AFTER LAST WEEK’S recipe for healthy, Vegetarian Bean Burgers, I thought it was time to have a little fun. Fun, as in “let’s make doughnuts!” Fresh, homemade, so-delicious-you-could-scream doughnuts. Doughnuts you can top with frosting, cinnamon and sugar, or, for an adults-only crowd, a glaze enriched with orange cognac:
You wouldn’t believe how many doughnuts I made this week. Frankly, I can’t believe how many I ate, purely for the sake of research (uh-huh). But I learned three interesting facts: 1) doughnuts can be made well in advance, and then frozen; 2) a frozen doughnut, if wrapped in a paper towel and then microwaved for 10 seconds, will taste as good as fresh; 3) I need to enter a 12-step program for doughnut-addicts.
Doughnuts begin their careers as a Sweet Roll Dough. Well, mine do, anyway. Using a standing mixer, you can make this dough in about 5 minutes. You can also make the dough by hand, if you are willing to knead it for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.
Of course you’ll need a doughnut-cutter. Any kitchen-supply store worth its salt will carry this common gadget. If you don’t have a decent shop in your area, you can always order a doughnut-cutter from Amazon.
If you have children in your household, you might let them cut the doughnut shapes for you. The activity will keep them off the streets. And from leading a life of crime.
Children should not, however, be allowed to fry the doughnuts. I fry mine in vegetable oil which has been heated to 375F. There’s no guessing on the temperature here, folks. So if you have a candy thermometer hidden in one of your drawers, now would be a good time to find it. You won’t need a deep-fryer; any heavy-bottomed, 2-quart sauce pot or Dutch oven will do.
Think you’ll try these
doughnuts rings of joy? You can let me know by leaving a comment.
Here’s the recipe, which you can cut and paste into your file:
Raised Doughnuts with Orange Cognac Glaze
Kevin Lee Jacobs, A Garden for the House (www.agardenforthehouse.com)
Ingredients for 24 2 1/2-inch doughnut rings (and 24 centers, or “holes”)
The Sweet Roll Dough:
1 package active dry yeast, dissolved in 1/2 cup warm (about 110F) water
1/2 cup warm (about 110F) milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
Special Equipment: A standing mixer, outfitted with a dough hook; a donut-cutter, 2 1/2-inches diameter; a heavy-bottomed 2-qt or larger sauce-pot, or a Dutch oven
Making the dough - Pour all ingredients into the bowl of your standing mixer. Blend at low speed for about 30 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium (number 4 on my model) for about 2 minutes, or until the dough masses on the hook attachment. Let rest for 2 minutes; blend at medium speed for another 2 minutes, or until the dough feels smooth and elastic.
Rising the dough - Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface (I use my marble slab), and roughly form it into a ball. Set the dough in a large bowl that you’ve greased with butter or sprayed with vegetable spray. Flip the dough so the greased side is up. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until double — about 1 1/2 hours.
Rolling the dough, cutting the forms, and rising the doughnuts - Roll the dough about 3/8-inch thick on a well-floured board. Cut with the floured doughnut cutter. Separate the doughnut rings from their centers, and cover all with greased plastic wrap. Let rise until double – about one hour.
Frying the doughnuts - Pour three inches of vegetable oil into your sauce-pan or Dutch oven; insert candy thermometer and heat, over a medium flame, until the oil just reaches 375F. With a wide spatula, fry the doughnuts until golden brown – about 30 seconds per side. Drain on a cotton towel or several thicknesses of paper towels.
The Orange Cognac Glaze
Ingredients for glazing the tops of 24 doughnuts
1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup water or milk (use water if you want a clear, not white glaze)
1 tsp (or slightly more, to taste) orange cognac
The procedure - Whisk all ingredients until smooth. Dip each doughnut into the glaze, and set aside for a few minutes while the glaze sets.
Glazed doughnuts can be frozen in zip-lock-type bags indefinitely. When ready to serve, let the doughnuts come to room temperature (about 30 minutes), or wrap them loosely in a paper towel and microwave for 10 seconds.
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