Thursday 22 December 2016

Nutty Chocolate Orange and Maple Loukoumades

My guess is that you've probably never heard of these before or unless you're from Greece. Loukoumades are Greek donuts and they're soooo unbelievably light but deliciously naughty. I don't really like traditional American/English donuts that much anyway so I suppose I'm gonna be more partial towards these round puffy doughy delights. 

Loukoumades take less time and effort than a usual donut recipe as well, with the recipe consisting of just one 1 hour rise. The initial mixing of the dough ingredients is easy and doesn't require any kneading, just stirring and adding enough water to until almost a sloppy wet consistency which is far from the usual bread dough you'd be used to. But don't be scared or put off, you can't go wrong as long as you stick to this method and avoid a lake-like puddle by adding more than 120 ml of water. 

Okay, so I've provided a solution that I find the best to shape and fry these little balls, but this isn't the traditional Greek way. They like to use just hands and fingers to squeeze the wet mix. (I've watched many a youtube video, though it's hard to explain the actual actions.) It's impressive if you can master the skill, however, I couldn't be bothered to give it a go as getting my hands into a complete gooey mess just doesn't appeal to me. I found that using an ice cream scoop dipped in cold water each time and with a quick release lever works perfect everytime for me! If you don't have one of these 2 tablespoons would also work. 

Below this recipe I've provided a few variations as it's a very versatile dish which can be altered in many ways and flavourings to suit whoever is lucky enough to eat them. Keeping the base dough recipe same, you can pretty much add any sweet toppings. They remind me very much of the trendy churro and someone once said to me that a dipping sauce wouldn't go how about melting down a whole bar of your fav chocolate bar to accompany. After all, you can never have too much chocolate!! They make a great dessert with 3 to 4 per portion, or leave them as I did, on a big platter plate so everyone can help themselves. It would make an awesome addition to a party feast this Christmas as a sort of dessert canape, piled high like a cone of croquembouche. 

This recipe was created for my uni assignment in association with We Love Maple! It's a great website which promotes the use of pure 100% maple syrup, providing endless recipes for the stuff. I really recommend having a look at their website as it opened up my eyes to a whole new way of cooking with maple syrup, beyond the mundane pancakes and bacon.

Nutty  Chocolate  Orange  and  Maple  Loukoumades


Makes approx. 20 loukoumades

For the dough:
125g (¾ cup + 2  ½ tbsp) strong white bread flour
¼ of 7g sachet active dried yeast
Small pinch of salt
¼  tbsp caster sugar
110 - 120ml (about ½ cup) tepid water

For the topping: 
15g (1 tbsp, if already chopped) almonds
15g (1 tbsp, if already chopped) pecans
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
50g (¼ cup) dark chocolate

For deep frying:
Approx. 500ml (17 fl.oz) olive/vegetable oil

For the syrup:
75ml (2.5 fl.oz)  pure amber grade maple syrup from Canada
¼ orange – juice and zest, plus extra zest for serving


In a large bowl, add in the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Mix together. Slowly add tepid water and mix until the mixture becomes thick and foamy (to a consistency of a milkshake). Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 1 hour. Prepare the topping, place almonds, pecans, ginger and cinnamon in a food processor and blitz until a fine crumb. Alternatively, finely chop the nuts by hand, pour into a bowl and stir in ginger and cinnamon. Then repeat with the chocolate, chopping or blitzing to small pieces. Stir chocolate with the nutty crumb. 

10 minutes before the dough resting time has finished, put the oil in a deep metal saucepan and heat until it reaches 180°C/ 350°F, you can alternatively use a deep fat fryer. Once up to temperature, using 2 metal tablespoons or an ice cream scoop with quick release, dip it into a jug of cold water first and then scoop small amounts of mixture. Drop slowly into hot oil. Repeat process until pan is full, but don’t crowd the pan. Dipping the spoon into water beforehand. Loukoumades will puff up and float to the surface. Turn them occasionally, until they are crisp, golden brown all over which takes about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain in a sieve lined with paper towels. Transfer to a warm platter. Repeat batch cooking with all the mixture. 

Pour maple syrup, orange juice and zest into a small saucepan over a medium heat until bubbling. Turn heat to low. Continue to bubble until it turns thicker and reduces slightly in quantity, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour hot syrup over the loukoumades. Using a spoon roll them around to evenly coat in syrup. Sprinkle each ball with the chocolate nutty crumb to coat. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with more orange zest and sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Variation: Swap pecans or almonds for walnuts/hazelnuts. Use white/milk chocolate in place of dark. Remove cinnamon/ginger if preferred. 

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