Breadcrumb baked donuts with a sea salt and maple glaze and a little anniversary

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Many evenings in our flat look a little bit like this: Alessandro is stretched out on the sofa, watching ‘manly’ TV shows (a current favourite of his is a show following 2 guys around the US who buy up abandoned storage containers and try to sell the stuff they find for profit), meanwhile I am staring into our pantry and our fridge wondering what I could make next until I eventually start noisily pulling out pots and pans and the mixer to play around in the kitchen. At some point Alessandro will invariably ask me what I am rustling up, sometimes my response is followed by a quick ‘brrr’ (his way of telling me that whatever I am putting together sounds far too healthy to be tasty), other times he comes wandering into the kitchen with an eyebrow raised unnaturally high, confused as to whether he should trust his ears anymore because I can’t possibly be making what I just said. This is pretty much what happened the other day when his inquiry about all the noise in the kitchen was responded with a simple “breadcrumb donuts”.

I mentioned in my last post how I recently started experimenting more with different flours – since last summer I have baked with einkorn, emmer, oat, spelt, kamut, buckwheat and almond flour. While I am still learning how best to use each individual type of flour and how to adapt recipes to incorporate them (a fascinating but at times also frustrating process) one thing I have certainly come to realise is the different flavour profiles they bring to baked goods. For example, some whole wheat flour can leave a bitter taste in the mouth (often rounded out by the addition of spices to the dough), same for oat flour if you are not watching the oven like a hawk and let your cookies or muffins overcook ever so slightly. In contrast, kamut has a rich and almost buttery flavour – perfect for taking your traditional pound cake recipe over the edge or adding it to cakes where you want the buttery flavour without all the fat.
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As for the breadcrumbs, well, given how much I have been using oat flour recently, I figured I could not go too wrong in using breadcrumbs as a substitute for regular wheat flour. Breadcrumbs are the kind of thing I always have in my kitchen but rarely use (so rarely I cannot even remember what we had bought our bag of breadcrumbs for). But, they are inexpensive (if you wanted to be really frugal you could even make your own breadcrumbs using some stale bread and a high speed food processor), and I had hoped that using breadcrumbs would be similar to baking with nut flours, a moist crumb with a bit of bite and, fortunately, that is exactly what I got. While breadcrumbs might not work well for batters that need to rest for a while (in which case the moisture would likely soften the breadcrumbs), for these baked donuts they are perfect.

Although breadcrumbs are pretty bland in their normal state, once they are combined with the rest of the ingredients in this recipe, your kitchen will basically start smelling like French toast. Once baked, these donuts have none of the dryness or ‘cakey’-ness (if that is even a word) some baked donut recipes produce – instead you have incredibly light and moist donuts with a bit of bite from the breadcrumbs that is quite similar to baking with nut flours or polenta. The muscovado sugar and the melted butter add a little bit of a toffee flavour which pairs beautifully with the breadcrumbs. But there is also a certain savoury-ness that is hard to pinpoint and I think that is what makes these donuts so delicious (and no doubt comes from the breadcrumbs).
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While the donuts were in the oven, I made a quick maple glaze, slightly adapting a recipe I found on Saveur’s website. At first I was worried it wouldn’t set properly as I substituted the cream the recipe called for with milk and also increased the amount of maple syrup ever so slightly to boost its flavour, but I shouldn’t have been afraid at all – the glaze set quickly and beautifully, ensuring these baked donuts looked just like the real thing.
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Peeking at the date on my phone I noticed that this blog, in its current form at least, has been around for just over a year now. While I have no birthday cake to share with you, I think a breakfast of baked donuts with a thick maple glaze is festive enough to celebrate this little landmark.

This last year was a busy year with long hours in the office and weekends doing written assigments and preparing for some exams for a postgraduate course which were quickly followed by a small sports injury which took me out of action for a few weeks over the summer while I recovered from surgery. This did not stop me and Alessandro from going on a 2 week whirlwind tour around Morocco (with Alessandro as my personal sherpa as I wasn’t allowed to lift anything heavy) in September, which left me with just enough time to pack my boxes and say goodbye to friends and my favourite London places before moving to Rome in November where Alessandro is currently working.

2012 was also the year I finally started a blog (on 9 June to be exact – there are some older posts, but 9 June 2012 is when I decided to start posting on a regular basis). It is something I had been meaning to do for years, but somehow I never knew how to. Suffice to say I am glad Leluu talked me into this as my little corner of the internet brings me a lot of joy, so much joy that I plan to continue to post my creations, master some new baking skills, work on my photography but also my writing and hopefully that way I can turn this little space into a place where you like to stop by, share your successes and failures or just join me as I daydream about food, one dish at a time.

Looking over my posts for the last year, there are some definite favourites – whether it is recipes I created completely from scratch like the Mini Mocha Bundt Cakes or flavour combinations that sound weird but turn out so delicious (like the White Chocolate and Fennel Truffles), recipes that sound like they shouldn’t work but really do (replacing ground almonds with ground oats in Anise Oat Kipferl ) and getting my first recipe published in the Guardian as part of a reader recipe swap (Toasted Rice Blancmanger). But my list of ideas and recipes to try is long so I am sure my list of favourite posts will keep on changing as well.

All this being said, it seems fitting that I am currently in London for a birthday celebration – as luck would have it, now that I moved from London to Rome after spending most of the last decade in London, my big sister has just started a new job in London after working in Brussels for 6 years. It’s her 30th birthday this weekend so my parents and I decided to come and visit her. I am looking forward to walking around Angel, my old neighbourhood and exactly where my sister is now living, dinners at old favourites like a little Turkish place my mum and I have been going to since my law school days, but I am also looking forward to visiting some new places and a birthday dinner somewhere interesting (my sister still hasn’t decided where exactly she wants to eat so has booked a few places). Sadly Alessandro cannot make it but at least that means I can catch up with my girlfriends and work friends and spend some time at Wholefoods to stock up on ingredients that are a little trickier to find in Italy (like my beloved Protein powder and cacao nibs).

