Posts Tagged ‘Donuts’

The ChocolateDoctor Doughnut History Distorted

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I read an article the other day that just got me damn mad. Heather Falvey, a so called British historian is now claiming that America didn’t invent the doughnut. How can that be? It is Homer Simpson’s favorite snack and US cops are addicted to them. Have you ever seen an English Bobby eating a doughnut? No, of course not! They eat fish and chips. Listen here, the doughnut is as American as apple pie. I don’t care that this Britt recently unearthed 213-year-old recipe book that puts the doughnut’s legacy into British hands. She claims that Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale of Hertfordshire was given the recipe by the originator of the doughnut (or “dow nut” as she put it) in 1800, but it’s unclear who this unnamed woman is. The book recipe doesn’t give a lot of instructions on how to make them; It’s more what to use. Who knows, shaped differently, they could be just another English scone. So here’s the real story.

The origin of doughnuts has a disputed history, but it’s all within America. After all, why do you think they call the United States the Promised Land? One theory suggests they were invented in North America by Dutch settlers, who were responsible for popularizing other American desserts, including cookies, apple and cream pie and cobbler. In the 19th century, doughnuts were sometimes referred to as one kind of oliekoek (a Dutch word literally meaning “oil cake”), a “sweetened cake fried in lard.

Hanson Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was only 16 years old. Gregory was dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship’s tin pepper box, and later taught the technique to his mother.

According to anthropologist Paul R. Mullins, the first cookbook mentioning doughnuts was an 1803 English volume which included doughnuts in an appendix of American recipes. I believe the anthropology of man, and our nation, can be traced more accurately through the foods and beverages of time, rather than through the riches of art, the prose of literature, the rhythm of music or the structure of architecture. So quit trying to steal our legacy, Heather Falvey, doughnuts belong to America and with a doughnut all things are possible.

Ed’s Chocolate Glazed Yeast Doughnuts

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Proof Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Fry Time: 2 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour
Yield: 2 baker’s dozen doughnuts (that’s 26!)

Ingredients:
For the Doughnuts:

3 1/4 ounce packages “Rapid Rise” yeast (3/4 oz total)
1/2 cup warm water (105-115ºF)
2 1/4 cups whole milk, scalded, then cooled
1 cup granulate sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup shortening
7 cups, plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
canola oil for frying

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounce Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6-9 tablespoons evaporated milk

Directions:
For the Doughnuts:

  1. Proof the yeast by mixing 1 tablespoon of flour with the warm water. Mix it up and let it rest.
  2. Scald the milk in a microwave or on top of a stove, and let cool.
  3. Combine the yeast mixture, cooled milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 2 1/2 cups of flour and cocoa powder.
  4. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the bowl.
  5. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  6. Carefully stir in remaining flour until the dough is smooth and silky.
  7. Cover the dough and let rise until it doubles, about 30-60 minutes, depending on the yeast you used.
  8. After the dough has risen, turn dough onto floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour.
  9. Gently roll dough 1/2-inch thick with floured rolling pin.
  10. Cut with floured doughnut cutter. Separate donuts and holes, as they take different frying times.
  11. Cover and let them rise until doubled in sizes, about 30-40 minutes.

Note: Save your scraps! They are both great to test your fry time and to snack on while you’re making the rest!

Note: If you want to make these donuts for breakfast, let the donuts rise in the refrigerator overnight!

Directions
For the Glaze:

Make the glaze before frying so it can sit at room temperature until the donuts are fried and ready to be dipped.

  1. Melt the butter and chocolate and stir in powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla until blended.
  2. Add the milk until desired consistency is reached.

For Frying the Doughnuts:

  1. Use a deep pan to heat the oil.
  2. Using a frying thermometer heat the oil to 350ºF. Use some of the scraps of the doughnut dough to test different frying times.
  3. Carefully place the donuts in the oil. Cook on each side for about one minute. Use chopsticks to flip the donuts and remove them from the oil.
  4. Place donuts on a rack or paper towels to drain.

