The Art of Darkness

Sweet Saturday

November 17th, 2012 by Cobwebs

This is adapted from Baked Explorations, a lovely cookbook full of comfort food-type desserts. I’ll be honest: I tried making standard doughnuts, but when the recipe says the dough is sticky it means the dough is Really Fricking Sticky. I eventually gave up trying to cut doughnuts out of the gluey mass and just rolled tablespoonsful of the dough into doughnut holes intead. However, they tasted great, so the recipe is worth the annoyance. To cut actual doughnuts, flour the hell out of your work surface before patting out the dough, work with well-floured hands, and use a doughnut cutter instead of trying to fake it with a round glass or cookie cutter.

The other fun thing about these doughnuts is that you can color the glaze however you want. Divide the glaze into small bowls and add food coloring as desired (for a dark color, use paste-type food coloring instead of liquid so you don’t thin the glaze too much). Autumnal orange, red, and yellow would be attractive right now (and a pile of mixed orange- and black-glazed doughnuts looks spectacular on a Halloween party table, so tuck that idea away for next year).

Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts
Makes 10-12 doughnuts, plus holes

3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 C buttermilk
1/4 C sour cream
1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly browned and cooled
Vegetable oil for frying

For the Vanilla Glaze:

2 C confectioner’s sugar
1/4 C whole milk
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla paste

For the Cinnamon Sugar:

1 1/4 C sugar
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and another baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream until combined. Add the melted, cooled butter and whisk again.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. With a rubber spatula, slowly fold the flour into the liquid until the mixture forms a sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface thoroughly dusted with flour. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and with floured hands pat out until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Dip a doughnut cutter in flour and cut out as many doughnuts as possible, transferring them (and their doughnut-hole middles) to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat leftover scraps together, flatten back out, and cut more doughnuts until all of the dough is used up. Place the baking sheet with the doughnuts in the refrigerator until the oil is heated and you’re ready to fry.

Pour enough vegetable oil into a deep skillet to a depth of 1 1/2″. Heat over medium high heat until the temperature reaches 370F. Whilst waiting for it to heat, make the glaze and/or cinnamon sugar.

For glaze: Whisk together the sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Add food coloring as desired and whisk to blend.

For cinnamon sugar: Whisk together sugar and cinnamon. (Easy!)

Once the oil has reached the correct temperature, gently lift the large doughnuts off the baking sheet and place in the hot oil. Work in batches, frying no more than three at a time. Once the bottom side has browned (2-3 minutes) flip over and continue frying the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Once you’re done with the large doughnuts, fry the doughnut holes in two or three batches; they’ll cook a little faster so keep an eye on them The doughnut holes will cook faster and can be made in two or three batches after the doughnuts are done.

Once fried, dip the doughnuts in the glaze or sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar (or both, if you’re feeling particularly decadent). Serve immediately or cool completely and store airtight for 2-3 days.

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