Easter Donuts With Spun Sugar Nests
 
 
Author:
Serves: 12 donuts
Ingredients
  • For the donuts:
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • scant ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • scant ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup milk, room temperature
  • ¼ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the icing:
  • 7oz (200g) white chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon grapeseed oil* (not necessary, but recommended)
  • pink gel food coloring, if desired
  • rainbow sprinkles, if desired
  • candy-coated chocolate eggs, to fill the sugar nests
  • For the spun sugar nests:
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup, or liquid glucose
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. For the donuts: Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray two mini-donut pans with non-stick cooking spray, or smear on a little melted butter if you prefer. Set aside.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt into a mixing bowl; whisk to combine and make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, and eggs; whisk in melted butter, oil, and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a silicone/rubber spatula until just combined. Batter will be a little lumpy; do not overmix as this will make the donuts a bit on the tough side.
  3. Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large, round tip (or a ziploc bag, then seal it up and snip off a bottom corner). Pipe the batter into the donut pan, filling ¾ full, and getting the batter as even as possible around the donut rings (if more batter is piped on one side of the ring than the other, you'll probably end up with uneven donuts!).
  4. Bake until doughnuts are risen and lightly browned on the edges, 8-10 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the donuts to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. For the icing: Place chocolate and oil, if using, in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add food coloring, if desired. Let chocolate set, or briefly place in the refrigerator, to firm slightly, until it is not so runny so as to drip straight off the donuts. A good way to test is to dip a clean, dry spoon into the chocolate, grab up a spoonful and let it fall back into bowl; if it piles up on top of itself for a few seconds before melting back in, it's ready.
  6. Dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate icing, and place back on the wire rack. Add sprinkles, if using. Set donuts aside for the icing to harden (or place briefly in the refrigerator, or freezer if you're in a hurry).
  7. For the sugar nests: Place all ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar is melted, stirring very gently occasionally. Brush sides of pan with a wet pastry brush if sugar ends up on the sides of the pan. Once sugar has melted, increase heat to medium-high. Using a candy thermometer, cook until the temperature reaches 305F/151C, do not stir. This takes up to 15 minutes or so (so in the meantime, prepare an ice bath in the sink or a large heatproof bowl), and the last few degrees go quickly, so perhaps remove from heat just a few degrees earlier. Dunk the bottom of the saucepan into the ice bath, let the bubbles in the melted sugar mixture settle, and begin making spun sugar!
  8. While the sugar is cooking, and probably before you prepare the ice bath, prepare your sugar-flinging area. You can do this over your sink, or over your kitchen counter. Anchor a couple of wooden spoon handles over the edge of your kitchen counter (I used a big heavy wooden cutting board to hold them in place, but masking tape would work as well). Cover the floor under your workspace with newspaper, dropcloth, parchment paper, or similar.
  9. Be careful here because the sugar will be hot!! Using a wire whisk with the ends cut, or a couple of forks held back-to-back (hold them together with rubber bands), dip the prongs into the melted sugar, briefly hold above the pan for any big drips to fall back into the pan, then quickly start flinging your sugar-flingling utensil over the wooden spoon handles. Use your wrist to make a sort of waving/flinging motion, at least 12 inches/30cm above the spoon handles. Be sure to work quickly!
  10. When the sugar strands falling from your sugar-flinger have hardened, prop it above the pan of melted sugar, then with clean, cool, dry hands, carefully grab a handful of sugar strands and gently mold them into the shape of a nest. Repeat this process as necessary. Eventually the melted sugar will cool down and become too hard to work with anymore.
  11. Place all your spun sugar nests on your Easter donuts, nestle in a few candy-coated chocolate Easter eggs, and serve immediately. The sugar nests will begin to melt down eventually, once prepared, and will do so even quicker on warm/humid days. While the donuts can be prepared in advance, make the spun sugar nests immediately before serving to avoid disappointment.
Notes
* I always use grapeseed oil in baking, but you can also use canola oil. Any flavorless oil should do the trick.
Note that if you have trouble removing leftover hardened sugar in your saucepan, cover the sugar with hot water and let sit overnight. Eventually it will dissolve! If it isn't dissolving, just keep refilling with hot water as it cools. Don't worry, your pan isn't ruined, it will dissolve! :)
Recipe by sweetest kitchen at http://www.sweetestkitchen.com/2016/03/easter-donuts-with-spun-sugar-nests/