Baked Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Ganache and Sprinkles
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee granules, optional but recommended
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/4 cup half-and-half or cream
sprinkles, for garnishing
Donuts – Preheat oven to 350F. Spray donut pan(s) very well with cooking spray; set aside. I used this donut pan and this donut hole pan.
In a large mixing bowl, add first 8 ingredients (through optional salt) and whisk well to incorporate. Make sure there are no large lumps of cocoa powder.
In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, add remaining 4 ingredients (through vanilla) and whisk to incorporate.
Pour wet mixture over dry, folding to incorporate; don’t overmix. Batter is extremely thick but comes together with patience. If yours is absolutely not coming together, add a splash of buttermilk until it combines.
Spoon batter into donut pan, making sure that cavities are not filled more than 3/4-full or the donuts will bake with the center closed together. I find the easiest method to get the batter into the donut pan is to just dollop it on like I’m making muffins, including covering up the center. After there’s batter in all 6 cavities, I go around with my finger, wipe off the center, and guide it into the cavities. Smoothing it with the back of a spoon can help guide it into place. Before baking, I wipe the centers and edges with a paper towel to ensure there’s no mess. If you find it easier to put the batter into a piping bag or Ziplock with the corner cut off and pipe it in, do so; however, I find this wastes lots of batter and is more time-consuming.
Bake donuts until they’re done, about 11 to 13 minutes, depending on how full the cavities were filled and how many pans are in the oven at once. When done, donuts should be set, domed, springy to the touch, and bounce back when touched, like a muffin. They should test clean with a toothpick, or with a few fudgy moist crumbs but no batter. Don’t overbake; it’s easy to do with chocolate (dark) items but just 1-2 minutes extra will make them overly dry.
Allow donuts to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before removing. While the donuts cool, make the ganache.
Chocolate Ganache – Place chocolate chips in a shallow, medium, microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute on high power to melt. Chips will be soft and starting to lose their shape, but won’t likely have melted, that’s okay; set aside.
In a small microwave bowl or measuring cup, add the cream and heat until it just begins to bubble but isn’t boiling, about 20 seconds on high power.
Pour the cream over the chocolate chips, let stand 1 minute, and whisk to combine. Mixture may resist combining and smoothing out, but keep whisking, and it will come together. If struggling, heat for 15-seconds and whisk again.
After chocolate mixture is smooth, dip the donuts into it, one-by-one. I like a thick chocolate layer and really smoosh the donut into the chocolate, then carefully lift out so as not to tear it.
After dipping each, garnish generously with sprinkles. Repeat for all donuts/donut holes. Donuts are best warm and fresh, but will keep airtight at room temp for up to 3 days.