Yields about 10 doughnuts
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Boston Cream filling Ingredients
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Food coloring (to make filling bloody or slimy looking) optional
Instructions for Doughnuts
Add yeast to warm water and whisk until dissolved. Wait for yeast to bubble up (about 10 minutes). Warm the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat.
Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly until combined (mixture will be lumpy). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand until dough has doubled in size (about one hour). Knead dough five minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/3-inch thick. Cut out oval shapes with a 4-inch oval cookie cutter and place ovals on a floured parchment-line sheet tray. Reserve half as many ovals to use as cockroach heads.
Cut the reserved ovals width wise in half for the cockroach head. Brush a small amount of water on one side of the cockroach head and place the half oval, moistened side down, on one half of the whole oval cutout. Continue until all cockroach bodies have a head. Cover sheet tray with plastic wrap and allow to stand for one hour. Reserve any leftover dough of antennae and legs.
Instructions for making antennae and legs and frying doughnuts
While doughnuts are going through their second rise, gather the reserved leftover dough into a ball and roll out very thinly with a rolling pin (about 1/16 inch) to make antennae and legs. Using a pizza cutter, cut 1/8-inch strips of dough. Heat two inches of canola oil in a heavy skillet to 370°F. Cook strips (I suggest pulling them thinner as you add them to the oil) in hot oil until golden brown, approximately one minute per side. Remove from oil and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside until ready to assemble the doughnuts. Set the oil aside to fry the doughnuts.
Once cockroach doughnuts have gone through their second rise, use a sharp knife to score each half oval across about 1/8-inch above the squared side of the oval to make the insect’s thorax.
Reheat the canola oil to 370°F (use the same oil that was used for the antennae and legs). Carefully place a few donuts in oil. Do not overcrowd the pot. Cook approximately one minute on each side, or until golden brown. Remove doughnuts from oil and place on a cooling rack lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining doughnuts. Allow doughnuts to cool before filling.
Instructions for making Boston cream filling
Stir together the milk and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat then remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch together until smooth in a small bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the bowl, whisking constantly (as to not to cook the eggs). Add the egg mixture to the hot milk mixture in the saucepan and slowly return the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened.
Remove pastry cream from heat, stir in vanilla and salt and push through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl to remove any lumps. Allow to cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled. (For quicker results, put the pastry cream into the freezer until chilled making sure it doesn’t freeze.)
Whip heavy whipping cream in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Add chilled pastry cream (and food coloring if using) to whipped cream and continue mixing until well combined.
Transfer filling mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a pastry tip. Insert tip into bottom of fried doughnut and fill until doughnut becomes slightly heavy. Continue with remaining doughnuts.
Chocolate Glaze Ingredients
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup hot water
Instructions for dipping doughnuts in glaze
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Once melted, remove from heat and add confectioner’s sugar and mix until well combined. Add water and stir until smooth. Pour into a medium size bowl. Dip tops of donuts into chocolate glaze and place them on a cooling rack over a sheet tray. Continue with remaining doughnuts.
Decorating and assembling the cockroach doughnuts
Black food color
Instructions for decorating and assembling cockroaches
Place caramels in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for no more than 10 seconds, or just until they are pliable but not melted. Remove the caramels from the bowl and pour them into a ball between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the caramel out between the plastic wrap with a rolling pin until the caramel sheet is very thin (1/8 inch). Remove plastic wrap and move caramel sheet onto a cutting board. Slice the caramel sheet into thin 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch strips using a pizza cutter.
To assemble the cockroach, place a 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.
Using black food color and water, start painting from the head of the cockroach. Paint the areas of the sides of the head along with some shading and details; the bottoms of the caramel stripes, as well as some shading on the center and sides; add a black dot on each caramel stripe; then add shading on the caramel stripes.
For antennae and legs, pick through the fried strips of dough for pieces that resemble antennae and legs, feeling free to cut or break off smaller pieces to make the shapes and sizes you need. Make small holes in the doughnuts with a wooden skewer to insert antenna and legs into. Paint antennae and legs with the black food color using small horizontal strokes for texture.