Maybe you’ve realized by now – yeah you – you reader you – I’m shouting out to you – hey!
Maybe you’ve read enough of my stories to realize I am a sucker for tradition, for routine, for familiar, for the old days.
The food that means the most to me isn’t dripping in caviar, blanketed in gold leaf, or even necessarily served on a plate. It’s about the people, the moments, the memories, the doughnuts.
When I was growing up, every night after dinner my dad would make my mom, brother and me a good cup of strong black tea with cream and sugar and he’d divide a chocolate glazed cake doughnut into fourths and set them on our tea saucers.
The chocolate glaze would melt slightly where it made contact with the warm tea cup. I would lick the melted chocolate off the sides when my parents weren’t looking. What!? I was chubby, I loved chocolate, deal with it. The rest of my family wasn’t so barbaric.
Such a simple pleasure, but such a profound memory. The four of us, probably watching Seinfeld, drinking tea, eating doughnuts, together. I think that was the best part of it, being together but the doughnut is a close second.
Now we are older. My brother is in Chicago getting his MBA. I was in New York doing New York things. My parents are retired and traveling.
We are more health conscious. Okay – they are more health conscious. My brother eats chicken breasts and has abs you could grate cheese on, mom plays tennis and looks 30 and dad watches his sugar and bikes cross counties. Me? Don’t worry. I am largely the same. Though, I must say, as a single woman in her twenties I feel pressure (self-inflicted, mind you) to look less like a prepubescent Swedish boy and more like Kylie Jenner.
I miss all of us being under one roof. I miss simpler times – the days of Lisa Frank, The Bill Clinton Administration, Stretch Armstrong. I miss being happy about being chubby. Limited Too. I miss licking the chocolate off the side of a tea cup, dammit. I long for the days when my most serious concern in life was, “Hey! Buddy’s piece looks bigger than mine!”
With all that is going on in the world, and there is a lot, I think we all just need a moment’s pause. A time with family and friends. The chance to click on an episode of Seinfeld and remember the not so distant past when the world wasn’t so painfully PC. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” To think blissfully of an age when presidential candidates weren’t reality TV knuckleheads and kids played outside. Perhaps we can all put the iPhones down for just a second (unless you are reading this blog on your iPhone) and interact with one another and reflect on a time when all a girl needed was her dad, a cuppa and a cake doughnut.
Here’s my recipe:
Let’s make some doughnuts! Whoop! First whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until they are pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time. After the eggs, add the vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the flour in thirds alternating with the milk.
Add 1/2 the milk followed by the second 1/3 of flour, last 1/2 of of milk and final 1/3 of flour. FLOUR.MILK.FLOUR.MILK.FLOUR – ya heard?
Stir the batter until just combined, taking care not to over mix. Load the batter into a piping bag – no tip necessary.
Butter and flour your doughnut pan. (Hey – no doughnut pan? Make cupcakes!!!)
Pipe the batter into the pan, filling each mold 2/3 of the way up.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. The doughnuts are ready when they spring back to the tough and pull away from the sides slightly.
Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then flip onto a wire wrack and cool completely.
To make the glaze, chop that chocolate.
Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water (double-boiler) or if you want to use the microwave, blitz it for 30 second intervals, stirring in-between until melted.
Dip each doughnut into the melted chocolate and then set on a sheet tray lined with parchment.
Oh now… well now… look at that chocolate!
Place the doughnuts in the fridge for…eeeeehhhhh…. 10 – 20 minutes until the chocolate sets.
Grab your dad, mom, brother, cat, friend, lover, whoever. Make a strong cup of tea and whip out the Seinfeld dvds. This is about to be the greatest night of your life.
What’s the deal with doughnuts? – I’ll tell ya Jerry. Delicious, chocolate, cake, tea. What’s not to like!?
1 cup of cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3/8 cup of whole milk
7 ounces of dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 – 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Add the vanilla.
Add 1/3 of the flour and mix to combine. Follow with 1/2 of the milk, the second 1/3 of flour, final 1/2 of milk and final 1/3 of flour. Scrap down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Place the batter into a pipping bag with no tip.
Butter and flour a doughnut pan.
Pipe the cake batter into the doughnut pan, filling the molds 2/3 the way.
Place pan in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The doughnuts are done when they spring back to the touch and are golden around the edges.
Let the doughnuts cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out to a wire wrack to cool completely.
While the doughnuts are cooling, melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler in a heatproof bowl.
Submerge cooled doughnuts into melted chocolate and then transfer to a sheet tray lined with wax or parchment paper.
Once all the doughnuts are glazed, place them in the fridge and allow the chocolate to set for 10 to 2o minutes.
Doughnuts will stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic.