Saturday, July 27, 2013

Smores Donuts

S'mores Donuts Recipe
What summer bbq or camping trip would be complete without s'mores? (S'mores donuts, that is!)

Thus far in my donut-making career, I have made 18 different types of donuts, including cake, raised, old-fashioned...filled and topped with fruit, chocolate, vanilla and even a vegetable (zucchini).

And of all the donuts I have made to date, this s'mores donut was my favorite!

S'mores Doughnut
It's actually better than a s'more. Seriously.

I made a rich chocolate pastry cream filling and piped it into a soft raised donut alongside a hefty helping of marshmallow creme. Then I dipped the top of each donut in sweet vanilla icing and graham cracker crumbs.

Me after eating too much sugar
If you can believe it, this s'mores donut actually tasted better than a s'more. Let me explain: s'mores are fantastic (don't get me wrong), but I have found that past the age of 12 or so, it's almost impossible to eat more than one or two. It's just too sweet.

After eating about two traditional s'mores, I start to shake and get Critter Eyes.

So if a toasted marshmallow on chocolate and graham cracker is the 12-year-old's version of a s'more, then this donut is the adult version. The dark chocolate custard filling adds some sophisticated bitterness and the soft raised donut is the perfect bready platform for balancing the sweetness of the marshmallow creme. It's the hillbilly's backyard edition of a culinary confection!

Speaking of hillbillies, here's a picture of our little piece of backyard hillbilly bliss in Silicon Valley. Gwen is going to be so mad at me someday for putting this on the internet...

Blair passed out on a Saturday afternoon and Gwen on her potty that she takes with her everywhere she goes. When Blair saw this picture, he said, "jeez, we look like rednecks". Yes, and it's wonderful!

INGREDIENTS to make 18 medium-sized donuts

Chocolate and Marshmallow Swirl Pastry Cream
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 7oz jar of marshmallow cream

Donuts (Adapted from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker)
1 cup of very warm water (around 105° F)
1 tbsp granulated sugar (proofing) + 1/2 cup (dough)
3 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground mace
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
3 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
lots of canola oil for frying - enough to fill your pot 2" deep

Vanilla Icing and Graham Cracker Topping (adapted from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup of boiling water

1 package of graham crackers, pulverized into crumbs in the food processor


  1. Make the pastry cream first so it has time to chill completely. Warm pastry cream steams up the donut from the inside and makes it too soft and soggy. To make the pastry cream, heat the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 2 cups of half and half in a saucepan over low heat, whisking often to incorporate the chocolate as it melts. Continue to heat until "scalded," ie. when little bubbles start to form on the outside edge of the milk but before you reach a full-on boil
  2. In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup sugar, 2 egg yolks, 1 egg, and 2 tbsp cornstarch. 
  3. SLOWLY drizzle the scalded half and half mixture into the bowl of eggs, sugar and cornstarch, whisking constantly. This has to be a slow process so you don't curdle the eggs. That'd be nasty.
  4. Transfer the liquid back into the saucepan and flip the heat back on to low. Cook until the pastry cream thickens, whisking every few seconds.
  5. When the texture is like thick pudding, remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Set the marshmallow cream to the side until filling time (at the end).
  6. Pop a lid on the saucepan and put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Seriously, don't get antsy and fill the donuts too early or you'll end up with soggy donuts!
  7. Now is a good time for a break if you want it, otherwise, you can charge ahead and start on making the dough. To start, boil some water, make yourself a cup of tea, then pour 1 cup of the hot water into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Dissolve the 1 tbsp sugar in the hot water, pop in your thermometer and do some "mise-en-placing" (getting your wet and dry ingredients together (see next two steps)) while you wait for the water to cool to about 105° F.
  8.  In a large bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground mace, 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and 4 cups of bread flour, sifted. If you don't have a sifter, just whisk it all together to aerate and combine.
  9.  In a small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and the cubed butter to 3 large egg yolks and set that on deck to wait for its shining moment.
  10. Now at this point, the temperature of your hot water and sugar mixture should be close to 105° F, so spoon in the 3 tbsp of yeast into the mixer bowl and give it a few slow whirls with the paddle attachment to combine. Then take a swig of tea and check your email for any good online sales while you wait 5 minutes for the yeast to proof.
  11. After spending 5 minutes shopping online for stuff you probably don't need, the yeast should be nice and bubbly. Flip on the mixer at low speed and add the eggy wet ingredients. It will take about a minute or so to break up the butter and combine everything into a nice, but gross-looking yeasty sludge.
  12. Next, add the dry ingredients, a cup at a time. After about half of dry ingredients, switch to the dough hook and add the rest of the dry ingredients, again at a cup at a time. Continue working the dough with the dough hook for about 2 minutes until the dough looks like a brain and picks up all of the little crumbs at the bottom.

