I made something for you. In honor of making little victories.
I had been wanting to make doughnuts for a really long time. The old-fashioned way. With a really scary big pot full of hot oil, a skinny pair of tongs, and an intense fear of the gas flame under my pot catching on fire. I secretly checked to see where the fire extinguisher was in the house before starting. I was nervous, let me tell you. The dough was easy enough to mix together (hey, I think I am getting the hang of this yeast aversion…), the rising process appeared to be successful, and those little sprinkles were beckoning to me, just waiting to top the chocolate glaze. I attached my thermometer to the heavy side of the saucepan, poured in the oil, turned the gas flame on, and stepped back, almost as if it would bite me. But it didn’t, of course (silly me). The oil just kind of swirled around as it got hot, and I felt so much better. I literally stood by the stove and watched the thermometer’s reading…..375 degrees. Nothing more, nothing less.
The first doughnut was the scariest. As I dropped the perfect little dough circle into the oil, it became indented by my apparent death-like grip on the tongs, and I quickly jumped back and dropped it in. I peeked over the edge of the saucepan to see it rise to the top of the oil, bubbling away. The recipe said that it would take about 30 seconds per side of the doughnut, but, as I started timing it in my head, I realized that it was getting really brown…really fast. So, the poor thing looked like a little deformed rust-colored tire. But, then, with those that followed, I got a lot better at my ability to not dent the doughnuts so much, and I was able to get a really pretty golden color to them. It was actually fun! So check this off my list of another scary thing in life accomplished. The next day, I ate five doughnuts to celebrate this (tiny) accomplishment. Yes, five. They were outstanding. Next on my list of culinary challenges? Jelly-filled ones, of course. Stay tuned.
Here’s to little victories.
Yeasted Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze
Servings: approximately 16 doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
3-3 and 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 envelope (or 2 and 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
6 cups oil (I used peanut oil-and I went ahead and used the whole 48 ounce container, which seemed ok)
For the glaze:
4 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (you can also use chocolate chips!)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1. For the doughnuts: In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups of the flour, the yeast, 6 tablespoons sugar, and the salt. Set aside.
2. Place the milk and eggs in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until a ball of dough forms.
3. Add the softened butter one piece at a time, waiting about 15 seconds after each addition.
4. Continue mixing for about 3 minutes longer, adding the remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary, until the dough forms a soft ball.
5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours.
6. Place the dough onto a floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll it out to a thickness of 1/2-inch.
7. Cut the dough using a 2 and 1/2-inch or 3-inch doughnut cutter, gathering the scraps and rerolling them as necessary.
8. Place the doughnut rings (and holes!) onto a floured baking sheet.
9. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until slightly puffy, 30 to 45 minutes.
10. Meanwhile, fit a candy thermometer to the side of a large Dutch oven.
11. Add the oil to the pot and gradually heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375 degrees.
12. Place the rings (and holes!) carefully into the hot oil 4 or 5 at a time.
13. Fry until golden brown (mine took about 7 or 8 seconds on each side).
14. Remove the doughnuts from the hot oil and drain on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet or wire rack.
15. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, returning the oil to temperature between batches.
16. Cool the doughnuts for about 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
17. For the glaze: While the doughnuts are cooling, place the chocolate in a small bowl.
18. Heat the half-and-half on the stove or in the microwave until almost boiling.
19. Add the half-and-half to the chocolate and whisk together to melt the chocolate.
20. Add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk until no lumps remain.
21. When the doughnuts have cooled, dip one side of each doughnut into the glaze, shake off any excess, and transfer to a wire rack to set the glaze.
22. Decorate with your favorite sprinkles.
Adapted from: Baking Illustrated.