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Chocolate Doughnuts

September 3, 2011

Living in Boston, Dunkin’ Donuts is everywhere.  Growing up in Pennsylvania, not far from New York, I’ve always been more of a bagel person.  If given the choice of bagel or doughnut, bagel with cream cheese always wins.  But I will admit, if someone puts a box of Dunkin’ Donuts “Munchkins” in front of me, I WILL have trouble resisting the chocolate doughnut holes.  Not the glazed, powdered sugar, or cinnamon sprinkled.  Just the chocolate.  Maybe because it tastes like having chocolate cake for breakfast, and it’s  socially acceptable. For whatever reason, I find them irresistible.

It’s an early morning at the brewery, and I figured that I’d bring my coworkers a sweet treat.  As I thought about all the things I’ve made before, I wanted to try something different and new.  Deep-frying is not a common thing in my home, but as I began to research how to go about making doughnuts, I remembered that deep frying was part of the deal.  I don’t own a deep fryer, which would make the process a heck of a lot easier.  Nor do I own a deep fry thermometer.   That I’m not ashamed that both of these gadgets are absent from my kitchen (in fact I’m sort of proud).  But as I embarked on this journey, the lack of these tools proved challenging.  According to the directions, I needed to get the oil up to 375 degrees.  But without a thermometer, what did that mean?  Trial and error.  My sous chef Casey helped me try out the dough, testing various lengths of time at various heat levels.  After a lot of failure, we finally hit our stride.  And about 30 minutes later, we had 4 dozen doughnuts, that could easily rival Dunkin’.


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Your fat of choice for frying (Crisco or Vegetable Oil– my choice)

Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium one, whisk eggs, sugar, sour cream or buttermilk and butter. Stir wet ingredients into dry until well blended. Chill batter until cold, at least 1 hour.

Flour your counter generously and scrape dough onto it. Flour dough. Flour your hands. Gently pat dough out until it is 1/2-inch thick. Cut dough into 1.5 inch squares (or use a cutter to cut circles out).

Fill a 5 to 6-quart with 4 inches of oil. Heat to 375°F (190°C). You can fry 6 to 12 doughnut holes at a time, about one full minute on each side. This is where I recommend some experimentation.  Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of dough even if you screw up a few.  Or 10. Since they’re chocolate, the color change will be subtle, so try to watch the dough carefully.  Allow time between batches for oil to return to proper heat.

Drain doughnut holes on a stack of paper towels. Once cool, roll in glaze (below) and let drain and dry on cooling racks.

To create the glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and a little vanilla extract.  There is no exact science to this.  For a thicker glaze, use more sugar.  For thinner, use additional milk.  I found a medium glaze worked best, adding a little sweetness without a huge crust of glaze.

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