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Cooking Through Fiction: A Giant Problem — Hobgoblin Doughnuts

I like to think I’m a rebel, that I’ve bent the rules, swam against the stream, bucked conformity. I had a college professor tell me once that I was a square peg trying to pretend I could fit in a round hole. He didn’t mean this as a compliment. That screams rebel, right? Right?! Bueller?

My sister would likely say that I am about as far from a rebel as a person can get. But I object! I’ve lived dangerously (I once ate escargot). I’ve tempted fate (I underage bungee jumped). I told an English professor that I found her judgment questionable (She gave me a C for sass.). I’ve eaten doughnuts after midnight (Unlike my Gremlin friends, it’s okay to feed me after hours.).

Okay, so maybe I’m not that rebellious. Nowadays, eating more than one doughnut would be considered me pushing the limits. And these doughnuts push the limits of over-the-top goodness.

Thanks to the rebellious children in A Giant Problem, today I bring you vanilla bean doughnuts. Nick and Laurie completely disregard their parents’ threats and punishments and strike out to save the world. Lucky for them, they avoid being put on restriction for all time. Lucky for us, we have homemade doughnuts!

“Bring me a doughnut,” the hobgoblin squeaked from the backseat. “Or crackers. Yes, doughnut crackers!” Nick and Laurie scrambled out of the backseat. They used a key card to open the side door of the hotel and ran up the stairs. Listening against the wall, Nick could hear his father shouting into the phone. (Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, A Giant Problem (Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles #2) [New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007], 137)

Hobgoblin Doughnuts

Serves: 6 doughnuts

Difficulty Level: Easy


⅓ c milk

1 tsp vinegar

3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

½ c white whole wheat flour

½ c unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp sea salt

⅛ tsp nutmeg, fresh

¼ c sugar

2 tbsp honey

1 large egg

¼ vanilla bean

Vanilla Glaze

1 tbsp. half and half

¼ vanilla bean

½ c powdered sugar

Chocolate Ganache

See Dark and Stormy Ganache

How to Make

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together milk and vinegar. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to curdle. Melt butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool.

  3. Meanwhile, whisk together flours, baking powder, sea salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Set aside.

  4. Into the cooled butter, whisk in sugar, honey, egg, and vanilla bean seeds until evenly combined. Add in curdled milk.

  5. Whisk together wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Over-mixing will create a dense doughnut.

  6. Spray doughnut pan. Add batter to a piping bag and pipe evenly into the pan. Note: Piping this dough out of the bag took superhuman strength.

  7. Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool 1 minute before turning pan over to remove doughnut onto a cooling rack.

  8. Meanwhile, make glaze. In a flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together half and half and vanilla bean seeds until evenly combined. Slowly mix in powdered sugar until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add 1 teaspoon more of half and half at a time. If dough is too thin, add 1 tablespoon more of powdered sugar at a time.

  9. Once doughnuts have cooled completely, approximately 15-20 minutes, dunk in glaze, rocking the doughnut around the bowl to evenly coat. Place on cooling rack and allow to dry, approximately 20 minutes. Serve. Best served same day. If storing leftovers, lightly cover.

Recipe adapted from The Faux Martha

Read my review of A Giant Problem on Goodreads.

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