I’ve been in a funk lately. An unexplainable funk. I was recently on a mini vacation, visiting a friend in Michigan and I had the best time ever. Of course the company I shared, definitely helped with that. Can I just take a moment to tell you how beautiful Michigan is during this time of year?! I mean seriously, it really is. It was my first time there and I was blown away by everything. It’s the type of beauty that takes your breath away. The kind you only see in movies and certainly not the type you see in Los Angeles. I mean sure LA is awesome in it’s own right. We have the beaches and sun and pretty consistent perfect weather. A few palm trees here and there. Just a few. It’s a different kind of beauty all together. I was born and raised here and I’ll forever consider this place my home, even if life takes me somewhere else. However, to experience a real autumn where there are actually colors on trees and leaves on the ground with a chilly air clinging to everything, now that’s something everyone should experience at least once in their life. How do people do it in the East Coast? I wouldn’t get any work done at all. I’d find any excuse to go outside. Anyhow, needless to say it’s been hard getting back into the groove of things. I was so sad when I had to leave, even threatened to stay. I haven’t been able to shake off the good times I had there and jump back into the mindset of doing the things I have to do. Does that happen to anyone else when you’ve come to the realization that the good times have come to an end? How do you go back to work and your daily routine when all you want to do is go apple picking, wine tasting, nature-seeing, antique shopping and cuddle up in a warm place with someone special? That’s been my dilemma lately, which is why I’ve been slacking on my work on here. I apologize. I’m back though (slowly but surely) trying to remind myself I’m not on vacation anymore and daydreaming about the possibility of going back. I snapped a few pictures here and there with my phone and those are definitely helping with my blues. I thought I’d share a few with you here. You can also see more on my instagram. Are we friends on instagram? If we’re not, we should be. What are you waiting for?
I started thinking to myself, wondering what would be the best way to get back into work. This is my 100th post after all (no big deal) and so I wanted it to be special. Or at least special to me. I began to brainstorm all of my favorite things. That wasn’t easy because when it comes to food, it’s all my favorite. In the end it sort of made sense to make this big one hundred a doughnut recipe because doughnuts are my life. I mean seriously, I can’t get enough of them. Remind me to tell you about the one year my family didn’t give me a birthday cake and instead a tower of doughnuts with candles. Best birthday ever? Yes. It’s really a short story that involved me eating them all. I also thought a doughnut recipe would be perfect to share because it was super cold in Michigan—like freezing cold although everyone there thought I was crazy all bundled up while the locals are in shorts, tees and flip flops—and doughnuts are perfect on cold days with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee or tea.
Now, I’ve already professed my love—some might call it an obsession but let’s not go there okay?—for doughnuts on this blog before. Yeah it was a good celebration in honor of my favorite snack/breakfast/dessert/treat. If you recall, that recipe involved blueberries, bourbon and basil. What?! Crazy I know, but boy oh boy were they delicious. This time around I thought I’d honor my most favoritest (totally a word) of favorite doughnuts. It’s common knowledge from anyone who knows me so well that I always make an instant jump for any and all cake doughnuts more than the yeasted ones. Not that I don’t care for yeasted doughnuts because I do, I don’t discriminate. I just happen to really love cake doughnuts. Especially the kind with the chocolate glaze and chopped nuts on top. Forgive me for a second while I drool over the thought of those. Okay, I’m done drooling. Normally those doughnuts are just plain ol’ vanilla. I wanted to switch things up a bit by making my doughnuts with a peanut butter cake base because we all know that peanut butter and chocolate were meant to be together until the end of time. Old friends that go way back. And we all now know that I need those doughnuts in my mouth.
