As some of you may already know.. I am big on baking. Massive in fact. I take no greater pleasure in life than whipping up something from scratch.. So when my Sparks* offers came through this fortnight and one was "20% off Home Baking Kits", I felt nothing but personally offended. How dare M&S force such sacrilege upon me? Who do they think they are?
Well actually, I should probably eat my words as when having a quick peruse around my local store, I stumbled across this vegetarian friendly, NEW Baked Doughnut Mix which I figured would kill several birds with one stone - 1. Utilise my offer 2. Get potentially yummy Doughnuts 3. Bit alternative thus good for the bloggy. And just like that, I was convinced and hotfooted it to the till where I paid £2 (£2.50 without the 20% off).
Inside the box was the doughnut mix itself, a bag of caster sugar and 3 sachets of raspberry jam with all one needing to bring to the party being, 90ml of warm milk, 50g melted unsalted butter and a lined baking tray.
So filled with the joys of spring, I cracked on and measured out my milk before giving it a quick zap in the microwave until it felt tepid.
I added it to the doughnut mix, in a large bowl as instructed and mixed to form a dough, prior to giving a good knead on the table for about 5 minutes, until it felt smooth.
Plopping the dough ball back into the bowl, I proceeded to cover it with clingfilm and left to prove for an hour, or as the instructions stated, until doubled in size.
Well.. As I often find with anything that is meant to rise, my dough didn't exactly expand much despite being left for longer than an hour and having been sat in a warm spot. So, that's brilliant.
Following the next step of briefly kneading said dough and cutting into 6 equal (Semi equal) size pieces, I "gently" rolled each into a ball and placed them onto a not so lined (I forgot) baking tray, evenly spaced apart. A further 45 minute prove or once again, until doubled in size, whilst being covered and then they would finally be ready for the oven.. Thank the lord.
In the mean time, aside from doing a jig around the kitchen, a "waiting dance" if you will, I melted the 50g of unsalted butter in a little tumbler - It was certainly sunny in appearance!
At least the rise was more apparent this time.. Sort of.. Ish. I brushed approximately a third of the above, melted butter onto the balls and whacked them in a preheated 190ºc Fan oven for the recommended 6 minutes.
Out they came and a second coating applied before going back in for a further 6 minutes or.. Wait for it.. Until golden brown! Who saw that one coming? M&S love a vague "until" option.
I left the little nubbins to cool by the window and got my jam ready..
There was no way I was going to faff around with making a small hole in the top of each doughnut and filling with half a sachet of raspberry jam - How was that ever going to work? Is one meant to spoon it in? It would have to be a really diddy spoon? Who has one of those? Stupid bloody M&S. I chose to utilise the use of a syringe.. Meant for my pet fluffy.. My needs are greater than hers. Soz.
Tadaaaaa! 6, jam squirted, raspberry doughnuts that had been brushed with the final third of butter and rolled in the caster sugar.
So what did they taste like? Good question after what felt like an eternity in the making! Unfortunately.. I can't say that the doughnuts produced were anything other than totally boring. Taste wise, the dough itself wasn't one thing or another - Not particularly sweet when eaten alone or possessing the flavour akin to any doughnut, baked or fried, that I've ever had. The jam centre was nice enough in being fruity and supplying pleasant raspberry tones with the sprinkling of sugar on the outside really heightening the overall sweetness - It also provided a crunchy contrast in the texture to the "soft" bun.
Crikey. What a palaver. Not so surprisingly, this NEW Baked Doughnut Mix just isn't a winner for me. It takes far to much effort, for the end results to be nothing short of lack lustre. One could literally just buy a part-baked roll, slather it in butter, bake it off, roll it in sugar and then consume it with jam.. It would be no different, taste or quality wise. Now, someone go and buy me some proper doughnuts, the need is dire. - It's an exhausted, 2 out of 5 from me.
*Find out about the M&S Loyalty Card here - The offers can be anything from food to clothes to homeware and definitely worth having!