I know the first post of the new year is supposed to be something healthy, full of promises to detox from the holidays and clean up my act so that I can be appropriately svelte by the time swimsuit weather rolls around... but honestly, there was no way I was going to keep this recipe to myself.
I came up with it for the Crown Maple Syrup #TaptoTable Recipe Challenge, which tasked bloggers to put a savoury spin on a sweet recipe featuring their certified organic 100% pure maple syrup.
For inspiration, I pulled from the delicious dishes of the dearly departed (and bitterly lamented) mecca of nose-to-tail brunching, The Hoof Cafe.
More specifically, I wanted to recreate their melt-in-your mouth rich bone marrow doughnuts, teensy bite-sized morsels of rich dough filled with tangy house-made jam that could send even the most hardened of Yelp critics into rapturous bliss. It's been a couple of years since they closed up shop, but I still dream about those doughnuts.
Unfortunately, my best attempts to wheedle the recipe (or even a rough description of the process) during my last visit were to no avail. And in case you're curious, there is not a single bone-marrow cake or doughnut recipe to be found on the entire internet, which meant I didn't have much to go on in terms of how best to incorporate bone marrow into a standard doughnut batter. Either that, or my Google-fu has seriously failed me.
Which meant I had to totally wing it, and hope that they wouldn't be entirely inedible. Thankfully, marrow bones are dirt cheap, so the most I had to lose was a cold winter afternoon and a few bucks.
So here's the thing... these aren't quite like the doughnuts I set out to recreate, but they're still pretty darn amazing.
Plus they totally defy some kind of universal law of doughnut-dom. Unlike most doughnuts, they actually get better the longer they sit.
For serious. After a day, the glaze softens up the outside, making them soft and rich and meltingly tender. After two days, the maple flavour deepens and becomes more intense. Even on day three, they're still utterly perfect, in a roll your eyes to the back of your head and do a contented little dance as you nibble on the last of the doughnuts, assuming they've actually lasted this long.
And as odd as marrow might seem, you can't taste it at all - it just adds a lovely richness to the dough, which is all the better to show off the flavour of the maple syrup, which appears in both the batter and the glaze for a double dose of mapley goodness.
Honestly, I think this might be worthy of a Nobel prize, but I'll settle for another dozen of these babies instead. (And then I'll have an appropriately healthy salad. Promise. It's all about balance, right?)
Disclosure: I was provided with a sampler box of Crown Maple products to help me develop a recipe for the challenge, but wasn't otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are, as always, entirely my own.
- 2 lbs beef marrow bones, cut into ~2" lengths
- ¼ cup Crown Light Amber maple syrup
- ¼ cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- Pinch nutmeg
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Maple Glaze:
- 1½ cups icing sugar
- 3 tbsp Crown Dark Amber maple syrup
- 3-4 tsp milk
- Soak the marrow bones for about 8-12 hours in a large bowl of cold salted water to draw out the blood, changing out the water every 4 hours or so. Drain and pat dry.
- In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook the bones for 10-15 minutes, or until the marrow is soft and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bones to a bowl for 2-3 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
- Using a butter knife or a small coffee spoon, scoop out the still-warm marrow and roughly chop. You should have approximately ¼ cup of cooked marrow.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the marrow with maple syrup, sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Process until smooth.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add the marrow mixture, stirring until you have a stiff, smooth dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 15-20 minutes to allow the dough to relax.
- Meanwhile, heat at least 2 inches of vegetable oil to 360F in a heavy-bottomed pot.
- Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into the hot oil, working in batches for five or six at a time. Fry until golden-brown, about 3-4 minutes, turning over partway through to make sure they cook evenly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the finished doughnut holes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Set aside until almost completely cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, maple syrup and 2 tsp milk until smooth. The glaze should be thick, but easily pourable - if necessary, adjust the consistency using the remaining tsp milk or a heaping tablespoonful of icing sugar.
- Roll the doughnuts into the glaze, covering completely, and transfer to a wire rack set over a sheet pan to drain off any excess glaze. Let stand for 15-20 minutes to allow the glaze to set, then serve.