Oh my goodness. If I had no control, I’d be a doomed woman right now. It’s nearly 11pm, the menfolk are asleep and there is a plate full of warm powder sugar covered home made raspberry jelly doughnuts on the counter in the kitchen. In the dark. All alone. Just sitting there.
If I am very still, I can almost hear them calling my name. Remember the Sirens on the rocky shore calling to Odysseus? Wait. Maybe that was Jason. Anyway…I’m sure neither one of them liked doughnuts so no matter.
I have Helene of Tartelette and Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody to thank for this dilemma. They’re hosting a "Time to Make Doughnuts" event and I couldn’t refuse. I hadn’t actually made doughnuts before. Beignets, churros, yes, but doughnuts? No. And goodness, am I ever glad I decided to do this.
Like I said. They’re calling my name.
As much as I enjoy cooking, I only have one book I’d classify as a baking book, and it was no help as far as doughnuts are concerned. So I turned to The Joy of Cooking, and found a few recipes that sounded promising. But I had time, so procrastinated, of course. And thankfully, I found several this afternoon on the internet that weren’t too different from the others, so I printed them all and just compared quantities, rising times, and that sort of thing. Although I found many different kinds of doughnut recipes, I decided to stay with the basics since I was a newbie.
It would have been nice to have had enough oil to begin since doughnuts are fried, right? Thankfully, my huzbink stopped by the store on his way home with more, and then I was lucky enough to have him join in on the fun. And it was quite a bit of fun.
Before I begin, I thought I’d mention the equipment I used to make my doughnuts. It isn’t fancy, but having finished my first ever batch, I’d say it’s important.
- I used a very deep, but narrow heavy pot. Since the recipe calls for 3 " of oil, I decided that narrow would be better for using less oil. In other words, it would be easier to get to the required 3 inch requirement. I rarely fry anything, and end up throwing it out, so wanted to cut down on the waste.
- A candy thermometer is an absolute. Or anything that helps you know what temperature the oil is. This keeps the doughnuts from either burning, or soaking up the oil as they fry. The clip on the thermometer is quite handy. Wilton makes them among others, I’m sure.
- A wire "ladle" is perfect for this. You know the ones used for Asian cooking that are wide and made of twisted wires? You can lower the dough into the hot oil with one, flip the dough, and then remove it all without splashing, or scooping up any unwanted hot oil. I think mine has a Joyce Chen stamp on it.
- Baking racks near the fry area set over layers of newspaper and/or parchment. It was easy to scoop out the doughnuts and let them cool on the racks before powdering them, filling them with jelly, drizzling on glaze or sprinkling on sugar. Clean up was very, very easy.
- Pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip to squirt the jelly into the doughnuts. There’s no other way. Trust me.
- A husband who likes to help is quite the luxury. He likes to stir, mostly, but he can also chop, puree, whip a mean cream by hand, saute, flip, sear, and read pretty much any recipe I ask him to in a pinch. Quite the hunkster en la cocina. Okay, so maybe it isn’t completely necessary, but it certainly is very nice to have the company and help.
Having said all that, there’s only one more thing I need to make a point about. When I think of doughnuts, I think of overly sweet, greasy, puffy things that can be found in a variety of corner stores not too far from home. I can live without them, because all I can think of when I see them is a huge number of calories for little reward.
But homemade doughnuts? Oh, my.
Do you have any idea?
They’re not the slightest bit oily. They’re not heavy. They’re not even sweet. They’re just amazing. Completely and simply delicious.
4 to 4-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
2-1/2 tsp. dry active yeast
1 c. lukewarm milk
2 T sugar
2 lg. eggs, beaten
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 c. powdered sugar
3 T milk
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 4 c. flour and salt.
- In a small bowl, mix the dry yeast with 2 T of the milk and 2 T of the sugar and let sit until foamy (about 5-10 minutes)
- Add the remaining milk to the flour along with the yeast mixture and turn the mixer on low to blend. Add the eggs and melted butter and mix into a soft but not sticky dough. If necessary, add a little extra milk or flour, but only 1 T at a time.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You can do this in the mixer if you wish.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Punch dough down after the first rise and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, kneading it a few times.
- With a lightly floured rolling pin, gradually roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thick. Let the dough rest periodically to relax it.
- Cut the dough with floured biscuit cutters. Re-roll scraps to make as many doughnuts as possible.
- Place doughnuts on a floured baking pan or counterspace lightly covered with a dishtowel until risen, about 20 minutes.
- Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees F
- Carefully lower doughnuts into the oil a couple at a time, adjusting heat as needed to maintain the temperature. Flip the doughnuts several times to cook evenly, about three minutes total.
- Transfer to the prepared lined cooking racks.
- Dust with powdered sugar, drizzle with glaze, sprinkle sugar decorations and/or fill with jelly as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
- To fill with jelly, insert tip of the pastry bag into the side of the doughnut and pipe until it begins to come out the area where the tip was inserted.
- Enjoy warm or after they’ve cooled.
- Hide them so you won’t eat all of them.
Thanks to Peabody and Helene for the idea behind this event. I loved it! Of course I want to make more doughnuts now.
I used the last bit of dough scraps to try a "test" doughnut. The original recipe calls for the doughnuts to fry for 5-7 minutes but I took out the test doughnut at 4 minutes. It was still bubbling away, but I could tell it was going to get very brown, so took it out. It was pleasantly crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Very nice.
I am surprised at how light they are, and how un-sweet compared to those we’re used to. They aren’t the least bit oily, either. The powdered sugar is the perfect accompaniment — just a light dusting on the top. The raspberry jam sends them over the top, and is absolutely wonderful.
But I could eat these plain. No topping. No sugar. No jam.
Oh. My. Goodness.