Sunday, January 16, 2011

King Arthur Flour , and Baked Doughnuts -- The Non "Krispy Kreme"

Who doesn't love a fresh doughnut?  I recall the first time I walked inside a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. It was the late 90's and we were in Southern California.  My son's eyes grew as big as doughnuts as he watched freshly baked doughnuts coming out of vats of oil, and then roll down a conveyor belt and into a glaze "jacuzzi".  As we both bit into a warm doughnut, we were in sugar heaven.  I don't want to think about how many fat grams we indulged in, but they sure were good! It's a very good thing that we don't have a Krispy Kreme store anywhere less than a 90-minute drive away.  There is a local doughnut shop (Red's Doughnuts) where we live that makes some of the tastiest assortment of doughnuts I've ever had.  I avoid that place, because I wouldn't be able to decide between their custard-filled bar with chocolate glaze, applesauce, devil's food or glazed old-fashioned doughnuts.    By sheer willpower, I've avoided doughnut shops for a few years, because I don't need the guilt of over-indulging. I love baked goods far more than I should.  I have another weakness, however.  It's called "Cost Plus/World Market" stores.  We have two within 15 minutes of where I live and work.  They send me coupons, and I can't let them go to waste. 

At World Market, I spotted a Mini-Doughnut pan for about $10.00. I must have picked it up and set it back down several times.  King Arthur Flour sells them for $15.95, plus shipping...and I had a coupon.  I gave in, and it came home with me. This is the time of year when many of us try to lose those extra Thanksgiving and Christmas pounds.  Still, a baked treat can't be all that bad. Can it?  I settled on making a recipe for baked doughnuts that I found on the King Arthur Flour Recipe Website.  I carefully read the reviews, many of which were positive.  Whenever someone writes a negative review, I try to figure out what might have gone wrong and what can I do to improve it.  I have a bag of Arrow Mills Organic Pastry Flour, so I decided to use that instead of cake flour.  According to their website site, "it is made from soft wheat berries grown each Spring in the fertile San Luis Valley of Colorado, Arrowhead Mills Pastry Flour provides a finer texture and lighter consistency with low gluten content. It's perfect for flaky and delicate pastries and cakes." I keep 1% buttermilk on hand, so I decided not to use buttermilk powder.  

Since the doughnuts won't be deep-fried, I read that it's important to heavily grease use a non-stick spray-- even though the pan is non-stick. Done.

The pastry flour is unbleached (and I never buy bleached flour).  Though it has whole grain, it's milled very fine.
So, here are the dry ingredients-- pastry flour (you can use unbleached all-purpose, but pastry flour is supposed to yield a tender cake), nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder and sugar. For the wet ingredients, I used 3 Tablespoons of 1% Buttermilk, and 3 Tablespoons ofcanola oil (instead of vegetable oil). 

I believe I've mentioned my addiction to the King Arthur Shopping Website, and I'm not paid to say so.  I've also touted my fondness for their Buttery Sweet Dough Bakery Emulsion.  I can best describe the aroma as smelling like yellow cake batter. Trust me, you want to drink it, but I add a teaspoon of this to most of my baked goods.  (Otherwise, I recommend adding 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.) I've been using their Cake Enhancer with great success. I don't fully understand the chemistry behind why it works, but it does-- it makes my cakes stay extra-moist, for several days.  Pour the liquid ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. 

I gently folded the batter, but didn't work up the gluten. (That makes for tough pastries, ya know).  You can see the wheat in the flour, because of the dark brown color.  There is pastry flour that has less wheat it in it, so use that if you prefer. Some reviewers suggested pouring the batter into a ziploc bag (I was too lazy busy to dig out my pastry bags).

I was cautioned not to overfill each well, or the "whole" would fuse together and it won't look like a doughnut. I think you could spoon these in just as well.
Bake the doughnuts in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. When done, they’ll spring back when touched lightly, and will be quite brown on the top. (Mine took about 9 minutes.)

Remove the doughnuts from the oven, remove them from the pan, and allow them to cool on rack. To me, they looked like flat muffins. I wasn't sure if I was impressed.  I could have dipped them in melted chocolate and called it a day.  I could have sprinkled them, and that would have been lovely.  But, I'm trying to make these as guilt-free as possible.

I decided to go with cinnamon-sugar. Since the doughnuts weren't fried in oil, I decided to spritz them, lightly, with some water (rather than melted butter).

