Friday, February 3, 2012

Baked Chocolate and Vanilla Donuts

This week, I caved and bought one of those donut pans.  This is how it happened.

My daughter's birthday is Sunday.  At her preschool, when the kids have their birthday, the mom's get to come in and read a few books to the class and bring a treat.  I am going in tomorrow to do this for Evelyn, but because they have a busy day in class the only time for me to come was at 9:15 am.  So cupcakes were out.  Evie's teachers suggested I pick up a box of Munchkins and come in.

Sounds good, except my identifier at her school is "the mom who cooks".  How can I phone it in with Dunkin Donuts?  As much as I know the kids would love it, I just couldn't do it.  So I decided I'd make my own donuts.   I've made donuts before.  Martha Stewarts sufganiyot.  But I didn't want to be frying donuts Friday morning.

I thought of all the donut pan blog posts I've seen around the blogs I read.  And the donuts all look soooo good!  So why not give it a try, right?  I justified it by telling myself that Munchkins would be full of additives and preservatives.  If I made them myself, they'd be "better".

I got to work Monday morning making a test batch.   The first recipe I tried was a simple vanilla cake recipe.  They were alright, but I thought they were a little dense.  Later in the afternoon, I wanted to try a chocolate donut.  I went straight to How Sweet Eats and adapted her Red Velvet Donut recipe.  They were perfect.  Delicious, moist, chocolatey little cakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.   Oh and EASY!  From set up to clean up, I got two batches baked in a half hour.  Not bad, huh?

So I went ahead and remade a second batch of vanilla donuts.  I used the same red velvet recipe and adapted it again.  They were also light and fluffy, delicious.    On Monday when I made the test batches, I topped the chocolate donuts with a simple powdered sugar glaze and the vanilla donuts with an even more simple chocolate glaze.   Tonight, I made birthday donuts but I decided to top the chocolate donuts with a cream cheese glaze that I tinted pink.  I tinted the vanilla donuts pink and topped them with a chocolate cream cheese glaze.   I topped them both with red, pink and white sprinkles.  

I don't know if they are so light because I used White Lily Flour...  All the recipes I found (including the that came with the pan) called for cake flour.  But I didn't have any so I used my White Lily, which is lighter than all purpose.  I'm not sure.  It's on my list of to dos this year to gain a stronger understanding of the different flour types.   But whatever the reason, they are really light.  I am writing cake flour or White Lily in the recipe below.   I also think a contributor to their being so light and not dense like the first batch was the vinegar/baking soda mixture that gets added at the end of the batter. 

While these are definitely more cake than cake donut, I am still very excited to try more varieties.  Blueberry cake, pumpkin cake, coffee cake, cinnamon. The list goes on and on.  Of course, my kids love them.  My son seems man enough to eat a pink donut. 

Chocolate Donuts
adapted from How Sweet Eats

1 cup White Lily flour (or cake flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk + 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preaheat oven to 375 degrees.   Spray donut pan with cooking spray.

Into a medium bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Add the buttermilk and egg and combine.   Stir in the butter.   In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar, then add vanilla.  Add this mixture to the donut batter and combine.

Put the batter into a zip top bag and snip a small hole on the end.  Squeeze the dough into the donut pans, only filling each about half way.  They will rise considerably while baking and the hole will close up if you fill them too much.   Bake for 8 minutes.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.   Wipe the pan out, spray with cooking spray again, and bake the remainder of the dough.

For the vanilla cupcakes, I used the exact same recipe, only omitting the cocoa powder.  I worried abou how the loss of 1/4 cup of dry ingredients would affect the donuts, but it did not.  I also added a tiny drop of red food color to them to tint them pink.

Whipped Cream Cheese Glaze
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons heavy cream, or more to bring to the texture you prefer

In a bowl wide enough to fit the donut, whisk the cream cheese vigorously until it smooths out.  I added the heavy cream at this point to help with this step.  Add vanilla and sugar and whisk until smooth and thin.   Dip the donuts (or spoon it over the top of your donuts) then top with sprinkles, if you like.

*Notes:  I wish I had gotten my glaze a little thinner.  It is more like frosting, like Jessica of How Sweet Eats said.  On my trial run on Monday, I did a simple heavy cream and powdered sugar glaze, but it was practically see through.  I wanted something you could see on the donut.  I'll be tweaking this as I make more.   For the chocolate glaze this time, I simply added 2 ounces of melted unsweetened chocolate to the glaze.  On my test run, I did 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate melted with heavy cream and a few tablespoons of powdered sugar.  That was by far, my favorite glaze.   

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