Sometimes I’m a bad friend.
Not malicious like tell all your deep dark secrets to the town but occasionally inconsiderate. Like the time I forced my vegetarian friend to wait in line for hours for fried chicken when she just wanted some donuts. But hey, it was really good chicken and she eats it now.
Maria, my food truck co-founder when we get those investors, was more than game to line up before noon when the first Federal Donuts opened in Philly. The tasty combo of fried chicken and fresh donuts were about a mile from our apartments so reasoned we were getting some exercise when we made the initial pilgrimage.
And since the place had been a open a whole week and a half, umm we didn’t think others would also be spending the middle of their Friday crammed into a shoebox sized donut shop that is basically a takeout counter from the heavens with a robot that plops donuts into hot frying oil.
But there were many others, the line snaked from the lone register out around the corner as people tried not to fall off the sidewalk into the street. Even worse than me making her stand in what would become a multi-hour line for a food she wasn’t going to consume, we eventually learned that you could skip the line if you were only getting donuts.
I hope I told Maria to skip the line and get the donuts and forget me, but I can’t remember. Maybe I eventually did because I know eventually chicken was procured, a box of doughnuts was filled and we plopped onto a bench a few blocks away and dug in.
The chicken was basically covered in cool ranch seasoning and the skin shattered in your mouth when you bit it, so fucking good. And the donuts either freshly fried to order or glazed in whatever delicious flavor was in season made for the perfect contrast.
And then since Maria is a very good friend, she went Halloween costume shopping with me while we were bloated from all that food. I guess walking a mile does not cancel out many donuts. The costume was terrible and overpriced, cute boxer is not actually a thing, but at least we were smart and ordered enough donuts so there were leftovers for when our food comas subsided.
The donuts at Federal Donuts are something that will never come to life in my kitchen. I do not have a donut robot and my creativity will never allow for glaze ideas like Guava Poppy and Crumberry.
The only thing I kind of have going for me is that I’m not making a kajillion donuts every day so I can make yeasted donuts. I like to think the extra flavor from a yeasted dough cancels out the baked not fried aspect of these donuts.
Cake donuts are faster but you started yeasted ones the night before and then the next morning all you have to do is shape them, make little donut babies from the middles and bake them off. And you look like a freaking rockstar, no need to leave the house for fresh donuts.
To make these chocolate chip donuts even better I drape them in a fresh cherry glaze. A sharp knife or juice stained fingertips tear apart a handful of cherries and their juice is mixed with powdered sugar to make a quick but thick glaze.
The only thing I ask you to remember when you start this project at 11 pm on a Friday night is to have more chocolate chips on hand than I did. My idea of a airy donut jammed with chocolate chips was murdered a little bit when I pulled a bag of chips from the freezer that had a mere fourth of a cup of chocolate.
Not sure why I didn’t just finish off the bag the last time I scooped a handful of chips out while standing in my dark kitchen late at night. But please, stock more chocolate in your house so you can have proper chocolate chip donuts.
I also don’t have proper cookie cutters and had to punch out the chocolate chip donuts and donut holes with a a squat drinking glass and shot glass. Apparently I also didn’t have very strong yeast. I started my first attempt on a Friday night and when I woke up Saturday morning expected to see a fully risen dough there was a sad flat pile. A second batch of dough rose when I let it hang out next to a warm oven for a few hours.
Ok so as a recap: For baked chocolate chip donuts you need chocolate chips, active yeast and a good friend with a lot of patience to share them with.
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules
- ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup pitted fresh cherries
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Warm milk in the microwave or on the stovetop to 110 degrees, a little warmer than body temperature. Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of sugar over the milk and let sit for 10 minutes until the yeast is activated and foamy. The sugar will help the yeast get going.
- In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and instant coffee.
- Once the yeast has foamed and the milk is barely warm the touch stir in the egg, vinegar and vanilla extract.
- Stir together the wet and dry ingredients and knead for 5 minutes either by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer.
- Once the dough has formed an elastic ball but is still pretty sticky add in the chocolate chips and butter. Knead again for 5 more minutes.
- Cover the bowl of dough and either let rise in the refrigerator for 12 hours or on the countertop in a warm spot for 2 hours. Either way, you want the dough to double in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll out the dough to a half inch thickness and either using a donut cutter or a glass cut out donuts and donut holes, rerolling the scraps as needed.
- Place the donuts and donut holes on two parchment lined baking sheets, cover with a towel and again let rise till they double in size, another hour or two.
- Once the donuts have risen again preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake donuts and donut holes for 7-9 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown, the tops will still be pale.
- Let cool while you make the glaze.
- Pit enough cherries until you have 1 cup of pitted fruit.
- Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree the cherries. You can then either strain out the skins for a smoother glaze or leave them in.
- Combine the cherry puree and powdered sugar in a small bowl a little bit at a time until the glaze is a consistency you like.
- Add lemon juice to balance the flavor.
- To glaze the donuts and donut holes, dip each one pale side down into the glaze and return to the parchment paper to let the glaze set.
- Donuts are best eaten fresh.