Happy birthday to me! :) I had a brunch-themed early birthday party (so many early September birthdays to compete with...) and decided that doughnuts fit the theme better than a birthday cake. Here are a few pro-tips and suggestions for you to consider if you endeavor to make your own doughnuts too:
My #1 tip for you: Use an electric fondue pot for frying the doughnuts. You can control the temperature much more easily that way, and it turns out the maximum heat output on my pot brought the peanut oil to the ideal doughnut frying temperature! Note: do not dunk your fingers in the hot oil. It will make you swear uncontrollably.
Tip #2: Use wooden takeout chopsticks to flip the donuts in the oil, and a slotted spoon works best for transferring them out of the oil to the cooling rack.
Tip #3: Use biscuit cutters to shape your dough. Use a 2 1/2" diameter circle for the doughnut and 1 1/4" diameter circle for the holes (thanks, Baking Illustrated!). I know it looks wimpy when you cut them this way (see below), but remember after the second rise they will be just as fluffy as you'd anticipated.
Tip #4: Make half batches of all the glazes and toppings so you can make some of each without wasting too many ingredients. I did 9 cinnamon sugar doughnuts (plus 33 holes), 9 glazed, and 9 chocolate glazed. For chocolate glaze (so necessary in my opinion), heat up 1/4 c. half and half and add 2 oz. of semisweet chocolate chips, and then whisk until smooth. Then add confectioner's sugar until you get the best consistency (around 1 cup). Thanks again, Baking Illustrated!
Tip #5: Being the way that I am, I couldn't leave the basic recipe alone. My secret: cardamom in the dough. The recipe calls for nutmeg, or cinnamon if you don't like nutmeg (for shame!). I read about cardamom doughnuts and couldn't resist, plus it is one of my favorite spices this year.
Tip#6: Sprinkles, people! Come on!! They're doughnuts! Peanut butter? Jelly. Macaroni? Cheese. Hugs? Kisses. Doughnuts...? Sprinkles.
|Oh noes! Doughnuts without holes! Don't worry, I'll get on that. Just appreciate the potential for delicious filled doughnuts looks like this. Maybe next time...|
|With holes removed (and set aside), pre-rise. See, they look wussy here. Fret not!|
|Risen and ready to be fried!|
|For cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, you roll them in your mix straight out of the oil.|
|Finished product! Do not scoff at the cinnamon-sugar variety, they are just as tasty!|
|Glazed doughnuts are yummy, too. Once the doughnuts have cooled, dunk them in glaze and them wait for them to set before serving.|