Stone Soup #8: Pseudonuts

• 4 min read

They're kind of donuts. More or less. I think.

Stone Soup is an ongoing quarantine feature in which I come up with a recipe that uses the impossible thing in your cupboard, without making you go to the store or wasting any of your ingredients. Yesterday, we figured out how to use canned cranberry sauce for happy hour.

Kristen says:

So I have 120 grams of knockoff Nutella with added yuzu (don't judge, it's delicious) that I've been trying to think of how to use.  I ate my other jar just on toast, but 1. I don't have bread and 2. I can't eat yuzu-Nutella-on-toast fast enough before it goes weird and grainy and gives me stomachaches.  Help?  I've got most of the staples for baking (flours of various sorts including plain and cake, eggs, butter, oils, sugar, cornmeal, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, regular milk, etc), some shelf-stable staples like applesauce, steel-cut oats, panko, custard powder (don't know why I have that), maple syrup, various nuts and legumes (dried pinto beans and chickpeas), and then some weirder stuff like almond flour, leaf lard, whey, and toasted sugar.

This is a great one. My immediate reaction to pseudo-nutella with added yuzu was the same puzzled joy Tinkerbell shows when presented with a treat that isn’t her usual dental chews. Like: what is this, why do I have it, how did I get so lucky?

According to my calculations, 120 grams is about 7 tablespoons, or around a half-cup.  This means Kristen has exactly enough knockoff-nutella-with-yuzu to make some

Pseudonuts


Okay, so, we all miss donuts. I’ve been spending a lot of time meditating on the image of that beautiful pink cardboard box that opens like a cartoon treasure chest to reveal a full array of desserts that you’re allowed — no, encouraged — to eat for breakfast without hesitation or explanation. But if you’re me, you don’t have a donut pan or a fryer at home, and the idea of trying to make your own donuts feels as impossible as… I don’t know. Building your own airplane and flying it to Mars.

But for this recipe, I did a bunch of research and settled on a highly experimental method of making donuts at home, without a donut pan, in the oven. These might come out funny-shaped, and they might not be precisely what you think of when you think of a donut, but hopefully they’ll scratch the itch. Let’s make an attempt together.

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Do it. Do it now. Don’t forget. Go on.

Step One: Prep your pan. You’re going to use a muffin tin for this recipe. You can ball up foil, or make parchment-paper cylinders and bind them with twine, or you can devise some other method of putting a little obstacle in the center of the muffin tin. This will make it so your donuts have holes. If you don’t do this, I guess you’ll just wind up with a… cake? I don’t know, I’m not the boss of you. If you want donuts with holes in them, create the obstacle now and drop it into the center of each compartment of the muffin tin, and then grease everything with cooking spray or melted butter or oil that you brush on.

Step Two: Goo Ingredients. Take .25C knockoff nutella — that should be about 76g? I think? — and thoroughly combine with an equal amount of granulated sugar. Mix this up rude as you can, with the vehemence you’d use to cream butter and sugar together. Then add an overflowing third of a cup of milk, a tablespoon of oil or melted-and-cooled butter, and an egg. Beat this thoroughly. This is also a good moment to add vanilla extract or a dash of bitters.

Step Three: Dry it out. Add a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Then stir in 1 cup of flour in thirds, stirring just to combine between each addition. You did it! You have batter!

Step Four: Piping time. You’ll need to pipe this batter into those muffin tins, so that you can pipe it in around your Obstacles in an even ring. A gallon ziploc with the corner cut off is the classic method. I recommend bracing your ziploc before filling it, by putting it into a mug or drinking glass with the sides of the bag cuffed for stability. Pipe a ring of batter into each compartment of the muffin tin.

Step Five: Bake. They should only need 8-10 minutes in the oven, but keep an eye on them. They should look like donuts by the time you pull them out. Cool them in the pan for a few minutes — the residual heat is going to do some important finishing here — and then move them to a cooling rack, taking the Obstacles you made out of the centers of the donuts.

Step Six: Glaze. You’ll want the donuts completely cooled before you add any toppings. Here’s where you can use the rest of that knockoff-nutella-with-yuzu! To make a glaze, you’ll need that plus couple of tablespoons of melted butter, a couple of tablespoons of milk, a half cup of powdered sugar, and a tiny splash of water. Combine the knockoff-nutella with the butter, then whisk in everything else. You can use more milk to control the consistency, but don’t let it get too thin — you want it to hang on to your donuts.

Drizzle the glaze over the tops of your donuts, or dip them in it. Or, if you leave it too thick like I always do, spread it on like frosting. You really can’t go wrong here.

That’s it! If you want, you can toast some nuts and add them to the top, or sprinkle on powdered sugar. Feel free to add spices and seasonings to the batter — I bet a little nutmeg would be nice here. The important thing is that you’ve got something that will fill that donut-shaped hole in your heart.


If you have a pantry dilemma, send it to stonesoup.substack@gmail.com.

← Stone Soup #9: W-elk-ome to Braising
Stone Soup #7: Cranberry Cocktails →

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