Monday, November 24, 2008

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts

As previously mentioned, last weekend my friend Ashley and I bought a huge (1 lb.) chunk of bittersweet Callebaut couverture chocolate at Whole Foods. Our intention was to create chocolate lava muffins! but a busy weekend and several filling meals obstructed this plan. Instead, I chopped the block (roughly) in half on Sunday morning, and we went our separate ways.

Ashley made this amazing (looking) Pain au Chocolat, while I gradually agonized over recipes for a week. On Saturday morning, I had finally decided on chocolate baked yeast doughnuts.

I have a confession to make. These did not turn out as well as I had hoped. However, I'm writing about them since (a) I think you ought to be aware of my failures, (b) the pictures look yummy! and (c) most of all, I think these have promise, and plan to make them again with several alterations, of which I will make note.

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts
Adapted from Heidi's recipe at 101 cookbooks

1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees
1 packet instant yeast (if you want to use active yeast, dissolve it in 1/3 cup of the warm milk first)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour (the original recipe calls for 5 cups. I cut it down to 4 because I was adding some cocoa powder. This was TOO MUCH FLOUR. So I'm reducing it to 3 cups here, and more can be added if necessary.)
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted. (I put the chocolate in the microwave for 20 seconds, removed, and stirred until smooth.)
1 teaspoon salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together. Add milk, eggs, and melted, cooled chocolate.
2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, salt, and instant yeast) in a separate container. Gradually add to wet ingredients, stirring by hand, until fully combined.
3. Beat the mixture with the dough hook attachment of an electric mixer, on medium, for several minutes. Add more flour if too wet, more warm milk if too dry. Ideally the dough should "pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth."
4. Place the dough into a warm, buttered bowl. Allow to rise for 1 hour. (TIP: I think I've said this before, but my favorite place to let dough rise is in the microwave. I put a damp towel in for thirty seconds, then remove. One dry towel goes over the dough, and the damp, warm towel goes on top of that. Then I put the whole container into the microwave and UNPLUG IT because you never know who might mess with it accidentally.)
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out until 1/2 inch thick. Cut the doughnuts! I do not have a fancy doughnut cutter, so my assistant and I used a glass and an empty cream soda bottle.
6. Allow the doughnuts to rise for 1 more hour (I use the same method as the first time).
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the doughnuts for 7 minutes or so. They should be slightly under-cooked! I also baked the doughnut holes for about 3 minutes each.
8. Glaze. I used Alton Brown's chocolate glaze recipe, substituting 1 Tbsp honey for the corn syrup, and it was delicious! Beware, though, it will make twice as much as necessary and you will be continually tempted to stick your finger in it, eat it with a spoon, pour it over fruit...

As I mentioned above, I think the problem with my doughnuts was too much flour. Next time, I will start low and work my way up. I'm also going to try adding slightly more butter and sugar, to increase the richness of the dough. I will let you know how that goes!


Ashley M. said...

simply amazing. next time, we definitely need to bake TOGETHER!

shanna said...

Thank you for being honest that they don't taste amazing-amazing because, seriously, if you hadn't, I'd have been running to the kitchen right now. I love the idea of a baked doughnut rather than a deep-fried one. Anxious to hear what tricks you have up your sleeve for improving these!

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