Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Do 'Em Yourself Doughnuts!

Recipe: Easy Homemade Doughnuts, 'Yeast Doughnuts'
Source: Woman's Day Magazine
Time: 1 hr 30 min active time; plus overnight rising, 30 minute rising time, and glaze set time
Ease: 8
Taste: 10
Leftover Value: 8 (Like most doughnuts, fresh is best!)
Down the Drain or Keep in the Strainer: Keep it in the Strainer!

First of all, let me say, I only have access to Woman's Day Magazine because my grandmother hands them down to me when she is finished reading them.  I read them to satisfy her want for me to read them.  

Whew, glad I cleared that up.

Second, you'll notice this recipe is called, 'Yeast Doughnuts'.  However, the recipe link says "Chocolate Glazed Yeast Doughnuts', and even further, the original recipe title in the magazine said, "Easy Homemade Doughnuts".

Let me stress right away that these are certainly not easy.  I'm not giving them a whopping '10', only because I try to reserve that for recipes I find myself questioning why I even attempted to make them in the first place.  For example, think of a Parisian pastry composed of layers of buttery flakes that when paired with a cappuccino makes you want to sing praises for the baking masters who created such a beautiful thing that can be eaten at breakfast, midday, or evening and enjoyed to the fullest.  I recently learned how to achieve such wonder.  It's an intense process which, I'll just say, one of the steps involves molding butter into a flat sheet to sandwich between layers of dough.  

Crazy, right?

At first I thought, sure I'll try it.  And then I realized how much pain I would be putting myself through when I know that Panera and Starbucks both have pastries that I can purchase for a few bucks equaling less time and money spent on the final product--my happy belly.

Yet there are some recipes that lean towards that 10 rating, and some that I do dare to make.  Homemade doughnuts is one of them.  While there is no butter molding involved in doughnut making, it really is the amount of time that has to be put into them that makes them an 8 for ease.

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But just look at how gorgeous they are.

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I have made homemade doughnuts several times now.  I've tried two different recipes and decided to stick with the first, with a few changes.

Regardless, my kitchen always ends up being a mess.  From start to finish, there is no way to avoid it.

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The major change I made from the original recipe was to nix the lemon zest.  When I have made doughnuts with lemon zest, everyone who ate them loved them--except me.  I felt like it was overpowering and had no place being used in a basic glazed doughnut.

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The dough for these doughnuts needs to be made the night before you want to make them.  No matter how many times I make these, I'm pretty sure I will always forget this important step.  I usually find myself scrambling at 10:00 at night to make the dough because I forgot to plan ahead.

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You can purchase a doughnut cutter, but I went ahead and bought a fancy biscuit cutter set and used one of the bigger cutters for the outside and a teeny one for the middle.

Make sure to save the holes!  This will be important later for test tasting!  

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After the doughnuts are cut, they need to rise in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.  I usually spend that time getting my oil warmed up, and trying to somewhat clean my kitchen.

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Here's the part that you just have to make peace with.  Delicious glazed doughnuts are fried.  There.  I've said it.  I'm always amazed at how little time they need to spend in the oil to become this:

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Oh my stars, they look beautiful.

Over the course of the different times that I've made these, my biggest struggle, aside from the lemony flavor, has been glazing the doughnuts.  For starters, you have to allow time for not only glazing the doughnuts, but also allowing the glaze to set.  Too often I've planned out my time so that I would glaze the doughnuts and then head off to whatever function I was making the doughnuts for in the first place.  They need at least an hour to set.  The different glazes that the recipe included were: apple cider glaze, chocolate glaze, orange glaze, and vanilla glaze, but I wasn't impressed with them.  

Not pictured, but definitely a crowd pleaser was my chocolate icing:

Chocolate Icing

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 T canola oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Microwave and stir until the chips are melted

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The basic glaze always came out too runny when I followed the recipe.

Here's the best I've come up with:

Glaze for Glazed Doughnuts

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 T water

Mix together until smooth

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With the above glaze recipe I was able to glaze a dozen doughnuts and close to twenty doughnut holes.  Here is why you want to make doughnut holes rather than making one or two more doughnuts...

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...while you're glazing the rest of the doughnuts, you can pop a few in your mouth and not feel as guilty as you might if had you eaten an entire doughnut.