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Baked Breadcrumb Donuts with a Sea Salt and Maple Glaze

Ingredients
Makes 8 mini donuts or 4 regular donuts (if you make regular donuts, adjust the baking time acccordingly)

For the donuts
2 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
40g light muscovado sugar
50g bread crumbs (if making your own breadcrumbs, make sure to pulverize them in a food processor)
60g melted butter

For the glaze
Loosely adapted from Saveur
60g icing sugar
15g maple syrup
7g milk
Pinch of sea salt

Optional: 1-2 tablespoons crushed walnuts and sea salt flakes to top the donuts with

Directions
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. If you are not using a silicone donut pan, grease your donut pan.

2. Whisk the egg whites together with the muscovado sugar and the pinch of salt until stiff and glossy.

3. Add the breadcrumbs and melted butter to the bowl containing the beaten egg whites and carefully fold the breadcrumbs and butter into the egg white mixture being careful not to deflate it.

4. Fill a pastry bag with the batter and carefully pipe into your donut mould. Smooth the top of each mould with the back of a wet spoon (to stop the batter from sticking to the spoon).

5. Bake in the oven for ca. 15 minutes or until the tops of the donuts are golden-brown in colour and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the donuts comes out clean.

6. Let donuts cool in the mould for a couple of minutes and then carefully invert them onto a serving plate.

7. For the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar with the maple syrup, milk and the salt until the sugar is dissolved and there are no more lumps. Drizzle the donuts with the glaze and, if you want to, top each donuts with some crushed walnut chunks and scatter some sea salt flakes on top.Note: by all means these don’t have to be baked in a donut pan. While I have a scary number of different sized (and shaped!) baking trays, pie forms etc, buying an extra baking pan for a single recipe is quite silly. While you do need it if you want these to look like real donuts, you could easily bake them in a muffin tray or any other pan with small moulds you have.

Note: yes, the measurements for the glaze are minuscule (so use a spoon scale if you have one!) but I wanted to include it exactly the way I made it because the glaze set beautifully – feel free to play around with the proportions, but be warned that the glaze might not set if you do so!20130614-102528.jpg

16 thoughts on “Breadcrumb baked donuts with a sea salt and maple glaze and a little anniversary

  1. Congratulations on a year of blogging – it feels like you’ve been in this space much longer and you have so many incredible recipes to show for it 🙂 These look and sound absolutely delicious and I love your experiments with flour too.

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    • Thanks Kathryn! Same here – now that I have discovered how well the breadcrumbs worked in the baked donuts I cannot wait to use them in other recipes, so many options! How much longer until you will have your kitchen back?

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  2. Congratulations for your blog’s first year 🙂
    This is an amazing recipe and I got really inspired by your use of different flours and even breadcrumbs – never thought of it! I always use the same kind of flour (wheat) but maybe I’ll start using some other flour kinds because kamut sounded really appealing 😉
    Have a nice week!

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  3. Congratulations on you first year!! I have recently moved from London to Milan (I am English) and am currently working out what flours are equivalent to English ones (frustrating but rewarding when I finally work it out!). Rome must be a bit of a change from London, hope all is going well and keep on with the blog. If you have any feedback/suggestions for me as a newbie the any feedback would be appreciated.

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    • First of all, thanks for following my blog! And yes, I hear you on trying to work out what Italian ingredients are equivalent to English ones (although I am German, I have lived in the UK for the most part of the last 13 odd years)!

      As regards blogging, I definitely still consider myself a newbie who is trying to figure this all out (from blog design to how often to post to what to share to the photography etc). What I can say is that I now try to post only things I am absolutely happy with – if the recipe isn’t 100% right, I will do it again until I am happy with it, same for the photos. While that means that sometimes there is a bigger gap between posts than I would like, I no longer feel comfortable posting things just for the sake of posting! The other thing I am trying to do is to think harder about why I like certain blogs and trying to emulate that. Last but not least, patience is key – in the beginning noone read my blog and suddenly more and more people start to come by (while SEO helps people find your blog initially, more content also means people are more likely to stay).

      PS I am mightily impressed that you post in both English and Italian – my written Italian is definitely not yet good enough for that, even though I have been in Rome since November – when did you move to Milan?

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      • Ahh thanks for the feedback, I know what you mean about making things perfect, my boyfriend says I should not worry so much but I want things to be perfect! We moved to Milan in December so still learning the language and get it proof-read (though imagine its still not 100% perfect) it does mean every post takes forever, but at least I feel like I am moving forward bit by bit. What are you doing in Rome?

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      • My boyfriend is Italian and after years of a long-distance relationship both of us had enough (and it was easier for me to move to Rome than for him to move to London) – I am currently working as a lawyer, how about yourself?

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      • My boyfriend is scottish (but speaks italian) and he is working at a law firm here. I am learning the language and looking for work at the moment (used to work in digital in fact, but for larger companies, so setting up my own thing is still a new thing for me)

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      • Can imagine it can’t be that easy changing from working for large companies to setting up on your own. Also, I don’t know about you, but I am still getting used to how everything works in Italy – I have lived abroad several times before (I was born in Germany but have worked in Austria, the UK and Belgium) but Italy seems to be an entirely different ballgame! Good luck with finding work!

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