I purchased a doughnut pan a few years back for a recipe testing project I was working on, but after two or three uses, it got squirreled away to my laundry room along with plenty of other unitaskers left quietly to die. I decided recently to brush off the pan and give it another go, and I am so glad I did. l will be the first to admit that these "faux-nuts" will never be as good as a warm batch of Krispy Kremes, but they are definitely delicious enough to satisfy a hankering when there's no glowing 'Hot Now!' sign in sight.
For me, a good doughnut will always include a matte chocolate glaze and lots and lots of sprinkles. The pairing was a guilty pleasure as a child. Still is. Perhaps it's because my doting father always let me sneak a few before Sunday school, under the strict orders not to squeal to mom. (Don't worry, my mother and I shared a healthy obsession with chocolate malts, and the best place in town just happened to be located right next to my pediatric dentist. I swore I'd never tell.)
I try to steer clear of doughnuts on a day-to-day basis, but that doesn't mean I don't take a loooong pause every time I pass a Krispy Kreme display. Every now and then a girl's got to give in to her cravings, though, and with my doughnut pan gathering cobwebs on a shelf, it seemed like maybe it was time to give my old favorite a go.
Now let me just clear the air early. Obviously I know that "real" doughnuts are fried, but I was daring to be different here. It's all in the name of fun, right? (And y'all know this girl isn't afraid of a little hot oil.) For the sake of this particular recipe, I wanted all the ease of baking with the same deep-fried flavors we know and love.
To get it right, I borrowed a technique from Southern-style angel biscuits, which are considered fool-proof since they get leavening from both baking powder and yeast. It's a double-rising whammy. A sprinkle of nutmeg seals the deal. To guild the lily, I took one final tip from those sinful Krispy Kremes and used two glazes instead of just one. The doughnuts are first fully submerged in a buttery bath of vanilla-spiked glaze, and then just the tops are dunked in a final coat of delicious chocolate.
The grand finale? A healthy dose of sprinkles, of course.
Baked Doughnuts with Vanilla and Chocolate Glaze
Makes 12 doughnuts (recipe can easily be halved)
For the doughnuts:
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup vanilla yogurt, whole or low fat
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
For the vanilla glaze:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons evaporated milk, plus more to thin if needed
For the chocolate glaze:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons evaporated milk, plus more to thin if needed
Multi-colored sprinkles, for garnish
For the doughnuts, preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two (6-count) doughnut pans with a flour-based baking spray, such as Baker's Joy. (I also tested with a regular baking spray, but experienced a little bit of sticking.) Arrange a wire cooling rack over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, melted butter, vanilla paste, and yeast mixture until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until completely incorporated. Transfer the batter to a disposable piping bag (or zip top bag, snipping off one corner for piping) and pipe into the prepared pan, filling each well a little over half full.
Bake the doughnuts until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the doughnuts in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer the doughnuts from the pan to the wire rack.
For the vanilla glaze, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and evaporated milk and whisk vigorously to combine. If it seems too thick, add another tablespoon of evaporated milk. Remove the pan from heat.
Drop a doughnut face-down in the vanilla glaze and twist to coat. Flip and coat the bottom in the glaze, making sure to cover the sides as well. Return to the wire rack and continue with remaining doughnuts. Allow to dry for at least 15 - 20 minutes before coating with the chocolate glaze.
For the chocolate glaze, cook the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until ingredients are melted. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk and whisk vigorously to combine. If it seems to thick, add more evaporated milk, a tablespoon at a time, until desired texture is reached. Remove the pan from heat.
Dip the top side of a doughnut into the glaze and twist to coat. Return to the wire rack and immediately cover with sprinkles. Continue with remaining doughnuts. Allow glaze to dry for a few minutes before serving.
The doughnuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.