Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

My experience making doughnuts is fairly limited. Last year I reviewed an awesome cookbook entitled Glazed, Filled, Sugared & Dipped, sharing a delicious recipe for the ultimate Apple Cider Doughnuts. I've also made some delightful Pumpkin Beignets, sharing a seasonal recipe from Club 33 at Disneyland.

Ready to fry!

I wanted to try some of the more complex recipes in that cookbook, trying out some of the yeast-raised doughnut creations with fun and unique fillings, but alas, when tasked with babysitting my 5 1/2 year old nephew last weekend, I decided that we should make his favorites: Chocolate Cake Doughnuts (or chocolate glazed doughnuts, if you will).

Fried and ready to glaze :)

I prepped the dough in advance, rolled it out, chilled it, and then let my nephew help me cut out the circles (he liked to take charge particularly for cutting out the holes--aka Munchkins). After we cut the doughnuts together, I fried them up (no way I'm letting my little Munchkin anywhere near a pot of hot oil!) and then glazed them just in time for an afternoon treat.

We ended up with eleven three-inch doughnuts and a whole bunch of doughnut holes. I used some of the extra dough scraps after cutting the doughnuts (I even re-rolled the scraps once to cut out a few more) to make extra holes rather than wasting the dough.

These doughnuts are packed full of intensely rich cocoa flavor. They are less sweet and more along a bittersweet chocolate flavor than chocolate doughnuts you may find at your local doughnut shop, and the texture is a bit more dense. This is great news for anyone who really loves the taste of chocolate, not just the sugary aspect, but respect for bittersweet chocolate in all its glory. The cocoa really shines.

The glaze offers just enough added sweetness to balance out the rich not-too-sweet doughnuts. It also seems to work really well to preserve the doughnuts from getting stale. I was still snacking on these doughnuts a couple days after making them, and they were still delicious!

These chocolate cake doughnuts are so fantastic, they will put all others to shame. For the chocolate-lover in anyone, these doughnuts are worth making from scratch. All future chocolate doughnuts will just fall short in comparison.

Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
Makes about a dozen
(From Glazed, Filled, Sugared & Dipped)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Vegetable oil, for frying
Basic Glaze (see recipe below)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 1 cup of the flour, the cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the eggs and yolks and mix well. Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and oil, and mix until combined. Add the remaining 2 cups flour and mix until just barely combined.

Scrape the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and put another sheet of paper on top. Using a rolling pin, flatten and roll the dough until it's 3/8 to 1/2-inch thick. Put the dough in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until it no longer clings when you try to peel off the parchment paper.

Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer until the oil reaches 350 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets: one lined with paper towels, and the other dusted with flour.

Peel off the top sheet of parchment paper and flip the dough onto a floured work surface. Remove the second sheet of parchment paper and dust the dough with flour. Using a floured biscuit or doughnut cutter (or other round cutters), cut the dough into 2 1/2-to-3-inch tubular rounds (with about 1-to-1 1/2-inch holes in the center depending on the doughnut's diameter) and put them on the flour-dusted baking sheet.

Fry the doughnuts in batches, taking care not to crowd the pot, until golden brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on the paper towel-lined baking sheet.

White the doughnuts are still warm, dip them one at a time in the glaze, flipping once so that the entire doughnut is coated in glaze. Put them on a wire rack to set (note: you may need to double the glaze recipe to have enough for all the doughnuts and doughnut holes).

Once dry, serve them immediately, or store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Basic Glaze
Makes 3/4 cup
(From Glazed, Filled, Sugared & Dipped)

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and milk until smooth. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before use.

*Note* To test if a glaze is the right consistency to use, dip a spoon into it. The glaze should cling to the spoon, but not coat it too thickly. If it's too thick, thin the glaze with a bit more milk.


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