Fried Chocolate Explosion Donuts and Salted Caramel Donuts
My people! Chanukah begins this Sunday evening!!
And these days, Chanukah and donuts are pretty much synonymous. All fried foods are, really. Latkes! Fries! And donuts! So many donuts.
Fried foods are a Chanukah tradition. And guess what? I’m not complaining. Especially because there’s pretty much only one time of year you’ll find me in the kitchen deep frying homemade donuts. And you know when that is. It’s next week. Chanukah week. Duh.
And this deep fried donut recipe is the one you’ll find me making. This classic donut recipe yields donuts that are so soft and fluffy. They’re also so rich in flavor and texture from additions like whole milk, butter, vanilla extract, and a hint of ground nutmeg.
And listen. While your standard jelly or custard-filled donut is great, I’m sure, I’m here to help amp up your Chanukah donut game this year. Because the chocolate explosion donuts and the salted caramel donuts you see here really take things to the next level. I mean, you can just tell by their titles.
Let’s discuss them, then.
Starting with the fried chocolate explosion donuts.
With three separate chocolate situations involved in these donuts, I’d say these chocolate explosion donuts are quite aptly named. Cuz, there’s like an explosion of chocolate flavor going down. (Get it? Yeah, you do, because there’s not much to get.)
Here’s the breakdown of the chocolate situations:
First, a creamy chocolate custard is piped into each donut.
Then, a rich, velvety chocolate topping is spread atop the donuts.
Finally, the donuts are garnished with chocolate shavings (or mini chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles, if you’re not feeling so fancy).
Moving on. To the fried salted caramel donuts.
How shall we describe these? Let’s start with the fact that the sweet hot butter glaze combined with the generously salted caramel creates blissful sweet and salty magic.
And also. These salted caramel donuts are buttery and caramely. Thanks to the caramel, obviously. And also thanks to the butter glaze.
And also. These donuts are rich and flavorful.
Can you ask for more from a donut? Nope.
This is how the salted caramel donut thing works:
The donuts get dunked into a hot butter glaze while they’re still warm. And then, once coated, they’re filled with a homemade salted caramel that’s rich, smooth, and perfect.
Finish the donuts off with another drizzle of that salted caramel, and lemme tell you- you’ve got something really special on your hands.
And hello. Next week I’ll be back with two more completely new and unique donut flavors. Same dough recipe. Because it’s a perfect dough. But new flavor combinations. Just in case these two didn’t strike your fancy.
Chocolate explosion donuts. And salted caramel donuts. A little more exciting than a jelly donut. Or a basic chocolate glazed donut. Wouldn’t you say?
Fried Chocolate Explosion Donuts
Yield: 2 dozen doughnuts
1 cup plus two tablespoons whole milk, warmed
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (one packet) active dry yeast
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
Chocolate Custard Filling:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Rich Chocolate Glaze:
¼ cup milk
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 ¾ cups confectioners sugar
-Chocolate shavings, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate sprinkles
Donut Dough: 1. Pour the warmed milk into the bowl of your electric mixer. Pour the sugar into the milk and then sprinkle the yeast on top. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast foams.
2. Add the whole egg, yolks, vanilla extract, flour, salt, and nutmeg into the bowl and, using the dough hook, knead on medium speed for a couple minutes until incorporated.
3. Chop up the softened butter and add to the bowl one cube at a time, with mixer running on medium speed, until the butter is fully incorporated into the dough. Knead the dough on medium-high speed for a few more minutes, until the dough loosens from the sides of the bowl and is smooth.
4. Transfer the dough into a large, oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a towel and place it in a warm spot to allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, at least 1 hour.
6. Roll out the dough till it is ½-inch thick. Cut out circles with a donut cutter, round cookie cutter, or the bottom of a glass cup. Let the dough rest for a few minutes before re-rolling it and cutting out more donuts. Space donuts out onto the prepared baking sheet to allow for spreading.
