Hi, with something sweet

sugar donuts with coffee glaze

I know I know….you can hear a pin drop here. That’s how silent I’ve been for the last month and a half.

But, to justify, I wasn’t well really and until last week it was taking me five minutes flat to walk from one room to the other.

A bad tummy, sky-high fever and heavy doses of antibiotics for fifteen days can do that to me. The good thing that came out of it is that I’m back home to recover and rest…prescribed by the Doctor! Anyway, I’m not allowed street-food (imagine that!) and now I’m strong enough to stand, long enough to deep-fry donuts. Oh, and I’m ready to bite someone…anyone, considering the fact that I’ve been cooped up in the house for the last three weeks!

And Kolkata is currently drowning in its own monsoon. As is Mumbai. Gray mornings, chilly evenings, the steady sound of rain and the occasional thunder rumbling by. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! No wonder monsoon’s my favorite season. I’m trying not to think of muddy puddles, damp clothes and traffic jam.

It almost feels like winter in a way….I could curl up in a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate. Although winter doesn’t come with the uncontrollable urge to make paper boats and watch them sail away on the larger water puddles, wobbling from one side to the other!

Donuts seemed like nice and sweet things to say “hi” with after all this time. I’ve always found them to be a mood-lifter somehow. I spent 1st January this year munching on one (after rounds of “new year” hugs) smothered in chocolate, from Barista. But then, I have to admit, it never actually crossed my mind to whip up a batch. And even though I’ve been craving them for the last 3-4 weeks…yes, that long…I was a little apprehensive, mostly because the prospect of deep-frying anything makes me nervous. Yes, I’m one of those women who blow up an inch, every time they look at something deep-fried…nothing new there.

The sugar sprinkles make all the difference really

I also whipped up a creamy coffee-glaze to go along with the donuts which, to my mild surprise, turned out nicely crisp on the outside and light and airy inside.

Mild surprise, because I’m famous for not following recipes. Or twisting them somehow or the other. And then end up in a mess most of the time, but that’s another story.

This one I grabbed from Gourmet Magazine. The first batch turned out slightly deflated, so I increase the amount of baking soda and baking powder in the dough for the second batch. And magic. There was none left to photograph. You’ll have to be satisfied with the photos of the “deflated” ones.

The garam masala adds a very earthy tone to the otherwise vanilla-flavored donuts. But too much of it may bitter out and turn too strong. Use with caution and discard if you prefer using just cinnamon and nutmeg.

Donuts

Recipe adapted (and tweaked) from Gourmet magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (if garam masala’s too strong for your taste, use a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, to deep-fry (I used groundnut)
How-to:
  • Cream the butter with sugar till soft and fluffy. Add the egg and beat in well. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, garam masala (or cinnamon and nutmeg) together.
  • Add the flour mixture and yogurt alternatively, into the butter-sugar mixture to form the dough. A sticky, but workable dough.
  • Take the dough out on a well-floured work surface and knead it till it just comes together. Roll it out to a 1/3 inch thickness.
  • Cut the donut shapes out with either a donut cutter or just a sharp-edged bowl and a bottlecap.
  • Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pan or skillet till it reaches a temperature of 375 degree F.
  • Fry the donuts in batches of 6 or 7, flipping them once, till golden brown. The first side takes about a minute and the second about 30-45 seconds. Be careful to maintain the temperature. Too hot and the donuts will come out well-browned!
  • Take them out and drain the excess oil.
  • Dredge them through icing sugar or add any glaze/icing of your choice. Chocolate, coffee-glaze, jam works well.
The doughnuts (unglazed/un-dredged) can be reheated on a baking sheet in a preheated 250°F oven 10 to 15 minutes.
The coffee glaze was a no-brainer really. Just a 30 ml espresso shot stirred well into 200 ml of sweetened condensed milk.

Good Ol’ Chocolate Mousse

mousse1

Fact 1: I’ve never met anyone who does not like chocolate mousse. No one.

(If you don’t like it, leave a comment telling us about it….

if you like it…well then,leave me a comment about that too!!)

Fact 2: Its easily one of the easiest desserts to make which provided maximum satisfaction.

Fact 3: Flavor options are…well, unlimited…since whatever flavor you choose is bound to work.

I, however, prefer the classic chocolate mousse, with nutty or fruity tones.

Intially the idea was to make a white chocolate mousse…but then I remembered, I already had one in the kitty, so decided to do the other “good ‘ol” chocolate Mousse. This one, is loaded with hazelnutty goodness.

What You Need:

250gms of dark chocolate (I used 60% cocoa), chopped in bits

– 100gms Hazelnuts

– 3/4 cup of heavy cream

– 2 egg whites

– 2 tablespoons of sugar (if you need it to be sweeter…I didn’t use it any)

– Whipped cream, white/dark chocolate shavings to garnish

How-To:

Preparing the Hazelnuts

De-shell and roast the hazelnuts in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper at 275 F 15-20 minutes.

– Remove from oven before the nuts brown completely….golden brown is what we want.

– Roll a damp kitchen towel against the nuts and rub the skins off them.

– After the skins come off, roll then dry with paper towels and grind them to fine powder, in a processor.

mousse2

The Mousse

– Halve the amount of cream in two separate bowls.

– Heat one half over a low flame, till bubbles start to appear. Don’t let it boil over.

– Add this cream to the bowl of chopped chocolate and let stand for a minute.

– Whip the egg whites and sugar (if you’re using any), till stiff. An electric beater works perfectly fine unless you’re willing to exercise your arms using a hand-beater.

– Add the egg white foam to the warm chocolate and cream mixture and gently stir centre-out till no white streaks remain.

– Stir in the hazelnut flour into the chocolate. Mix well.

– Whip the remaining cream into soft peaks that hold their shape. Pour the cream into the chocolate mixture and fold in gently.

– Pour in serving glasses/cups and allow it to set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

– Garnish with whipped cream (a little of the heavy cream whipped to peaks with confectioners’ sugar) and chocolate shavings (both dark and white, in my case), before serving.