Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Panini'ing Leftovers: Donuts!

I utilize my waffle iron for ... everything.  It is my most common way to prepare food.  You can read all about my adventures waffling all sorts of items in my master post.

My waffle iron is a Cuisinart Griddler, which is actually a grill and panini press, that has additional, removable, waffle plates.  I always leave the waffle plates in it, and thus call it "my waffle iron".  I basically forget about the other 5 functions it has.

Except one day I had friends over for a hot dog party , and I thought I needed a second grill (in addition to my trusty George Foreman) to prepare all the hot dogs.  I swapped out the regular plates into the Griddler, and turned it into a grill.  Life went on, and I forgot to swap out the plates and turn it back into a waffle iron.
Jelly Donut Transformation.
The next weekend, it was time to waffle leftover donuts, like I do most weekends.  I turned on the Griddler, made my coffee, and returned to insert the donut once the plates were hot.  But ... oops, panini plates.  Not waffle plates.

I considered trying to swap out the hot plates, and wait for the waffle plates to heat up, but decided to just try using the panini plates instead.  Turns out, leftover donuts "panini" nearly as well, er, perhaps even better, than they waffle!
Day-Old Jelly Donut.
I started with a day old jelly donut from The Jelly Donut .  I had taken a bite or two when it was fresh to evaluate it fairly, and then I took another bite before grilling it to see if it really needed grilling (yes, it did, it was kinda stale), so, really, I had about 80% of a donut to stick into the grill.

The donut was glazed, but, only the top had glaze.  I stuck it into the grill glaze side down, to better collect the run-off.
In-Progress.
After a few minutes, I could hear some interesting bubbling sounds.  I opened the grill up to check on the donut.  Uh, oops?

Since a big chunk was missing from the side, the jelly came spilling out onto the grill plates.  It didn't seem to be burning though, so I didn't really bother mess with it.

The bottom side of the donut had the glaze, and that side got very caramelized just how I like it.  Crispy and caramelized, almost like a kouign amann.  The top, glaze-free, didn't get quite as caramelized, but it still crisped up nicely.

It was at this point, when checking on it, that I realized the grill might actually be superior to the waffle iron.  It seemed to have more contact points with the donut surface.  Hmm.

I let it go another couple minutes, just to crisp up a bit more.
Panini'ed!
The jelly than had run out was easy to scoop off the grill and put back on top of the donut.  It was warm and gloopy and totally delicious.  There actually was still quite a bit that remained inside the donut as well, pressed between the dough, and soaked into the donut.  It was good too, but I almost preferred the jelly that had escaped, as I got to distribute it how I pleased, and, I think it got a bit thicker as it cooked, and I actually liked that.

The donut itself was great panini'ed.  As expected, I liked the bottom where it was caramelized more than the top, and made a mental note to consider sugar coating a non-glazed side in the future.  The ridges from the grill plates made it easy to cut into strips, and I liked how it was crispier in places where it touched the grill.  I think this worked better than the waffle iron, to be honest.

I topped it with coconut whipped cream, which I actually didn't like, hence, pushing it off to the side in this photo.  (Yes, I dared try a bite before taking a photo).

Overall, certainly a success, and honestly it made me want to have more leftover donuts, just so I could waffle or panini them.  Just like pizza, I'm pretty convinced that I prefer donuts waffled/panini'ed to fresh.
Cinnamon Roll Donut: Original, Waffled, Panini'ed!
The next weekend, I put the waffle vs panini theory to the test, with a leftover cinnamon roll donut.  This donut was enormous, so, I decided to eat it 4 ways, and compare them all.

For breakfast, I had a chunk at room temperature (fine, although a bit stale as expected), a chunk wrapped in foil and warmed in the toaster oven (moist, warm, very good), and, I waffled a chunk.  After lunch, I panini'ed the final chunk.
Panini'ed Cinnamon Roll Donut a la Mode.
The verdict?  The waffled version lost to the panini pressed version.  Yup, I said it.  Something is better than waffling.

The waffled version was good, but, the generous amount of glaze mostly melted off.  This is expected, and some of it helped caramelized the outside (great!) but much of it remained in the waffle plates, trapped.  I wanted to soak it up with the waffle, but, alas, I couldn't get to it.  Sometimes I am able to extract caramelized glaze from the plates with a chopstick, but this was too liquid, and thus, was lost.

The panini pressed version on the other hand, also had glaze melt off, but, I was able to easily dunk the panini'd donut in the warm liquid glaze as I removed it.  I also really liked the increased contact points with the grill plates that made for crispy bits  I topped it with some snickerdoodle ice cream (cinnamon roll + cinnamon ice cream + snickerdoodle cookie dough) and it was a perfect combination.
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