I learned something new this week while watching Good Eats (surprise, surprise). It would probably take at least four or five viewings of every episode to fully absorb the knowledge those shows contain. Anywho, I learned about why buttermilk is called for so often in baking. Buttermilk is ACIDIC. Baking powder needs an acid to react to, in order to work properly. So if you can’t use baking soda in a recipe, and need to use powder instead, you need an acid. By the way, if you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can substitute it by using the same volume of milk plus a few tablespoons of white vinegar. You need one of the two to make these delicious donut holes.
Dave got me a baguette pan and a donut hole pan for Valentine’s Day (the man knows what he is doing). And we used BOTH last weekend! Well, he used the donut hole pan, because he kindly made them on a Sunday morning when I had to work. And they were perfect! We took them to our friends’ house for brunch.
Here’s what you need:
1 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp FRESHLY GROUND nutmeg (do it! It will be worth it, I promise)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Stir together the dry ingredients first (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg (VERY IMPORTANT!)). In a separate container, use a fork to blend the buttermilk, egg and butter. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine – try to do it in as few stirs as possible. The batter will be about the texture of applesauce.
Spoon into a well-greased donut hole pan (you could also use any similar rounded small pan, such as a cake pop pan). Bake for 6 or 7 minutes, or until the donuts spring back lightly when you touch them.
Top with a simple chocolate glaze by microwaving a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips until melty, and stirring in just a teaspoon or so of milk until the mixture becomes smooth but thick. You can add more milk if you need to, but do so in very small increments.