I made the top 10 Halloween recipes of 2019 on Pinterest which included Cockroach Boston cream donuts. Yup, I made donuts that looked like cockroaches which thoroughly freaked out all my friends and family. This is quickly becoming an annual tradition for me, as last year was the first time I tried my hand at making the top 10 Pinterest Halloween recipes of 2018. Out of all 10 recipes, these donuts were by far the hardest, taking about five hours to make. That being said, they were the most creative recipe I saw and definitely had a lot of tongues wagging at the office so to me they were worth it to make. So read ahead to learn about all the trials and tribulations of making the recipe to decide if you want to make it for you and your ghoulfriends this Halloween!
I must admit that this recipe weighed on me for weeks. I was so nervous to attempt this and balked at the amount of hours I knew it'd end up taking. It took me five hours by the way. Yes, you heard that right, five whole hours. I was definitely proud of the outcome though and I will say that this recipe is the one that was the "talker" amongst all my friends when I told them I was doing this project and I'm sure it'd be a talker at any Halloween party too.
I definitely had some hiccups along the way in making this recipe, the biggest of which was that my dough, after its first rise, was such a sticky and wet consistency. It was impossible to knead. I must have added three whole cups of flour to make it manageable, and I wish I'd had the foresight to add some more sugar to it too because the end result could have used it.
Cutting the dough with oval cookie cutters wasn't a problem. I used both 3" and 4" for variety but wish I'd just used 4" because the bigger they are the easier they are to fill with cream. I got impatient waiting another hour for the dough to have its second rise so I put them in the hot oil a little more quickly than I should have and some ended up the nice puffy quality I wanted but some were too flat for the cream filling.
I also wish I'd cut the extra dough strips to be used for the "legs" much thinner than I did. They puff up quickly in the hot oil and they look more like cockroach legs and antennae if they are really thin. Side note: I realized while I was making the "cockroach legs" that if you throw some powder sugar on it it's basically a funnel cake recipe!
Making the Boston cream filling was actually fun and it tasted great. I kept eating it with a spoon for the duration of the rest of the recipe because it was so good. I will say that the vanilla bean paste was not only expensive but hard to find so honestly I'd try to find an alternative and maybe use vanilla extract instead. It probably won't taste exactly the same but will save you the trouble and the money.
I fumbled my way through piping the filling into the donuts (wow, that's not easy) but making the chocolate glaze was easy. Besides the making of the dough, the hardest part of this recipe was the decorating. Dealing with sticky caramel is never fun and I definitely suggest using a pizza cutter to cut the caramel into strips like the recipe calls for. At first I tried with a knife but the caramel kept getting stuck. I found cutting the caramel strips down to size pretty hard and it took me a long time to decorate all the cockroaches.
I used black cookie icing to "paint" the donuts with and it worked just as fine as food dye since it's a thin consistency. Dealing with the glazed, painted, caramel lined donuts was a messy business and after many attempts with poking and prodding I found it way too hard to insert the legs and antenna into the donuts. Instead I only inserted the antenna and laid the donuts on the legs to give it the effect without driving myself nuts. Overall, this recipe screams creativity and will definitely spook out guests, but it's a lot of work and takes a lot of patience so don't say I didn't warn you!
- Doughnut Ingredients
- 1/4 cup warm water
- Two 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- For Frying
- Frying sieve
- Large pot with 2" canola oil
- Boston Cream Filling
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Chocolate Glaze
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 4 tablespoons hot water
- Caramel Ridges
- Soft caramels
- Black food color
- Food color paintbrush
- Paint palette
- Other Supplies
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Pizza cutter
- Oval cookie cutter
- Piping bag with piping tip
- Add yeast in 1/4 cup very warm water. Whisk until dissolved. Wait 5-10 minutes for yeast to bubble up. This means it's activated.
- Heat milk and add butter. Stir until butter melts.
- Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl (preferably the same bowl that will be used for kneading, if kneading with a machine).
- Add all wet ingredients.
- Mix thoroughly until combined. The mixture will be lumpy.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a dark, warm place until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).
- Once doubled in size, knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Place dough on a floured surface.
- Cockroach Bodies
- On floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough out to a 1/3" thickness.
- Cut dough using oval cookie cutter.
- Place ovals on a generously floured parchment lined tray.
- Reserve half as many ovals for the next step.
- Cut reserved ovals in half.
- With a silicone or pastry brush, brush water on the top third of oval.
- Place half an oval on the top third of oval.
- Repeat until all ovals have a half-oval on the top.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
- Save dough remnants for antennae and legs.
- Fry Them Up
- Once the dough has had its second rise, using a very sharp knife, slit the half oval across as shown.
- Repeat on all donuts.
- Heat oil to 370°F over medium heat. Carefully place 4 donuts in oil. Do not overcrowd the pot.
- Cook 1 minute on each side. I used a chopstick to flip the donuts.
- Using fryer sieve, retrieve donuts from the oil.
- On a cooling rack lined with paper towels, let donuts cool.
- Antennae and Legs
- Gather dough remnants into a ball and roll out very thin (1/16" thin).
- Using pizza cutter, cut thin (1/8") strips of dough.
- In 370°F hot oil, fry the strips.
- Cook strips 1 minute each side.
- Retrieve from oil using fryer sieve and place on plate lined with paper towels.
- Boston Cream Filling
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.
- Whisk together until combined.
- Over low-medium heat, whisk continuously.
- Remove from heat once thickened (pastry cream).
- Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and chill (in freezer for quicker results, just make sure it does not freeze).
- Once the pastry cream has cooled, whip heavy cream to firm peaks.
- Add pastry cream to whipped cream.
- Whip on high until combined.
- Put cream in piping bag.
- Insert nozzle into donut and pipe donut with cream until slightly heavy.
- Chocolate Glaze
- Melt chocolate and butter over low heat.
- Add icing sugar and mix until combined.
- Add water and stir. Remove from heat and into a bowl.
- Dip tops of donuts into chocolate glaze.
- Repeat for all donuts.
- Caramel Shell
- Place caramels in a bowl and microwave for no more than 10 seconds, just until they are more pliable but not melted.
- Put caramels into a ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
- Roll until very thin (1/8").
- Using a pizza cutter, slice into thin 1/8"-1/4" strips.
- Place first caramel strip below the bulb of the cockroach's head. Using kitchen shears, cut caramel strip to size along the side of the donut.
- Repeat until cockroach body has a series of caramel stripes.
- Painting the Cockroaches
- Using black food color and water, start painting from the head of the cockroach.
- Paint the areas of the sides of the head. Paint some shading and details. It helps to have several images of a hissing cockroach on hand for reference.
- Paint the bottoms of the caramel stripes, as well as some shading on the center and sides.
- Add a dot on each caramel stripe, along each side of the cockroach.
- Using a loaded brush and very light touch, add tiny specks on the caramel stripes.
- Go through the crispy fried strips of dough for pieces that resemble antennae and legs. Don't be afraid to break off from larger pieces to make the shapes and sizes you need. Just be gentle.
- Insert antenna.
- Insert legs.
- Paint antennae using short horizontal strokes.
- Paint legs.
Recipe reprinted courtesy of Jeromina Juan.
Sending you all bugs and hisses this Halloween!