Baked doughnuts have become such a big trend lately and I’m happy that they have because it gives me an excuse to make them for the blog for you. But in reality it just gives me an excuse to eat baked doughnuts nonstop until I can’t eat anymore baked doughnuts, but if you knew me well enough you’d know that I can never not eat a doughnut. It’s my civic responsibility to try any and all doughnut whenever possible. It’s a hard job but someone has to do it. So really this is just a big ol’ selfish post because in all honesty all I really wanted was to eat some doughnuts and call it work. Oh I’ve been working really hard, believe me. I’ve had to make sure that these are good enough to share with you. Really, I’m doing you a favor. They definitely passed the test and I have a feeling that you’re going to love them. That is of course if you like peanut butter and chocolate. If you don’t, then you probably won’t like these, but you want to know something, you can definitely omit the peanut butter. No problem. All you have to do is bump up the butter to half a cup to make up for the peanut butter. Enough yapping, let’s just make some doughnuts already.
So we start by sifting or whisking the dry ingredients.
Add the baking soda, baking powder and salt to the all-purpose flour.
Give it a good whisk to evenly incorporate. Or you can just sift it all together, if you have that kind of time. Who really has that kind of time? Whisking works perfectly for me. These doughnuts are really easy to make and put together. Let’s not worry about such technical things like sifting.
Set the dry ingredients to the side. We’ll use them later.
Our next step is to get the “wet” ingredients together.
We’re going to cream the butter until it is somewhat light and fluffy. Or at least as light and fluffy as 3 tablespoons of butter can get.
Then add the peanut butter and cream once more. Whip until both are creamy.
Throw in the brown sugar and cream together.
**Tip: You can use either light or dark brown sugar for this recipe. You can even use granulated sugar if you don’t have any brown sugar on hand and you don’t feel like driving out to the store to get some because let’s face it, sometime’s (more like most of the time) it’s a real drag to have to go to the grocery store.**
Once the peanut butter, butter and brown sugar are whipped, light and creamy, you can add the egg.
Yeah, add the egg. Go ahead. What are you waiting for? Add it.
Mix until it is well incorporated. You might need to get in there on the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is well mixed.
Add the vanilla extract and stir once more.
Then we’re going to add the buttermilk alternately with the dry ingredients from earlier. You want to make sure to start and end with the dry ingredients. Just like you would with a cake recipe.
So pour some of the flour mixture, mix until JUST combined (do not over mix the batter at this point). Then add a splash of buttermilk and mix once more.
We’re then going to repeat that process. More flour. Mix. More buttermilk. Mix again.
And then repeat again with more flour and more buttermilk.
Then finish off with the remaining flour.
And just like that, we’re done with the doughnut dough. Poof it was like magic how fast that was. That took no time at all, right? No complicated baking techniques or equipment. Recipes that are this easy to make are awesome to do every once in a while because it allows us to forget about everything and just have fun in the kitchen. We get to turn off our brains and just enjoy the process of baking/cooking because we already know what to do since it’s so simple. We don’t have to overly think it. Let’s save that for other parts of our lives.
Divide the batter among the cavities of a greased doughnut pan. I sprayed my pan with non-stick cooking spray because it’s really easy to grease the pan that way, but you can brush it with melted butter instead if you’d like, or don’t have any non-stick spray on hand.
A small spoon will do the job, but if you want to make your life really easy, you can transfer the doughnut batter to a piping bag or a large food storage bag with the end cut off, and just pipe the batter into the pan. That would work perfectly. I just used spoon and didn’t have a problem at all.
You can fill the pan to just about the top, they don’t rise all that much. Don’t get me wrong, they do rise, but nothing too crazy like a cupcake or biscuit.
Bake the doughnuts in a preheated 350°F oven for about 8 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. After 8 minutes, you’ll have to keep checking them because they might not be done yet but you want to make sure not to over-bake them so I’d check them again at 10 minutes and then once more at 12 if they’re still not done.
Once the doughnuts are baked through you can allow them to cool in the pan and then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
In the meantime, let’s make a chocolate glaze yeah?
I really like this glaze because it’s ridiculously easy to make. You don’t have to worry about melting chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave. Joy made it so that you use cocoa powder instead. Talk about all my dreams coming true.
