Perseverance Pays

I, in the normal run of things, am not one for repeats of ‘needs a tweak’ sort of recipes. I want it to work the first time, since my enthusiasm can only sustain me that far. Or rather that’s how long my laziness can remain dormant. I broke the mould however, for the idea of a coconut mini doughnut. I suddenly had some sort of unquenchable craving for a coconut baked treat and it had to be made in my shiny new mini doughnut tin. I did various versions using Nigella’s Jam Doughnut muffins as the base and it had enough potential, to give me impetus to try again. And yet again, tweaking all the while. The reason is simple really, I’m stark raving nutts about coconut. Now, please…don’t start about saturated fats. I know, but I don’t care. There are few foods with which I am as stubborn as a bulldog about and coconut is definitely the first on the list.With good reason. The evergreen state of Kerala is so named because of the shade and bounty lavished on it by the tall stately, shapely, curved coconut trees. Kera means coconut in Sanskrit. Alam means Land. My native home is the Land of the Coconuts. There are worse places on this good earth that you could say you were from.

Every single part of the tree is usable – for furniture (the trunk), kitchen fire stove fuel (the outer shell of the coconut as well as the immature part of the tree), natural biodegradable scotch brite (the thick, wiry bristles that hug the nut stubbornly), for making brooms (the vein/ribs of the leaves, which are stripped and bunched together), thatching roofs (using dried leaves), dyes (from the root), the actual shell serves as an odds and ends sort of spoon and of course, in the sweet and savoury uses of the fruit itself.  No wonder that the family trees in private plots of land, are guarded so jealously.

Grating a coconut in Kerala can be a dangerous business. You grate it, at the end of a metal circle with menacing spikes coming out of it, attached to a stool no higher than half a foot off the ground. A proper lady, would sit side saddle (unless no one else was there) and grate away, letting the tiny peels (it had to be fine or my grandmother would have a go at me) fall onto the plate placed under the threatening spikes. My work shy, soft hands took a week to harden against the grazing I would get while turning the scratchy, wiry carapace so as to get an even grating.

My treat for such cruel labour at the start of every morning, was to nick the first grating, all waxy and moist. I got into trouble for that too; my grandmother with narrowed eyes and a wagging finger, said it would rain on my wedding day. That’s why I got married in a desert!

I tried several methods of inserting a good degree of coconut flavour into my experiments. They were all wonderfully insipid or overbearingly greasy. I tried baking it with lite coconut milk (wonderful, fluffy texture, but not enough flavour), then with full fat coconut milk (too thick and the muffin was dense, but the taste was better), a mixture of coconut and veg oil (ditto on the dense front and the oil flavour was too strong) as well as topping with sweetened shredded coconut. They were fine, just…fine.

My next attempt (yes, I wasn’t thwarted yet) was going to involve coconut milk powder. And then I stumbled on this uber-simple recipe from King Arthur’s flour website. Brilliant! Someone has done the work for me. Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, bring together, and pour and bake. A couple of bowls and a spoon were all the equipment needed. It uses coconut milk powder, no butter, just healthier vegetable (I use canola oil) oil and coated in some sugar and coconut milk powder.

If you don’t have a mini doughnut tin, then a mini muffin one works splendidly. Just make sure in both cases that you grease and flour really well. The original recipe calls for making it in a regular sized doughnut tin. I am actually relieved I do not own one, as I have no restraint when it comes to these beautiful pale, cream coloured beauties.

This recipe is made using icing (confectioner’s) sugar and what happens is that you can a soft, unbelievably tender, close crumbed, cake like, fluffy bake. The balance of coconut was perfect, coming in firmly and sweet because of the drenching and finishing through the doughnut. One of the finest wee things to come out of my oven. Heavenly.

I am ashamed to admit to how many I have eaten. Between four of us in this house and out of 16 doughnuts and 12 mini muffins made out of one lot of batter, two are left, which will promptly disappear after I publish this post.

After the requisite baking, testing, photos and writing, I sought to reward myself for my uncharacteristic perseverance. I indulged in the pleasure of sitting by the sunny window, in my favourite chair, with a fabulous book, a cup of tea and these coconut mini doughnut morsels placed at a very convenient distance from my fingertips. It’s the small, sweet things that makes the day special.

