Now that winter has finally made an appearance I find my thoughts drifting to summer. S’mores made around a bonfire are the essential night time snack. Each entry in the recent proliferation of designer doughnut operations (like Toronto’s Glory Hole Doughnuts) seems to be offering a s’mores version and I thought I would give the idea a shot at home.
I have also been filling some free time by reading Helene Dujardin’s excellent guide to food photography, Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography and Styling. So, it was an odd moment of synchronisity when I came across the s’mores doughnuts post on her blog Tartelette.
Her post has the recipe reprinted from Lara Ferroni’s Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make At Home. That recipe is a great one but is written for those who have stand mixers. I thought I’d adapt it to a wooden spoon and bowl method.
My quibble with all s’mores doughnuts I’ve seen is that they either set the marshmallows in the icing (like Tim Horton’s did) or include them in the filling. The former is just half-miling it because the marshmallows won’t even have a chance to melt; the latter is better but I think misses one critical point. What is more important to the experience of making s’mores than roasting a marshmallow until it is your preferred shade between barely blond and soot black? What flavour can beat the caramelised sugar of a perfectly-roasted marshmallow’s skin?
My solution is to move the graham crackers to the filling and crown the doughnut with a mound of homemade marshmallow topping. I suppose you might be able to brown these under a broiler but I really prefer a blowtorch for this task.
The other angle that attracts me to the marshmallow topping is that it’s a great use for the three egg whites that match the batter’s three yolks and it’s a rare recipe that finds a separated egg equilibrium.
S’mores Doughnuts with Torched Marshmallow Topping
Adapted from the recipe on Tartelette that is a reprint from Doughnuts.
A basic yeast doughnut that is filled with chocolate and graham wafers and topped with torched marshmallow topping.
Yield: 8 doughnuts, more or less
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups (approximately 280g to 350g) bread flour, divided into 3/4 cup and 1 3/4 cups portions
- 3 TB instant yeast, divided into 2 TB and 1 TB portions
- 1 cup whole milk heated to noticeably above body temperature (110°F), divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup portions
- 2 TB granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste
- 3 large egg yolks, whites reserved for marshmallow topping
- 1/2 stick (57g) unsalted butter, well softened and cut into eight pieces
- 8 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 6 graham wafers, coarsely chopped
- 2 TB water
- 1 batch marshmallow topping
- Mix 3/4 cup flour, 2 TB yeast, and 3/4 cup heated milk in bowl. Cover with a towel and let the starter stand for thirty minutes in a warm place.
In a medium-large metal mixing bowl combine remaining yeast (1 TB), remaining milk (1/4 cup), risen starter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and egg yolks. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a smooth, homogeneous batter forms. Add the butter, a couple pieces at a time and continue stirring. Gather your strength because as the rest of the flour is added the mixing will become more difficult. Mentally divide the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour into about six batches (each between 1/4 and 1/3 cup). Add one at a time and mix each in with the wooden spoon. You should add the second batch just as the first has been integrated, and so forth. After the third or fourth addition of flour the dough will become less sticky and you’ll want to switch to kneading the flour in by hand. You’re done when the dough is tacky and smooth but no longer wants to stick to the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add the last 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1 to 12 hours.
- On a lightly-floured surface roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a 3-inch cutter (or other round object like a glass) to divide the dough into at least sixteen rounds. The number of rounds you get will vary depending on the size of your cutter. Don’t re-roll dough scraps more than once or the doughnuts will be tough. Divide the rounds into two groups (bases and lids), cover them with a towel and let proof until poked indents slowly bounce back (five to twenty minutes).
- Review safety precautions for deep frying at home. (Short version: 1. Don’t fill your cooking vessel more than 1/3 with oil; 2. Have a fire extinguisher and lid for you pot nearby; and 3. Move particularly flammable objects away from stove.) Be certain that the blowtorch and it’s fuel cannister you’ll be using later in this recipe is well away from the stove.
- While the dough rounds are proofing and you’re assembling the doughnuts heat 2 – 3 inches of canola or other vegetable oil to 360°F. Don’t leave the oil unattended.
- Roll the lids out so that they’re 1/4 to 1/2 inch larger in diameter than the bases. Once they’re proofed brush each of the bases lightly with water and top with an ounce of chocolate and a large pinch of chopped graham wafers. Place a lid on top of each, pinch to close, and re-cut with your cutter to seal. Err on the side of vigour with your pinching and cutting so that molten chocolate doesn’t leak into your frying oil.
Fry in the 360°F oil for two minutes a side or until they reach the desired shade of golden brown. I had used this batch of oil before so if you’re using new oil your doughnuts may not colour as darkly. Work in at least two batches, removing the cooked doughnuts to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Top each doughnut with a healthy dollop of marshmallow topping. Use a blowtorch to brown the topping to your desired shade of doneness. Serve immediately and warn your guests that the chocolate inside may be quite hot.