    Dough "Brain"
  13. If you're ready for a break, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and throw it in the fridge for up to 4 hours. Otherwise, if you are ready to charge it, proceed to the next step!
  14. To construct the proofing chamber in your oven place a 9”x13” roasting pan on the bottom rack and then pour boiling water into it to fill it to about half way. Then roll out the dough on a floured cookie sheet to about 1” thick and stick it on the top rack of the oven, covered with a cloth napkin or towel. Then let the dough rise for 1 hour, or until roughly doubled in size.
  15. Next, roll out your the dough to 1/2” thickness and cut rounds with a metal round cutter. I used a 3" cutter to make big rounds with room for tons of cream filling!
  16. Lay out the rounds on two floured cookie sheets about 2” apart and put them back in the proofing oven to rise again, this time with some fresh boiling water. It should take about 30 minutes for the donuts to double in size.
  17. About 15 minutes into this second rise, take out a big stock pot and fill it 2” deep with canola oil, turn the heat on to medium, stick in a thermometer and wait for the oil to heat up to 350° F. You'll feel like the world’s most talented multi-tasker when the temperature hits 350° F right around the time that the donuts are done rising.
  18. Fry time! Using the metal spatula, carefully transfer the rounds from the cookie sheet into the oil. Be sure to do each transfer carefully, because every finger depression and blurp of your spatula will be permanently etched into the surface of your donut, like that scar from the navel ring you had for two weeks when you were 20, but that blew up and stretched when you were pregnant with your first child (sighhh again). Also, don't be Eager Beaver and put too many donuts in the oil at once, because they'll crowd each other and not puff up as nicely. They only need to be in the oil for about 30-40 seconds on one side and then 20 seconds on the other, so the frying process will be really fast. I was expecting to be slaving over hot oil for at least an hour and subsequently breaking out with zits the next day, but that didn’t happen.
  19. When the donuts are done frying, set them out on a wire rack and let them cool completely. 
  20. The next stage is to pipe the cream filling into the cooled donuts. Fit your pastry bag with any pokey tip and fill the bag with the cooled chocolate pastry cream. Then insert the tip of the bag into the side of each donut and squeeze about 2 tbsp. You want to leave some room in the donuts for the marshmallow creme, which you'll pipe in next.
  21. Once you've filled all the donuts with chocolate pastry cream, refill your pastry bag with marshmallow creme and go back and pipe another 1 tbsp or so into each donut. You'll have to use your instincts on this, because if you overfill the donuts, they'll split.
  22. The last stage of this process is to make the vanilla icing. To make the icing, scoop 4 cups of powdered sugar into your mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Flip the mixer on to low to break up any clumps and aerate. Then add 1 1/2 tsp corn syrup, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 1/3 cup of boiling water, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and continue to mix until the icing had reached the optimal texture, which is somewhere between glaze and frosting.  
  23. Carefully dip each donut top into the icing and then immediately dip in the graham cracker crumbs. Set on a rack to cool. Eat 1 to 4 of them, preferably on the back porch in the sunset after a good family/friend barbecue :).


  1. Love the picture of Gwen. She's a doll and the donut sounds divine. If I'm ever in your area, I will look you up because I want your donuts.

    1. I would love to make donuts for you! S'mores or Oreo? :)