One of the great things about having this website is all of the great people I've met. They're from all over the world but they all speak one common language and that's food and the love of cooking. Some I've met in RL (real life) some I only know through the Virtual World or the Social Network, but every one of them has taught me something. I love it when I can pick up on a new way of doing something I've never done before.
Take donuts for instance. After my high school work experience at The Donut Hole, donuts, no matter how cute and tempting they may look, held no charms for me. Too many traumatic experiences perhaps. What do I mean exactly? Well this device, which even though it looks like it's straight out of a David Cronenburg film, is merely a simple pastry and donut filler. I still have nightmares. Don't ask. And then there's all that boiling deep fat.
Plus there are other embarrassing traumatic donut memories. When we lived in Malibu for a while I formed the dirty little habit of running across Pacific Coast Highway or The Road To Hell as I used to call it, and nipping into Ralphs Market every morning for a couple of donuts and coffee. Don't even ask about the place that used to be next to Malibu Lumber and sold the brie and turkey sandwiches on homemade farm bread. Nipping across the highway from the beach soon turned into galumphing across the highway, and so the donuts had to go. Let it be said that making donuts was the last thing I was thinking about. And then I met Heather aka Farmgirl Gourmet.
I met Heather a couple of weeks ago when we were both featured in the New York Times "Fine Dining Column" What We're Reading. I immediately loved her site. Local, homegrown and sustainable, there's something for everyone, including as it turns out, donuts. The thing that won me over about Heather's donuts was that they were baked cake donuts. No deep fat fryer, no weirdly erotic jelly loading device. Another plus was that they were made of something called hard wheat, which turned out to be a whole grain, winter wheat and the recipe called for olive oil and non fat milk. No full fat milk, no butter. I was sold. I had to try those donuts.
Okay, I've got to stop here. Heather just informed me that it wasn't her in the article! I got my Farm girls mixed up. The site featured with me in the article is girl farm kitchen ..I don't know her, but her site is great too. I blame it all on those donuts. Those baked donuts! Just on the basis of those donuts, Heather should be in the New York Times. I have to admit that when I see baked donuts, I want to know the person who's made them. It was wishful thinking. Anyway, I do know Heather now, I can't remember how but I do know it had to do with seeing those donuts, and she inspired me. And now back to our story in progress...
I immediately set off to find a donut pan. I was faced with a couple of choices. One that baked regular sized donuts and one that baked mini donuts. I chose the mini donut plan, less guilt inducing I thought. Of course there's always the possibility (as Alan pointed out) that one will eat more of the minis because they're well... mini. But, there's risk in everything. I chose the mini pan.
I decided to kick off these donuts with what we consider the first "game" in what is to us as screenwriters, our "bowl season" the Golden Globes.
We'd invited friends over to watch the awards and since I was serving easy finger food, I thought mini powdered sugar donuts with chai shots for dessert would be perfect.
Here's What You Need:
1 cup of hard wheat flour
1 cup of pasty flour
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 tsp of salt
2 large eggs
The zest of 1 orange
2 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of non fat milk
4 Tbs of olive oil
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
2 cups of powdered sugar
Now I couldn't leave Heather's recipe well enough alone, so to her recipe I added a couple of extras to underscore the Indian spice profile:
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground cloves
1/2 tsp of ground cardamom
Here's What To Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a donut baking pan with non stick spray and set it aside
In a medium sized bowl add in the flours, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and orange zest.
Mix it all together with a whisk
Add in the eggs,
Mix it together until it's all combined. Pour it into the greased donut pan. Bake the donuts for about 12 minutes or until they're not tacky on top.
Okay, here's a note. Don't overfill these little suckers. I know it's hard to get just a bit in a mini pan (it was for me) but if you overfill, you don't get donuts. You get an unholy cross between a donut hole and a mini bundt cake. You don't want to do this, trust me. So, be careful and fill the small cups only half way.
If you're careful you'll get this.
Mini donuts! Wheee!
Drop the mini donuts into a bag containing the 2 cups of powdered sugar. Shake it up baby.
Put them on a wire rack to cool a bit.
Here's another note about these donuts. They're best served warm right off the rack. If you let them hang around too long (not that they will) the sugar will sort of melt into the donuts and you'll lose all that great powdery stuff and will have sort of mini glazed donuts. No bad, but not that pretty. Belive it. These donuts are great served with chai, coffee or tea. You don't necessarily have to have George Clooney as accompaniment...
But it doesn't hurt.
Coming up next, I take bao to India and find that dim sum can be the perfect party food. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori