Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that you either love or hate. I have found, since having kids, that even the most commercialized, purposeless holidays can be fun when seen through the eyes of a five-year old. Now if we can just get congress to ban the Kay Jewelry “Open Heart Collection” commercials, life would be great.
This year, I decided that baked heart shaped donuts, filled with strawberry filling would be a fun and tasty way to celebrate with the family. And, no…Jane Seymour is NOT getting any.
BAKED VALENTINE’S DONUTS
3/4 cup warm milk
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 TBS unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, whisked
1/2 tsp salt
2 -3 cup flour
Combine yeast and warm milk in your stand mixer bowl, or in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Gently mix in butter, sugar and egg (make sure egg is well blended before adding). Add flour, 1/2 c at a time. Add salt in with the first batch of flour. Mix thoroughly after each flour addition. Stop adding flour as soon as the dough sticks together. You definitely want as little flour in your dough as possible. using your dough hook, or hands, if you’re more traditional, knead for 5 minutes. Watch the dough. If it starts to stick to the sides, sprinkle a little bit of flour as needed to coax it back into a ball. Again, use as little flour as possible. When I make this, I typically only use 2 cups of flour.
Remove bowl and place in a warm place to rise until double (about an hour, but this can drastically vary depending on all sorts of factors).
Once it has risen, dump it onto a counter that has been lightly dusted with flour. Roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a heart cookie cutter to cut the dough into hearts. Use as much of the dough in the first cut as possible, then collect the scraps and recut. If you must, you can do it a third time, but the resulting donuts will be tougher than the first.
Place the hearts on parchment-covered baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Let rise again until double, another 45 min- 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove when they are light brown on top. Immediately slide to a cooling rack.
3 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar
1 TBS cornstarch
2 TBS cold water
Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor (be sure to thaw them first if you are starting with frozen). Add the sugar. Pour into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Combine the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl. Stir the strawberry mixture until sugar is fully dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir over medium heat until thick and jelly-like. Pour into a container and refrigerate until chilled.
Take a donut and poke a hole in one side with a small knife or skewer. Carefully move the knife/skewer around the inside of the donut to allow room for the filling. (A clean finger does this well, if that doesn’t gross you out)
Scoop some filling into a zipper-topped bag. Cut a small portion off the corner, insert into the donut and squeeze the filling into the donut.
Spoon some powdered sugar into a fine-mesh strainer, lightly dust the donuts by tapping the side of the strainer as you pass over them.