And finding what you’ve been looking for.

Baked Coconut Mini Doughnuts

85g / 1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
100g / 1/2 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
60g / 1/2 cup coconut milk powder
14g / 2 tablespoons potato flour (I omitted this)
1 teaspoon baking powder
good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 large egg
90ml / 6 tablespoons of water
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract, optional

For dredging
100g / 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar ( I used caster / superfine sugar)
60g / 1/2 cup coconut milk powder

Preheat oven to 200 deg C or 375 deg F. Butter and flour your pan In a medium bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together. In a seperate bowl or measuring jug, beat te egg, water, oil and extract (if using) until frothy. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir till well combined. It will be quite liquid and should come together easily.

Using a tablespoon measure, fill your each of your moulds halfway. You might be able to get away with more batter in each indentation of a mini muffin tin. Bake the doughnuts for 12 minutes or thereabouts until they spring back when lightly pressed and have a very light golden tint.

In the meantime, put your dredging sugar into a shallow bowl and mix well. Put your warm, baked doughnuts into the sugar and toss to coat on all sides. You can leave it cool, but these are sublime when warm too.



45 thoughts on “Perseverance Pays

  1. heavycake

    Those little doughnuts look amazing! I love the photos! I have been dancing around the idea of coconut something-or-other for a few weeks now and have amassed various coconut products *just in case*. I can’t say that I have heard of coconut milk powder, but I will seek it out for this recipe! Thanks!

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Coconut milk powder is basically coconut cream that’s been thoroughly dried. Adding water reconstitutes it and depending on the amount of liquid, it can be like a cream or like milk. If you have a store which sells a lot of Asian products or produce you should be able to find it there.

      In case you don’t then I think substituting the water for lite coconut milk (regular has too high a fat content) would work, particularly if you have coconut extract. It might not be *as* fluffy and light but will still be delishush!

  2. jobakes

    You really are a Coco-Nut aren’t you Carrie?! :D. Fantastic piece – if you were a ballet dancer (like in my old Sadler’s Wells books as a wee lass) I’d say you’d “arrived” with the one. Got tingles reading it 🙂

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Oh isn’t it the best thing! LOL! Love coconuts…and I have noticed after reading your blog that you do too Tia….if you do try them, I would love to know how it works out for you 🙂

      1. Simply Tia

        I have to go buy a donut tin now. As soon as I get one, I am soo definitely trying your recipe! And I WILL let you know how it goes although I’m sure it’ll be great!

        1. thePatternedPlate

          Haha! Oh dear, might have started something…i love anything dinky foodwise, though I am not by nature, a dinky-cute sort of person. So when I saw the 16 doughnut hole mini tin, oh! Swoooon! It will be put into plenty of action!! Hope you like yours too Tia and the recipe too! Happy shopping and baking!

  3. chefconnie

    What a charming story and pictures. I adore coconut and not one else in my family can stand it. I do not understand this at all…I love the bit about your grandmother. Very nice post.

  4. Big Hungry Gnomes Food Blog

    These look absolutely delicious. Your post is beautifully written, I especially enjoyed your description of Kerala, which always comes across as a fascinating place. I love the simple and elegant way you have photographed your ingredients as well. Have you got any thoughts on what to do with desiccated coconut? I found an enormous bag of it in a cupboard and I’m slightly stuck for ideas.

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Thankyou! Kerala is a fascinating place :-)) But then I take the view, that anywhere is, on some level, if you have the mindset for it!

      I too, find desiccated coconut rather bothersome. The tend to use them is if I am making a traybake/bar/granola or something like that, which can handle a liberal amount of them. Or if I am forced to use them in a savoury meal like a curry, I soak them for 10 minutes in warm water, just to soften and reconstitute it a bit, so its not as scratchy and catchy at the back of the throat as it normally is. Useful too, when you need them for coconut based masalas such my fish curry on here. They come in handy for making raitas and chutneys (soaked beforehand) too.

