Baking

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

The unfortunate part about not currently having a roommate or many friends in the city is that I haven’t been baking as much as I would like. It doesn’t make sense to bake a cake or cupcakes when I would be the only one eating it, so I haven’t. Instead I’ve just been making doughnuts every so often, since most recipes only yield about six, which is much more acceptable than twenty-four or an entire towering pan.

I’ve been craving cinnamon rolls, lately, but it would be silly to make even a half batch of them just for myself. All of that butter and sugar is just crazy to consume alone. However, I found the next best thing with these Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts from Table for Two. The really nice thing about baked doughnuts is that they rarely call for much butter or oil, so I can make a batch and eat them over a few days for breakfast or dessert without feeling quite as badly as I would if I had made the cinnamon rolls.

These doughnuts are pillowy delights of deliciousness. They rose beautifully in the oven, and I think that’s because they call for a higher baking temperature (450*) than other doughnuts I’ve made. They also stuck to the pan a bit, but  not so much that they fell apart or lost little chunks upon extraction.

I was also a bit heavy-handed with the cinnamon sugar coating, which slightly overshadowed the flavor of the doughnut. I enjoyed it though, because in this instance I wasn’t really looking for a doughnut, but rather a vessel to deliver copious amounts of cinnamon. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite, and I think I might revisit this recipe for future cravings.

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Baking

Baked Doughnuts with Caramel Topping

Have I expressed how much I truly love my doughnut pan? It might be one of my favorite kitchen items of all time. I’ve used it so many times that I’ve lost count. I don’t often branch out and post different recipes, though, because the ones I have for plain and chocolate doughnuts are perfect for my taste.

However, I really wanted a doughnut this morning, but I wanted something more than my regular recipes offer. I found these Caramel-Glazed Baked Doughnuts from Namely Marly and loved the premise, so I tweaked the recipe to suit the ingredients I had on hand. I wish I could say they were amazing, but I can’t. While my version baked a lovely doughnut, I still prefer my other recipes.

I encountered some trouble with the caramel glaze because it started to solidify before I could even top the doughnuts. It was more caramel-y than glaze-y or frosting-y, so it didn’t make a very smooth coating like I wanted.

Also, when the doughnut and coating came together, the sweet caramel overwhelmed the doughnut flavor, and even plain it didn’t have that distinctive doughnut taste. The original recipe didn’t call for nutmeg, so I added a little shake of it to see what would happen. Nothing really happened.

Baked Doughnuts with Caramel Topping

Yields 6-7 doughnuts

6 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1 teaspoon white vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon yeast
½ teaspoon baking powder

Caramel Topping:

¼ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease or spray a doughnut pan.
  2. Mix together the sugar and butter in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the egg and mix together to incorporate.
  4.  Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix to combine.
  5. Add the flour, yeast, and baking powder to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Try to get rid of the lumps that form, but a few remaining is fine.
  6. Spoon into the wells of the doughnut pan and bake for 10 minutes. The tops will still be very pale, so be careful to not over bake.
Caramel Topping:
  1. Over medium to medium-high heat, bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Let boil for 1 minute and then take it off the heat.
  3. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Let the mixture cool slightly.
  5. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and mix until combined.
Baking, Uncategorized

Goodbye Vacation

Winter break is officially over after this weekend, and I don’t know if I’m ready to get back to the grind quite yet. This break hasn’t been as productive as I wanted it to be, especially in the book-reading department. I had a list of books I wanted to get through, but I just couldn’t make it through all of them. I was only able to finish The Cupcake Diaries series (a cute little kids series from Simon Spotlight) and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Oh my, The Night Circus was absolutely amazing. It actually took me a bit less than two weeks to read it, but it was worth every second. I had been itching to read it since August, but timing was never right and The Strand never had a used copy available.  I finally got my hands on a copy, though. When I first heard about this book months ago, I believed it to be a YA novel, but then I read that the author is very adamant about the fact that it is not. The length of time it took me to read it is also a testament to the fact that it is very much a work of adult fiction; I can usually get through a considerably long YA book in a matter of a weekend, but The Night Circus has so many details and intricacies to it that I was forced to slow down in order to even try to take it all in. The tendency to jump between years in each chapter was a bit troubling at first, but by the end of the book I was able to get the timeline straight.This book is definitely something I would not hesitate to read again, because I am sure that I missed at least a few things, especially in my moments when I was half-asleep reading. The characters are well-developed and the plot is not so predictable that reading becomes boring.