7. Cover the donuts loosely with cling wrap or a towel and allow them to rise until puffy and airy, 50-60 minutes. (An oven with the heat turned off is an ideal spot for this second rising and will allow the donuts to rise in as quickly as 30 minutes. Don’t cover the donuts if you place them in the oven to rise.)
8. Meanwhile, fill a heavy-bottomed pot or donut fryer with a few inches of oil. Heat the oil, allowing it to come to a temperature of 350 to 375°F. Use a candy thermometer to ensure that the oil temperature stays within this range throughout the frying process.
9. Place a carrot chunk into the oil (the carrot helps absorb any burnt pieces floating in the oil) and gently drop a few donuts into the pot. Fry the donuts on the first side for a couple minutes until golden brown, then flip and fry on the other side until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the donuts from the oil and place them on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath to drain the excess oil.
10. If you are glazing the donuts with the butter glaze from the Salted Caramel Donuts, glaze the donuts while they’re still warm. Otherwise, allow the donuts to cool before filling and glazing. Donuts are best eaten the day they’re made.
Note: if you must make your donuts non-dairy, this recipe will work with non-dairy milk and the same equivalent in oil instead of butter. However, using the whole milk and butter is highly recommended for the superior richness in flavor and texture they provide the donuts.
Chocolate Custard Filling: 1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt over low heat until the mixture reaches 160°F. Stir the mixture constantly.
2. Mix together the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and add the mixture to the saucepan (do not pour the two directly in before mixing them together or the custard will be lumpy). Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is bubbling, smooth, and thick.
3. Remove the pot from the flame and stir in the chocolate chips until the mixture is smooth. Place the custard into the fridge for about 10 minutes to thicken and cool before using.
4. Insert a small round tip into a pastry bag and fill the pastry bag with the chocolate custard. Poke a hole into the side of one doughnut and fill it, squeezing the pastry bag until the doughnut expands slightly. Repeat with the rest of the donuts.
Rich Chocolate Glaze: 1. Melt the milk, butter, and vanilla extract together in a small pot or in the microwave. Stir in the chocolate chips until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the confectioners sugar until the mixture is smooth again. Immediately dip the tops of the doughnuts into the glaze.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, grate a block of chocolate, creating chocolate shavings. Alternatively, use mini chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles as a garnish. Sprinkle the chocolate garnish onto the doughnuts before the glaze sets and serve.
Fried Salted Caramel Donuts
Yield: 2 dozen donuts
-One batch deep-fried doughnuts (see above)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted
2 ½ cups confectioners sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅓ cup milk
Pinch of salt
Salted Caramel Filling:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, chopped
½ cup heavy cream (not milk)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
Butter Glaze: 1. In a medium bowl, combine all the glaze ingredients until smooth. Dip either the tops or the entire surface of the donuts into the glaze while the donuts are still warm.
Salted Caramel Filling: 1. In a medium saucepan, melt the sugar over medium heat, stirring frequently with a heat-resistant rubber spatula. After a few minutes, the sugar will start clumping before melting into an amber liquid. (See video tutorial here.)
2. Once the sugar is completely melted, immediately add the chopped butter. Take care, because the caramel will bubble rapidly when you pour in the butter. Stir until the butter is melted.
3. Once the butter is melted, pour the heavy cream in slowly while stirring the caramel. The caramel will bubble rapidly again. Allow the caramel to cook for 60 seconds and then remove the pot from the flame.
4. Stir the vanilla extract and salt into the caramel. Allow the caramel to cool and thicken slightly in the fridge before using it.
6. Insert a small round tip into a pastry bag and fill the pastry bag with the caramel. Poke a hole into the side of one donut and fill it, squeezing the pastry bag until the donut expands slightly. Repeat with the rest of the donuts.
7. Drizzle the salted caramel over the glazed donuts and serve.
Note: The caramel can be made ahead and kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. To liquefy it again, warm it up for a few seconds in a microwave or saucepan.