Add the cocoa powder and salt to the powdered sugar and give it a whisk. Again, you can sift the ingredients together if you’d like. Any guesses as to what I did?
Yeah I just whisked it.
Now it’s time to add the milk (or cream). Start with just 2 tablespoons and then begin to whisk. You most likely will need the rest of the milk but it’s better to start with less because you can always add more but you can never take any back. So continue to add milk, if needed, and whisk until smooth and somewhat thick. You don’t want it too thick that you can’t glaze the doughnuts but you also don’t want it very thin that it’ll just run off of them.
Then add the vanilla and whisk once more.
Once the glaze is ready and the doughnuts are completely cooled (and I do mean completely cooled, not somewhat semi maybe a little cool, no ALL THE WAY COOL. You Don’t want the glaze to melt off due to the warm doughnuts) then you are ready to dunk and dip.
We’re topping these doughnuts with a mixture of chopped nuts. It’s just peanuts, walnuts and pecans all chopped up into tiny pieces. You can use sprinkles instead but I thought that since this is a peanut butter doughnut, a nut topping would go best, plus like I said these are my favorite type of doughnuts.
Dunk the rounded side of the doughnut into the chocolate glaze, and then immediately dip into the nuts.
**Note: You can sprinkle the nuts on top but I feel like the dipping method is best because you get more nuts that way.**
These are pretty much just mini cakes with a hole in the middle, I mean let’s be honest. But the good thing is that they’re extremely healthy. They’re not fried so that means I can eat all of them and not feel an ounce of remorse because I baked these suckers and saved myself from the hassle of frying. Not that I would complain over a fried doughnut because let’s be honest I can never say no to any doughnut fried or baked. Doughnuts are my weakness and I’m not afraid to admit it. But the fact that these are baked and healthy(er) than the originals, well that’s just an added bonus. Also baking them just makes these doughnuts super accessible during the week when we don’t have a lot of time but want something sweet to eat.
This is the perfect excuse to eat cake for breakfast. Which is my only goal in life. We all know that doughnuts are typically eaten for breakfast and it’s perfectly acceptable. I’m okay with that. So no one needs to know that these are in reality just mini cakes with chocolate frosting and chopped nuts. I wish I could say that no doughnuts were harmed in the making of this post but that isn’t the case. All doughnuts were eaten. EATEN.
Baked Peanut Butter Chocolate Doughnuts
Joy’s post is pure perfection with brown butter and sprinkles. It seriously doesn’t get any better than that. But I thought it would be fun to do a little spin off of a great recipe and do my own variation of her variation. Whoa I just inceptioned this post. It’s a doughnut inception.
yield: about 8 doughnuts
For the Batter:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup brown sugar (light or brown)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup buttermilk
For the Chocolate Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- chopped nuts for topping (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease a doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray or melted butter, set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl cream together the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Whip until creamy, light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and mix until completely incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Do it in three batches, adding flour and mixing until just combine. Then add a splash of the buttermilk and mix once more. Continue in this manner until all the flour and milk has been added. If necessary you can fold in the last bit of the flour to make sure you don’t overmix the batter which would result in dry doughnuts.
3. Spoon the batter into the prepared doughnut pan with a small spoon, filling the pan just a tad shy from the top. Bake in preheated oven for about 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Make sure to keep an eye on them because they might be done sooner or might not be done after 10 minutes, depending on your oven. Let them cool in the pan and then transfer the doughnuts to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
4. In the meantime, make the glaze. Whisk or sift the powdered sugar, cocoa and salt. Start by adding the milk, a tablespoon at a time, whisking until the glaze is not too thick but not too runny. If you need more milk add some a tablespoon at a time. You don’t want the glaze runny because it won’t stay on the doughnuts and it’ll cause the nuts to slide off.
5. Dunk the doughnuts, rounded side down, into the chocolate glaze and then dip into the chopped nuts. Allow the glaze to set for a bit before eating. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. Best if eaten within two days of making. Enjoy!