I love doughnuts. I eat them more often than I should. They're one of the few things that I would rather buy than make myself, mostly because I hate deep-frying anything. Me and hot oil don't mix well. You're talking to a girl who managed to stab a blunt knife all the way through her finger when she was sleepily trying to remove a pit from an avocado early one morning. I'm not to be trusted around sharp things, flames or anything boiling hot.
This is why I like the idea of baked doughnuts. I've made cinnamon ones before and they were pretty good. Of course, they'll never taste as soft and fluffy as the real deep-fried thing, but it comes very close. And then you don't have to deal with all the mess of getting rid of all that oil. And no need for a special doughnut pan!
So I saw lots of gorgeous looking chocolate doughnuts on pinterest while trying to get ideas for this recipe, but all of them were basically cake batter that needs to be poured into a special doughnut-shaped pan to be baked. They sound delicious, but I usually prefer not to have to buy another pan for one specific purpose (there are exceptions to this but you know what I mean). So I decided to play around with the original plain baked doughnut recipe (which is more like bread than cake) and turn it into a chocolate doughnut. My first attempt was noooot good. The yeast didn't activate and they stayed like hard, poo-like lumps in the oven. But the second attempt with a few tweaks came out perfectly.
I topped these doughnuts with a cookies and cream flavoured topping. It was a simple icing glaze and lots of Oreo bits. I've always wanted to do a cookies and cream flavoured recipe but nothing has seemed like a fun enough idea until this one. To be perfectly honest, the baked version of these doughnuts can be fairly dry at room temperature, but I find that if you warm it up ever so slightly in the microwave before eating it, it keeps makes them super soft and more like the fried version, without melting the icing. So please, serve these warmed up! They are so much better.
Anyway, these were fun for a baking day where I wasn't in a rush and had time to wait for the dough to rise. I don't get many of those days anymore so I had a lot of fun with it. The only thing I'd like to work on is how to make these even softer and less dry at room temperature, maybe if I did a dough that had more butter, like brioche. Oooooh. And apologies for the slightly dark photos, I'm still getting used to my new computer screen!
Cookies and Cream Baked Chocolate Doughnuts
(adapted from these baked doughnuts, makes about 12)
For the doughnuts:
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons (1 packet/7g) instant dried yeast
20g (1.5 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
350g (about 2.5 cups) plain flour
50g (about 0.5 cups) cocoa powder (I used dutch-processed but regular is fine)
1/2 cup (100g) caster/granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mixture to help rolling dough: 2 tbsp icing (confectioner's) sugar and 2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted together
- Heat milk to lukewarm (I did this by placing it in a microwave-safe jug and zapping it on medium-high (75%) for about 20 seconds). Make sure it's not too hot, then stir in yeast and let it sit for a minute so it starts to froth up.
- Sift flour and cocoa powder together into a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Make a well in the centre. Add melted butter, then add milk mixture. Mix to form a soft dough.
- If you have a mixer with dough hooks, beat on high for about 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic. If not, turn out onto a surface dusted with the icing sugar/cocoa powder mixture (rather than using flour which will affect the colour of your dough). Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size (mine took a little longer during winter).
- Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Using your fist, punch dough down. Dust your surface with more icing sugar/cocoa mixture. Knead until smooth.
- Roll dough out until about 1 cm (1/3 inch) thick. Using a 6.5cm (2.5 inch) cutter, cut 12 rounds from dough. Using a 3cm (1 inch) cutter, cut circles from the centre of each round.
- Place doughnuts (and doughnut holes), 5cm apart, on prepared tray. (You can try rerolling the dough scraps and holes to cut more doughnuts but I found that these ones turned out a lot uglier.) Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C (350°C). Bake doughnuts for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through (make sure not to overbake or they will be hard and dry. The easiest way to test if they're ready is to sacrifice one for tasting).
- Place on a wire rack and cool completely before icing. They must be completely cooled or the icing will melt! Note: doughnuts are best served after being warmed slightly in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
For the icing:
2 cups (150g) icing sugar, sifted
About 2 tbsp (30-40 ml) milk
Oreo biscuits, full sized or mini (I used mini)
- Place several biscuits in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin (or blitz in a food processor) to make fine oreo crumbs (I used about 1/3 cup of fine crumbs)
- Using a sharp knife, chop up several biscuits into larger chunky bits for decorating (about 3/4 cup of bits).
- Place icing sugar in a bowl and gradually mix in milk until it becomes a very thick paste (add the milk very slowly until it is all mixed in before adding more milk). You want it to be smooth but even thicker than tooth paste, so it doesn't run straight off your doughnuts.You can add a small pinch of fine Oreo crumbs to the icing at this point if you want it to look a little more like cookies and cream icing, but you don't need to.
- Dip the tops of your doughnuts in the icing, or use a spoon to spread a thick layer of icing over the top of each doughnut (icing should settle back down after being spread on, if it is too thick/starting to dry out then add a tiny bit more milk, and if it is running too thin add more icing sugar).
- Place in a wire rack to allow icing to set. While icing is still set, sprinkle several big chunks of Oreo pieces over each doughnut and sprinkle a pinch of fine crumbs over each doughnut as well. Set aside to set for about half an hour, then store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Doughnuts will store in an airtight container at room temp for about 2 days. Note: doughnuts are best served after being warmed slightly in the microwave for about 15 seconds.