Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I have serious thing for donuts. So serious, in fact, that I'm quite picky about them. I don't eat them hot. I don't eat them stale (Second day? No Way). And I rarely eat the boxed supermarket kind--you know, the Dolly Madison or Entemans or whatnot. They don't taste stale, but they don't taste fresh either. Now, when I was pregnant with Charlotte, it was a whole 'nother story--I used to eat those mini chocolate-covered donuts by the sackfull. (Apparently, that's one of my husbands occasional guilty pleasures, and darnit if his taste buds didn't possess my soul while I was carrying his offspring....lucky for me, Trystan seemed to share *my* taste buds)
Nearly every Saturday morning, Charlotte helps me make breakfast. It normally involves something with flour--pancakes, muffins, cinnamon rolls, etc. But somewhere along the way, we inevitably introduced her to donuts. There is a very cute family donut shop not far away called Tony's Donuts, that has mouth-wateringly delicious sugar-filled offerings in a quaint, 50's diner atmosphere. We probably eat there once every other month or so. I'm a fan of their icing-filled, chocolate frosted donuts. Charlotte always picks something with sprinkles. Trystan will eat whatever you put in front of him, plus beg bites of everyone else's.
We can't (well, shouldn't) indulge in the real thing all that often. So I found an alternative. I bought this donut pan a while ago (free plug for Cooking.com. I've bought many many things from them over the years!). About the size of a muffin pan, it makes 12 reasonable-sized donuts in the oven. Baked, not fried!
But what about the recipes? I use muffin or quick breads. I have a bookshelf overflowing with cookbooks with everything from banana bread to blueberry to chocolate chip muffins. I just mix up the batter like normal, and spoon or squeeze it into the rings of the pan (for better control, pour the batter into a large-sized ziplog bag and snip off one corner, like a pastry bag). Bake according to the muffin recipe, just not quite as long. The pan doesn't hold a full 12-muffins worth of batter, more like 6, so have a muffin pan handy to hold the excess (or be smarter than I was, and buy 2 donut pans).
If you're feeling indulgent, you can ice or glaze your creations, or just eat them as they are.
Easy glaze: in a ziplog bag, place a scoop of powdered sugar (about a cup). Drizzle in some vanilla (maybe 1/4 of a teaspoon), and a little bit of milk (1-2 teaspoons to start..you can always add more if its too thick, or more sugar if its too runny). Zip it closed and hand to the nearest toddler to mix/shake/mash/throw. After 5-10 minutes, retrieve the bag , snip a tiny bit off one corner, and drizzle over your donuts.
For other flavors, try substituing other flavor extracts for the vanilla, adding instant coffee granules (great on a chocolate donut), or leave the extract out and mix the sugar with orange, lemon, or lime juice. Try adding a spoonful of your favorite jam to the glaze. Warm up your favorite jam/jelly and use it instead of the glaze. Or, dip the donuts in melted butter and then in cinnamon and sugar. Chocolate glazes are always good--look for a basic chocolate cake-icing recipe (or use the canned stuff if you have some leftover). Sprinkles, nuts, and coconut are entirely optional!
Darnit, now I'm hungry again.