The thing about doughnuts at my house is that we tend to prefer the homemade ones to the store-bought kind. Sure, we eat store-bought doughnuts, but we have long known that making these fried cakes at home makes them more satisfying, even tastier than any sinker the shops can produce.
As I’ve written before in this blog, cake doughnuts have been my family’s all-time favorite, mainly because they call to mind the ones we used to make from a Hungry Jack mix a long time ago. But now, a recent kitchen project has led to yeast-raised doughnuts becoming the new family fave.
The recipe I used for this particular treat actually comes from the September 2011 issue of Delicious-UK where it was actually the cover story: a luscious layout featuring jam doughnuts scattered on a lavender background, glistening with granulated sugar, and stuffed to the gills with raspberry jam. This image pretty much set fire to my brain and had me wondering: what would taste better – Nutella or a thick vanilla custard? However, I know my limits and actually filling the finished doughnuts would probably yield an inedible mess, seeing how I’ve never made them before. Plus, it would have been seriously messy given the heatwave we were under last week. And, anyway, my family actually prefers their sinkers plain with just a generous sprinkling of sugar.
The original recipe calls for 200 grams of strong bread flour which, alas, I didn’t have on hand. I used all-purpose flour, instead, and I had to use just slightly more of it to get a proper dough as opposed to a sloppy mess. It ended up all right, nevertheless.
Instead of forming the dough into balls, I took a cue from Nigella Lawson’s recipe for bagels and just formed the dough into short strips which I, then, looped around my fingers to form rings. Of course, in doing so, there won’t be any munchkins – doughnut holes – as would have been the result if I’d just rolled the dough onto a surface and used a cutter to stamp the cakes out. Trust me when I say that looping the dough is a faster and easier way to get the job done.
These are definitely comforting little snacks: crisp on the surface, bready and stodgy within, and utterly moreish. Be sure to serve these with hot chocolate for dipping and sipping. 😉
- 350 grams all-purpose flour
- 50 grams (1/2 stick) cold salted butter, diced
- 1 7-gram packet fast-acting yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 100mL milk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- oil for deep frying
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, and sugar in a large mixing bowl; rub in the diced butter in with your fingertips until the mixture takes on the texture of coarse cornmeal, all powdery and sandy. Stir in the sugar and the yeast. Make a well in the center.
Heat the milk for about 45 seconds on HIGH in the microwave. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. Pour the resulting mixture into the well in the dry ingredients. Mix rapidly to make a soft dough.
Dust a clean work surface with cornstarch and knead the dough for around 8 – 10 minutes. Place in a bowl and cover with a clean dishcloth. Leave to rise in a warm, draft-free area for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and evenly divide into 16 parts. Roll each part of dough into a short sausage between your palms, then loop around your index and middle fingers to form rings. Place the finished rings well apart from each other on a baking sheet. Cover and leave to prove for an additional 45 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Drop the doughnuts in, three at a time, and cook till golden-brown all over. Allow to cool on a plate lined with absorbent paper. If desired, toss the finished doughnuts with a mixture of 1/4 cup granulated white sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.