Shinobu’s Donuts from Monogatari Series
Everyone loves a good donut. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like donuts. True story. That being said, I’ve always wanted to try making donuts. There’s a sort of allure connected with a big pot of boiling hot oil…it’s dangerous, untried, and can result in hospitalization, but if I were to master it…much deliciousness would ensure. So, I grabbed the metaphorical vampire by the fangs and got out my canola oil.
Shinobu is one of my favorite characters in this series. She’s pretty hard core, has a really interesting past, and looks great at any age. Basically, everything I aspire to be. I even took a mini pilgrimage to Mister Donuts when I was in Japan last summer to commemorate her love for the sweet treat. If you think about it, donuts are a great metaphor for Shinobu. Sweet-looking on the outside, but born from the flames of a thousand burning pots of oil. Er….does that make any sense? Whatever. My point is, making donuts is dangerous, just like Shinobu, but you’ll get a great payoff if you just put a little effort in (like how she gives Araragi temporary Vamp powers). Eh? Maybe this metaphor is falling a little flat….unlike donuts which are puffy. Heheheheh.
Below is my reference picture:
There are quite a lot of donuts to choose from, so for today I opted to make the French Crullers, both the chocolate dipped and the plain. You can find the original recipe here.
1 cup water
6 tbs butter
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
3 large eggs
2 egg whites
For the Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbs milk
Some of your favorite type of chocolate. I used Dark chocolate, but you can use whatever you like.
Besides the normal cookware, you will also need a plastic/piping bag, a star tip* (I used a Wilton 2D), and some parchment paper.
*A note on the piping tip, to achieve ones that look closer to the originals, I would use a tip with more spiky bits as opposed to less, but you’ll still need one that has a pretty big tip so that you can get a big enough donuts. My tip was the biggest I had, but there are other options out there. The Wilton 6B or 8B look like they’d do the job nicely.
French Crullers are made with the same kind of dough cream puffs are made from. This kind of dough is called a choux, and it is a light pastry dough.
To start, bring water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil.
Dump in all the flour, and start stirring. Bring heat down to medium high, and keep on stirring until the dough forms a thin paste the bottom of the pan. If you are using a non-stick pot, this won’t happen, so you want to keep stirring for about 5 minutes or so. The goal is to cook some of the water out. Always keep the dough moving though, otherwise you will burn it.
Then, transfer the dough to a bowl and keep on mixing, this time to cool the dough down enough so that we can add the eggs without cooking them. I gave mine a quick blend with my hand mixer, which cooled it off right away, but you definitely don’t need a hand mixer for any of these steps.
Then, add in your whole eggs, and mix, mix, mix until all combined and dough is smooth.
When dough looks like this, add in the egg whites and keep on mixing until batter is glossy and smooth. Then, prepare your piping bag with a tip, and cut out squares of parchment paper so you have something to pipe your dough on. At this point, you can also start heating your oil in a pot. Pour about two inches of oil into the pan, and put on medium high heat. It will be ready when little bubbles form around the handle of a wooden spoon, or when it hits 370 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you prefer, you can actually also bake these donuts at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for similar results, so preheat the oven now.
Once that’s done, you can start piping your dough! I found that a heavy, steady pressure worked the best for achieving the prettiest donuts. You want to start by taking a square of parchment paper, and holding your piping bag directly above it. Apply pressure, and slowly drag your tip around in a circle to achieve a ring. You can make them as big or as small as you like!
At this point, take your squares of dough over to your boiling oil, or place them in the oven. Pop the donuts into the oil, paper side up, and let them start to cook. (If using the oven, heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Plop the Crullers onto a baking sheet with parchment on the bottom and cook for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for another 15 minutes. After baking, turn off the oven and leave the door open to cool for 5 minutes. Then, remove and glaze. )
After a minute or two, you can use a pair of tongs to carefully peel back the paper and it should come off no problem. Just keep your eye on the donuts, and flip them when they get golden brown on each side, around 2 minutes per side. Let them drain on a rack for a few minutes before glazing or dipping in chocolate.
In between donuts, I made up my icing and melted my chocolate. To make the icing, just mix all the ingredients up. To melt the chocolate, place most of it in a microwave safe bowl and melt, leaving out a square or two. Melt the chocolate in bursts, first for 30 seconds, mix, 20 seconds, mix, and then 10 seconds, mix, 10 seconds, mix, until you get the right consistency. Stir it constantly, and let it cool down to about body temperature, then throw in the extra squares of chocolate. Stir around until they have mostly melted into the mixture, and get rid of any leftover chunks that remain in the melted chocolate.
Drizzle icing over your donuts and dip some of them in chocolate to achieve the look of the Mister Donuts chocolate dipped French Cruller.
These donuts were surprisingly easy to make, and cooking with the oil was fun. It’s kinda cool to see the donuts bobbing around in the oil, and they cook in the blink of an eye. French Crullers are light and fluffy, and ultimately just taste very airy and sweet. These were the perfect breakfast snack, and my roommate ate 4 before I could stop her (not that I would, because I couldn’t eat them all by myself anyway). I can see why Shinobu would opt for one of these guys among her selection of Mister Donuts donuts.
Have fun and good luck! Be careful of the oil. Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know down below. Have a lovely day! 😀