While growing up, recipe developer and cookbook author Hetal Vasavada had many family members who worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. This meant that instead of boxes of Indian desserts known as mithai for the annual festival of Diwali, they’d celebrate with boxes of doughnuts. The family favorite? The chain’s Toasted Coconut cake doughnut, whose popularity Hetal credits to coconut’s common presence in Indian confections.
This recipe combines those memories with another of her favorite mithai: coconut barfi, also known as kopra pak, a fudge-like sweet made with coconut, cardamom, milk, and sugar. Borrowing from both traditions, these baked (not fried!) doughnuts boast a rich coconut milk batter spiced with fragrant cardamom and nutmeg. Soft on the inside with just enough texture from the toasted shredded coconut on the outside, these cakey treats more than justify the purchase of a specialty doughnut pan.
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