For Glazing the Doughnuts:

  1. Dip the doughnuts in the glaze and set them on a rack to dry. It okay to dipped both sides of the doughnuts in the glaze.
  2. Let them set for 10 minutes to set.

ChefSecret: Scalding the milk prevents an enzyme from killing the yeast. If you don’t scald it first to kill the enzyme, the donuts won’t rise.

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Is It Doughnut Day?

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Every day when driving to the office I call up and ask my partner, “Is it doughnut day, today?” You see, there’s a Winchell’s Doughnut shop only a block or so away from the Chocolate Studio. I am a sucker, or at least a gobbler, when it comes to eating really great doughnuts.

When I was a kid, there was a Winchell’s at the midway point on my paper route. When I used to collect for the Los Angeles Times, I would divert a little of the dough to buy a lot of the dough. I could finish off a dozen chocolate-covered doughnuts by the time I pedaled home and my mother was never the wiser. That’s when and where I first became addicted to doughnuts.

Doughnuts are very inexpensive. In 1960 a baker’s dozen of the freshly-fried round things used to cost about $2.35. Today it only costs $7.50 and when compared to inflation doughnuts are ahead of the dollar and keeping up with gold pretty well.

When doughnuts are fresh, right out of the fryer, they have a distinctive crunch that can’t be duplicated in any other pastry. If they’re more then 4 hours old—forget it, they’re not worth the calories.

I was told that Vern Winchell (nicknamed the “The Donut King”), the founder of the company that still carries his name, opened one of his first stores with his military separation pay on Pico and La Cienega just a mile or so from Restaurant Row in Beverly Hills. He bought a second-hand Hobart mixer, a fryer, a couple of frosting racks and a display case—all for about $350. I don’t know if he thought there was a bright future in doughnuts, but the company started to grow until it seemed there was a Winchell’s on almost every corner.

I think people love doughnuts because there are so many wonderful flavors from which to choose. There’s warm glazed doughnuts—the flavor that made Krispy Kreme famous—frosted vanilla, cherry, strawberry, maple and even flavors with sprinkles and decoratifs. You can get a cruller, a cinnamon twist or even an apple fritter that is made with all of the extra scraps and pieces layered with canned apple pie filling. And then there are iced chocolate doughnuts.

The chocolate frosting is the cheapest form of chocolate you can buy. It is mostly powdered sugar, a shortening (something akin to Crisco) and cocoa powder. But no matter how cheap the ingredients are, the chocolate is still my favorite doughnut flavor. No matter where I go, Dunkin’ Donuts, Winchell’s, Krispy Kreme or Randy’s near Los Angeles International Airport, I always get the chocolate. You’ve all seen Randy’s. That’s the Coogie-designed building that looks like a huge two story doughnut on top of the small drive-thru through outlet.

Doughnuts hit a rough spot in US culinary history when low-carbohydrate and more healthful diets were in vogue. Doughnut vendors tried to fool us with bagels, but sesame seeds didn’t taste as good as old-fashioned chocolate. Even I—the world champion doughnut eater—spent a couple of years shying away from these doughy little masterpieces, but then thankfully I fell off the bagel wagon and got hooked on doughnuts all over again. I don’t think I can still eat a dozen at one clip, but one or two doughnuts once or twice a month still gets me going in the morning.

So why this sudden interest in doughnuts? At Choclatique we love to craft new flavors in new shapes. We created Moon Rocks for the 40th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon, Napa Valley Wine Chocolates in celebration of Northern California’s grape crush and Decadent Desserts—an assortment of America’s finest after-dinner treats where Jelly Doughnut has a starring roll. And now we’ve created a special collection celebrating my favorite round pastry—the doughnut—with all your favorite flavors—strawberry, cherry, apple, maple and chocolate, of course; they will all be available after the first of the year.

A doughnut a day—now that a New Year’s resolution I can support!

Want to make your own doughnuts? Try out my recipe for Chocolate Cake Doughnuts here.

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