Saturday, June 26, 2010

Home-Made Donuts with Chocolate Glaze

These are OMG delicious! Make these when friends are over, or else you'll eat them all and get a tummyache.

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp warm water
3/4 cup warm milk)
2-1/2 Tbsp softened butter
1 egg
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2-3/4 C all-purpose flour
3 C vegetable or canola oil, or enough for deep-frying

In the bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with a dough hook), combine all of the dry ingredients, except the yeast. In a large glass measuring or small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk and egg and stir to combine. Pour this liquid mixture into the flour, add the butter, and turn on the mixer to medium-low. When the dough is well-combined and kneaded smooth, check it for consistency: it should feel like a very soft bread dough, but not too sticky to handle. Knead in more flour if required, in small increments.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and clean off the dough hook, returning extra dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Not sure? Poke the dough with your finger. If the dent remains, instead of springing back, it's ready.
Dump the dough out onto a HEAVILY floured surface, and roll or pat it out to about 1/2 inch thick. Heavily flour your hands and/or rolling pin. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter about 2 1/2 inches in diameter to cut out your donuts, and a bottle cap about 1 1/4 inches to cut out the holes. Save the holes and other scraps- they'll be just as tasty!
Spread your your cut donuts several inches apart on a cookie sheet and let them rise again in a warm place, about 30-40 min, until puffed up to twice their size. .
Near the end of the rising time, heat your frying oil to about 350 degrees- this is easiest if you have an electric deep-fryer or skillet with a thermostat. Otherwise, use a steep-sided frying pan over medium heat and watch it carefully. Drop a scrap piece of dough in to test: it should instantly bubble rapidly, but not burn.
Fry each doughnut, donut hole, and scrap for about 30 seconds per side, or until light golden brown -- the color is key. Put only a few in the oil at once, and flip carefully with long tongs or a heat-proof flat slotted spoon.
Cool 5 minutes on paper towels.

3 tablespoons softened butter
1 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/6 cup hot water
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine the butter with the powdered sugar and blend with an electric mixer.
Add the vanilla and hot water, and mix until smooth.
Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Stir, then microwave another 15 seconds and stir again until completely melted.
Add the chocolate to the plain glaze mixture. Blend until smooth.
When the donuts have cooled, dip each top surface into the glaze and then flip over and cool on a plate until the glaze firms up, about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chocolate Lava Cakes

This recipe is adapted from a similar one in Cuisine at Home, a magazine I truly love. Ground rule for these decadent little cakes: use really good ingredients. That means quality chocolate, good cocoa powder, and real pure vanilla extract and butter. I will hunt you down and kick your butt if you defile this recipe with generic butter-flavor shortening, imitation vanilla, or store-brand chocolate chips. So don't do it.

For 4 to 6 individual cakes:
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, or about 1 1/3 C chocolate chips
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 eggs
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C flour
1 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp kosher salt

For 1 single, decadent cake for your private chocolate indulgence:
2 oz chocolate, or 1/3 C choc chips
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 scant tsp cocoa
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp kosher salt

  1. Find the needed number of ramekins, small oven-safe bowls, or single-serving baking dishes. They should hold between 6 oz and a cup. You can use bigger ones, but the baking time will become more experimental; it's up to you. Spray your baking vessels well with non-stick spray. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. If using block chocolate, chop it into small pieces. Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave, checking and stirring in 30 second increments until melted and blended smooth. Don't scorch!
  3. Meanwhile, beat the egg and sugar together in a bowl. I highly recommend an electric hand mixer for this. Keep beating until the color turns from bright to pale yellow and the consistency starts to thicken like lightly whipped cream. By hand this will take 5 minutes or longer. The beaten egg is the only leavening in this recipe, so don't wimp out on this step!
  4. Add flour, salt, cocoa, and vanilla to the egg mixture, and beat even more until it's well combined.
  5. Add the chocolate/butter mixture and beat again for several more minutes. The batter will be rather thick.
  6. Divide batter evenly among your baking vessels, place the vessels on a baking sheet, and bake 15-20 minutes (small sizes less, larger sizes longer). Check frequently after the first 15 minutes. Don't overbake! The cakes will be done when they are puffed and the edges are mostly dry, but the centers will still appear sunken and somewhat wet. They should still jiggle slightly in the middle when shaken.
  7. Let the cakes rest several minutes in their baking dishes after removing from the oven. Then, while they are still warm, run a dull knife around the inside of the dishes to loosen the cakes. Place a plate over the top of each baking dish and quickly invert. The cakes should unmold easily onto the plates. No topping is needed, but whipped cream, good vanilla ice cream, or macerated berries make a delicious extra. Break into one cake with a fork; if you find warm gooey fudge puddling out of the center, you will know the cakes are just right.
Sneaky make-ahead tip: The batter may be made several hours in advance, portioned into the baking dishes, tightly covered and refrigerated until ready to bake. Add an extra minute or so to the baking time, and put the cakes in the oven as you sit down to dinner. You'll have warm-from-the oven dessert ready 20 minutes later.