As a geek, obviously the first question is whether to spell it “doughnuts” or “donuts”. After much consideration, I’m going with donuts, because as these lovelies are baked and not bread based or fried, there’s no dough to speak of.
Now that’s over we can get onto the roasted chocolate! If you’ve never tried this before, you really, really should! Roasting the white chocolate takes away the artificial sweetness that so many of us dislike about it. It caramelises and gets a delicious deep flavour – a little malt, a little caramac, and still sweet but with a deeper, less sugary taste. It’ll need your care and attention for just over an hour, but it’s so worth it. It keeps really well too, just prepare it on a non stick mat, let it set and peel off into a jar.
The way to do it is very slowly, at a very low temperature. But please be aware that this means it gets really, really hot after about 40-50 minutes (as I experienced and burnt my fingers). Every ten minutes you need to use either a rubber spatula or palette knife to scrape up the chocolate and get rid of any lumps, then spread it back out again as thinly as possible.
Start by chopping up the chocolate if it’s in a bar. Please note, you need to use chocolate that is ABOVE 30% cocoa butter content, it will not work below that! I used Hotel Chocolat’s house white, which is 32%. Spread it onto a non stick rubber mat (which makes it easier to peel off later) or just a regular rimmed baking sheet is fine.
Put into a preheated oven at 120 degrees. Set a timer for every ten minutes for about an hour and a half. Use a palette knife or rubber spatula to move the chocolate around and get rid of any lumps each time the timer goes off to promote caramelisation. For the first twenty minutes you won’t notice much difference. Then after thirty you’ll see a slight change in colour…
You’ll need to rely on your eye here. Every chocolate varies, so you might need to take it out before, or leave it a little longer. If it looks done and you like the taste of it (make sure it’s cooled before you try!) then take it out and let it cool.
I’ve paired the chocolate with espresso baked donuts because the caramel flavour of the chocolate works really well with coffee. I’m currently obsessed with baked donuts – they come out looking just like Homer Simpson’s favourites and you don’t have to worry about the smell of frying and disposing of oil.
Makes about 8 donuts:
For the roasted white chocolate:
200g white chocolate (above 30% cocoa solids)
For the espresso donuts:
130g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp instant coffee
1/4 tsp salt
120ml buttermilk (or whole milk with 1 tsp lemon juice stirred in)
100g brown sugar
60ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Hand full of cocoa nibs to decorate (optional)
Start by making the roasted white chocolate. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees C. Chop up the chocolate if it’s in a bar. Spread it onto a non stick rubber mat or a rimmed baking sheet. Set a timer for every ten minutes for about an hour and a half. Use a palette knife or rubber spatula to move the chocolate around and get rid of any lumps each time the timer goes off to promote caramelisation. Once you think it’s done, take it out and leave it to cool slightly, but keep moving it around so it doesn’t set.
Meanwhile, make your donuts. As soon as the chocolate is out, turn your oven up to 170 degrees C. Grease your donut pan- the best way to do this is to melt a little butter and use a pastry brush to apply. Set aside.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and bicarb in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the coffee, buttermilk, sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Slowly pour into the flour mix, whisking until there are no lumps.
Scrape into a large piping bag and pipe into the donut tin, about 3/4 full. Bake for 11-13 minutes, then leave to cool slightly before popping out of the tin.
To coat, simply dip the donuts into the melted roasted chocolate (if it’s set slightly just put it back into the oven for a few minutes), tin side down, and allow the excess to drip off. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs and enjoy!