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It's Friday. It's half term. It couldn't have come sooner.
What better way to celebrate a week off together than with Chocolate Doughnuts. The boys had a playdate so I thought I'd make these doughnuts that I've had my eye on for a while. I made Pumpkin Doughnuts not long ago and both these and the chocolate ones are baked rather than deep fried (I will get to deep frying doughnuts at some point but these seem just that little bit healthier).
This recipe is adapted from one by Manuela Kjeilen who has the most fabulous blog called Passion 4 Baking. Think pink. Think retro kitchens. Think complete inspiration. I've looked through most of her recipes and there are so many things I'd love to make, but one bake that stuck in my mind was her doughnuts.
One of the main ingredients is Jell-o Instant Pudding Powder which is an American product that I dug out in the supermarket when I was in Canada over the summer. I adapted Manuela's Delicious Baked Vanilla Donuts recipe to make a chocolate version so I used the Chocolate Jell-o Pudding Powder in mine. It's fair to say that my baked doughnuts don't look that chocolatey and flavour-wise weren't that chocolatey either so after going to great lengths to get this pudding mix, I think cocoa powder would work well next time. But I'm pretty happy with the results from this first batch.
The doughnuts have yeast in them and their texture is very bread-like. They're left to prove twice which means they need a little longer to make but this really helps give them their fluffy texture. The first batch I made looked like Manuela's but I found that after they'd proved and been in the oven, they expanded so much that they almost joined together and the hole all but vanished. So the ones on the right below were my second batch which don't look as pretty pre-baking, but give the customary hole in the middle and much better post-baking look.
I would say that the doughnuts themselves don't have a huge amount of flavour (which I think would be enhanced by the addition of cocoa powder) so the toppings are really important and I decided to use a rich dark ganache and a helping of sprinkles. I love the flavour of the really rich chocolate ganache and the crunchy little non-appareils.
They take a little more time because of the proving but these are a fun little bake.
And if you're looking for ways to allay half term boredness, then kids would love to be chief decorators :)
Chocolate Doughnuts with Chocolate Ganache Makes 20 (adapted from Passion 4 Baking's Delicious Baked Vanilla Donuts)
Chocolate Doughnut Ingredients
- 30G BUTTER, MELTED
- 350ML WARM MILK
- 7G FAST ACTION BREAD YEAST
- 150G CASTER SUGAR
- 1 PACKET JELL-O CHOCOLATE INSTANT PUDDING POWDER
- PINCH OF SALT
- 2 EGGS
- 625G PLAIN FLOUR
- 100g WHIPPING CREAM
- 100G DARK CHOCOLATE, CHOPPED
- Firstly, melt the butter and put aside
- Heat the milk so it's warm but not hot and place in a mixing bowl
- Sprinkle the yeast over the top
- Add the melted butter and mix together
- Add the sugar, instant pudding powder, salt and flour
- Mix these ingredients together with a dough hook until the ingredients are combined
- Add the flour and continue to mix with the dough hook until smooth and elastic (around 8-10 minutes)
- Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to double in size for around 1 hour
- Lightly flour a work surface and then roll out the dough until it's around 1 cm thick
- I used the Wilton Mini Doughnut Pan so found that a 6cm cutter and 3.5cm piping nozzle were the right sizes for this
- Put these doughnuts into the pan, cover with a clean cloth and leave for an hour
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- Bake the doughnuts for around 8-10 mins until golden brown on the outside
- When ready, turn out the doughnuts onto a cooling rack
- Make the ganache by heating the cream until it's just boiling and then pour over the chocolate slowly
- Leave for few minutes and then stir together until all the chocolate lumps have disappeared
- Hold one of the doughnuts upside down and swirl it in a circular motion in the chocolate until you have an even coating on the top (use a spoon to help spread this if needed)
- Top with your favourite sprinkles :)
Much as I want to cling onto the last rays of summer, I think there can be no disputing that autumn is definitely here and every hope of an Indian summer is fading fast. However, I do not despair! Autumn brings with it its own richness and flavours. I have an abundance of apples and quince from a friend that are begging to be transformed into something scrumptious; a pile of recipes for delicious looking soup; and today I couldn't resist bringing back my favourite autumnal flavour. Pumpkin.
It's been a busy few weeks planning and making celebration cakes (see my Jimmy Choo Cake here and Laser Tag Cake here) and I haven't been able to do everyday baking just for us. But I've been desperate to treat us to some mini doughnuts and I'm hoping that the use of pumpkin in these counts as one of our five a day :) And these are baked doughnuts rather than fried so are healthier in this respect too.
They're made from a simple cake batter which has pumpkin in it and I also use a pumpkin pie spice to add flavour - I use Clubhouse Pumpkin Pie Spice which we picked up in Canada a while ago but you could use a mix of cinnamon and cloves or allspice according to taste. The recipe is very straightforward where you mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and then mix the two together. I have a couple of KitchenAid Doughnut pans (6 holes per pan) and I piped the batter in a ring in each hole.
They only take 10 minutes to cook and then the trick to giving them the doughnut crust is to brush the tops with melted butter and then gently roll the buttered part in a mix of sugar and cinnamon. It works best if you just lightly brush them with butter because if they're soaked it tends to seep through the sugar. And you need to do this when they're just out of the oven.
