Itinerant. That is the word most reflective of my life at the moment. It’s the complete opposite of where I was a year ago and yet it feels so similar. The torches that guide my way are the same whether I’m alone in my apartment or commuting back and forth to Mexico City and its surrounding areas for work. The kitchen, this site, the routines and all the basic choices that reflect who I am are the sources from which I draw strength when everything else is different–a fractal mirror reflecting my emanations back at their provenance.
There is so much percolating around me here. I’m inspired by everything: people, art, architecture, food, the red lights, history, the danger I feel when crossing the street in lawless traffic and by the desire to reach the innards, the real guts of the conversations with the new people that I meet. The Kafka-esque bureaucracy that you run into in foreign legal systems is crazy-making and inspires the kind of humor born of incomprehensible frustration.
I’ve been eating bone marrow, marinated grasshoppers, ant larvae, stuffed chipotle peppers and moles that I will savor in my mind’s eye for more austere times. Tacos are a given. It’s the sauces and spices that make me swoon. Sleep has become a commodity, though I don’t have a right to say that when my sister is dealing with a three week old baby. And that… That thought still brings me to a full stop. She sent me a video of my grandma meeting her first great-grandchild for the first time over video chat and I damn near lost it right in front of my truly lovely coworkers–who now may or may not be readers here–talk about a melding of worlds). The gossamer bond that weaves its way through generations has tied a knot around my heart. And just about anything related to that thin, golden thread tugs it tighter with every beat.
Being open to inspiration, I indulged in the whimsical part of Valentine’s week and baked these chocolate doughnuts for a party. Decadent, but not fried, the ingredients that comprise these beauties are whole. Raspberry and chocolate come together with a hint of sea salt to make a dessert saturated in flavor, but not fat. Buttermilk adds to the fluff, a light touch of butter adds a smooth, slightly nutty element to the mix. I saw this recipe on Retrolillies, Chaya’s beautiful blog, and I knew I had to make them for myself and for the party! I opted to make mine mini and my glaze a deep ruby red. I also let the muddled raspberries play a bigger part in the garnish. I used pink salt so I didn’t end up opening the pomegranate for these like she did, but next time I will. These changes resulted in a smaller, darker, more sultry younger cousin of the original. Other than that, I followed her recipe to the letter, even adding the coffee to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, an addition of which I am so fond. These were a hit at the party. I plan to load up on chocolate while I’m here and make these again using a little bit of heat from chilis. I hope you’re all staying warm. What a wonderful reprieve from battling the elements in one of the coldest spells of the winter in New York. Have a wonderful weekend.
Adapted from Retrolillies. Check out how beautifully hers turned out. Hers are probably the more beautiful, graceful older cousin of these beauties.
CHOCOLATE MINI-DOUGHNUTS W/ RASPERRY & SHAVED CHOCOLATE GLAZE
For the donuts:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder, dissolved in a drop of hot water
- 3 tablespoons grated chocolate
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup raspberries, muddled and juice strained
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup hot water
For the topping:
- pink Himalayan sea salt
- grated chocolate
For the Doughnuts:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a doughnut baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, espresso, egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together until all of the ingredients are well combined. Add the grated chocolate and combine.
Use a spoon to portion batter into the prepared doughnut pan, filling each doughnut mold about two-thirds full.
Bake doughnuts for 11 to 13 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to rest for five minutes before inverting doughnuts onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cool completely before glazing.
For the Glaze:
In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, water and strained raspberry juice. Use only enough raspberry juice to get the color you want in your glaze. Whisk to combine, ensuring that there are no lumps, unless you intentionally want them as garnish.
Dip each doughnut into the glaze. Shake off some of the excess glaze. Return to the wire rack.
For the Topping:
While the glaze is still wet, grate chocolate over doughnut. Top with a sprinkling of sea salt.
Allow to rest a few moments for the frosting to harden slightly. These doughnuts are best served within two days of baking.