I’m also in love with the book’s physical design. If I may say, it’s very classy. The jacket is wonderful with its black, white, and red coloring (the same palate as the circus itself), and the actual cover is beautiful with silver designs inlaid on a black background. I’m a sucker for a beautifully designed book, and these colors all come together in a wonderful way. The only way to describe it is that it’s classy, pure and simple.

Okay, enough about The Night Circus. On to my most recent batches of doughnuts!

Unfortunately I have no pictures of my improved chocolate doughnuts. They were just too good to wait for natural lighting so I could take proper pictures. Instead, I just have the recipe I came up with, which was inspired the Lara Ferroni recipe I used before.

Baked Dark Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

*Makes 9 delicious doughnuts*

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup granulated sugar                                                                                                                                                                                                                           3/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 squares of Trader Joe’s 70% Pound Plus dark chocolate, shaved/chopped

Steps:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly spray a doughnut pan with non-stick spray.

2.) Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda so it is all evenly incorporated.

3.) Add the sugar, nutmeg and salt. Stir to evenly incorporate.

4.) Add the melted butter, buttermilk, vanilla, and egg to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

5.) Carefully stir in the finely chopped chocolate.

6.) Fill each doughnut well 1/2 to 3/4 full. I used a spoon. Don’t overfill the wells, or the holes will get baked over. That would be sad.

7.) Bake for about 8 minutes, until the doughnuts spring back when touched. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

8.) Once cooled, glaze if desired (1 cup powdered sugar, slowly add buttermilk or milk until it reaches your desired consistency, add a splash of vanilla).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The doughnut-making didn’t stop there. I made those ones a few days ago, and I couldn’t resist making one more batch of doughnuts this morning. But this time I went with the Baked Glazed Doughnuts from Iowa Girl Eats, and I spruced them up with a dark chocolate glaze. I love me some dark chocolate!

I followed the recipe for the most part, but instead of using the cinnamon it called for, I replaced it with my new favorite baking spice: nutmeg! I used a little more than 1/4 teaspoon of that glorious doughnut spice.

For the chocolate glaze, I shaved 3 squares of Trader Joe’s 70% Pound Plus dark chocolate. Then I added about a teaspoon of milk and melted it all in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Then I mixed it vigorously to melt the remaining bits. I added 1 cup of powdered sugar and a bit more milk to the chocolate and mixed it all together until smooth. As it was there was a distinction between the chocolate and powdered sugar, so I added a splash of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Perfection!

I cooled the doughnuts before dipping the tops in the chocolate glaze. Then I put them aside to further cool and set up. I may or may not have put each doughnut in one of the wells from my muffin top pan. A normal plate was too small to fit all six doughnuts, but the six over-sized wells were a perfect fit. It was fate.

I only hope I’ll be able to share the remaining doughnuts with my three roommates and a friend who are coming back to the city tonight. But if not, it’ll be a great excuse to make them again. The glaze really is perfection. I could swim in a vat of it. I especially like how it sets up and becomes a thin but fudgey blanket over the doughnuts. Yum!

Baking

Baked Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts

Last year I was crazy busy beyond belief, and I can’t say that I’m sorry 2011 is over. This semester seems like it will be a bit calmer, but I have to say that I’m definitely going to miss interning at Little Simon. My time there was such an experience and I learned so much that I can actually apply to my future career. But, new year, new endeavors, new experiences. Bring it on!

Speaking of new things, I ordered a doughnut pan during winter break and broke it in this morning. I have been looking for the perfect recipe with which to christen this pan, and Lara Ferroni’s Baked Chocolate Doughnuts fit the bill perfectly. Everything came together very quickly and easily. I had to substitute milk and vinegar for the buttermilk, and I don’t think the final results suffered one bit. I also replaced the yogurt with my “buttermilk,” as I’m not sure if Greek yogurt would have worked properly in this recipe.

With these doughnuts, I finally did realize that it IS the nutmeg that MAKES the doughnut taste. I’m coming around to this particular spice, especially with this recipe.

I didn’t use my buttermilk substitute for the glaze, but I think it works with just plain old milk. I did add a bit more milk than I should have, so I didn’t get the thicker glaze/frosting that Lara’s had. It’s fine though. This one reminds me more of the Dunkin Donuts glaze.

When I next make chocolate doughnuts, I think I might use my brand new dark cocoa powder. I would like to have a chocolate-ier flavor, more akin to a chocolate cake/cupcake. I know that pretty much defeats the purpose of making doughnuts–I mean, why not just make cake–but I want to somehow replicate the DD’s chocolate glazed doughnuts. So good!

I think next week I’ll try a plain vanilla doughnut and jazz it up with a chocolate glaze. After that, the options are absolutely endless. Reese’s Cup Doughnuts, anyone?