      You can toast it as well, so maybe consider that with a salad; sprinkle in milkshakes or smoothies, where the higher liquid content will soften it, you can chuck in a tablespoon or so into your cereal, maybe with some toasted almonds for good measure.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      1. Big Hungry Gnomes Food Blog

        Some great ideas, all I had planned was my grandmother’s recipe for coconut shortbread. I had never thought about toasting desiccated for a salad, which sounds lovely, and I’ll take a look at your recipe for a fish curry. Thanks for your suggestions x

  5. bettybobkin

    I’m another big fan of coconut ! I hadn’t realised when I saw these on Facebook that they were baked, because I never knew such tins existed ! I don’t think I could justify one though, so it would have to be mini-muffins if I make it.

  6. Jean-François

    This is dangerous knowledge for a person with a sweet tooth and a love of coconut to have. I will try to forget I ever saw this page, but I will fail. These look great.

  7. BilboBaggins

    I so need to make these……..I love coconut and so does the youngest and I love, love, love the donut pan.

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Isn’t it darling? Love it to bits! And no sticking issues either. I think mine is made by Prestige and you might just get lucky if you are very good, and get it at TK Maxx…But in the meantime BB, a mini-muffin pan will do just fine :-))

      Oh, you and your youngest are welcome anytime!! 😀

    1. thePatternedPlate

      It’s evil, that stool Erin….took a while to get the rhythm for grating the coconut! But i got pretty good at it and after a while my grandmother would only accept the gratings I did, so I’m glad I pleased her! Hhaah! These donuts didn’t last past a day….

  8. Hannah de Bevy de La Faverge

    I’ve been avoiding reading this post because I knew I’d love them just from the photo and of course after reading your lovely post they’re tempting me all the more and I’m salivating at the thought! I’m only thankful (as are my hips) than I cannot find coconut milk powder in these parts and I’m not about to get googling just yet in order to find some (and you know the reason for that Carrie after the recent incident sourcing another hard to find but must have ingredient!). One day though …one day…

  9. thelittleloaf

    Your doughnuts look absolutely AMAZING! I’ve never attempted to make my own, but unless you can send me a stash of yours I think I’m going to have to because I need to try them… Yum 🙂

    1. thePatternedPlate

      LOl thanks, but to be fair, these aren’t *real* doughnuts, in texture either, let alone ingredients, but it is a nicer way of indulging and if y ou are a coconut -nut like i am, it tastes sublime!!!

  10. foodcow

    lovely pics!!and the doughnuts look devour-able!!:D
    i want the doughnut tin too!!!it looks soo cool!!maybe we can even make muffins in doughnut pans!!
    damn i want the pan!!!:D

    1. thePatternedPlate

      It’s not that expensive a kit to have, but its just a good bit of fun! Yes you can make muffins in it too, but, muffins tend to have a thicker batter so getting it spread evenly into the pan can be fiddly. One way I worked around it was to pipe the batter into the mould. That works great 😉

  11. Color Wheel Evolution

    I like how you show how the idea for mini doughnuts made you change your comfort zone from being lazy. Which from what I have read can’t believe because you experimented with various version while making these coconut doughnuts recipe. I also appreciate how you not only made it informative, fun, and great to eat. You gave the sense of personal love for coconut and the history behind the recipe.The images were very useful just in case viewers may need a visual of what has been used to make this recipe. I wish I liked coconut because I would definately try your delicious dougnuts. Can’t wait for the next post!

  12. Pat McGowan

    This look absolutely delicious , sadly my hubby and others are not coconut fans in fact I’d go as far as to say he actually detests it ,so I’d never have the chance to try these out unless I ate a full batch to myself , actually maybe thats not a bad idea ! :))

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Lovely to see you here Pat 🙂 You know, a bake made just for your pure enjoyment isn’t too bad an idea!! If you do make this batch, then know that the excess can be frozen, for a sneaky treat another time ! Where there’s a will…..

  13. Pingback: Recipe List » |

  14. Johanna

    Those donuts look great! I recently brought my pan from home so I will try them soon.
    Greetings from the student kitchen,

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