This recipe is a taste of home — one whiff of the nutmeg and I’m instantly transported back to the farm. My mother made doughnuts a few times each year, usually around the holidays. She’d make a double batch and store them in a large, round Tupperware container. I can remember peeling back the lid and being hit in the face with the awesome doughnut scent.
I’ve been asking my mother for her doughnut recipe and it finally popped into my inbox over the Easter weekend. Although I was her baking assistant once upon a time, I don’t think I’ve attempted them as an adult. Fortunately, it’s hard to go wrong with this recipe.
Note: The reference to ‘soda’ means baking soda. The final instructions not shown in the recipe are to chill the dough. Then, roll, cut and to fry the doughnuts in 375F oil. Makes 3 dozen.
Three dozen doughnuts is way more than 2 people need, so I cut the recipe in half. I had forgotten what the dough texture should be like and guessed it would be like stiff cookie dough. I tended up using nearly 3 cups of flour. I prepared the dough and placed into the fridge while I went to the store to buy oil.
When I reached the market, I remembered Joe wouldn’t be home for dinner so decided to pick up ingredients to make a small pizza. I went to the meat counter and bought thinly sliced hot calabrese to top the pizza, a canned sauce (yes, I am lazy), mozzarella, and an artisan bread. Oh, and some fresh basil.
As you can see, I became distracted by pizza making and totally forgot to buy oil. This is *so* me.
Sadly, I didn’t realize this until I got home. I submitted to my fate and decided to postpone doughnut frying until the following day. I wasn’t sure how the dough would react to the delay but it seemed fine 24 hours later, although a bit wet. I kneaded it on the counter with another half cup of flour until it reached a non-sticky state once again.
I rolled the doughnuts into a 1/2″ disk, then used my state of the art doughnut cutter (i.e. leftover pizza sauce tin — see, the pizza had a purpose) and my doughnut hole maker (i.e. end of wooden spoon). Be sure to use a thermometer to monitor the oil, you don’t want it to be too low or too high. Try to keep it at or around 375.
The frying went smoothly – no burns and no smoke. But then again, any frying attempt that doesn’t require band-aids or a trip the hospital is considered a success.
My tangent on induction cooking:
I’ve been meaning to mention the induction cooktop we’re now using – which has both pros and cons. In this case, the pro is that the cook top keeps an even temperature and adjusts quickly to a setting change. Additionally, the heat is conducted through the bottom of the pan so the sides of the pan do not take on additional heat. My former gas stove could be a nightmare, as the flames would lick the sides of the pan and burn sauces, or in this case would cause the oil to smoke around the edges.
The con is the knobless, touch-top controls which are not designed for impatient people (yours truly) so I can find it frustrating to adjust when a pan is verging on boiling over. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case when frying these doughnuts … and I’m completely going off on a tangent now.
Back on track:
Back to the doughnuts. They are awesome. The outside becomes a medium brown color and is crispy when fresh from the oil. As the doughnuts cool and sit, the crispiness will disappear. The insides remains a cake-y, nutmeg-y, tender center. Once cooled, I place them into a Tupperware container (old habits die hard). The doughnuts don’t last long but I should note that they do freeze well.
Go nude or add a top?
Although I love yeast doughnuts, cake doughnuts hold a special place in my heart. They are thick and hearty, tender and flavorful. I’m showing a few of them glazed which will cause my mother to raise an eyebrow, supportive of my creative choice while mildly disapproving. She never glazed them or did any other funny business with them.
I made a simple glaze of 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2-3 T milk. I divided it into four bowls and then played around: 1 T raspberry preserves in one, 1 T blueberry jam in another, maple flavoring in the third, and a generous amount of freshly ground cinnamon in the fourth bowl (that I won in a giveaway from Todd & Diane month’s ago — it made the move to Vancouver).
Doughnut dippers – a party waiting to happen!
Each bowl will only glaze about 2 doughnuts but I was doing it mostly to try out different flavorings. I like the cinnamon version the best — much less messy than making sugar and cinnamon tossed doughnuts. I think it would be fun to make doughnut sticks (as opposed to round ones), then create a palette of dipping glazes — who wants an invite to that party???