My all-time favorite weekend morning treat – little chocolate mountains covered in a thin layer of snowy glaze. Week 10: Chocolate old fashioned doughnuts.
Occasionally on a weekend morning, I would wander downstairs to find a pink box. Only a pink box of the right proportions and slight oil stains could hold such excitement – doughnuts! I would always bypass the sprinkle-coated rings and maple bars, and grab for the chocolate old fashioneds. They’re like firmer brownies that are acceptable to eat for breakfast – what could be better??
The main surprise for me from this week’s bake is that they are fried! I had always assumed that these were a member of the baked doughnut club, since they had such a cakey texture. Wrong. That crispy deliciousness can only be achieved by braving the hot oil. The not-so-fun part is trying to maintain the correct temperature of the oil so the doughnuts cook thoroughly, but don’t burn. I ran over to the local hardware store to pick up a candy/fry thermometer, and stood in line next to all the people getting gardening supplies for their Saturday morning. Bucking the weekend morning trend, one bake at a time.
Side note: did you know that cocoa is naturally acidic? That’s one of the reasons why you usually have a lovely citrus-y aftertaste with darker chocolates. The natural acidity of cocoa powder (about a pH of 5 or 6) reacts well with baking soda, which is a base. The mixture of an acid and a base causes bubbles of carbon dioxide to form, giving you a happy, fluffy dough!
Dutch processed cocoa powder is unique, because it involves washing the cocoa beans with a potassium carbonate solution that neutralizes the natural acidity (bringing it to a pH of 7, same as water). This means that it won’t react well with baking soda and you could end up with a sad, unleavened cake, (No bubbles. So sad!) I looked into this because I was gifted dutch process cocoa for Christmas and have been happily using it in frostings and such. I had been wondering what made it special, and I’m so glad I checked before starting this week’s bake.
Looking back at this recipe, it actually wouldn’t have made a huge difference, since this called for baking powder instead of baking soda. Baking powder is essentially baking soda (a base), a powdered acid and a stabilizer (like cornstarch) to keep them from reacting with each other. Adding liquid activates the reaction, and ta-daa, bubbles! So essentially, baking powder already has an acid to react with, built right in.
Anyways, back to doughnuts. This recipe helped remind me why we go out and buy doughnuts. The amount of effort needed to fry them, and then clean up the used oil, is nearly not worth it. I say nearly, because I am currently munching on a doughnut and it’s delicious. But I digress.
I do love using the mixer to beat butter and sugar together – such a satisfying, crumbly texture.
After letting them chill/firm up in the fridge, time to roll! This dough was super sticky, so it required several handfuls of flour to keep everything smooth. I used two sizes of cookie cutter (biscuit cutter? I honestly have never used them for cookies. I might use them in the upcoming weeks for sugar cookies . . . to be determined.) The bigger one is to cut out the doughnut round, and the smaller one is to cut out the hole.
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…
I only burned myself once during the frying process, so I consider that a success! I let the used oil cool overnight and strained it back into the bottle. Just in case I’m in the mood to try another type of fried doughnuts next weekend, ya never know.)
Whipped up a simple glaze, and dunked them in.
I love all the crinkles in them! All the better to hold extra glaze.
Overall, a yummy Saturday morning bake. They are best day-of (of course) but I can vouch for them being just as good the next morning! Happy munching.
Recipe from http://www.handletheheat.com/chocolate-old-fashioned-doughnuts/