It’s that time of year again! What time? Pink food, of course. This is my new favorite tradition – bringing you pink food for Valentine’s Day every year. I had a couple ideas of what to make this year. First, it was beet veggie burgers, but we did beets last year, so I wanted something different. Then, when it decided to snow nearly a foot in Chicago this weekend, I decided that baking something was in order and these chocolate donuts were just perfect for a Valentine’s treat. Because they’re baked, not fried, they are basically cake in donut form… but really, who’s complaining about that? We top them with this gorgeous raspberry glaze for the pink factor and maybe a few festive sprinkles. Breakfast? Dessert? Both? Yep, let’s do this.
I bought a donut pan maybe a year ago but hadn’t found an excuse to use it yet. Shame on me. This was so much fun! Because, as I mentioned, these are basically cake, I do suspect you could also bake these up as cupcakes – or, even better, mini cupcakes (donut holes anyone?). If you do happen to have a donut pan (or want an excuse to get one), though, this is the perfect excuse to bust it out.
OK, so let’s talk about this donut batter. It comes together incredibly easily, and the only ingredient you might not have in your pantry now is buttermilk. You can either head to the store and pick some up, or make your own at home. I decided picking some up at the store would make a great excuse to cook up this buttermilk roast chicken as part of the Valentine’s menu this week. One more not so familiar ingredient: espresso powder. I added a little bit to the chocolate batter to help enhance the flavor, but if you don’t have it or can’t find it, it’s not absolutely necessary. Otherwise, it’s all familiar ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, butter (melted until browned, because browned butter is the best).
To fill the donut pan, spoon your batter into a ziplock bag, snip off the end, and then pipe the batter into each donut cavity. This will help you fill them evenly and get that smooth, even donut look. One other tip: spray the pan very well with non-stick cooking spray – you want the donuts to slide out easily! Once they’re baked and cooled, you can dip them in this beautiful raspberry glaze. The glaze gets its pink hue entirely from fresh raspberries – no food coloring required!
To cover the donuts in icing, I tried both dipping the donuts and spreading the glaze on with a spatula. Both methods worked well, but you’ll want to use a gentle touch when dipping them so that they don’t fall apart on you. I covered each donut in two coats of icing to make sure that bright pink color really came through.
While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle on some festive sprinkles if you wish, though they’re pretty without it as well! The glaze will set after a few minutes at room temperature, and then the donuts can be gently stacked on top of one another.
While these certainly don’t taste like a traditional fried donut, I was pleased with how moist and flavorful they were – no dry baked goods here! Whip these up for Valentine’s Day and show someone (or yourself) a little love. Or hey, maybe you should just make them because it’s Wednesday and we probably all need a little chocolate pick-me-up in the middle of the week.
Raspberry Glazed Chocolate Donuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk (optional)
Colored sprinkles for decorating, if desired
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a donut baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and continuing cooking, stirring constantly, until brown flecks appear and the butter smells nutty. Keep an eye on the butter during the browning process, as it happens quickly! As soon as you start to see the butter turn in color, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring for a minute or so. Set the butter aside and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar and espresso powder, if using.
In a small bowl (I did this right in the measuring cup I measured the buttermilk into – saves dishes!), whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract and egg until thoroughly combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until all of the ingredients are well combined. Spoon the batter into a medium ziplock bag (place the bag in a tall glass to help with this) and pipe into donut pan. Each cavity should be about 2/3 full. Bake donuts for 11 to 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into one of the donut comes out clean. Let the donuts sit for five minutes in the pan before removing them and allowing to cool fully on a wire rack. Repeat as needed to bake all donuts.
While the donuts are cooling, make your glaze:
In a small bowl, mash together raspberries and granulated sugar. Rest for five minutes so that the raspberries release their juice. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl. Using the back of a spoon or small spatula, press the raspberry mixture to release the juice – keep going until you only have seeds left. You should have about 3 tablespoons of juice.
Finally, combine the strained raspberry juice, powdered sugar and cream (if using – I left it out of mine for the thickest glaze). Whisk together until fully combined.
Dip the donuts or use a small offset spatula to spread the icing onto the cooled donuts. Two coats of icing will help make the color even more prominent – just let the first coat dry for a few minutes before applying the second coat. Top with sprinkles if desired.