Thursday, March 19, 2015

the $5 donut

Last week a friend of mine posted this video on Facebook and two days later, I was making these in my kitchen. Inspiration (and hunger) is everywhere!

My sister, Aubrey, came over to help me taste-test these fried bits o' heaven (no convincing needed) and we decided that if these were sold in a bakery, they'd charge at least $5. Here's why: 1. They're labor-intensive (start to finish was pushing 5 hours!) 2. The ingredients ain't cheap, and you need a lot of them and 3. Um, have you seen these? Each donut is comprised of 4 layers, resulting in a mouthwatering decadence unlike any donut you've ever had before. So yes, even though I realize that $5 is more than the price of an entire box of samoa cookies, one of these donuts is sooooo worth it.

As I was making these, I thought to myself, the Girl Scouts have been doing it wrong all these years. Who wants a dry, crispy cookie when you can have a soft, fresh donut that's loaded with some of the best flavor combinations ever to exist? I hope you're with me on this one. 

While I loved the concept of this donut, I did have a major issue with it. The coconut caramel mixture is thick and dries hard, plus it's thickly applied so you're forced to open your mouth wide. So, if you have TMJ (uh, present!) then your jaw will feel like it will crack from all that opening and chewing. Not good at all.

Since I loved all the elements to this donut I plan on making it again, just in a different way. Each recipe is wonderful on it's own- I really loved this raised donut recipe and will definitely use it again to make different donut variations. And the chocolate ganache was perfection, as was the toasted coconut and caramel.

My sister and I tested the doneness of the donuts by eating the donut holes (somebody had to eat them!). First we dipped them in a bit of the caramel, then dunked them in some toasted coconut and drizzled a bit of chocolate on top. They were amazing and easily edible (not just because they were tiny- they didn't kill my jaw!). Plus, the amount of topping ingredients would be cut in half, so instead of needing 2 bags of caramels, 2 bars of chocolate and 2 bags of coconut, probably 1 of each, or less, could work. I will report back once I make these again!

Samoa Donut
Recipe barely adapted from here
Makes 13-14 donuts

Recipe Notes
- I didn’t change much here except adjust the seasonings/flavor amounts…per usual I added vanilla to the caramel topping and upped the salt a bit.
- This recipe isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s not complicated, just labor intensive. Plan on it taking 3 ½ to 5 hours before these are completed.
- It’s important to let the donuts cool completely otherwise the topping will slide off. I was surprised at how long it takes them to cool, since they’re only in the hot oil for 4 minutes, but it took at least a half hour for them to cool down.
- The original recipe only made 6 donuts... not sure if they threw a lot of dough away or just made them super thick, but I rolled mine out to a half-inch (as directed) and used the same size donut cutter that was recommended and was still able to get 13 donuts out of mine. Who knows?

For the dough:
1 ¼ Cups milk, heated to 110°F
2 ¼ tsp. (one package) active dry yeast
2 eggs
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ Cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 ¼ Cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
2 Quarts peanut or canola oil

For the topping:
4 ½ Cups shredded sweetened coconut
22 ounces soft caramels (2 bags)
3 Tbs. milk
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:
8 oz. dark chocolate chips
1 Cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 Cup heavy cream
1 Tbs. unsalted butter

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm milk with yeast. Stir lightly and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, until foamy. 
2. Attach a dough hook to the mixer and beat the eggs, butter, sugar and salt into the yeast mixture. Add half of the flour and mix until combined and then gradually add the rest of the flour, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, rolling it around to get a bit of oil on the dough. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and roll out to a ½-inch thick. Use a floured donut cutter (or 3½” and 1½” cookie cutters) to cut out the donuts.
4. Gently place the donuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet with plenty of room between each one (I used 2 baking sheets so the donuts would have plenty of room). Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until puffy, about 45 minutes.
5. Pour oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F on an oil thermometer.
6. Carefully add the donuts to the oil, a few at a time. Fry, flipping once until puffed and golden brown, about 4 minutes total. Transfer donuts to a wire rack to drain and cool.
7. Make the topping while donuts cool. Preheat oven to 350ºF and spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
8. Melt caramels, milk, and salt in a double-boiler by placing a medium bowl over a smaller pot of simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
9. With the back of a spoon (or offset spatula) spread 1 tablespoon of caramel on the top of each donut (this will act as the “glue” for the rest of the topping). Combine the remaining caramel with toasted coconut in a large bowl and mix well. Spoon ¼ cup of the coconut mixture on the top of each donut, covering the caramel layer. The coconut mixture will harden as it cools, making it easier to use your hands to break up and spread the coconut caramel.
10. Make the chocolate glaze by mixing chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Bring cream and butter to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate mixture. Let it sit for 2 minutes before whisking smooth.  
11. Dip the bottom half of each donut in the chocolate glaze and return to a wire rack to let excess drip off. Use a fork to drizzle the tops with chocolate, or put it in a pastry bag to evenly drizzle the lines. Let donuts sit until the chocolate hardens a bit (but it will still be soft to the touch), about 20 minutes. Donuts are best eaten the day of. Enjoy!


  1. What the what? I want this right now! Thanks for sharing such a yummy idea. Beautiful pictures too.

  2. If there was doughnut heaven, this is it! These look amazing!

  3. Let's see...I have $ sign me up for three of these please.

  4. Samoa doughnuts are the kind I like. I wish I lived close enough to order one. Beautiful work of art.

    1. Thanks Amy, they're the kind of donuts I like too ;)