chilean berlines (donut holes with dulce de leche filling)
If there's ever an occasion that requires fried dough, then I'm all over it. The crispy outside and warm, soft inside of anything fried is truly amazing. Add some sweetness, and it's my complete nemesis. With these donut holes, I actually made these during the Hanukkah season to share in the traditional celebratory food of sufganiyot. I had a craving for some donuts as I usually do, and it was the perfect excuse to indulge in a little fried up goodness.
While I was thinking about the recipe, though, I realized that I had some leftover dulce de leche from all the homemade Christmas gifts I had been making. Score! Jelly-filled donuts aren't really my thing (as in the traditional Jewish sufganiyot) so I decided to go Chilean style. This version is how the donut holes are made in Chile based on German inspiration. Let me just say they are very inspiring. The warm dough is fried up, filled with warm dulce de leche, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. I mean, what more could you possibly want? Okay, maybe chocolate, but that'll be in another recipe. We don't want to go crazy with it.
So if you're in the mood for an amazing fried snack or dessert, I highly recommend taking a little time to whip up these babies. If you just want to go for the dulce de leche only, that will still very much deliver on sugary goodness. Just spread it on some lovely toast, dip your favorite biscotti in it, or use it to bake up another wonderful delight.
Chilean Berlines (Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes with Dulce De Leche Filling)
For the donuts
1 cup milk (warmed to 120 degrees)
2 1/4 cups flour (plus 1/3 cup additional for rolling out dough)
3 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp (or 1 packet) instant rapid rise yeast
1/2 tsp vanilla
vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 can sweetened condensed milk (or 1 cup prepared dulce de leche if store-bought)
4-6 cups of water heated to boiling
The day prior or at least 2 hours prior to making the donuts, make the dulce de leche filling. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Pour the can of condensed milk into an 8x8 inch glass casserole pan. Insert that pan into a larger glass pan or roasting pan that is oven safe. Cover the pan with the milk in it tightly with foil.
Heat the water in the microwave for a tea kettle until boiling. Place the two pans with the condensed milk in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the larger pan until it is halfway up the side of the smaller pan, creating a bain marie (water bath). Cook for 1 1/2 hours until the milk looks golden brown. Cool for at least 15 minutes. Remove foil and whisk the caramelized milk until smooth.
Heat the milk in the microwave for 1-2 minutes to scald and allow it to cool on the counter to 120 degrees F.
For the coating, mix sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Using a stand mixer with a dough hook or a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, mix 2 cups flour with the rest of the dry ingredients including the instant yeast. Mix in the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and form into a ball. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
In a high-sided pot, add about 2 inches of oil and heat to 350 degrees F. Reduce the heat a bit to keep the temperature consistent and not allow it to rise rapidly. If the oil gets too hot, remove the pot from the heat for a few seconds to reduce the temperature.
Sprinkle a cutting board with the remaining 1/3 cup of flour. Roll the dough out on the surface until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into small 2 inch round pieces and roll into a ball in your hand.
Carefully, place a few of the dough balls in the pot making sure to leave enough space around them for turning. Cook for about 45 seconds to a minute on each side, and flip using tongs or a metal slotted spoon. Both sides of the donuts will be golden brown when done. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat this process until all of the dough balls have been cooked in the oil.
Let the donut holes cool for a couple minutes. Warm the Dulce de Leche in the microwave for about 1 minute or until melted. Scoop into a piping bag or a baggie with one of the corners cut out slightly. Poke the tip halfway into the donut hole and squeeze in some of the dulce de leche. The donut will push back from the bag once full.
Coat the donut holes in the cinnamon sugar and let dry for about 5 minutes. Fill a lovely serving bowl with the donut holes and enjoy!