Sweet Paul's recipe for Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate Dip
There was a brief period in New York (long before the advent of social media) when Krispy Kreme doughnuts caused a stir in the city. Actually, it was more than a stir. It was a loud rumble. Suddenly, and without warning, a Krispy Kreme opened on an ugly stretch (near a very sketchy outlet of Boston Market nonetheless) of West 23rd street and, like magic, people descended. For one shining moment, Krispy Kreme drew Ramen Burger/Cronut-style legions. And then, for a multitude of reasons (oversaturation, awkward financials, etc…), it was over.
I was never a Krispy Kreme fan. Of course I would eat them (too many of them), but in terms of doughnuts, I lean towards the style perfected by farms and famer’s markets nationwide. I still have a deep affection for a great big bag – always paper, always slicked with a little bit of grease – of cider doughnuts: smallish, overly crispy, and covered in cinnamon sugar.
Sadly, I don’t really enjoy frying at home. I love a good fried doughnut and adore homemade fried chicken, but frying is messy and it always makes my smallish apartment smell sort of like McDonald’s. Besides, I have learned to really enjoy a lovely baked donut. Molly, our pastry chef, was the first person to get me on board with what a well-executed baked donut could be – light and cakey and grease-free (i.e. go to Baked now to get one).
And then I met the Sweet Paul baked doughnut. First of all, let me gush: The Sweet Paul Eat & Make book is beautiful (as is the magazine). The crafts and recipes within are simple and elegant and fun. I do not consider myself a craft person – but Paul Lowe’s crafts are approachable – easy for mere mortals like myself. I am still working my way through the book, but felt obligated to share his recipe for baked doughnuts with you. In the meantime, you should get some more Sweet Paul in your life (if only for the intriguingly titled World’s Best Cake recipe – a winner of Norway’s National Cake).
A few notes about baking donuts:
- You will absolutely need a donut pan. You cannot pipe donuts onto a sheet pan (I’ve tried and failed).
- I like a crackly-edged donut. I usually take my oven temp up to 425 degrees and lower it to 400 once I put the donuts in the oven. Paul’s original recipe just calls for a 400 degree oven – no up or down nonsense.
- In my quest to work with alternative flours, I have found that a little bit of rye flour makes for a delicious doughnut. For the recipe below substitute no more than a ½ cup of flour for ½ cup of the cake flour. Rye adds a definite taste. If you want to start slow, start with ¼ cup substitution.
- You will like this recipe. No stand mixer needed.
- Paul’s doughnuts are glazed with chocolate and sprinkled with toasted coconut. I am not a coconut fan so I changed up the glaze just slightly. And, added sprinkles…of course.
- True, a baked doughnut is not going to replace a fried doughnut anytime soon, but these are quite good (and, perhaps…a little better for you).
Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate from Paul Lowe’s book, Sweet Paul Eat & Make
For the Doughnuts
3 ½ cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ¼ cups buttermilk, room temp
3 large eggs, room temp
1 tablespoon honey
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the Chocolate Dip
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
yield: about 20 regular doughnuts
Make the Doughnuts
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a doughnut pan with a little melted butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, honey, and melted butter together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until combined.
Place the batter in a pastry bag (or, alternatively, you can spoon the batter into the pan) and pipe the batter into each doughnut well. Only fill ¾ of the way up.
Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees, place the pan in the oven, and bake until golden edges appear, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes than turn pan over, pop out doughnuts, and allow them to cool completely. Repeat until all the batter has been used…making sure to grease the pan between batches.
Make the Chocolate Dip
Place the chocolate in a medium wide-mouthed bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it is just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter. Keep the mixture warm and, working quickly, dip each doughnut in the chocolate. Add sprinkles. Serve within 12-24 hours.