This past September I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle, Washington and it was SO much fun! And I’m only just now getting to the point where I have collected my thoughts, photos and experiences to share with you, my dear reader!
One of the things I was able to do while attending the conference, since I have family in the greater Seattle area, was to hit the Pike’s Place Market in the wee hours while the merchants were setting up the stalls to get some of the photos I have always wanted to get, even with all my years living in Seattle (!), and hadn’t. There are so many lovely things to see and do while you are in Seattle and while Pike’s Place Market is certainly one of the top draws, there are other gems the Emerald City has to offer as well – one of them being, Top Pot Doughnuts. A little side note here, please enjoy the photos I took around Seattle & Pike’s Place Market throughout this post.
They simply have the most divine doughnuts. Period. I love this place! I didn’t get a chance to visit this time simply due to time restrictions but I still craved one of their doughnuts by the time I had made it back home. A dear Seattle friend of mine gave me the Top Pot Doughnuts cookbook last year around Christmas time (which is coincidentally fairly near to my birthday…. hmmm, a belated gift perhaps?) and I had marked a few pages in it of recipes I had wanted to try but so far I have either been too busy or too chicken to try any of them. What better than on a weekend where there isn’t much going on and that I’m craving doughnuts?
My husband always appreciates a home baked treat and honestly, we live too far from town to make a “quick trip” to the grocery store to pick up some freshly baked doughnuts. So…. one Friday night, after I had battled with the girls to get them to go to nighty-night, I stayed up late and cleaned up the house, tidied all the toys, did that mopping which always seems to elude me (or at the very least, a child stands in the way or a puppy with dusty paws destroys my efforts), and then set to work making some doughnuts.
The husband does love maple bars and while I love them too – that recipe was a bit too involved for as late as it was getting, so I flipped through some more pages and decided on Chai Doughnuts. After all, Mei does love sharing some warm chai milk with me when I decide to treat myself and she sometimes gets a bit of cold chai milk for her afternoon treat (if we have it and I’m feeling treat-y) so I knew that she would love these too! And who wouldn’t appreciate waking up to freshly baked doughnuts awaiting them in the kitchen?? Since my husband wakes up literally HOURS before the rest of us (unless he decides to sleep in -which rarely happens) I knew he would delight in finding a treat on the counter, with his coffee ready to brew and a note that said “eat me – but don’t forget to save some for me, the girls and I still need to take pictures!” Life of a food blogger’s spouse.
Please wait to eat so I can take photos.
He is now in the habit of asking once I declare that dinner is ready to be served, “do you have to take pictures of this or what?” I heart him!
Either way, I went through the trouble of toasting and grinding my own chai blend for the doughnut batter – I just find with chai that it makes it taste better, plus it is darned expensive to buy a chai blend in the store and most likely, you have the ingredients to make it in your own pantry! With the exception of cardamom, it is not a spice most people keep stocked. The only change that I made to their recipe was to add a bit more salt and a little drizzle of coffee to the icing recipe, which made the chai flavor much more bold and intense, which I liked as I felt it was a little mellow when I first made it – other than that, it is an original Top Pot recipe and such an easy one at that! Top Pot first made this doughnut for Starbucks as a dessert version of their chai tea! Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS for Spiced Chai Doughnuts:
- 2-3/4 C (315 g) cake flour, plus more for rolling and cutting
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp iodized salt
- 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2/3 C (130 g) sugar
- 2 TBS shortening, trans-fat free preferred
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 2/3 C whole milk
- canola oil, for frying
First, make the doughnut dough: Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together into a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and shortening for one minute on low speed, until sandy. Add the egg and egg yolk, then mix for one more minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary, until the mixture is light colored and thick.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with the milk, mixing until just combined on low speed each time. The dough will be very sticky, like very wet cookie/biscuit dough.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and refrigerate, covered directly with plastic wrap/cling film for one hour (or up to 24 hours).
Ingredients for Spiced Chai Icing:
- 2-1/4 C confectioner’s icing sugar, sifted
- 3/4 tsp light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp iodized salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coffee, fresh brewed
- 1/6 C prepared sweetened hot chai tea
Meanwhile, make the icing; Place the confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, salt and vanilla int he work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the machine on mediums peed, add the tea in a slow, steady stream and blend until all of the sugar has been incorporated, scraping the bowl a few times, if necessary. Taste and add more salt to taste, to bring out the chai flavor. Set aside.
Using a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, heat the oil (at least 2 in/5 cm deep) in a deep fryer, large pot or other high-sided frying pan over medium heat to 370 degrees F/ 185C.
Gently roll out the chilled dough on a counter or cutting board floured with about 1/4 C cake flour to 1/2 inches thick, flouring the top of the dough and the rolling pin with another 2 TBS flour, or as necessary, to prevent sticking – this is a soft, wet dough. Cut into as many doughnuts and holes as possible, dipping the cutter into flour before each cut. Fold and gently reroll the dough to make extra holes (working with floured hands makes the dough less sticky), and cut again.
Because this is such a soft dough, you may find it easier to cut just a few doughnuts at a time, right before you add them to the oil, instead of cutting them all out ahead of time. Transferring them is easiest with a flat, metal spatula.
Shake any excess flour off the doughnuts before carefully placing them in the hot oil, a few at a time, taking care not to crowd them. Once the doughnuts float, fry for about 60 seconds per side, or until deep golden brown on both sides. (You’ll know they are ready to turn the first time when you see the golden brown color creeping up from the bottom of the doughnut). Drain on paper towels.
When the doughnuts have cooled completely, dip one side of each into the warm Spiced Chai Icing. Let dry on cooling racks, iced side up, until the icing is firm, about 15 minutes.