Homemade Doughnuts

About a month or so ago, I saw the cutest little doughnuts in the Starbucks pastry window and though it would be fun to try and make some. Many of you know I love to cook, but baking isn’t my forte. So I asked my friend Crystal (A.K.A Crystal Crocker) to come over and help me make some yummy homemade doughnuts. This is the project we used the cute sprinkles for. She provided the recipe from one of her cookbooks.
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Homemade Doughnut Recipe
3 – 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
6 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 cup for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk, at room temp
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
6 cups (40 ounces) vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, for frying

1.  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. 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.

4.  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 1/2 hours.  Place the dough on a floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll it out to the thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut the dough using a 2 1/2 to 3 inch doughnut cutter, gathering the scraps and rerolling them as necessary. Place the doughnut rings and holes on a floured baking sheet.  loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp until slightly puffy, 30 to 45 minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, fit a candy thermometer to the side of a large Dutch oven. Add the shortening to the pot and gradually heat the shortening over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Place the rings and holes carefully in the hot fat 4 or 5 at a time. Fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side for the holes and 45 to 60 seconds per side for the donuts. Remove the donuts from the hot oil and drain on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet or wire rack. Repeat with the remaining donuts, returning the fat to temperature between batches. Cool the donuts for about 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.  Roll the warm donuts in the remaining 1 cup sugar. Serve warm or at room temp.

Variations
Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts – Mix 1 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. Roll the donuts to coat
Vanilla-Glazed Donuts – Whisk together 1/2 cup half and half, 3 cups confectioners sugar and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract in a medium bowl until combined. Dip donuts and shake off excess.

In order to give the dough enough time to rise, I had to get up quite early so that by the time Crystal came over, it was ready to start working with. 
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Slowly but surely, the dough began to rise.

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We rolled out the dough and used a doughnut cutter to make the doughnut shape. If you don’t have one I think you can use a glass and a shot glass for the middle. 

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The oil took a while to heat up but the thermometer really helped gauge when it was ready. 

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Dough goes in…
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Doughnut come out!
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In order for the cinnamon and sugar to stick to the doughnuts, we had to roll them in the mixture right away.
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Overall, the doughnuts were good and the boys liked them. The recipe was easy to follow and not too sweet which I liked. The glaze was light so they were nice and fluffy. The only thing I am not 100% sold on is the frying in the oil. For the most part I am a really healthy eater so fried food or even doughnuts is a rare occurrence for me. If I make them again I will try to see how they come out baked in the oven. That way the house won’t smell like oil all day either.


Have you ever made homemade doughnuts before? Any secrets or tips on baked doughnuts? I would love to hear how others do it. 


Enjoy!

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