Chocolate & Raspberry Buttermilk Doughnuts

March 1, 2013

IMG_0246

It’s here! It’s here! Day #1 of my St. Patrick’s Day countdown of Irish-y recipes. And ya’ll, I’m starting off with a great one! Who doesn’t swoon at the thought of Buttermilk Doughnuts? And these particular Buttermilk Doughnuts are filled with a Chocolate & Raspberry Jam that will bring tears to your eyes. Now I’m sure some of you folks out there in internet land are saying “Uh…How are Chocolate Raspberry Doughnuts particularly Irish?” Well now, keep your britches on for a just a minute and I will make the Irish connection clear.

IMG_0180

The food scene in Ireland today is really changing rapidly. For such a long time when one spoke of Irish cuisine, bland boiled meat and potato was the unfortunate stereotype. But now a days I think most folks are aware that there is a real food renaissance going on in Ireland. The traditional Irish dishes, which were always rustic and filling but were for quite some time ignored, are being revived and served in the most hip restaurants to be found. You see, that wonderful mild climate that gives the country such gorgeous green vistas also produces an abundance of world-class fresh ingredients from wonderful grass-fed beef and dairy cows to gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables. There is an emphasis on seasonal, locally sourced, quality food. And this new-found emphasis on fresh and local has created a resurgence in artisan producers. In recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of farmers markets in the country. Now farmers markets are amazing because you often get to meet the actual people who grow and craft the delicious food you are purchasing. (Lets take another look at those doughnuts…)

IMG_0269

Last October, Jay and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel over to Ireland to visit friends and family. Much to our delight, The 6th Annual Dingle Peninsula Food Festival was taking place while we were there. Now, if you are planning a trip to Ireland, let me just say, the Dingle Peninsula is a must see for your trip. National Geographic has declared it “the most beautiful place on earth” and it is ranked as one of Trip Advisors “Top 100 destinations in the world”.

IMG_0120

So, if you can manage to plan it so that you are there during the Food Festival, it will just be icing on the cake. The little town of Dingle really turns out for the festival! They have a “Taste Trail” which encompasses over 60 locations from pubs to galleries to shops. Walking that food trail was incredibly fun and tasty! The way it works is that you buy a book of taste tickets and then set off on the trail. Each location has a sample of featured local cuisine. We had kangaroo skewers (betcha didn’t know there were kangaroos in Ireland huh?), Spinach and Gruyère crepes and charming butterfly cakes, a pint or two of micro brew, plus many other tasty delicacies. We could barely waddle back home! But in addition to the food trail frenzy,  there are cookery demonstrations, food workshops, live music, the Farmers Forum, farmer’s/food markets and the Annual Blas Na hÉireann (Taste of Ireland): National Irish Food Awards. Blas Na hÉireann is the biggest competition of its type in Ireland. The prestigious awards, given as gold, silver and bronze in over 60 categories, are considered to be the ultimate benchmark of quality Irish produce and its passionate producers.. That’s where the Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves that I used to fill my lovely Buttermilk doughnuts come in. (Ahhh…it’s getting clearer…) My friend Theresa and her family own The Green Apron,  a small artisan preserve company located Derryclough, Ballingarry, (overlooking Knockfierna – the famous fairy hill) in County Limerick, Ireland. She makes those stunning preserves, which won a silver award in the Blas Na hÉireann Jams, Marmalades and Conserves category! That in itself was fantastic, but she didn’t stop there. Oh no. Theresa also won the Gold in that same category for her Apricot, Orange & Almond Conserve,

564847_4577305953342_1914496201_n

Theresa & her daughter Athene accepting the Gold and Silver Awards

and she won a Silver in the Dips & Seasonings category for her Italian Butter Mix and last but not least The Green Apron won Best in Farmer’s Market for Small Producers for their stand in the Limerick Milk Market.

IMG_9267

Four awards! Woohoo!!! Over that exciting weekend Theresa also taught a cookery class entitled “Preserving Your Harvest” and was able to man The Green Apron stall, with the help of family and friends. I tell you, she is unstoppable! I was lucky enough to bring a jar of the award-winning Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves, with a clear Irish pedigree, back home with me. Now, I must confess, I can’t tell you the recipe for it. No, no, no. Top secret and all. Well, I guess I could divulge it, but then would have to track you down and kill you all before Theresa was able to take me out. What I will say, is that if you are in Ireland, you simply must get ahold of a jar. You can find the Green Apron in the Limerick Milk Market every Saturday. They also do some other markets and fairs from time to time, so check their Facebook page for updates. Or you can email Theresa directly to discuss the possibilities of mail order. For all of you in other locales, if you’re in Ireland, try to catch her at the Milk Market, or you can find her at the next Dingle Peninsula Food Festival.