They're best served straight from the oven, lovely and warm, and eaten on the day they're made. As they're mini doughnuts, they kind of call out to you to keep eating them so there's not a great chance they'd last longer than a day in your house!
The boys loved them. They didn't raise an eyebrow at the mention of pumpkin and declared them delicious, begging for their third one as an after school treat.
I haven't shown hubby yet. I don't think there's any chance they'll last longer than 5 mins when he sets his sights on them :)
Mini Pumpkin Doughnuts Makes around 20 mini doughnuts (adapted from Baking Bites Pumpkin Donut Muffins)
- 200G PLAIN FLOUR
- 1 TSP BAKING POWDER
- 1/4 TSP SALT
- 2 TSP PUMPKIN SPICE
- 115G BUTTER, MELTED
- 70G LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
- 100G CASTER SUGAR
- 1 LARGE EGG
- 115G PUMPKIN PUREE (I use Libby's tinned pumpkin puree)
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 120ML SEMI-SKIMMED MILK
Cinnamon Sugar Ingredients
- 30G MELTED BUTTER
- 100G CASTER SUGAR
- 1 TSP CINNAMON
- Preheat the oven to 180 dregrees (fan)
- Melt the butter for the doughnut and set aside to cool for 5 mins
- In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice
- In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter, sugars, egg, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and milk
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined
- Put the batter into a piping bag
- Pipe a ring of batter into each doughnut hole (be careful not to over-fill them as you don't want them rising up and the centre hole closing up
- Bake for 10 mins in the oven (check with a toothpick that it comes out clean when inserted into the doughnuts)
- Leave them aside for a couple of minutes to cool slightly
- Melt the butter for the Cinnamon Sugar topping
- Mix the caster sugar and cinnamon on a plate
- Turn the doughnuts out of their tins and then lightly brush the tops with melted butter
- Roll the buttered side lightly in the cinnamon sugar until well coated
- Leave aside to cool - or eat them as they are!
Well, we've come to the end of our half term week. It's been a good week catching up with family and friends, despite the bouts of coughs and sniffles that have arrived just in time for the return to school. Frozen to the core this morning in the playground and now sat listening to the rain outside, we've been craving a little winter warmer to keep us feeling snug and cozy this afternoon. This has arrived in the form of Churros.
I love these little doughnuts. Very simple to make, they are delicious just covered with sugar and cinnamon or for a more luxurious treat, dipped in lovely warm chocolate sauce. The batter itself is very simple if you follow the below recipe from Lorraine Pascale, although I had to experiment with the heat of the oil when deep frying them as too hot and the skin of the doughnut blisters and they go brown before the inside is cooked. I made each one quite small as I wanted a one-bite Churros rather than long snakes - but the danger with this is that you think you can eat a lot more than you should! In fact, a number of them didn't make it from the cinnamon sugar bowl onto the final plate...well, I had to taste them to check they made the final cut :) These are best eaten fresh and they taste like the doughnuts you buy on seaside piers (with the added advantage that you don't have seagulls trying to eat them out of your hand at home!)
- 60G BUTTER
- 150ML BUTTERMILK (I DIDN'T HAVE THIS SO USED MILK WITH A SQUEEZE OF LEMON)
- 70G PLAIN FLOUR
- PINCH OF SALT
- 1TSP GROUND CINNAMON
- 2-3 EGGS (I USED 2 LARGE EGGS)
- VEGETABLE OIL FOR DEEP-FRYING (AROUND 1/3 SMALL SAUCEPAN)
- 100G CASTER SUGAR
- 1TBSP GROUND CINNAMON
Hot Chocolate Sauce
- 165ML DOUBLE CREAM
- 100G DARK CHOCOLATE
- 25G BUTTER
- 1TBSP GOLDEN SYRUP
- To make the batter, put the butter and milk into a saucepan and set it over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted, turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
- Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the flour, salt and cinnamon. Stir vigorously until the mixture starts to come away from the sides of the pan. Set it aside for 10-15 minutes.
- Then add the eggs one at a time, beating hard after each addition. The mixture should be shiny and glossy. The recipe calls for 2-3 eggs - my mixture was very shiny and glossy after 2 large eggs so I didn't add the third.
- Put the mixture in a piping bag with a star nozzle.
- To make the cinnamon sugar, simply mix the sugar and tablespoon of cinnamon on a plate ready for the Churros rolling.
- Heat the oil in the saucepan until a small cube of bread browns in around 50 seconds.
- Pipe 3-4 Churros in your saucepan (depending on size as they will swell up a little so they need some room and also if you add too many, it will reduce the heat of the oil and they won't cook). I pipe a small amount into the oil and then use a pair of scissors to cut the end of the Churros so it drops into the pan.
- Once they turn golden brown and become firm then they are ready which should take around 4 mins. If the skin starts to blister and they become brown very quickly then the oil is too hot and you need to reduce the temperature.
- Once they are cooked, remove them from the oil with a slatted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper, then roll in the cinnamon sugar.
- To make the chocolate sauce, heat the cream in a saucepan until it's just starting to boil and then remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and butter and without stirring, set it aside for 5 minutes. Then stir it until it's smooth, add the golden syrup and then stir again until smooth.
- Eat whilst still fresh and warm for the best tasting Churros!