These were made on something of a last minute whim, as the students at my new workplace are having a brunch-ish thing for Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and I wanted to have something interesting but still breakfastish to provide. And thus, these, which have been sitting in my to-make queue for a while, seemed like the perfect choice.  

They’re pretty time consuming (I’ve been working on these since about 6:30 this evening), but absolutely worth it (I nommed the last picture down pretty quickly after taking it). A few pointers – I mixed some existing vanilla sugar I had with some normal sugar for this, and even if you don’t have vanilla sugar made up, straight up normal sugar will be great. And if you don’t have a pastry bag/tip, no worries – all you need to do is take a ziploc bag, cut off one corner, and just squeeze the bag.

Chocolate Cream Filled Vanilla Sugar Donuts
Makes appx 14 or so donuts

Ingredients

Donuts

  • 2 T water
  • 1 package active dry yeast 
  • 3.5 c flour
  • 1 c milk
  • .25 c (.5 stick) butter, melted
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 T sugar
  • .5 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t salt

Vanilla Sugar

  • 1 1/3 c white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • pinch salt
  • (alternatively, if you have some on hand, mix however much you have with white sugar to make about a cup)

Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • .25 c white sugar
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 3 T cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 3 oz bitterwsweet chocolate, chopped small
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • at least enough vegetable oil to fill your pot two inches deep

To make your donut dough, mix your water and yeast together and let sit five minutes, until foamy.  Then, add all remaining ingredients and mix them together (either using a stand mixer or a wooden spoon and your hands) until you have a ball of sticky, soft, coherent dough. Cover the bowl with a towel, and let that dough sit for about two hours, until it’s doubled in size (see the below inserted picture, and the second picture for an approximate size difference). 

While your dough rises, make your chocolate pastry cream.  Mix your yolks, sugar, corn starch, cocoa powder, and salt together in a pot, until you get a thick mixture.  Then, slowly whisk your milk in, and turn the heat to medium high, stirring constantly so that the eggs and yolk don’t cook.  Right before the mixture starts to boil, it’ll rapidly thicken (see pic 2, row 3); when it gets to that point, remove it from the heat, and stir in your chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract.  Whisk until smooth, and once you have a smooth, thick cream, put it in a bag (pastry, ziploc, whatever works best for you), and chill for two hours.  

While everything is chilling and rising, if you haven’t made your vanilla sugar, do that by combining all ingredients (sugar, salt, vanilla bean scrapings) in a small bowl, or mixing your premade vanilla sugar with the white sugar. Whichever works best for you.

After your donut dough is done rising, sprinkle a work surface with flour, and roll out till about a foot wide and a half-inch thick.  Use whatever sort of cutter you usually use (I honestly just used my glasses) to cut out round shapes from the dough, and line them up on a baking sheet of some sort.  Cover the circles again with a towel, and let them puff up a bit for another half hour (see pic 4). 

Meanwhile, pour about two to two and a half inches of vegetable oil in a pot, and heat to medium high.  Do this about ten minutes before your half hour is up.  That way, you can throw your dough right into the oil, and fry for about two minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Use a spatula or slotted spoon to flip the donuts in the oil, and then remove to where your bowl of vanilla sugar is waiting.  Flip the donuts a few times in the sugar, until coated, and then remove to some waiting paper towels to dry.  Repeat this until you run out of dough.

Once completed, either take the stem end of a spoon and dig a hole into your donut, or, if you’re me, give up and slice the donut open.  Then, take your pastry cream, and squeeze until you think there’s enough cream; if you sliced it open, its gonna look like a sandwich.  

Don’t worry if it’s not that pretty!  It’s fucking delicious, and that’s all that matters!

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