Donuts Make Van Go Nuts

Once upon a time I thought it was a brilliant idea to make donuts. And it was pretty awesome, because they were yummy, but donut making is a process that’s best left for a day with plenty of free time. It all began with one cookbook that I HAD to have – ‘Donuts’ from William Sonoma. How can one not love the concept of sugary fried dough? So anyways, my lovely boyfriend bought me the book and the next day I got down to business and made some yeast donuts! At first all seemed well – I made the dough, let it rise… I even bought a shiny new thermometer. Finally I got to cut the donut shapes, and let ‘em rise again. While all of this is happening, I tried to decide what flavours I wanted – cinnamon sugar (obviously, favouritist) and well, a chocolate ganache for dipping couldn’t hurt. So I hauled out my dutch oven and started getting the oil nice and hot for fry time. This is where things became chaotic.

It was late, I was tired from mixing and kneading and waiting and prepping. I didn’t have the most efficient workspace. My thermometer was a big fat liar – I heated the oil up to the suggested temperature, but my stupid ‘shiny’ thermometer wasn’t reading correctly. I could tell the oil was hot – I tested a few donut holes before taking the plunge and they got pretty crispy, pretty fast. It took (what felt like) eons for the oil to cool down to a workable temp. Shortly after I was submerging my dough disks and really getting into the groove of things. At this point my belly was aching from eating way too many donut holes, sooo good.

In the end, the results were tasty, but I wouldn’t suggest making donuts unless you have a bunch of people ready to eat ‘em while they’re fresh and still warm. The next day they just don’t compare. But if you wanna give it a try, here’s the recipe. They’re cute, they’re versatile, they’re doughy-fried goodness:

Yeast Donuts

3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) quick-rise yeast
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter and heat, stirring until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Remove from heat. Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour, the sugar, salt and yeast and beat on low speed to mix. Add the hot milk mixture, raise the speed to medium and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and beat until the dough is well blended and smooth, about 1 minute longer. The dough will be sticky. Scrape the dough into a large bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let stand in a warm place until well risen, and doubled in size (about 45 minutes)
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and brush with oil. Line a second baking sheet with paper towel. Generously flour a surface and begin rolling the dough until it is about 1/2 an inch thick. Cut out as many donuts as possible (about 3 inches) save the holes for frying! Cover the cut out donuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.
In a dutch oven or deep fryer, heat oil until 360 degrees ferenheit. Lower a few donut holes into the oil and let cook for about 1.5 minutes, and then turn over on the other side to cook for another minute. Repeat this process with the donuts until complete. While still warm, cover the donuts in a blend of icing sugar and cinnamon. You can prepare a simple ganache for dipping, but the possibilities are endless! Enjoy! This recipe is from the ‘Donut’s’ cookbook – get your copy at William Sonoma!


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