Have you ever been disappointed by the pink doughnut?
It’s all razzle dazzle – beautiful colors, but no substance. A promise of excitement, but… the plainest of flavors.
Well… that ends today.
THE PINK DOUGHNUT DESERVES TO BE MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE!
Popularized by The Simpsons, the pink doughnut is a classic. But many renditions of it are just a plain doughnut with a plain, pink-colored glaze.
What can we do to make it more interesting?
Well, first things first, we can take inspiration from a game.
You all know we love doing our little part to boost small indie game studios. And even though we’ve never been sponsored, aside from occasionally getting a free copy of a game, we like to do these because it’s a lot of fun to imagine up what a dish from a game would taste like IRL.
Just last week, Dummy Dojo and Abylight Studios released a free mobile game for iOS called Ninja Chowdown – in which Donatsu, a ninja in training at the Dough-Jo Donuttery, spends his time chasing pink doughnuts and fighting crime.
He’s a ninja – so it’s GOT to be a mochi doughnut.
But what “pink” flavor can we use?
Strawberry and raspberry and even beet… are tasty, but SO overdone.
But… dragonfruit? Sounds like a pretty “ninja” flavor to me.
So our quest for today is:
- can we make dragonfruit-flavored mochi doughnuts?
- are they better fried? or are they better baked?
- and… can we get that vibrant pink color in the frosting?
I really want to use fresh dragonfruit in our doughnuts, since Son’s dad grows them at home, and he’s always sending some home with us, so we have a bunch that have been sitting in the fridge.
But I couldn’t find any recipes that used fruit puree – most of them use flavorings like extracts or cocoa powder.
Since we don’t care about the pon de ring shape, I’m going to try adapting this recipe from Half-Baked Harvest, that’s based on a recipe from Lady and Pups, that just has you roll it out and cut it into the classic doughnut shape.
Aside from the bit of milk used when you microwave the rice flour at the beginning…
I want to try replacing the rest of the liquid with mashed up dragonfruit. I’m not entirely sure if it’s going to work, but if it does, then this means you can probably sub in any sort of fruit puree you want!
Mochiko is the type of rice flour used to make mochi. It’s also known as sweet rice flour, or glutinous rice flour, and gives mochi or other baked goods that classic chewy mochi texture.
Sweet rice flour is not the same as regular rice flour! If it’s not labeled “sweet”, “glutinous”, or “sticky” then it’s likely regular rice flour, and will work more similarly to normal wheat flour in recipes.
When you’re talking about “mochi donuts”, most people immediately think of the “pon de ring” donut that American-turned-Japanese doughnut chain Mister Donut introduced in 2003.
However, while those doughnuts do have the “mochi mochi” texture, they are not actually made with rice flour – they use a mixture that includes tapioca flour for the chewy texture.
The concept of actual mochi doughnuts, on the other hand, originated in Hawaii in the early 90s. These tend to be much denser and chewier – closer to the texture of actual mochi.
Our doughnut dough is looking pretty good so far, so I’d say part 1 of our quest – can we make dragonfruit-flavored mochi doughnuts – is a success!
Now on to part two – to bake, or to fry?
The original recipe that I’m basing these off of is a frying recipe, so we’re going to try that first.
However, there are also a lot of baked mochi doughnut recipes out there, and nobody in this household is going to complain about extra doughnuts, so we’re going both ways, and comparing the two.
Lastly, the frosting part of today’s quest! I decided to use something called pitaya powder, aka dragonfruit powder, that you can buy online – both for the flamboyantly pink color, and for some extra dragonfruit flavor.
I know it looks overly dramatic, but this is actually fairly true to color – the dragonfruit we’re using are all white inside, but there are also dragonfruit that are even more vibrantly pink on the inside than they are outside – so this is perfect.
And now, it is finally time to answer our questions:
- Does the dragonfruit flavor come through?
- Do we prefer baked or fried?
- Do we think this deserves the moniker of Dough-Jo Donuts?
