A couple Saturday's ago I happened to stumble into Sur La Table and found the coolest new piece of baking equipment: A mini donut tin. Of course I had to have it and also had to make donuts that very day. Irresistible. It just so happened to be a good friend's birthday party that evening so I decided to make a couple different varieties of mini donuts to test out on my hopefully willing audience. I used the batter recipe that came along with the tin (I had no idea what was involved in donuts batters and didn't want to mess it up since they were baked instead of deep fried). So really these are "healthy donuts" and certainly acceptable to eat handfuls at a time if so inclined (which normally I am). The recipe was one of the easiest I've made. Just flour, a bit of sugar, a bit of butter, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. So easy. No mixing involved except with a spoon until just incorporated. The first time I made these (they are quickly becoming my favorite thing to make mainly because they are so easy and so very disproportionately good for how easy and quick they are) I just used a spoon to put the batter in to the tiny molds and then use my finger to smooth them. This was tricky and very messy since the batter is almost like a yeast dough in stickiness. The next time I made these (this past weekend for Mother's Day) I put all the batter in a pastry bag with a large circle tip and just piped a long strip into the molds forming a circle. Worked so well. Will never do it any other way again.
The donuts bake for about 5 minutes at 425 and then cool in their tin for another 5. It's amazing how quick they are. You can whip up dozens of them in no time! After they've cooled on a wire rack you can frost them or glaze them, etc. For this batch I did half coconut and half cinnamon and sugar. I made two batches of simple icing (powdered sugar and milk) and made it fairly thin (more milk) so that they would glaze the donuts. I put coconut extract in one and left the other plain. I dipped half in the coconut so just the tops were covered and then put them back on the wire rack so the glaze would move down the sides and then dipped them in some shredded coconut. For the other half, I dipped in the plain icing and then after the glaze coated them, I dipped them in cinnamon and sugar. Afterwards I put them all in the fridge for a bit to stiffen up so I could package them in bags.
This last weekend I did the coconut again as well as a lemon. I used the simple icing but instead of using all milk I did about half milk half lemon juice and then sprinkled a bit of lemon zest on each.
If you can find the donut tin somewhere I highly recommend these little treats. They are delicious and one of the easiest things I've ever made. Really.
(like here for example: http://www.thehomemarketplace.net/HomeMarketPlace/Shopping/ProductDetail.aspx?CID=Baking&ProductID=BC00337416&SCID=Bakeware&SiteNum=0&TabNum=0)
Photos by Collin Monda