IMG_0596

Otherwise, you’ll just have to find your own favourite, scrumptious jam to fill your doughnuts with. Check out your local farmer’s markets and I’m sure you’ll find some wonderful artisan producers. Or get busy and make up a batch of your favourite fruit. A quality jam will make all the difference in your doughnuts. I can remember I wouldn’t go anywhere near a jam or jelly filled anything when I was younger. It was something about the texture and that fact that the jelly tasted sort of plastic and not like any particular fruit. If it was supposedly strawberry or raspberry, it often just tasted vaguely “pink”. There was never any real fruit flavour shining through, just sweet goo. That is not the case with my Chocolate & Raspberry Buttermilk Doughnuts. Not only is the cake portion of the doughnut moist and tender, but it is also bursting with vibrant raspberry preserves, with a rich chocolate undertones.

IMG_0199

For those of you who just can’t get enough chocolate, I dipped several of my doughnuts in a chocolate glaze. I also covered some with granulated sugar. Now you know how parents supposedly don’t favour one child over another, or at least would never admit to it? Well, I gotta say, whilst the sugar tossed doughnuts are lovely, but the chocolate glazed, Chocolate & Raspberry filled ones will make you go weak in the knees!

IMG_0254

These doughnuts are baked, not fried, sooo….I guess that means they’re good for you? Alright, it probably means they are less bad for you than their deep-fried cousins, which you will not miss in the least, especially not the calories and fat part, after you get a bite of these much trimmer little devils. There is no yeast involved, so you don’t have to worry with rise times. And the recipe is flexible, if you don’t have a doughnut pan, you can make these up as muffins and stuff them full of the jam of your choice as well.

IMG_0291

Easy and Delicious! Now that’s what I like to hear!

IMG_0083

Chocolate & Raspberry Buttermilk Doughnuts

yield: 8 doughnuts

Recipe adapted from: The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Ingredients:

For the doughnuts:

  • 7 Tablespoons (3 1/2 oz/105 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 Cup (5 oz./155 grams) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Green Apron’s Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves (or your favourite preserve)

For the toppings:

Sugar coated:

  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Chocolate Glazed: 

  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon hot water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180°C). Grease Doughnut pan with butter or butter-flavoured nonstick cooking spray.

In stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating well to incorporate  until pale and smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture in two additions, alternating with the butter milk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. the batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon batter into each doughnut cavity until it is 1/3 full. Place Green Apron’s Chocolate & Raspberry Preserve (our your favourite jam) in a pastry bag and pipe a line of the preserves in the center of each doughnut. Cover the preserves with doughnut batter until each cavity is approximately 2/3 full. Don’t overfill the individual doughnut cups or you’ll lose the doughnut shape during baking.

Bake the doughnuts for 10-12 minutes or until the top of the doughnut spring back when touched. Let them cool in the pan for 4-5 minutes before removing.

To add sugar-coating:

Place granulated sugar in ziplock bag. Dip the cooled doughnut in melted butter. Place doughnut in bag and gently turn until coated with sugar.

To Glaze with chocolate:

In medium bowl, microwave chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir until completely melted. Add hot water and mix until the glaze is smooth. If glaze is too thick, add more water until it reaches desired consistency.

Dip doughnuts into chocolate and place on wire rack until glaze has hardened.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

October 16, 2012

So Hello again! I know it has been awhile since I’ve posted anything and you may have been wondering what ever had happened to me. At least I hope someone has noticed my absence and I haven’t just been yammering away into some sort of online oblivion. I’m actually just back from a truly fantastic holiday in Ireland.

I will definitely be telling ya’ll a bit more about that as soon as I can get myself back into some sort of routine. You know how it is post holiday…However, I wrote this blog on Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes right before I was ready to leave for my trip. You see, I told myself I would have all of these posts done before I left and then I would just post remotely. Welllll…..that didn’t work. Seems I was sort of busy with everything else before leaving and did not manage to have several blog posts ready to go. I did manage to get this one written and have shaken off enough of my jet lag to add in the appropriate pictures, along with this disclaimer. But I’m certain I will get it together soon and be back to my old blogging habits. Until then, please take a peek at these lovely Fall Cupcakes.

