Baked churro donuts. Doesn’t that sound like an excellent idea? Lighter donuts, no messing about with hot oil, and they’re churro donuts! I mean…yum. And did I mention they’re also quick to make? Bonus.
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While I am 100% willing to drop yummy bits of dough into a deep fryer (like my tasty Cinnamon Sugar Apple Fritters), sometimes I just want a donut recipe which is lower fat, quick to make, and doesn’t have me dealing with hot oil.
Also, I bought a couple of donut pans. 🙂
Yes, I’ve been seeing all sorts of awesome looking baked donut recipes, and I couldn’t take it anymore! Luckily, donut pans are reasonably priced and easy to find so my donut envy didn’t have to last too long. As soon as I had my two Wilton 6-cavity donut pans in hand, I set forth to make some donuts.
At first I was just going to make the standard cake donut recipe that comes with the pans. It seemed pretty simple and a good way to get started and figure out what I should do with my donut pans.
But then my food blogger genes kicked in. 🙂 And I couldn’t resist messing with the recipe. What can I say? If I just made recipes as written I wouldn’t have much to talk about here.
With baked goods I do like to have a base recipe which has all the chemistry figured out and which I can add flavors and twists to as I work. So, I was inspired by the standard donut recipe but I wanted churros. Or at least churro flavors since I was making churro donuts and not the straight, star-shaped pastries we all know and love as churros.
Starting from that recipe I added some cinnamon and vanilla to the batter, and decided to brown the butter. Browned butter adds so much wonderful flavor to baked and I highly recommend you give it a try!
The secrets to browning butter are:
- Keep your heat moderate. Too low and you’ll get bored before it browns. Too high and it’ll be burnt in the blink of an eye.
- Don’t walk away from the pan!
- It’s the milk solids that brown, so watch them at the bottom of the pan. Be ready once they reach a toasty brown color and smell all wonderfully nutty.
- Take the butter off the heat and transfer it to a heat proof bowl as soon as it’s done!
That said, you don’t need to hover (just be close) until the butter foams up. That’s when it gets fun!
Once I had the batter, I scooped it into a resealable plastic bag, being careful to get the batter right to the bottom and not have it going up the sides. That way all the batter is in a nice, compact shape and it’s easy to pipe it out. A little snip with the scissors and I was piping circles of batter into the donut wells. It took about 10 minutes to get the batter together and about 10 more minutes to bake them up. I call that quick! And cinnamon sugar is simple to make – sugar and spices mixed in a bowl. A minute, maybe to measure and stir?
Which gave me plenty of time to pour chocolate chips in a bowl and heat up some cream for the spicy chocolate ganache.
Though, if you are a ganache novice, you could totally make the donuts and have them sitting on the cooling rack while you work on the ganache. I do find it’s better to concentrate on one thing at a time when I’m trying new techniques. If your ganache breaks and gets all grainy, don’t despair! There are fixes for a broken ganache. I would like to note that so long as I stick to equal amounts of cream and chocolate, Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips, a minute of rest time, and a gentle whisking, I have always had good luck with my ganache. Even when I’ve gotten bored and let the cream boil. But it is nice to know how to fix things when you try something new and it doesn’t quite work out.
– Happy Baking, Annemarie
Churros just got a little bit healthier! No deep frying needed. Baked churro donuts are make in a donut pan and rolled in cinnamon sugar. This means you can totally justify the spicy chocolate sauce to dip them in.
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups cake flour, or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 4 oz 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate chips, BY WEIGHT
- 4 oz heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp salted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- a pinch or two of cayenne powder
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter (or oil) the cavities of the donut pans.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Watch the butter and swirl the pan occasionally so that the butter cooks evenly. The butter will go from yellow to a nice, medium brown and develop a nutty aroma. Once the butter is browned, take it immediately off the heat and pour the butter into a bowl so it stops cooking. Set the butter aside to cool while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the cooled brown butter and whisk in. Then add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir with a large spoon until just combined.
Scoop the batter into a gallon sized resealable bag. Lay the bottom of the bag flat on counter and scoop the batter directly to the bottom. Close the bag and cut a 3/4 inch piece of off the bottom corner. Pipe the batter into each well, filling the cavities 3/4 full. Bake the donuts for 9-11 minutes, testing to see if they are firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean. Turn out the donuts onto a cooling rack and cool for a few minutes, until just warm.
Mix together all the topping ingredients and put them in a shallow bowl. Melt the butter. Brush each donut with some of the melted butter and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar. Allow them to sit on the rack to dry.
Put the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream until it is just starting to bubble, around 190-200F with instant read thermometer. Add the vanilla and soft butter to the cream. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute or two, or until it reaches 100-110F. Gently stir the ganache starting in the middle of the bowl until it comes together into a sauce. Add the cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne. Taste the sauce and add more spice if needed.
Serve the donuts with the sauce on the side.
- Recipe inspired by the Basic Baked Donut Recipe by Wilton.
- This looks like a lot of ingredients and instructions! But we are talking about a basic cake recipe and some cinnamon sugar. And you can stop there with great donuts to eat. However, I would recommend the ganache since it was really good!
- You will need donut pans to make this recipe. I used two Wilton 6 cavity donut pans.
- Be careful not to start stirring the ganache together too soon after you pour the cream over the chocolate! The cream needs a little time to cool so that you can mix them without the ganache breaking. I also like to stir starting in the middle and get that combined properly before bringing in the chocolate and cream from the edges.
- Don't worry if your first donuts look a little messy when you pipe them out. They will still taste good! And, after the first couple, the motion will get easier.
- I prefer to brush on the butter rather than dunking the donuts in melted butter. You just need a light, even coat to allow the sugar to stick. Dunking them makes for a thicker coat of butter which is too wet.
- You can make the ganache with half and half. However, half and half is much more fiddly than cream and is more likely to break. If it breaks, try adding a little more chocolate to the ganache, a bit at a time, stirring carefully, until it comes together.
- It is very important that you don't use a 4-oz volume measure for the chocolate. (As in a 1/2 cup measure.) Both the cream and chocolate are measured by weight, though with the cream you can fudge it and use volume since they are about the same. With chocolate, they are not. Use weight, not volume for a happy ganache.