the biggest dessert-aholic on this planet, and who was quite vocal in his disappointment over the fact that I was baking and not frying the doughnuts, tasted these and swore that they were as good as fried. I had to agree, they were fairly awesome. I will make them again. Probably in gluttonous quantities.
Doughnut officianottos already know that there are two basic types of doughnut dough: raised and cake. Raised are usually made with a yeast dough and are a puffy, light concoction. Cake are fairly self-explainitory and are moist and dense. These would be of the cake doughnut variety — my favorite. They’re best eaten warm.
BAKED CHOCOLATE DOUGHNUTS
Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s “Baked Doughnuts”
Yield: about 6 doughnuts
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp dried buttermilk powder
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp heavy cream or half-n-half
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
Special equipment: a doughnut pan
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt, and buttermilk powder in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl beat the eggs then whisk in the oil and yogurt until well combined. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mix and gently stir until just combined, be careful not to over mix as this will lead to a toughening of the dough.
Spoon dough into the wells of a well-greased doughnut pan (I recommend using butter or vegetable oil to grease the pan. It gives the doughnuts that crisp outside akin to what you get from frying.) until the batter is even with the top of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Turn them out to cool on a rack while you make the topping.
Now here is where it gets exciting (Yes, I get excited about doughnuts, and cheese. What?). You can have the doughnuts plain, they’re excellent and chocolatey. Or you can do a simple coating like powdered sugar, you could “dessert” them up with whipped cream or ice cream, OR you can choose from any one of these tasty toppers. Strangely, with all the crazy desserts I concoct, my absolute favorite doughnut is the plain glazed chocolate cake. I swear. I get at least two whenever I go to the Greenbush Bakery — the BEST doughnuts in Madison, and kosher too!
Old Fashioned Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp cream
1 tsp cocoa liqueur, optional
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together sugar and cream. Continue stirring until mixture is hot and thins a bit. Remove from heat and whisk in liqueur, then immediately dip the top of the doughnuts in it and return them to the rack to cool (best to put a plate or wax paper under them). Cool until glaze hardens (or not).
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3-4 tbsp cream
In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, cocoa, and cream. Continue stirring until mixture is well combined. Immediately dip the top of the doughnuts in it and return them to the rack to cool (best to put a plate or wax paper under them). Cool until glaze hardens (or not).
(adapted from Classic Caramel Sauce from Cook’s Illustrated)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp corn syrup
1 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp butter, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
*Note: You might want to make the caramel before making the doughnuts as can take 30 minutes to prepare and then needs additional time to cool a bit.
Pour water into medium heavy-bottomed saucepan; add corn syrup and sugar to center of pot to keep granules from adhering to sides of pot. Bring to boil over high heat, covered. Uncover pot, DO NOT STIR! You can insert a candy thermometer at this point, but you don’t have to. Continue to boil until syrup is thick and straw-colored, registering 300° on candy thermometer, about 15-20 minutes. You need to watch it like a hawk from now on, it only takes seconds to go from “caramel” to “black death.” Reduce heat to medium-high; continue to cook until sugar is medium/dark amber, and registers 340° on candy thermometer, about 5-10 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, when temperature of syrup reaches 300° and is lightly colored, bring cream and salt to simmer in small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Keep cream lightly simmering until the sugar has reached the right color/temperature.
Remove sugar syrup from heat. Pour about one-quarter of hot cream into sugar syrup; let bubbling subside. Add remaining cream; let bubbling subside. Stir very gently until smooth; stir in butter.
With a spoon, drizzle the caramel over the doughnuts on the rack. DO NOT attempt to hand-dip the doughnuts into the hot caramel, you will end up in the emergency room requiring skin grafts which is the exact opposite experience to eating delicious doughnuts. Cool until caramel is warm to the touch, about 5-10 minutes.