mini pumpkin donuts

pumpkin donuts
Are you a little baked out after all that Holiday baking?

I hate to admit it … but I am baked out.

December was spent in the kitchen whipping up eggnog eclairs (numerous batches … a very popular treat), monkey bread, coconut-pecan sticky buns, coconut-date sticky buns, double chocolate gingerbread cookies, sweet & salty brownies, cranberry bliss bars, toffee coconut oreo squares, lemon tarts, chocolate-cranberry tarts, apple chocolate chip spice cake, chocolate ganache cheesecakes, double chocolate pecan tarts, cupcakes (so many cupcakes) … and these.

pumpkinspicedonut

Pumpkin donuts.

Ridiculously delicious.  These donuts quickly found a place in my stomach.  And my heart.

I found the original inspiration (and recipe) for this on pinterest.  It was the kind of picture that made me go … “yeah … I need to try this”; and then when I clicked on the blog, blueeyedbakers, I was hooked.

It’s a winner of a recipe.

Plus … they are dead easy to make.  The only caveat is that you need a mini donut baking pan.

I know … yet another thing to add to your kitchen.  But believe me … once you make these donuts and try them … you’ll be hooked.  And just like me … you’ll end up making a batch of these every week.  For a month.

And again  … even when you’re all baked out.

Because they’re that good.

spices 6

mini pumpkin spiced donuts

ingredients:
1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. buttermilk

Heat your oven to 350 F.  Spray your mini donut pan with non-stick spay.  Set aside.

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In the bowl of your stand-mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, canned pumpkin and buttermilk together.  This shouldn’t take too long – you want everything to be nicely mixed together.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves together.

Turn off the stand-mixer, pour in the dry ingredients, and then beat together on the lowest speed.  You want the flour to be incorporated, but you don’t want to over-mix the batter (it’s considered a cake batter, so treat it the same when mixing).
piping the dough 2

Grab a piping bag (no tip required) and fill it with the batter; then pipe each donut round with the batter.

I only have one donut pan, so I filled the twelve holes and placed the pan in the oven.  Bake for 8 minutes.  The donuts are ready when you press against them and they spring back.

baked donuts cooling 2

Remove from the oven, and turn them out immediately onto a wire rack.  That’s when I toss my donut pan into the freezer.  I want to cool it down quickly so that I can bake off the rest of the donuts.  I tend to get 18 donuts out of the batter.  18 perfect little bites of joy.

But the work doesn’t end here.

Nope.

Now we make them extra-delicious.

Melted butter + cinnamon sugar = delectable donuts.

cinnamon-sugar coating:

ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons cinnamon

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan.

Once the butter has melted, take your mini donuts and lightly dunk them in the melted butter, pull them out, shake them a little (get rid of the excess butter), and then put them in your cinnamon-sugar bowl.

In order to not get clumpy sugar, take a large spoon, and spoon the sugar over your donut.  Make sure you spoon over the entire thing.  Take the donut out and place it to cool completely on your wire-rack.
side view sugared donuts

Or eat one immediately.  That’s what I do.

If I still haven’t been able to convince you to give this recipe a chance … here are another couple of reasons:

1.  Since you bake them, rather than fry them, you kitchen smells delightfully like pumpkin and spices, rather than hot oil!

2.  They taste just as good the following day.  Kept in an airtight container at room temperature, you’ll not only have an afternoon treat today … but tomorrow … and the day after.

3.  Baked’s pumpkin chocolate-chip loaf is the most popular recipe on my blog.  So if you’re already using a can of pumpkin purée for the loaf … you might as well make a batch of these donuts as well.  Think about it … you’ll get a double bang for your buck when you buy pumpkin purée.

Are you sold yet?

I thought so!

pie challenge & the tart

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The baking crew and I were at it again.  This time, the challenge was pies.

Yay!  I heart making pies!

