3/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
3 3/4 cup flour, divided
1/2 cup milk or rice milk, room temperature
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate,
cut into 1/2” pieces (not baking chocolate)
vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
prepare the doughnuts:
In a large mixer bowl, using the paddle attachment, stir together the water and yeast until it dissolves. Whisk in 11/4 cups of the flour to make a thick batter. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap; let stand 30 minutes to make a sponge.
In a small bowl whisk together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla. In the mixer, beat the sponge until smooth. Add the milk and egg mixture and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix once more. Continue mixing for 5 minutes or until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough our into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 60 minutes. Working on a Silpat or floured countertop press down and knead the dough a few times. Divide into 24 equal pieces and shape each into a small circle.Press a piece of chocolate into the center of each circle then fold the dough around it to completely enclose the chocolate.
Fill a heavy 3 quart pot halfway with oil. Heat until it reaches 370o on a deep-fry thermometer. Then lower the temperature to keep the oil from getting too hot.Using a spatula, place 4 doughnuts in the hot oil. Fry for 1 minute and turn over. Gently press down to help even frying. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a rack over paper towels. Repeat for remaining doughnuts.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and toss warm doughnuts in the mixture. Serve immediately or reheat uncovered in a 300o oven. Chocolate in the center will be runny. Yum, yum!
editor’s note: You can prepare this recipe in advance and freeze the doughnuts raw. Allow them to come to room temperature before frying. Drain well before serving.