Doughnuts... For weeks now I've been craving doughnuts like crazy. I thought of heading down to Krispy Kreme for half a dozen gobsmackingly good original glazed doughnuts but then it's so out of the way and to be honest, I don't even know where it is. I've never been to the one in Singapore. So I decided to get my lazy Sunday ass up, put on my productive cap and then ah, pretty assorted dooooughnuts appeared.
Lovely thing about doughnuts is that there are sprinkles involved!! I don't normally go looking for it but you just have to when it comes them. And what does one feel when they get to play with sprinkles? What a question, that's a total no-brainer. Second wonderful thing about doughnuts is they're great fun making. I mean, you literally spend half the time just waiting for the dough to proof so, not much work involved there.. plus at the end of it all, they're so colourful, pretty and obnoxiously photogenic.
I settled mostly with an original glaze base because that's my personal favourite and a few chocolate ones studded with cocoa nibs. In complete honesty, I'm not so good with yeast and American desserts but these doughnuts were so moist, soft, and fluffy that I could not be more proud! For months I've been battling the extreme humidity and warmth of this city, amplified further by my zero-ventilated house and for once, I think it has some merits afterall; It’s perfect as a boulangerie since it’s so warm. Proofing doughs is ridiculously easy. That being said, I’d much rather have a kitchen fit for a pastry lab rather than a bakery. I can't wait to move.
Honey, even if doughnuts aren’t top of your list, you’re bound to be smitten by these pretty round things!
I know it looks tedious with all the different coloured icings and their respective sprinkles/garnishes but it really wasn't at all! If you want to do it the way I did, I basically did a massive batch of original glaze and separated them three ways. One slightly runny for the original glazed doughnuts, another I added vanilla to it and mixed chopped pistachios in, the other I thickened it and added pink coloring, and the last one, I used the remains of the first runny original glaze and thickened it so I could get a more opaque white and dusted some beautiful beetroot powder atop.
And then a make a small separate batch of chocolate glaze just for a couple of chocolate doughnuts. It really could not be simpler or easier. No hard work involved at all... I must say I feel slightly embarrassed and guilty that I didn't actually work for my food. But heck, it was a Sunday.
These would get anyone through any time of the day or week. The doughnut dough itself isn't sweet at all so it has that perfect balance of sweetness once it has been iced with those yummy glazes. A wise advice to you all, don't keep licking those dripping glaze off them fingers. I did it so much I swear my tongue and throat felt funny after because it's so sweet on its own. As tempting as it is, don't. Fry these up and distribute them among friends. They might just make you a tad more popular. ;)
An Assortment of Doughnuts:
(adapted from Epicurious.com)
For the dough:
active dry yeast – 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
milk (warm, about 40C) – 1 cup
bread flour – 2 1/4 cups
vanilla bean paste – 1 teaspoon
yolks (large) – 3 no.
caster sugar – 2 tablespoon
salt – 1/2 teaspoon
unsalted butter (r.t.p) – 4 tablespoons
For the original sugar glaze:
icing sugar - 150g
water or milk - 2 tbsp
colorant - optional
For the chocolate glaze:
icing sugar - 120g
unsweetened cocoa powder - 4 - 5 tablespoons
evaporated milk - 3 - 4 tablespoons
vanilla bean paste - 1 teaspoon
pinch of sea salt
To make the dough:
In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the yeast with 3/4 cup of the warm milk and whisk to dissolve the yeast. Add 3/4 cup of the flour and mix well to create a smooth paste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it proof in a warm place for 30 minutes.
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon yeast with the remaining 1/4 cup milk (the milk should be at room temperature at this point). Add the proofed flour mixture along with the vanilla and egg yolks and mix on low until the ingredients are well incorporated. Add 1 cup of flour, along with the sugar and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough starts to come together. Add the butter and mix until binded.
Remove the paddle attachment and switch to a dough hook. Start adding the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time and knead the dough on medium until it completely pulls away from the side of the bowl and is smooth and not too sticky. The dough will be soft and moist but not so sticky that you can’t roll it out. Increase the speed to high and knead for an additional 1 – 2 minutes to develop the gluten in it. Shape it into a smooth ball and place in a well greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, gently press down on the dough to remove any gas bubbles then chill, covered, for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using round cutters cutters, cut out 3-inch-diameter rounds with 1-inch-diameter holes. (For filled doughnuts, don’t cut out the holes.) Arrange the doughnuts on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between doughnuts. Cover the doughnuts loosely with plastic wrap and let them proof in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes. Check to see if the doughnuts are ready every 5 to 10 minutes. To test, use a fingertip to lightly touch one of the doughnuts. If the dough springs back immediately, it needs more time; if it springs back slowly, it’s ready; and if the dough doesn’t spring back at all, it’s over-proofed. You can punch down and reroll over-proofed dough once.
While the doughnuts are proofing, line a baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels and place a wire rack on top of the towels. In a heavy-bottomed large pot or deep fryer, heat at least 2 inches of oil until a thermometer registers 180C. Working in batches, use a slotted metal spoon or spatula to carefully place the doughnuts in the hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the wire rack and return the oil to180C between batches. Let the doughnuts cool slightly before glazing.
To prepare the sugar glaze:
Sift the icing sugar and add the water and mix till a smooth pourable consistency.
To prepare the chocolate glaze:
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together then add in the salt. Combine the vanilla with the milk and pour over the dry ingredients. Whisk till you obtain a smooth just pourable consistency.
Dip the cooled doughnuts in the glaze and let the excess glaze drip off. Sprinkle the colourful sprinkles and leave in the refrigerator just for the glaze to set.
Serve at room temperature with a cup of tea.