Happy, happy, happy!!! Fall has arrived! Of course, here in Virginia the weather can’t seem to let go of those Summer temps. We’ll have one nice crisp day followed by a sticky, humid mess of a day. But I know Summer is on its way out, so I’m in a good mood. And Apples are in season! Apples are my favourite fruit, so I’ve got some great apple dishes in store for ya’ll! I thought I’d start it all off with these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.

My husband just recently celebrated a birthday and he requested these cupcakes in lieu of a big birthday cake. He tends to prefer the fruit desserts over any sort of chocolate concoction, so these cinnamon cupcakes, stuffed with apple pie filling, topped with salted caramel swiss buttercream frosting and drizzled with salted caramel sauce, seemed just perfect. I was excited to make them as well, since I myself love apples and have an obsession with cupcakes. However, my glee soon came to a screeching halt. I thought making up a batch of cupcakes would be a cinch. But it turned out to be anything but. Things started to go bad with the making of the salted caramel. First attempt = failure. A big, burnt, lumpy, sticky, smoky failure. Hmmm…I hadn’t ever had trouble making caramel before. I decided to give it another go. And…another failure! What was going on? Are my stars misaligned today? Trying to stay calm, I chose a different caramel recipe and told myself “third times the charm”. Not in this house! Another mess!! But I’m nothing if not stubborn, so I kept at it! You know…to the bitter end. Well to cut this long pitiful story short, after eventually getting the caramel right only to suffer an icing melt down, I was finally able to produce these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.

I finished them at 11:58 p.m., so technically it was still my husband’s birthday. I promptly woke him up to have a bite of these little devils so that he would actually be able to say honestly that he had cupcakes on his birthday. Phew! But don’t worry, the recipe I have listed below, though cobbled together from a couple of sources is fool-proof. (and genuinely tested by a fool so I can tell you true!) You won’t end up like me, I promise. And these cupcakes are truly delicious. Just the thing to get you in the Fall mood.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes

recipe from: Craving Chronicles and Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Apple Pie Filling: (From Craving Chronicles)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1.5 pounds (approx.) Honey Crisp apples (about 4 medium), peeled, cored, and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, sugars, lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook until apples are tender and release their juices – about 10 minutes. In a small bowl or glass, combine cornstarch and water. Add to apples and stir, cooking until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. (Cover and refrigerate overnight if making ahead.)

For the Salted Caramel Sauce: (from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

Add the sugar, corn syrup and water to a medium saucepan and stir gently to combine. Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture registers 350 F on a candy thermometer (if you don’t have a thermometer cook until the mixture is amber in color). Turn off the heat under the pan and slowly add the cream (the caramel will bubble up quite a bit so be mindful) then the fleur de sel. Stir in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool before using – you could even refrigerate for a bit so it’s not quite as thin when you go to fill the cupcakes.

For the Cinnamon Cupcakes: (From Craving Chronicles who adapted it from Annie’s Eats)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Add milk mixture and vanilla, and beat until blended.

Divide evenly among baking tins. Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream: (From Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6-8 tablespoon salted caramel sauce

Directions:

Add the butter to a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk to combine. Place the mixer bowl over a pot of simmering water, and, whisking constantly, heat until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved. You can test by rubbing a bit between your fingers – it shouldn’t feel gritty at all.

Put the bowl on the mixer, and starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to medium-high, beat the egg white mixture until stiff, glossy peaks form – this will take about 8-10 minutes, and the bowl should feel cool to the touch when you’ve finished. Reduce the mixer to medium-low speed, and gradually add the butter, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.

With the mixer still on medium-low, gradually add 6 tablespoons of the salted caramel sauce, and continue beating until it is completely incorporated. Taste the frosting, and if you want a stronger caramel flavor, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce.

Cupcake Assembly Instructions:

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, hollow out a bit of the center of each cake. You can do this with a small paring knife, an apple corer or a special cupcake corer tool. Fill each hole with cooled Apple Pie Filling. Pipe Salted Caramel Buttercream onto each cupcake. Drizzle with cooled Salted Caramel Sauce.

Enjoy!


%d bloggers like this: