March’s 5 Star Makeover: Junk Food! {And getting creative with donuts.}

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The humble donut that started it all. 

The theme of this month’s 5 Star Makeover was junk food.  Not to re-create junk food (like make a healthy version of chicken wings or a fancy version of French fries), but to use junk food itself in a gourmet recipe.  Such a fun idea, right? 

Now, like many of you out there, even though I don’t avoid it altogether, junk food isn’t a huge part of my daily eating (dark chocolate aside, of course…and yes, I still consider it junk food, not because it’s really junk, but more in the sense that it’s something to be eaten in moderation).  That being said, I do have a few junk food favorites… pizza (New York-style in particular), tortilla chips with salsa, pretzels (both soft and hard), and gummy worms, to name a few.  So the question was, what kind of junk food to use? 

Because of the coconut oil in it (which melts at 76F), Donut Butter starts to soften at warm room temperature. 

I wanted to pick something that is iconic junk food, but hasn’t necessarily been used to make many other dishes.  I know you can use donuts to make bread pudding, but other than that I really haven’t heard of them being used in recipes very often.  So when the idea of donuts came to mind, I thought it would be perfect.  But what to make with them? 

Then I remembered something I had seen around the holidays:  Speculoos Cookie Butter!  It’s a spread that’s made from crushed Speculoos cookies, which are thin, buttery cookies that are usually warmly-spiced (with things like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper) and sometimes have slivered almonds.  I immediately knew I wanted to use donuts (dried out in the oven and crushed) instead of cookies in my own version of this butter. 

Donut Butter is runny when melted…it makes the perfect topping for pancakes or waffles. 

I wasn’t able to find Speculoos Cookie Butter in my area so I have no idea if my Donut Butter tastes anything like it…but the Donut Butter is delicious!  It has a toasted, nutty almond flavor, a subtle hint of coconut, and is scented of vanilla and more faintly of warm spices.  I used glazed sour cream donuts, which lend texture, as well as another flavor dimension.  Because coconut oil is the base, this butter is stiff in the fridge, starts to soften at warm room temperature, and is liquidy when warm. 

Jelly Donuts, Reinvented (Donut Butter Mousse with Raspberry Sauce)

How can you eat Donut Butter?, you wonder.  So many ways, really.  As a spread for crackers or dry cookies, a filling for cookies or cakes, in sandwiches with fruit or jam, heated up as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or crepes.  The list goes on. 

I wanted to use the Donut Butter to make a re-constructed version of a jelly-filled donut (my favorite donut as a kid!).  I made a Donut Butter Mousse and topped it with homemade Raspberry Sauce.  My eight-year-old niece and two of her friends were at my house on the day I made it and they went crazy for both the idea and the taste.  It really was like eating a jelly donut…but even more fun, if that’s possible.  :) 

Donut Butter 

Yields 1 1/3 cups 

1/2 cup blanched almonds (I used slivered almonds)

1 1/2 (4 oz) glazed sour cream donuts, chopped

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch nutmeg 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spread the almonds on a small baking pan and spread the chopped donut on another.  Bake the almonds until golden (about 10 to 15 minutes), and the donut until dry and golden (about 20 to 30 minutes), shaking the pans a couple of times while cooking.  (After I turned the oven off, I left the donut in there to finish drying out as the oven cooled; if you do this, be sure to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t get too dark.)  Let the almonds and donut cool. 

Transfer the toasted donut to the bowl of a food processor and process until it looks like graham cracker crumbs; transfer to a separate bowl and set aside (you should have about 1 scant cup of donut crumbs).  To the bowl of the food processor, add the almonds and process a couple minutes until it forms almond butter.  Process in the coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla bean paste, almond extract, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary; pulse in the donut crumbs a couple times until combined.  

Store the Donut Butter refrigerated for up to a couple weeks.  (The butter will be stiff in the fridge, starts to soften at warm room temperature, and is liquidy when warm.) 

Jelly Donuts, Reinvented (Donut Butter Mousse with Raspberry Sauce) 

Serves 4 

1/3 cup Donut Butter (recipe above), at room temperature

3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

2/3 cup heavy cream

Raspberry Sauce (recipe below) 

Use a handheld electric mixer to beat together the Donut Butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, and almond extract; beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks in a separate bowl.  Fold the whipped cream into the Donut Butter mixture 1/3 at a time, being careful not to over-mix.  Pipe into 4 individual serving glasses, then refrigerate until serving.  Right before serving, spoon the Raspberry Sauce on top. 

Raspberry Sauce 

1/2 cup red raspberries

1-2 tablespoons sugar (more or less depending on how tart your berries are)

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon cold water to form a slurry 

Put the berries in a small saucepan and mash them with the back of a fork; add the sugar and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Add the cornstarch slurry and cook (stirring constantly), until thickened, about 30 seconds.  Turn off heat and cool.  Serve on top of Donut Butter Mousse.

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Hello! I’m Faith and I write An Edible Mosaic. This is my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Welcome to my mosaic of recipes.

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