Monday, December 9, 2013

Makeover Monday: Nutella Swirl Baked Doughnuts

Nutella lovers, I have treat for you!  I imagine that at this point, the only people in America who don't love Nutella are the people who haven't tried it yet.  I first had Nutella in college.  My husband went on a trip to Germany and returned with a jar of the delicious spread.  I guess it took Europe by storm before making its big splash in the States.  I was a little leery of trying trying it at first (hazelnut??) but I did.  And it was love at first bite.

For whatever reason, I don't seem to have Nutella around  much.  Perhaps it is because I would probably be constantly dipping my fingers in the jar if I did.  But whenever I come across recipes that include Nutella, I am quick to save them.  And I have plenty of them!  I have been waiting for quite a while to make the Nutella swirl doughnuts.  Fortunately, I finally got around to trying it.  I knew when I saw the recipe that if I was going to splurge on Nutella that I would have to make this a "makeover" recipe.  And that's exactly what I did.  But trust me, these don't taste like a makeover recipe!

Now, before I really dive into discussing these delicious doughnuts, the dietitian in me wants to talk about the truth behind Nutella.  To be upfront, I don't have anything against Nutella.  I love it!  But, I think people have some misunderstandings about its nutritional value.  And I think that is largely because it is frequently compared to peanut butter.  That is fair in that in texture, it is similar to peanut butter.  It is a kind of a nut spread.  But it is misleading in that it is not really just a nut spread.  Unlike peanut butter, the first two ingredients in Nutella are actually sugar and oil.  So it is kind of like hazelnut-chocolate flavored frosting.  Also unlike peanut butter, it is not a good source of protein (1 gram per serving in Nutella compared to 7 grams per serving in peanut butter).  

With all that being said, I should also mention that Nutella has 40 fewer calories per serving (160) than peanut butter (200).  So it's not all bad.  And, let's face it, Nutella is delicious!
Okay.  Now that I have that out of my system (thanks for indulging me) we can get back to the subject at hand--doughnuts.  As I said before, I felt the need to make this recipe a little more waistline-friendly.  I did a few things to accomplish that while still keeping them delicious.  Although, with Nutella in them, keeping them delicious wasn't really all that difficult!

The first thing I did was make them whole grain.  I like to use whole wheat white flour because it has the fiber of regular whole wheat flour with less of the heaviness.  The original version of this recipe actually called for cake flour, which would result in a nice light doughnut.  But since I was using whole wheat white flour, I took away a little bit of the flour and substituted it with corn starch.  That eliminates some of the gluten in the finished product and mimics cake flour's "lightness."

The next step was to work on cutting calories.  I used Splenda instead of sugar and leaned on the old trick of replacing melted butter with applesauce to cut the fat.  Because I still wanted these to have a bit of a buttery flavor, I added some butter extract.  And honestly, I even pleasantly surprised myself with how great these turned out.  They were soft, fluffy, and buttery.  Oh yeah, they also had a big Nutella swirl in them.  And when the were hot out of the oven, the Nutella is hot and melted.  So they were pretty much over-the-top delicious!

My husband, to whom I owe my first encounter with Nutella, thought they were maybe the best doughnuts he had ever had.  I made them on a Saturday morning thinking that we would have them again Sunday morning.  After he downed his first doughnut, I was a little afraid they weren't going to make it to Sunday morning.  But, I gave him the "are you seriously going to eat that many doughnuts?" look, and he stopped just in the nick of time.  "Good," I thought.  More doughnuts for me!

Nutella Swirl Baked Doughnuts
1 cup whole wheat white flour (minus 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup Splenda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 oz buttermilk, at room temperature (if  you don't have buttermilk, put a splash of vinegar in a measuring cup and fill to 3 oz)
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter extract
6 Tbsp Nutella
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, Splenda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, applesauce, vanilla, and butter extract.  Gently fold buttermilk mixture into flour mixture.  Do not over-mix.
Pipe or spoon batter into lightly greased doughnut pan.  Put 1 tablespoon of Nutella on top of each doughnut.  Using a knife swirl the Nutella to make a marbled pattern (it might help to heat the Nutella a bit to make it more spreadable).
Bake doughnuts at 425 degrees F for 9 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan for a minute or two before removing.  
Makes 6 doughnuts.

Recipe adapted from Gingerbread Bagel

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