Years ago, I had cinnamon donuts dipped in a rich chocolate sauce for the first time ever. And it was a pretty significant moment. I’ve never forgotten the joy of discovering that dessert, and I’ve never stopped wanting to make it.
So here we are! In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I’ll be posting recipes through next Monday that are holiday-themed. And this hot chocolate is definitely not the kind you see here in American coffee chains. For one thing, it’s made of chocolate, not cocoa. And it’s wonderfully thick and decadent. On my honeymoon in Mexico, this is definitely the kind of hot chocolate I was enjoying.
Before we revel in chocolate and cinnamon heaven, I need to delve for one second into a pretty large and combustible topic: the Mommy Wars.
Anyone who is a mom is very much aware of the one-upmanship that occurs among some mothers the second any babies are born. I’ve made it my goal to avoid the women who engage in this kind of interaction, and so far, it’s going pretty well. After all, I make myself feel guilty enough. I don’t need anyone to add to that.
I’ve always been very open about my approach to parenting, and I don’t give a rat’s behind if people don’t agree with me. I love my children more than I love myself. That’s a given. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t love myself. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I sprinted back to work after each of my children was born, that I still do things just for myself weekly, and that I can’t sit through most kiddie theater without wanting to run screaming out the door.
Because I’m pretty candid about maintaining individuality in the face of motherhood, a lot of people think I’m a bad mom. In fact, one woman at work once had to apologize to me for judging my views harshly before she became a mom herself. Then she realized that I wasn’t a terrible mother. I just wanted to keep parts of the old me alive.
Listen, you have to do what works for you. If you love children’s theater, then I’m actually kind of jealous. If you love being at home with newborns, I am in awe. But it’s just not for me. We just have to learn to celebrate these differences, not engage in subtle (or not too subtle) digs at other people.
Now we can talk about the day I first dipped a cinnamon donut into Mexican hot chocolate.
A new restaurant had just opened around the corner from my single-girl condo, and my best friend decided we had to go. Alene (a.k.a. best friend) is a restaurant expert, and I learned a lot about food from her. If she said this was the hot spot, she was right. And now, 15 years later, this restaurant is one of the hardest spots to get into.
I still remember the thick richness of the hot chocolate, the crisp cinnamon sugar exterior of the donut. To call it by any ordinary adjective would be unfair. The experience was life-changing.
It took a few tries to get these donuts to their fluffy best, but this is the result of trial and error. I’m very happy with it. I hope you are, too!
As it happens, Alene and I are now mothers with totally different approaches. She’s a baby person, and I’m not. She had a hard time ending her maternity leave, and I didn’t mind at all. But it’s never been a problem because we love each other. And boy, do we love donuts!
Cinnamon Donuts with Chocolate Dipping Sauce
2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 extra-large egg
1 and 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces dark chocolate
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two donut pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Into a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Using a spoon (or a piping bag if preferred), transfer the batter into the donut pans, filling each one a little over the halfway mark.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool slightly and then release the donuts onto a platter.
- Make the topping. Pour the melted butter into a medium-sized bowl. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Dip each donut first in the butter and then in the cinnamon sugar, covering both sides fully.
- Make the hot chocolate. Put the dark chocolate and half of the milk in a saucepan over very low heat and cook, stirring consistently, until the chocolate has melted. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk and whisk the mixture into the chocolate along with the sugar. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate thickens (anywhere from 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat.
- Pour the chocolate straight from the saucepan into heat-proof cups. Serve along with the donuts.