Sometimes the only thing that will do your cup o’ joe justice is with some lip smacking doughnuts. These aren’t your boring hum-drum doughnuts, rather they are light as air, and like biting- into- a- cloud glazed doughnuts.
The yeast in this recipe gives the doughnuts a lift of airy proportions. The soft glaze or cinnamon sugar dip tips the scale from this dough being a typical deep fried snack into a warm, fluffy, golden brown treat that literally melts in your mouth and coats your tongue with pleasure.
You will beg for more of these salivating delights. This recipe is from Baking Illustrated (yes, again!) My changes/ recommendations are in italics.
For the dough:
3-3¼ cups all-purpose flour (15-16¼ oz.)
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
6 tbsp. granulated sugar (2½ oz.)
½ tsp. table salt
2/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, at room temperature
6 cups vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
For the cinnamon-sugar coating:
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon (Saigon Cinnamon)
For the vanilla glaze:
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¼ cup half-and-half, plus more as needed
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
For the chocolate glaze:
2 oz. finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used Lindt)
¼ cup half-and-half
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
To make the dough, in a medium bowl combine 3 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar and salt . Stir together with a fork and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the milk and eggs. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed for 3-4 minutes or until a ball of dough forms. With the mixer on low speed, add the softened butter a piece at a time, mixing for about 15 seconds between each addition. Continue mixing for about 3 minutes longer, adding the remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary, until the dough forms a ball. (you can also make the dough by hand. You will just have to mix for a bit longer until the dough forms a ball).
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 2-2½ hours.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it to a thickness of ½ inch. Cut the dough into rounds using a 2½-3 inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Use a smaller circle cutter to cut the hole out of the middle of each, creating the doughnut shape. Reroll and cut the dough scraps as necessary to make use of all the dough. (if you find the dough tightens up on you due to all the stretching and rekneading of scraps, cover it with plastic and let it rest for a few minutes. This will relax the gluten and allow the dough to become more pliable again)
Place the shaped doughnuts and doughnut holes onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until slightly puffy, 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, fit a candy thermometer to the side of a large Dutch oven. Add the shortening to the pot and gradually heat it over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 375˚ F. Place the rings and holes carefully into the hot fat 4 or 5 at a time.
Fry until golden brown, about 30-45 seconds per side (less for doughnut holes). Remove from the hot oil with a skimmer and transfer to a paper towel-lined cooling rack. (only took me 30 seconds on each side. Watch them closely so that they don’t over-brown)
Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, returning the temperature to 375˚ F between batches. Cool the doughnuts for about 10 minutes before topping or glazing. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To make the cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl or plate. Roll the warm doughnuts in the mixture to coat, then return to the wire cooling rack.
To make the vanilla glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, half-and-half, and vanilla extract. Add more half-and-half 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to achieve your desired consistency. Dip both sides of each doughnut in the glaze, gently shaking off any excess. Return to the wire cooling rack with a baking sheet set underneath to catch drips.
To make the chocolate glaze, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the half-and-half until simmering, then pour over the chocolate. Whisk together until the chocolate is melted. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Dip one side of each doughnut in the glaze, shaking off the excess. Return to the wire cooling rack and top with sprinkles if desired. Let the glaze set before serving.
Note: These are truly tasty the day they are made and should be eaten within a few hours. The following day, I turned my leftovers into a doughnut bread pudding!
Yield: about 15-16 doughnuts, plus doughnut holes