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Baking is generally not my thing. Competitions, however, are my thing. So when my work posted signs that they were holding a 'Top Chef' challenge for Thanksgiving/Fall desserts, I decided to accept the challenge. Since desserts aren't my thing though, I of course immediately began to stress. All of my co-workers know that I am obsessed with all things food, so I really wanted to show up. After Google-ing 'award winning desserts', I came across a really cute image of a doughnut hole converted into an acorn. I was sold!
For this recipe you will need:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix completely. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, buttermilk, sugar, and melted butter.
Preheat a large, deep non-stick frying pan with about 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. I actually went out and purchased a deep fry thermometer for this step. If you don't want to do that, leave the oil heating up on medium-high for 10 minutes. Turn down to medium right before you put the doughnuts in.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient and mix together. I would suggest using a spoon for this step. I started with the whisk and everything immediately clumped inside of it. Once all of the dry ingredients have been incorporate to the wet ingredients you are ready to make the doughnut holes!
Set up a piece of parchment paper to set the doughnut holes on prior to cooking. Each doughnut hole should be about 1/2 a tablespoon. My first batch I made them too big, so err on the side of smaller -- they do expand when cooking. Use a spoon to scoop the dough out and form into a ball using your hands. Try to make sure there aren't any cracks in the dough so it doesn't break apart when frying.
Once you've made all the doughnut holes (I probably got 2-3 dozen out of a batch), place them gently in the oil. I used the spoon to guide them into the oil so I wouldn't burn myself. Let them cook for about 2 minutes, then flip to the other side and cook for another two minutes.
When the doughnuts are browned evenly on both side, remove from the oil and return to the parchment paper. Line them with paper towel to remove the excess grease.
Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, and roll the doughnuts in the mixture when they have cooled.
Heat Nutella in a bowl for about 1 minute in the microwave. Set toffee on a small plate and break pretzel sticks in half and set them on another plate. Basically, you want to have a little assembly line ready to create the doughnuts.
Dip the top portion of the doughnut in the nutella to create a thick layer. Then, roll in the toffee. Finally, stick a pretzel in the top to complete! Acorn completed.
I ended up winning first place in my office competition. Based on my co-workers' feedback, I think that these would be great for both kids and adults!