Thursday, 19 March 2015

Dinky Dunking Doughnuts

This week I made another foray into the world of baked doughnuts. I've made doughnuts about four times, with varying degrees of success. They've always tasted good, but size, shape and texture haven't always been quite right.

On my first attempt, I made yeasted doughnuts and put them in my mini doughnut pan and they ballooned to massive proportions. So I covered them in sugar and pretended they were never meant to be ring doughnuts.

Another time I managed to make glazed ring doughnuts of perfect size and shape, but the texture was a bit tight and I can't for the life of me remember how I made them. And I've also made yeasted filled doughnuts, which were very nice but also very hard to fill.

This time I decided to use the cake doughnut method, using baking powder or bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent. The rationale for this was that the batter produced would be runny enough so that I could pipe my doughnuts into the pan. They were perfect - fluffy inside, round and flavoured lightly with nutmeg.

But I decided they needed something more. If you have ever been to Spain, you may have eaten churros. These are long, piped doughnuts, fried until crisp and golden on the outside, dunked in sugar and handed to you in a rolled paper cone like chips. They're divine. I've eaten them for breakfast at a cafe in Madrid, wolfed them down at funfair and even had them here in London, at Mexican restaurant Wahaca.

Churros are often served with a hot chocolate dipping sauce. It's so thick you have to eat it with a spoon if you have any left over, so rich that you'll probably regret it if you do. So I decided to make a similarly thick, chocolatey sauce, flavouring it slightly with coffee because coffee and doughnuts is one of my favourite clich├ęs.

I prefer my doughnuts dusted with cinnamon and sugar, but you could easily whip up a glaze for these, using icing sugar and a little water. Maybe also a little cocoa if you like chocolate glazed doughnuts.

The only unfortunate thing about this recipe is you really do have to have a doughnut pan to make ring doughnuts. There's no other way it will work. If you don't, they will be just as delicious in cupcake cases, especially if you brush the tops with butter and then dunk them in your bowl of cinnamon sugar.

You will need:

For the doughnuts:
150g plain flour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp lemon juice
75g caster sugar plus enough to dust all the doughnuts
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, cubed, plus extra to brush over
65ml milk, heated until small bubbles appear
65ml plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 beaten egg
a piping bag

For the sauce:
200ml double cream
200g dark chocolate
2 tsp instant espresso or strong coffee powder (I used Azera)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease your doughnut tin with butter.

2. Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, bicarbonate of soda and nutmeg. Add the cubed butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and add the wet ingredients. Fold until just combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and fill each doughnut hole about two thirds full, then bake for eight to ten minutes until risen and light golden brown.

5. While the doughnuts are baking, set the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Give a stir every now and then until the chocolate melts and the mixture is uniform in colour, then remove from the heat and set aside.

6. Put your cinnamon and extra caster sugar in a small bowl and mix well to combine. Melt your extra butter, brush a doughnut all over with it, then dunk it in the cinnamon sugar - first one side then the other - and place on a cooling rack or sheet of greaseproof paper. Repeat this process with each doughnut, pausing to reheat the butter if it solidifies.

7. Serve the doughnuts with the chocolate dipping sauce (and some napkins, it might get messy).

Really, really good. And small enough to be a little bit of what you fancy without being as calorie and fat-laden as your average Krispy Kreme.

Unless, you know, you eat the whole batch yourself. I won't judge you.

Happy baking!


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