So the thing about dragonfruit is that it’s a very subtle flavor. But a lot of the flavor is in the seeds. So even though they add black speckles that weren’t in the original design, we decided to keep the seeds in to add to the flavor.
I do think that the flavor does come through. It’s not a strong flavor, but it is there. And if you’re familiar with fresh dragonfruit at all, you’ll definitely recognize it.
As for baked vs. fried… this was a bit of a surprise.
Due to some poor scheduling on my part, we didn’t end up having baked and fried doughnuts at the same time – I actually made our fried doughnuts a month ago.
BUT the reason we decided to try baking our doughnuts is because we weren’t 100% happy with how the fried ones turned out.
The fried doughnuts are amazing straight out of the fryer – crunchy and chewy and oh so wonderfully good.
But the thing with doughnuts is that you need to let them cool before you glaze them, or all that gorgeous glaze will slide right off.
And once they cooled, the fried doughnuts lost their crunch and are just plain soggy.
The baked doughnuts, on the other hand, are almost hard right out of the oven – kind of like how some breads have that thick, hard crust.
But heat them in the microwave for 20 seconds or so (you’ll want to do this for both types, as they’re not the best at room temp) and you’ll get perfectly chewy, not at all soggy doughnuts.
I’m very surprised to say that I actually liked the baked version better… and, while we have yet to hear what everyone behind Ninja Chowdown thinks… I think I can confidently say that these 100% deserve the name of Dough-Jo Doughnuts.
Hold on… I’ve just been informed that Son is demanding this become an all mochido all the time channel? … and he wants us to open our own Dough-Jo Donnuttery. Er… Dummy Dojo? How do you feel about franchising opportunities…
Dragonfruit Mochi Doughnuts
- 2 cups mochiko (sweet rice flour), divided
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 1/2 cup mashed dragonfruit (about 1 medium dragonfruit – use extra milk if you don’t have enough)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup powdered sugar, packed
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp pitaya powder
- 3 tbsp mashed dragonfruit (if you had any leftover) or warm water
- In a microwave safe bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup mochiko and the milk. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and then cook another 20-30 seconds longer or until the dough is cooked through, looks opaque and is bouncy, but not so cooked that it is dry. The mixture should still be moist. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, add the remaining 1 3/4 cups mochiko, dragonfruit, egg, granulated sugar, baking powder, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the cooled, cooked sweet rice mixture.
- Knead the dough on low speed until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the mixture is completely smooth and mixed, about 3-5 minutes. The dough will be sticky.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle a clean surface with mochiko and scrape the dough out onto the floured surface. Sprinkle the dough with enough mochiko to prevent it from sticking. Roll the dough out until it’s 1/2 inch thick. Cut out as many doughnuts as you can, using a 3 inch biscuit cutter. Use a 1 inch biscuit cutter for the doughnut holes. Place the doughnuts on the prepared baking sheet as you work. Gather any scraps of dough back into a ball and roll the dough out. Cut as many doughnuts as you can and repeat the process, you should get around 10 doughnuts + holes.
- TO FRY: In a heavy bottomed pot, heat 3-4 inches of oil to 330F. DO NOT let the oil go over 350F or the doughnut will burn before the insides are fully cooked. Fry the doughnuts in batches for 2-3 minutes per side. Drain onto a paper towel lined baking trays. Repeat until all the doughnuts have been fried. Allow to cool slightly before glazing.
- TO BAKE: Bake the doughnuts on the parchment-lined baking sheet at 325F for 20 min.
- Let doughnuts cool completely before glazing.
- GLAZE: In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, melted butter, pitaya powder, and 1 tbsp dragonfruit. If the glaze isn’t thin enough, add more dragonfruit or water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the glaze has reached your desired consistency (I usually end up using 2-3 tbsp). Dunk each doughnut in the glaze and allow any excess to drip off. Place the doughnut on a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining doughnuts.
- If needed, once the glaze has dried, dip again for a more vibrant color!
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