I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I have to say that a good donut is one of my favorite treats. Cake or yeast donuts. Glazed or filled donuts. I’m not picky at all. That’s why I included a variety in the last poll so people could pick what kind of donut they wanted me to make and I would just oblige.
I would’ve been happy with any of the results, but I was especially happy about the yeast type. The end donut is just so light and fluffy. It’s pretty easy to put away a few of these guys.
I went with a chocolate glaze for this version for no particular reason except that I knew my coworkers would like chocolate. I thought the glaze was perfect. It wasn’t too thick. Just a nice, shiny coat on top of the donut.
Yield: 12 donuts.
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 Teaspoons)
2 Tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
3 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour plus some for working the dough
1 Cup milk, room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
Canola or other neutral oil for frying
Chocolate Glaze: (From Alton Brown)
Enough for 24 or so donuts
1/2 Cup unsalted butter
1/4 Cup milk
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I actually used milk chocolate)
2 Cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
Cast Iron Skillet
Round Cookie Cutters (I like the plastic variety so they don't get all bent out of shape)
Stand Mixer (You could just use a wooden spoon to mix everything together and then just knead the dough lightly for a few minutes until it came together. There were donuts before there were mixers. But a mixer helps!)
1) Add yeast and water to a mixing bowl, stir it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Once it's bubbling, go ahead and mix in all the other dough ingredients.
2) Mix the dough on low until it comes together in a soft ball. Then mix for 2-3 minutes. You can also stir everything together with a wooden spoon.
3) Add dough to a lightly oiled bowl and sprinkle a bit of flour on top. Cover and let rise for 2 hours. It should more than double in size.
4) Roll your dough out onto a lightly floured surface until it's 1/2 inch thick. Then use some round cookie cutters to punch out the donuts. You should be able to get at least 12 out of the dough. Feel free to re-roll the dough and make more donuts.
5) Lay donuts on a baking sheet that's been lightly floured. Let the donuts rise for another 30 minutes.
6) Heat oil in a cast iron skillet until it's 350 degrees. You don't need a lot of oil, just about 2 inches of oil in the pan should do the trick.
7) Add a few donuts to the oil and cook for about 1 minute per side. You'll have to flip the donuts with a spoon or tongs.
8) Remove the donuts and let them cool on some paper towels.
9) For the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the milk. Then add corn syrup, vanilla, and chocolate until it melts.
10) Take the mixture off of the heat and whisk in sugar.
11) Dip the donuts in the glaze and sprinkle on any other toppings you want. Eat as soon as possible!
Recipe from Gourmet originally, but I got it from Joy the Baker.
Making the Dough
This dough is pretty easy to pull together actually (especially if you have a mixer). Like a lot of enriched doughs, these are the base ingredients.
Since these are yeasted donuts, the first step is to actually make sure your yeast is alive. Honestly, sometimes I bypass this step, but I decided to check it for this recipe. Add your yeast and water to a bowl, stir it together and let it sit for about 5 minutes. If it starts bubbling and foaming, you know you’re in business. If there aren’t any bubbles, you need some new yeast!
There’s a very small amount of sugar and cinnamon in the dough, but these ingredients plus a bit of salt give the donuts a “something special” flavor.
Back to the dough, once your yeast is bubbling, add in all your other dough ingredients. I added my flour last. Then beat it on low until everything comes together in a soft ball. Then increase the speed to medium and beat it for 2-3 minutes until it’s very smooth.
If you don’t have a mixer, I’d recommend mixing everything up with a wooden spoon and then kneading the dough for a few minutes until it’s a smooth ball.
Add your dough to a lightly oiled bowl and then sprinkle a bit of flour on top.
Cover this and let it rise for about 2 hours at room temperature. It should more than double in size. This was my dough after a 2 hour rise:
Forming the donuts
Making these donuts is actually pretty straightforward. Just roll your dough out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Then using some round cooking cutters (I used the 3 inch cutter and the 1/2 inch cutter for the holes), just start punching out donuts in the most reasonable fashion. Of course, your goal is to get as many as possible.
Most of the donut recipes I read advised against reusing the scraps of dough to make more donuts. But this seemed kind of silly to me so I tried it. After I got as many donuts as I could get out of one sheet, I rerolled my dough and punched out some more donuts. Guess what: People ate them anyway!
A Second Rising
Once you punch out your donuts, lay them out onto a baking sheet that’s been lightly floured (just so they don’t stick). Let them rise for another 30 minutes. This will make sure they are nice and fluffy when you fry them up. I actually let mine rise for like an hour by accident, but 30 minutes would’ve worked fine I think.
Frying the Donuts
The moment of truth. You need to fry these bad boys. And yes you have to fry them. There’s a lot of ways to do a lot of things, but there’s only one way to make good donuts: fry them.
I fried mine in a large cast iron skillet. Just add enough oil to measure about 2 inches up the pan. The donuts will float so you only need to cover half a donut at a time. Heat up your oil until it’s about 325-350 degrees. I highly recommend a deep-fry thermometer. They are very cheap and pretty essential if you want to do some good frying.
This is good frying:
These will fry very quickly. About 1 minute a side should do the trick. Work in batches and use some metal tongs or a wooden spoon to flip them. When they’re done, move them to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to let them drain a bit.
Don’t forget about the holes! I fried mine up and tossed them right away into a cinnamon sugar mix (1/2 cup sugar to 1 Teaspoon cinnamon).
Ok. So you actually want to make the glaze before you make your donuts just because the donuts take no time to fry up. The glaze is super easy to make though. Just melt your butter along with your milk in a small saucepan over low heat (or in a double boiler). Then stir in your corn syrup, vanilla, and chocolate until it’s melted.
Then take it off the heat and whisk in your sugar (sift it if you’re concerned with lumps). Easy breezy!
Once your donuts cool for a minute or two, go ahead and dip them in the glaze! You can of course sprinkle on any toppings that you want. The only topping I had laying around was some raw sugar so I used that. Not very colorful, but whatever. This guy wasn’t going back to the store just for sprinkles people.
It should go without saying that these are best to eat as soon as possible.
I don’t think I have to tell you this, but these were really good.
And to be completely honest, they weren’t that difficult. I was expecting them to be a lot more finicky, but turns out fried dough is probably going to be delicious.