The summer holidays are in full swing, and I am thoroughly enjoying them! I hope you are, too?
Part of the joy of summer holidays is the decadent food we get to treat ourselves to. After all, other than for major celebrations, there’s no better time to indulge than on family holidays, right?
My daughter’s birthday falls at the start of the holidays, and part of the treat we had promised her (other than a special trip to Whipsnade Zoo) was a trip to Brighton Pier. A famous British landmark, it is a fun day out and one that many parents all over the South East make with their kids in the summer. The pier boasts many exciting things, and my daughter was blown away by the flurry of bright coloured rides, the gravity-defying rollercoasters hurtling past, the brilliant blue sky heavy with loud music, the waves crashing against the beams so many feet below us. It’s a feast for the senses in many ways, but none is quite as exciting to kids and adults alike as the delicious aroma of pier doughnuts. That day certainly fell in the 20 side of our 80/20 rule!
On our way in, we ordered ourselves a bag of four hot, sweet fried doughnuts, rolled in cinnamon and smelling too enticing to last more than a few steps before we all delved into the greasy bag and licked cinnamon off our fingertips while our son tried to feed a chunk of his to a friendly pigeon.
Delicious as they were, I found myself craving them again soon after, and wondered if I could create a slightly more virtuous version at home. I have previously successfully enjoyed making apple & cinnamon doughnuts, and have also had some delicious blueberry jam ones fresh out of the oven, but I wanted something that tasted decadent but would be an easy weekend treat for the family without quite so much in the way of vegetable oils and sugar.
This is my answer.
Light, airy, not-quite-virtuous-but-pretty-darn-close doughnuts. Oozing chocolate and sweet yummy goodness, these doughnuts are the pier doughnuts slightly more well-behaved cousin.
Easy as they are, kids can easily get involved kneading the dough and shaping the doughnuts, and before you know it, your house will be filled with a heavenly aroma worthy of sea-soaked air and sun-drenched wooden boards. Because, well, seriously, look…
These doughnuts are light and fluffy and oozing dark chocolate ganache (with some left for dipping), but they are wholemeal, baked (no vegetable oils!) and low in sugar. Perfect for a weekend treat without the guilt. Fair warning: they will disappear quickly!
- 200 g (1 1/2 cups) strong wholemeal bread flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp rice syrup
- 25 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tsp quick acting yeast
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) full-fat milk
- 1 medium egg
- 75 g dark chocolate (at least 85%), chopped
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) single cream
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 tbsp icing sugar or powdered xylitol
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix the flour with the salt and syrup, and gently rub in the butter until combined. Stir in the yeast. Warm the milk in the microwave for a few seconds until warm to the touch, the pour into the batter with the egg. Knead by hand for at least 5 mins, or in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for 3-4 mins. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for at least an hour.
Towards the end of the rising time, make the ganache: melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave until just melted. Heat the cream until just simmering, then pour into a cold bowl and whisk in the melted chocolate until it is thick and glossy. If it looks like it is starting to split, stir in a little more cold cream. Set aside. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Punch the risen dough down and divide into 10 equal sized balls. Use you thumb to push a hole into the middle of the dough ball, taking care not to poke all the way through. Fill the hole with a teaspoon of so of the ganache and pull the dough over the ganache to cover it as best you can, then place on the lined baking tray, seam side down, smooth side up. Repeat with the rest of the dough. You should have some ganache left at the end - put this aside and keep for dipping the doughnuts into later.
Turn the oven on to 190C/375F/gas 5. Cover the doughnuts with a tea towel and leave to rise for 20-30 mins while the oven preheats. Brush with a little melted butter, if you like, then bake for 10-12 mins, until puffed up and golden. Brush with the melted butter while still warm and dust with the sugar (if using) and cinnamon. Best served with with the ganache for dipping, but they are pretty great cold, too!