Updated: Aug 10
Can we be honest for a moment? I love food. I chase food. I embrace that moment when you bite into a fudge sundae and your eyes roll back in culinary ecstasy. From Online Cooking Classes, YouTube videos to cooking shows, I always keep my eye out on learning how to make delicious sweet treats. But to be frank, there’s one food item that consistently provides me this experience. Don’t get me wrong and no offense to lima beans or broccoli, you’re not the topic of today’s food chase. Today, I’m talking about doughnuts. Cake doughnuts. Yeast doughnuts. The kind when glaze and fluffy crumbs melt in your mouth.
In 2016, during a trip to New York City, I visited The Doughnut Project in Greenwich Village. I fail to recall the name of the particular doughnut I ordered, but it was made of a yeast batter with white frosting and black pepper. How unusual, I thought! Maybe so, but the flavors were dreamy. The fried beauty was inviting with its sweet vanilla glaze, and naughty with its flecks of spicy black pepper. Perfection.
Fast forward to long stays at home in 2020 to my most recent food project. Admittedly, I met this challenge with hesitation. You see, the last time I tried to make doughnuts was probably 17 years ago when I was 10. I remember that the oil got so hot, upon dropping in the dough, the oil exploded onto the ceiling above. I admit, I have come a long way since 10, but the fear of scorching hot oil was a thought in the back of my mind before committing to my doughnut adventure.
The Cooking Experience
I selected a basic batter recipe from my first Food Network love, Giada de Laurentiis. It began with a stick of butter (Okay, I’m sold), water, eggs, and flour. In lieu of lemon zest, which is what the recipe called for, I added almond extract to add an edge of nutty, liquor-y loveliness. Despite refrigerating the batter for 15 minutes, it remained runny. My gut told me this was wrong. Alas, against my better judgment, I added an additional cup of flour to thicken it. Even still, it remained soft. So soft, that when I dropped it into the oil, an exceptionally jagged, pointy doughnut hole was created.
I quickly learned an important lesson - USE A CANDY THERMOMETER. I did not have one, so it became an awkward dance of pulling the oil off the heat from time to time, as to keep the doughnuts from burning. The first few doughnut holes failed miserably: burned on the outside, raw on the inside. But, with a little patience and a little more awkward “dancing,” I finally got the interior to cook.
To end, and following my inspiration from The Doughnut Project in NYC, I came up with three glazes for my humble doughnut holes: strawberry balsamic, spicy chocolate, and lime rosemary.
Beautifully fruity with nuanced sweetness. I boiled down some frozen strawberries, added the pulp and juice to some confectioner’s sugar with a drop of balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar gave the glaze a tart edge that contrasted nicely with the nursery sweetness of the strawberries.
Luxurious bitter chocolate with throaty heat. I combined melted chocolate with confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. The depth of the bittersweet chocolate against the warmth of the cinnamon was like a comforting hug, whereas the cayenne pepper hit me with spiky heat in the back of my throat. Intriguing!
Aromatic tartness with an earthy finish. I juiced a lime and a teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary to confectioner’s sugar. I loved the sharpness of the lime that became mellowed from the slight herbal hit. The flavors took me on a journey from beginning, middle, to end. This flavor transformation made Lime Rosemary the clear winner.
I thoroughly enjoyed my doughnut project - from whipping up the batter to experimenting with frying, and ending with the unique, tasty glazes. However, I know there is a lot to learn, which is why I have been thinking about booking an Online Cooking Class with ChefPassport’s Top Baking Chef Instructor Kit Kennedy. I wasn't able to attend her latest Public Class - French Classics Macarons & Madeleines that took place last Wednesday, but heard it was a hit. And honestly, after looking at my own kitchen creations, I think a private online one-on-one cooking class with her would do me some good.
I would personally recommend for you to try out a new recipe and challenge yourself more in the kitchen. Maybe go on your own food discovery? Regardless if you want to book a Private Online Cooking Class with ChefPassport or simply revamp one of your favorite recipes with a new ingredient - just be sure to cook and learn along the way.
As always, have fun, be safe, and keep chasing exceptional food moments!