Denise Phillips gets into the Chanukah spirit

The origins of the humble doughnut are quite controversial. Dutch settlers introduced their fried oily buns to America in the mid-19th century.

It is claimed that in 1842 the classic ring shape was created by removing the centre, which often remained raw and greasy after frying.

However, in 2013, historians discovered an English cookbook from 1800 with a recipe for ‘dow nuts’ also known as ‘the Hertfordshire nut’.

The secret to a good doughnut is to ensure the oil is very hot before frying, so that the oil seals the outside, rather than sink into the mixture.

Keep an eye on them, as they do cook fast, and drain them afterwards on a rack, not on kitchen paper.

You can be creative with their flavour in the dough, toppings and fillings – caramel, cinnamon, chocolate, lemon, coffee, orange water or even toffee would all make successful doughnuts.

Traditional DoughnutsDP 18_11_(MM)8838

Ingredients:

Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour 15 minutes rising time Cooking time: 10 minutes

1 tablespoon yeast, from 1 sachet

4 tablespoons caster sugar

100ml milk / soya milk – warmed

250g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

¼ teaspoon salt

50g butter / margarine – melted

1 egg – beaten

300ml vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Filling: Jam of your choice – Dust in cinnamon sugar if desired

Method

1. Mix the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar and two tablespoons of the warm milk.

2. Place in a warm place to rest for five minutes, or until frothy.

3. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.

4. Stir in one tablespoon of the sugar and keep the rest for dusting when cooked.

5. Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeast mix, the rest of the milk, the melted butter and the egg. Combine using a mixer to make a dough and then cover the bowl and leave to stand for 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.

6. Divide into 12 balls (approx. 45g each) and place in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until they have doubled in size.

7. Heat the oil in a deep pan until it reaches 190ºC/375ºF, or a cube of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden in 30 seconds.

8. Gently lower the dough balls one at a time into the hot oil, in batches of two or three, and fry for three to five minutes or until golden-brown, and then carefully turn over.

9. Remove from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

10. Roll the hot doughnuts in the remaining sugar.

11. Make a small slit in the doughnut and fill with jam using a special syringe or a piping bag with fine nozzle.

These are best enjoyed on the day made.

Chocolate Duffins

DP 18_11_(MM)8829

 

Ingredients

Preparation time: : 20 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes

75g unsalted butter – softened to room temperature 100g caster sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

120ml milk /soya

190g plain white flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 teaspoons Nutella Cinnamon coating

45g unsalted butter – melted

50g granulated sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Method

1. Preheat oven to 220ºC/425ºF.

2. Lightly oil a muffin baking tray with cooking spray and set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed.

4. Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Do not overmix.

5. Spoon 1 heaped tablespoon of batter into the baking tray. Layer with 1 teaspoon of Nutella in the centre and spoon another heaped tablespoon of batter on top.

6. Repeat layering batter and nutella into each duffin tin.

7. Bake at 220ºC for five minutes.

8. Keeping the duffins in the oven, reduce temperature to 180ºC/350ºF/GM 4 and bake for an additional 13-17 minutes until batter is set.

9. Allow to cool for about five minutes.

10. In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Dip the top of each duffin into the melted butter and dip into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

11. Swirl them around a bit in the cinnamon-sugar to ensure a thick coating.

12. Set upright on cooling rack. Duffins stay fresh in an airtight container up to one week and freeze well, up to three months.