That did the trick!  I brewed a cup of coffee and decided to give these a taste test.

VERDICT:  At first bite, I thought the doughnut was less than exciting.  I questioned my wisdom in using a whole wheat pastry flour.  They were tender, yes, but I wasn't digging the wheatiness of the flavor.  I was underwhelmed, as was my husband. But, wait!  The very next morning, something magical happened when I tried them again.  The doughnuts were stored in an air-tight container, the night before.  The flavor had changed, and to the better!  In all honesty, these baked doughnuts won't fool any kind of doughnut connoisseur.   But, with a cup of hot coffee these remind me a bit of Mexican Churros (without the grease).  

I see possibilities with this recipe, and I'll try them again.  Next time,  I'll use regular pastry flour, or a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose.  Rather than glazing these, or dipping them in melted chocolate-- I'll just make the real thing if I'm going to spring for a fat and sugar-rush of that caliber.  Sometimes, you just have to indulge in a traditional doughnut and I plan to make traditional doughnuts, in the future-- just so I can say I learned how to do it.  This recipe is certainly quick to put together, and a lot less messier than heating oil.  They're also easier on the arteries and waistline, and that's a good thing.  On a scale of 1-5 for flavor, I give these 3 1/2 stars. With some tweaking, next time, I think these could earn an extra star or two.

Pin It


Susan said...

Oh dear. They look so good. My mouth is watering. I have to make a confession. I have never, ever tasted a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Nad I have not eaten any kind of a doughnut in probably 12 years. (Since I retired from a place that was always overflowing with them) Do I miss them, you betcha. Just can't let myself do it. ;(

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Susan, you're probably lucky you haven't had a Krispy Kreme doughnut. They are evil! I don't eat doughnuts very often, but every so often, the craving hits. Mini doughnuts are a small indulgence. Go ahead, try one!

Dinners and Dreams said...

I love that they're baked instead of fried and they look absolutely gorgeous. Much much better than Krispy Kreme!!!


bellini valli said...

You have hit my sweet spot Debby. Here in Canada Tim Hortons still has a corner on the market even if their doughnuts get smaller and smaller (perhaps that's a good thing). My absolute favourite is with cinnamon and sugar. Nothing beats a fresh doughnut in my books.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Now that I have a fryer, I'm so into making fried doughnuts, but I'd give these a spin. It's funny you discovered the "secret" to making these taste just right - patience! You need to be willing to wait a bit to eat them. Isn't that something many of us who cook could use more of.

I never got the KK thing. I've always been underwhelmed by the few KKs I've tried. Maybe it's because I've never had the hot glazed. My favorite doughnut is Boston Cream and the KK version is TOO SMALL and the cream tastes weird. I'm all about DD - if my waistline would only cooperate and not expand when I eat them.

Can't wait to see your further experiments with these.

Joanne said...

I tend to avoid donut shops as well because...let's be real, if I get some I'm not just stopping at one. These baked donuts look amazing though! Especially with the cinnamon sugar outside!

Simple Simon said...

Your doughnuts looked delicious. What a great idea to spritz them with water instead of the butter dipped method of adherence. So glad they turned out fine the next day.

Delishhh said...

I made doughnuts awhile back and it was so much fun. But i made the ones you fry. this looks so much healthier :) And you have a donut pan :)

Frieda said...

I'm glad you "splurged" on buying this mini doughnut pan! You had a coupon, after all!

Thanks for the tutorial and recipe ~ I just got a mini doughnut pan and have been scouring the web for recipes as well.

In spite of the flavor, your sugar coated doughnut looks delicious!

Monica H said...

Well they certainly look good to me even if they weren't that great initially. The cinnamon sugar is what does it for me!

A Busy Nest said...

I have one of these pans and have not used it. This recipe makes me consider trying it since I like the idea of using whole wheat pastry flour.

Allie said...

Well they sure look good! Even if they weren't fooling your taste buds. And I love the donut pan, so cute. I think it was a great investment. They remind me of apple cider donuts. Have you ever tried one? They make them in the fall here and you can get them at apple orchards and places where you pick pumpkins. Not sure if that was a Jersey thing or not. I'd love to try them!

Stacey Snacks said...

Leave it to the "gadget queen" to have a donut mold! I have never even seen one!

Lisa said...

Homemade donuts sound like a delicious treat. I love that they're baked instead of fried. I have a new linky on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.