I really like to get a calorie bang for my buck, so when I saw Ina Garten (Of Barefoot Contessa fame) baking donuts instead of deep frying them I was intrigued, but I wondered how the taste would stack up against the fried variety. I’m probably way late to the party, but this was the first time I’d heard of donut tins that allow you to bake instead of fry.
So I ordered two tins on line from Target, and they arrived earlier this week.
My kids love donuts but they’re so not good for you and rather expensive.
I probably don’t need to convince you of this, but frying at high temperatures creates carcinogens and all that fat, sugar, plus no-fiber flour creates a triple whammy of badness.
Still, as I’ve learned, there’s no point in making something healthier that no one eats.
I printed out Ina’s recipe, which wasn’t any different from the one that came on the tins themselves, so I just used that . . . with some modifications.One great baking trick I’ve learned is that substituting whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour in nearly any recipe works well. Regular whole wheat flour is heavy and significantly changes the texture for the worse in nearly all desserts and baked goods. But whole wheat pastry flour is more finely milled. It still contains fiber and B vitamins that are stripped out of white flour, but has a much finer texture. Best of all, my kids never notice the difference. Because I knew I was going to top the donuts with chocolate ganache, I also cut the sugar back, but only by 1/4 cup. This is a sweet treat, remember. I also substituted Kefir for 1/2 the milk and used heavy cream for the other 1/4 cup. Then I eliminated the shortening altogether because of the higher fat content of the cream. I like the Kefir because it has probiotics, but buttermilk would produce a similar result, if you prefer it.
The results exceeded expectations. The appearance looked just like store bought donuts, but the taste was really fresh. And a bonus was that the girls enjoyed adding their own sprinkles to the top. Only one of the original twelve donuts remains. No one missed the greasy taste of fried donuts. Although some (my husband among them) didn’t love the cinnamon with chocolate ganache. I thought it tasted fine, but the only caution I have around spices it to make sure they’re super fresh. NOTHING ruins a dish quicker than stale or rancid spices. And nutmeg, especially, needs to be grated fresh to avoid a bitter taste to the dish.
All in all, a success. In fact, I think I’m taking these as a dessert to potluck we’ve been invited to next weekend. Give them a try, if you’re looking for an alternative to store bought donuts. I think you’ll like them!