Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall Baking, Sans Pumpkin

The pumpkin, my friends, has been overdone. Walk into any grocery store and you are bombarded by pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. And I really mean everything. Don't get me wrong, I do like pumpkin, but I think it's getting way too much attention. There are so many other fall flavors and foods that go unrecognized. Today I recognize one of them. Butternut Squash.

Similar to pumpkin, squash can be used in sweet or savory dishes; roasted, baked, pureed, etc.  Since I was feeling festive and wanted to make a fall themed treat, I decided to use butternut squash as I normally would use pumpkin. Just because I'm OVER pumpkin. And you know what? It tasted delicious!.....just like pumpkin. Eye roll.

Since I was getting creative with ingredients, I decided to get creative with my recipe as well. Normally I'd bake pumpkin bread with chocolate chips or pumpkin cookies. Tried and true, but not really fitting my theme today. So, I decided to make donuts! Well, not actual donuts, because they were baked. I need to tweak this recipe so the end product more "donut like" by frying somehow. Maybe in my cast iron skillet? Maybe using the new Flora Sacha Inchi oil that I'm obsessed with? Stay tuned....

Back to my recipe. So I had this great butternut squash puree from a squash I roasted, peeled, and smashed with a fork. To make the donut batter I started with flour, eggs, and baking soda. I didn't want to end up with flat, dense discs; so I sought ingredients that would result in a light, airy texture. I also wanted the donuts to taste like fall, so I got out cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, molasses, and maple syrup. I could smell it already.....

In this recipe I used coconut oil, but I think any oil would work. I would also like to try using browned butter in my next batch, because, YES. Anyhow, I threw a little of this a little of that in a bowl, mixed it all up, and was ready to bake.

This was the tricky part. Well, not really, but since I'm a perfectionist I wanted these to LOOK like donuts (since they were basically just muffins anyway). I don't have a donut baking pan, because #why? To make these look the part I used a well greased muffin tin and filled the tins up about 1/4 or 1/3 of the way full. Then put in them in the oven and awaited the wonderful smell to fill my kitchen.

About 10-15 min later it did! I took out the little "muffins" and set them on a cutting board to cool. In the meantime I got to work on the glaze. Normally I'd just use milk and powdered sugar to make a simple, sweet, not too heavy glaze. But today was all about experimenting, so I made two more unique options.

For the first glaze, I mixed together cream cheese and powdered sugar. One of my favorite types of frosting. I used slightly more cream cheese than sugar to keep the consistency thinner and from becoming overly sweet.

For the second option I mixed together peanut butter, maple syrup, and molasses. Oh yes, I did. I have a slight major obsession with peanut butter, so I had to do it! I worked out perfectly, because Zach is more of a cream cheese fan. So I effectively made his and her donuts :)

Once the muffins were cool, I took a sharp knife and carefully cut out the middles to make a donut shape. Riley got to taste-test the donut holes. He approved! Here's where I think frying the donuts would have been a good idea. If anyone does this step, let me know how it turns out.

To frost, I just used a butterknife to spread on the frosting, and then used my finger to smooth it over. I finished the cream cheese donuts off with a drizzle of molasses. I think it would be fun to add nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc, on top as well.

Final verdict- these were delicious and unique. The texture was very light and fluffy, not at all dense. But, they were a little soft for donuts, in fact they just tasted like muffins....BUT they were in the shape of donuts. That's what counts, right? Like I said, I'll keep tweaking the recipe....


Baked Donuts

by Stephanie Howe
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Keywords: bake bread breakfast Halloween fall
Ingredients (serves 12)
    For the Donuts
    • 3/4 c+ flour (all purpose or a mix)
    • 2/3 c butternut squash (or pumpkin) puree
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 c vegetable oil or coconut oil
    • 1/4 c orange juice
    • 1/4 c maple syrup
    • 1/8 c molasses
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp cloves
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    For the Glaze: Option 1
    • 2-3 T cream cheese
    • 2-3 T powdered sugar
    • molasses for drizzling
    For the Glaze: Option 2
    • 2-3 T Peanut butter
    • 1 T molases
    • 1-2 T maple syrup
    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and spices) in a large mixing bowl. Combine wet ingredients (pumpkin, egg, maple syrup, molasses, and oil) in a separate bowl and stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
    To Bake
    If you have a donut pan, viola, so simple. If you are like me and don't have room in your kitchen for such frivolous accessories, then simply bake in a muffin tin. Fill well greased muffin tins about a quarter or a third full. Bake for 10-15 min (depending on the thickness) and remove from oven to cool. Once cooled, take a knife and gently cut out the middles of the "donuts"
    To make the Glaze
    Choose your flavor and mix together. Haha, yeah that's all! Use a butterknife and spread onto cooled donuts. Drizzle with molasses to decorate with chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
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