Doughnuts are my kryptonite.
Fried sweet dough dipped in glaze, and then dunked into a cup of steaming-hot coffee? Yes, please. And I will give this to you straight: once or twice a year, I'm all in. I load up the car and take the kids to our favorite doughnut spot and we throw caution to the wind.
But for the average Sunday-brunch-type of indulgence, a girl needs a plan. I wanted to create a doughnut that would scratch the itch on a more semi-regular basis. And the baked version is just the ticket.
I make a doughnut in perhaps my favorite flavor of all time — peanut butter chocolate — that truly feels like a major indulgence, while it's actually just a minor one, thanks to a few tricks.
First, get yourself a full-sized baked doughnut tin, stat. Not to sound bossy, but this will change your life. Or at least your weekend. Incidentally, stick with the full-sized version — the baked mini-doughnuts puff up and the middle fills in, and frankly, you end up with something closer to a muffin half the time.
Second little trick: Use a lot less sugar than you would use for a cake recipe. The little bit of sugary glaze will make the doughnut taste sweeter than it is, because it's on the outside.
Third trick: I use three kinds of chocolate — melted chocolate and cocoa powder (both unsweetened) and then just a couple of tablespoons of mini-chocolate chips, which even in small quantities add a gooey-melted chocolate vibe that says "today is special."
Lastly, I use defatted peanut flour (also called "dried peanut butter"). It has all the flavor and a fraction of the calories of peanut butter, perfect for smoothies and baked goods.
And as a bonus, these doughnuts can be made gluten-free. I've successfully substituted several gluten-free flour mixes (look for "1-to-1" or "baking flour" on the label for best results) in this recipe, which my gluten-free daughter loves.
Chocolate peanut butter baked doughnuts
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 doughnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 square unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup if you want sweeter)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
1/2 cup lowfat milk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter (or peanut flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon powdered peanut butter ("peanut flour")
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large glass bowl, whisk together the butter, chocolate and brown sugar until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, vinegar and milk and whisk together.
In a small bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, dried peanut butter, baking powder and soda and salt together. Add the chocolate chips and toss to coat. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed.
Spray a doughnut baking tin with nonstick spray. Scrape the batter into a 1-quart re-sealable plastic bag and snip the corner to make a 1/2-inch opening. Pipe the batter into the doughnut molds.
Bake until doughnuts are dry and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Once the doughnuts are cooked, allow to cool a few minutes before removing from the mold. Allow to cool to the touch and then dip the prettier side (the side that was in the mold) into the glaze and set on baking rack for the glaze to cool and harden.
Nutrition information per serving: 283 calories; 87 calories from fat; 10 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 48 mg cholesterol; 279 mg sodium; 45 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 28 g sugar; 6 g protein.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."