Donuts filled with mocha cream and nostalgia


Way way back, before there was CVS and talk of luxury apartments there was Bruegger’s and a Needle Doctor. There was Vescio’s, Burger King and of course McDonald’s. Back when House of Hanson and Gray’s Drug formed cornerstones of mom and pops along a few eclectic streets of stores and diners that were valuable to University of Minnesota students whether we were dirt poor or had money to shop elsewhere: we all bought our tablets and pens and toiletries from Gray’s and we all bought our groceries from House of Hanson. We found warm winter coats (slightly used) for $5 at Ragstock and grabbed a $2 slice for lunch from Perry’s Pizza.

Those of us lucky enough to have a roommate who worked at Dinkytown Bakery snacked on donuts with the kind of flavors that make headlines in local newspapers and write ups in Yelp. Glamorous donuts, indeed. Strawberry cream and maple-doused mingled with blueberry-cake and plain glazed. Several times each week the baker unleashed mocha-filled chocolate-dipped donuts. I wasn’t yet a coffee drinker, so mocha donuts were my first parley from TaB to java. When my roomie brought home a box of 10-hour old mochas, my world was complete.

Before the bakery closed a few years back, I’d pop in and inquire about the mochas. But they disappeared with the baker who made them. I figured it was worth a kitchen smelling of grease and a few hours putzing to reinvent these lovely little mochas. Although they didn’t score well at the Minnesota State Fair, if your heart is filled with nostalgia, fill your fried donuts with mocha.

Mini Mocha Donuts

Makes 30

List of ingredients:

For the donuts:

¾ teaspoon yeast

½ cup each all-purpose flour and tapioca flour

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup whole milk

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

About 1 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups vegetable oil

For the filling:

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoons instant espresso powder

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

For the ganache:

6 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate

6 oz. heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter, room temperature


For the donuts:

Sift together into large mixing bowl yeast, flours, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Add milk, honey, and butter and stir with spatula until sticky but smooth dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough proof until doubled in size; about 2 hours.

Dust work surface with additional ½ cup flour and use dough scraper to scrape dough out of bowl and onto flour. Add more flour while gently working dough; roll dough into an 8×8 inch square (between 1/8 and ¼ inch thick) and use 1 ½ inch cutter (tip: use shot glass) to form little rounds. Place rounds on clean kitchen towel; cover with plastic and let rest half to one hour or until puffed.

Heat vegetable oil in saucepan over medium high heat. When temperature hits 350 to 365 degrees, begin frying donuts, 3 at a time, about 30 second each side. Remove with spider and drain on rack over paper towels. Repeat with remaining donut rounds.

For the filling:

In small saucepan over low heat melt chocolate chips in cream; remove from heat and stir in espresso powder. Whisk into ¾ cup cream and chill at least 1 hour.

Add powdered sugar and whip chocolate coffee cream until quite stiff. Chill until time to fill donuts.

For the ganache:

Combine chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 2 minutes; stir. Heat for an additional 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted. In large mixing bowl whisk chocolate into the cream until smooth and incorporated. Ganache thickens as it cools.

To assemble donuts:

Fill pastry bag, fitted with thin round tip, with cream filling. Gently poke donut with tip and squeeze pastry bag until donut feels full (a teaspoon or two of cream filling). Fill each donut; dip tops of donuts in ganache. Let ganache set for a few minutes and serve.

Best on the day they are made. Refrigerate uneaten portions.