Cory made a beautiful apple, walnut, goat cheese pie (gorgeous … but a little dry: even he agreed).  Tom & Aimée made a really delicious pecan pie (nothing to fault with this one at all), and Meredith made a super flavourful apple & cranberry pie (she had some pastry issues … but the filling was spot on).

We went pie crazy! I went pie crazy!

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Not only did I make my chocolate – cranberry tart … but I also thought it’d be fun to arrive with some mini chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts topped with pumpkin ganache (talk about a real mouthful!).

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Mother of Jerome!? (It can’t always be Pearl right?) What was I thinking?

I was thinking … “I am not 100% sure that the chocolate – cranberry tart will turn out exactly as I want it too… so why not add a new component to an already loved classic and giver!”  Welcome to how my mind works … these are the types of internal dialogues I have … all.the.time.

Since we were baking these in honour of American Thanksgiving … I thought … pumpkin, pecans, chocolate, cherries and pie … individually they all remind me of Thanksgiving … combined … they SCREAM Thanksgiving (and deliciousness in a bite).

How could I *not* make these??!  Exactly.  I had no choice.  chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts with pumpkin ganache were a must.

This recipe is a combination of my own chocolate-pecan pie and momofuku milkbar‘s pumpkin ganache.  I had been flipping through my momofuku milkbar cookbook, spotted the ganache recipe and thought it would be the perfect complement to my tart filling.  Although you need to plan ahead (the ganache recipe calls for a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge), the entire recipe is dead easy.  And ridiculously delicious.

*bakers note: according to the recipe book, you MUST use an immersion blender to make this ganache.   

My chocolate-pecan-cherry filling actually originated from a pecan pie recipe: it’s what I consider to be my *go to* pie.  The one I make when I don’t have much time, when I don’t want to blind bake my pastry dough, and when I want to impress people.  The original recipe brings a smile to everyones face … I decided it was time to switch it up a bit.

If you’re new to pies and tarts and want to try something easy and delicious: this is the recipe for you.  Plus you’ll impress everyone when they see how pretty the tarts look with a little piped pumpkin ganache.

chocolate-pecan-cherry tarts with pumpkin ganache

ingredients:

basic pastry dough (I omit the sugar and water from the recipe)

momofuku milkbar’s pumpkin ganache

150 g white chocolate
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/4 c. cold heavy cream
1/3 c. pumpkin purée
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the white chocolate and butter in a medium bowl over gently simmering water (you don’t want the water to touch the bottom of your bowl), and melt.  You want the chocolate to be barely warm to the touch.  You can also do this in a microwave in 15 second bursts (stirring between each blast).

Transfer your chocolate mixture to a tall and narrow container – something that will accommodate an immersion blender (mine came with a 1 litre container-like bowl).  Add the corn syrup to the chocolate mixture and buzz with your hand blender.  After a minute, stream in the COLD heavy cream.  You’ll see that the ganache will come together in a smooth and shiny texture.

Blend in the pumpkin purée, salt and cinnamon.

Put the ganache in your fridge to firm before using; a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.  If not used immediately, this can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

tart filling

1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose b. flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. dried cherries, chopped
1 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. butter, melted

Heat your oven to 350 F.  Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface.  I was able to roll it out, cut out 12 pieces and line the 12 muffin cups in my pan.  I like to have my dough as cold as possible … so once I’ve lined the muffin cups, I return the pan to the freezer while I make the filling.

In a large bowl, mix the sugar and flour together. Add the eggs, pecans, chocolates, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crusts.

Bake for 20 minutes on the lower rack of your oven.  You’ll know that they are ready when the centre doesn’t jiggle.  Careful!  These babies are hot!  Corn syrup, pecans and brown sugar … all things that heat up quickly!  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

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I decided to re-whip the pumpkin ganache before putting it in the piping bag.  I just wanted to get it a little fluffy.  After quickly whipping the ganache, I filled a piping bag and piped each mini tart (using a star tip).

Don’t they look pretty?  They tasted pretty awesome too!

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ps … my chocolate-cranberry tart won best in show!