Saturday, April 4, 2009

Homemade Franchise-Style Doughnuts

Doughnuts are one of those foods that I remember being a treat. Dad used to go out on Saturday mornings to get everyone their favorite doughnut. Of course, at the time, my favorite was the maple bar...or a sprinkled doughnut....or...well, let's just say I don't think I've met a doughnut I didn't like.

My sister and I used to make doughnuts from biscuits. Pop the can, use a bottle top to make the hole, fry and then cover in sugar. Super yummy and easy for kids...but they were really just sugar-covered, fried biscuits.

I recently purchased A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. It is a beautiful book with a ton of great recipes and photos. As I flipped through this book when I first got it I was immediately drawn to these doughnuts. They sounded fairly easy, if you can get past the yeast proofing, and looked divine. So, I decided that I would attempt to make them. I'm so glad I did.

The dough came together easily...rose beautifully. I guess yeast isn't as scary as I thought. :-)
Dough, ready to be rolled

The dough rolled out easily and was easy to cut into doughnuts. I used a round cookie cutter and a flower shaped cookie cutter for the hole...improvised. It worked, but I probably should have used a smaller cutter. The doughnuts ended up being a bit large. They had to rest and rise again under plastic...which they did.

Resting and Re-Rising

Now they were ready to fry. From my biscuit doughnut days, I felt very prepared for this part. Of course, the doughnut holes were a bit more difficult to fry than the doughnuts, but nothing I couldn't handle....they all were easily cooked. Made me wish for a larger fryer, since it took a long time doing them one at a time.

Frying the Doughnuts
Once done, I let them cool a bit on the rack and then started glazing them. I found that the glaze stayed on better if they were cooler, but looked a lot better if the doughnuts were a bit warm and glazed multiple times.

Glazed and Setting

Either way was tasty. I didn't make any chocolate glaze, though I wish I would have. Maybe next time...because yes, there will be a next time with these doughnuts!

Finished Doughnuts

These went quickly when I took them to work...lots of "nom nom nom" and amazement that they were homemade. Success!

The Recipe:
Homemade Franchise-Style Doughnuts
Makes 36 medium doughnuts

1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
2 tablespoons rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups warm milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup shortening
5 cups, approximately, all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil or shortening, for frying

In a mixer bowl, hand-whisk warm water and yeast together and let stand for 2-3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Briskly whisk in milk, sugar, salt and eggs and blend. Add shortening and most of the flour and blend. Then knead with a dough hook on low speed only until smooth (it is not necssary to knead this dough a long time).

Remove dough hook and spray dough lightly wtih nonstick cooking spray. Cover entire mixer and bowl with a large clear plastic bag (I just used plastic wrap). Let dough rise 50-60 minutes or until almost doubled.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness and, using a doughnut cutter, cut into doughnuts. (Each doughnut should weigh just under 2 ounces of raw dough.) Cover doughnuts loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 20-40 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil or shortening in a fryer (or wok) to 350 degrees. Slide in doughnuts, a few at a time, and fry about 1 minute per side. Remove from oil onto a wire rack set over parchment paper.

Creamy Butter Glaze
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 - 6 tablespoons hot water
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, optional

Melt butter and then whisk it in a medium bowl with confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and hot water. Smear doughnuts in glaze. Let set and smear again.

For chocolate glaze, if desired, add 1 ounce melted chocolate to one entire recipe of Creamy Butter Glaze. Smear doughnuts in Chocolate Glaze.

Enjoy with Love,

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