Sunday, May 25, 2014

This is a dangerous post. Deliciously dangerous.

People, I have gone to a very dark, dangerous place this time...a place that no diabetics, those on cholesterol/blood pressure meds, or anyone with any genuine concern for his or health should go. But here it is: I have created a Doughnut Plant-Voodoo Doughnut hybrid that may not surpass my beloved Doughnut Plant doughnuts, but they are six hours closer to home and also a thousand times better than Dunkin' Donuts, the only game in this town. 

I found the recipe online via Cooking Channel's "Follow That Food." And I read a bunch of user comments, but now I cannot find where I saw those. But the one recurring comment I remember was that the recipe was incorrect, as it called for way too much flour, so I omitted one cup (and next time, I might take it down another 1/2 cup).  Another tip I gleaned from somewhere on the internet was to fry in vegetable shortening  instead of vegetable oil, as it's easier to regulate the temperature. Other than that, I followed the recipe pretty faithfully, and these doughnuts turned out AWESOME! Of course, I made them all the more decadently sinful by adding a maple glaze and bacon pieces. OH YES I DID! I can't wait until the local strawberries come into season, as that's my next move. I'd also like to do a sunflower seed version, as that's one of my favorite Doughnut Plant flavors. The possibilities are endless!

A note: This recipe made about 16 large (though not as large as Doughnut Plant) doughnuts. If you don't want to fry them all up at once, you can keep half of the dough in the refrigerator for up to a week proceeding with batch #2. (Any longer than that, and too much yeast will die off, and you won't get a good rise. Plus, they will taste rather boozy from the yeast converting to alcohol.)

Yeast-Raised Doughnuts
(Source: Doughnut Plant's Mark Israel, via Follow That Food)

1 cup milk
1/4 cup water, lukewarm
1 package dry active yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon salt 

Vegetable oil, for frying (I prefer to use vegetable shortening)
Special equipment: a doughnut cutter
Basic Confectioners' Sugar Glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons water

To make doughnuts: Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-heat. When the milk reaches a simmer pour it into a mixing bowl and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, measure 1/4 cup of lukewarm water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast into the water then let the mixture stand until the yeast dissolves, about 7 minutes. Stir the yeast mixture into the milk along with one tablespoon of the sugar. Mix in 1 1/2 cups of the flour (by hand or with an electric mixer) then cover the dough starter with a clean towel and set it aside to rise and rest in a warm place for one hour.

When the dough has relaxed, cream the butter with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat the butter mixture into the dough a little at a time. Mix in the egg and salt then mix in the remaining three cups flour. Work the dough until it is smooth then place it in a well-greased bowl. Cover again with a clean towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk, at least one hour.

Turn the dough out onto floured board and roll it out about 1/2-inch thick. Using a floured doughnut cutter, cut out the doughnuts. Transfer the doughnuts to a clean floured board or baking sheet. Cover once again with a clean towel, and set aside to rise until doubled.

Heat about four inches of oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F. Working in batches of two or three, fry the doughnuts until they float. Once they bob to the surface of the oil, carefully flip them over. Continue cooking, turning as necessary, until the doughnuts are uniformly golden-brown. Transfer the cooked doughnuts to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. While the doughnuts are still warm, dip one side of each into the glaze then set aside to cool until the glaze firms. Serve warm or at room temperature.

To make the glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar with two tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Mix well then add a little more water, if necessary, to make a smooth, creamy glaze. Cover the glaze directly with plastic wrap and reserve. You can alter the basic glaze recipe by substituting fruit juice or liqueur for some or all of the water. (To make maple bacon doughnuts: I added two tablespoons of Grade B maple syrup and about a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to make the maple glaze. After dipping the doughnuts in the glaze twice, I sprinkled on bits of real, double-smoked bacon.)

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