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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Homemade Donuts


The Husband and I have a few Christmas traditions. One of them is making doughnuts from scratch. Yes, I know, it is rather easy to just drive down to Tim Horton’s (or Dunkin Donuts for all you Americans out there) and get a dozen but as with most things in life, homemade tastes better. Plus they’re fun to make, albeit a bit time consuming.

The recipe I used comes from Alton Brown, you can find it here.


For some reason I am always impressed whenever I proof yeast. It’s the vital piece of culinary magic that prevents your baked goods from having the texture of hockey pucks.


The recipe calls for shortening. Usually I use butter in everything but I decided to follow instructions this time. Am I the only one frightened by the fact that vegetable shortening seems to pretty much last forever? I swear, if there was a nuclear winter the only things that would last would be Twinkies and shortening.


The eggs, salt, sugar, yeast, melted shortening, milk and flour in the mixer. I also added cinnamon instead of nutmeg at The Husband’s request.


Above are the different steps of incorporating the flour. By the end it was very stiff and the mixer was having a bit of a problem.


My dough after rising. I used the microwaving trick to make it rise (microwave a cup of water for 2 minutes then very quickly open the door, take out the cup and put in the mixing bowl with the dough. This creates a warm, moist environment for your dough to rise. Absolutely foolproof).


I love rolling out dough. There is something just so luxurious about rolling out smooth, silky dough.


Since I don’t have a doughnut cutter I used my biggest biscuit cutter to make the larger circle and an apple corer to cut out the little circle in the middle. They do say that necessity is the mother of invention.  The Husband is the one who is in charge of cutting out the middles since he is a lot better at doing it evenly than me.


With the leftover scraps of dough I made twists. Since we were doing laundry that day I put the doughnuts on top of the drier to rise, covered with a damp tea towel so they wouldn’t dry out. My house is always cold during the winter so the laundry room was a good solution since it was warm and humid.


After the second rising everything was nice and puffy and ready for frying.


Given that I deep fry once or twice a year, I always get nervous doing it. I always have visions of the pan of boiling oil flipping over and chaos ensuing. I always end up using my biggest and deepest cast iron pot for this purpose and enlist the help of The Husband. I suppose with an automatic deep fryer you could make doughnuts alone but with just a pot of oil on the stove you need to watch the temperature like a hawk since too hot they burn and too cold they soak up too much oil. Once the doughnuts hit the oil they puff up a little more which is nice.


Nice and golden after flipping them over. They cook super fast, less than a minute so you really have to work quickly when making doughnuts.


Whenever we make doughnuts we end up covering most of the countertops with paper towel to lay the doughnuts out on.

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I ended up making honey glaze and maple glaze for the doughnuts as well as chocolate icing. For the honey glaze I ended up adding honey to a bowl of icing sugar and mixed in a little bit of milk until it was the right consistency. Yes, my honey comes in a little bear bottle. Cute but it is a pain to get the honey out when it crystallizes. For the maple icing I did the same thing except I didn’t add any milk since maple syrup is liquid enough (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of it!).


For the chocolate glaze I took Alton Brown’s recipe which you can find here. It so so dead easy. You melt butter in a pan to which you add milk, vanilla and corn syrup.


In the recipe it calls for chopping the chocolate and then adding it to the pan but since I didn’t feel like doing that I just half melted it in the microwave first.


After that you dump in the icing sugar and stir like crazy to get any lumps out if you’re like me and never sift anything.

Once the glazes and the frosting were done I dipped the doughnuts and twists in to coat them and stored them in separate containers.


The honey doughnuts.


The maple doughnuts.


And last and most definitively the best, the chocolate doughnuts. To quote Homer Simpson “Mmmmm doughnuts…”. The maple and the honey ones were good but the chocolate ones were amazing. The icing was very thick and fudgy. I had to stop myself from inhaling the whole batch. I love Christmas, it’s the perfect excuse for dietary indulgence.

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