March 30, 2008

Mini-doughnuts (in Seattle)

I don't know when I had time to surf the Web in Seattle, but somehow I ended up on the fabulous Vegan Yum Yum blog and became obsessed with the idea of making gnocchi and mini doughnuts—or at least with the idea of owning a gnocchi board and some mini-doughnut pans. Not long after the obsession set in, I found myself in an upscale cookware store with T and Babycakes and would you believe — they had both items. I bought one of each. The gnocchi board was cheap and I mean to use it in the near future. I only bought one mini-doughnut pan, reasoning that I could get another in Madison if it really appeared I would make mini-doughnuts. Well, I did make the minis in Seattle! I used the recipe from Vegan Yum Yum with a slight twist. I decided that instead of making a chocolate glaze I would make chocolate chip doughnuts. I didn't realize the batter would be warm enough to instantly melt the chips, creating chocolate mini-doughnuts! And being the vegan health-nut that I am, I used whole wheat pastry flour. I wish I had photographed them (very cute) instead of just the pan now that I'm home, but go look at the amazing photos on Vegan Yum Yum and you'll understand why I was so captivated. The minis were delicious by the way, and I intend to make them again — this time with a glaze. I have to say that it was a challenge getting the batter into the pan without covering up the center posts. When the doughnuts came out of the pan, the tops were a little weird and nearly closed, but the bottoms looked like baby doughnuts. I've never made these before so maybe it's bottoms up where baked doughnuts are concerned.
By the way, lest you think all we ate in Seattle were Chinese food, doughnuts and ginger bars, Ken also made farro soup, Tuscan stew and enchiladas. And our son made some great, savory black-eyed peas that I will try to make this weekend from his very sketchy recipe.

Here's my latest attempt at the mini-doughnut thing. I did a much better job getting the batter into the pan (by using a teaspoon), so the tops looked like doughnuts this time, and I didn't have to turn them upside down. And I put the melted chocolate chips on top instead of inside. Still, I'll never be the sort of baker whose products win oohs and ahs for appearance - except maybe for my breads. These tasted really good, but next time I think I'll make them a little less sweet. And I tried thinning the batter a little before baking the second batch (still only have one pan) and the appearance of the baked doughnuts was much smoother. The texture was better, too. Perhaps the whole wheat pastry flour needs a thinner batter. In any case, the little doughnuts didn't last long!

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