The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.
We love donuts at our house. In fact there is a great donut “factory”, Dunford Donuts, within walking distance. Okay, it’s really a couple of miles from my house, but I figure if I walk there I’m burning off all the calories I’ll get eating the donuts.
They make all kinds of donuts. Our favorite is their Chocolate Ice Cake Donut (which I’ve always wanted the recipe for), but we also love their Chocolate Glazed Yeast Donuts.
I rarely make fried foods at home. My husband complains about the way the house smells afterwards and I usually try to keep the calories down by baking instead of frying. We were offered an option to bake them, but I figured if you’re making donuts, you may as well go all out.
Although, I always thought the Dunford Chocolate Ice Cake Donut were baked and not fried, but probably not – they have 500 calories each and the Chocolate Glazed Yeast Donuts only have 340 calories. I’m not sure I really wanted to learn that. I may have to rethink my favorite.
My experience with donuts made at home is that they are a bit on the greasy side. This was not the case with these donuts. I was careful to bring the oil back to 365º before adding more donuts and they weren’t greasy at all. In fact, they were the best homemade donuts I’ve ever had. Not as tender and light as a Krispy Kreme or the Dunford Chocolate Glaze Donuts, but way better than any grocery story donut I’ve ever had.
Before glazing the donuts they need to cool for 30 minutes. I knew my boys and I wouldn’t want to wait that long, so I also made a few cinnamon sugar donuts and my son rolled all of the fried donut holes in cinnamon and sugar as well. The donut holes were gone within minutes and the cinnamon sugar donuts only lasted long enough to take a picture. In fact, the entire 2 dozen donuts were gone within 24 hours. We do love donuts at our house!
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
2 packages instant yeast
1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (I omitted this)
4 2/3 cup (23 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. (I had to add about 1 cup additional flour to get a smooth dough - the less you add the more tender your donuts will be.) Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.
Thanks Lori for a fun challenge that my kids loved as much as I did. Stop by the Daring Kitchen to see of slideshow of the fabulous donuts the Daring Bakers whipped up.