Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Doughnuts

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.

I had never made doughnuts before, heck; I had never fried anything before. I was a bit nervous for this challenge, but I picked up a cheap candy thermometer (for the oil) at the grocery store and decided to give it a shot. Especially since the whole point of Daring Bakers is to try things a bit beyond my comfort zone that I normally wouldn’t choose to try on my own, doughnuts definitely fit that category.

We had a choice of doughnut recipes to use for this challenge and I selected the pumpkin cake doughnut recipe, it seemed very appropriate for fall. Plus, I think I’m the only food blogger that hasn’t posted a pumpkin recipe yet, so I had to catch up. (The other two options were yeast doughnuts or old-fashioned buttermilk cake doughnuts.)

Overall, the doughnut experience was okay, but not great.

I substituted half of the flour with whole wheat flour and it seemed to be fine. The dough was very easy to work with.

But I’ll be honest, all that oil and the frying process was kind of gross, I’m not really a fan. I also think the oil may not have been quite right, even though the thermometer said it was at the right temperature, the donuts came out very dark colored, too dark for donuts if you ask me…perhaps I shouldn’t have used the cheap candy thermometer from the grocery store. Some of the doughnut holes also didn’t cook all the way, but the doughnuts did.

Since I was thrilled with the process or the results of frying, I only did half of the batch. The other half I baked in the oven! I read about some other Daring Bakers giving it a try and found some information online for oven temp and time. It was much easier and probably healthier. They looked like donuts, but they had more of a muffin texture than a traditional doughnut texture. I thought the baked doughnuts were much prettier than the fried versions (but again, the fried doughnuts were SO dark).

As far as taste goes…the doughnuts were probably about average, they were okay, but nothing spectacular and not as good as a doughnut you could buy at the grocery store for a lot less time and money. They definitely weren’t as good as the best doughnut I’ve ever had, which was actually a pumpkin spice doughnut I had in college. It was shortly after Krispy Kreme came to Colorado and some friends and I were on our way back from Denver and it was super late, but Krispy Kreme was still open so we stopped for a quick snack and it was SO good. So maybe, I shouldn’t have tried making pumpkin doughnuts since the bar was set so high, oh well.

Most Thursdays, my fiancĂ© and I have dinner at my house. Since I had to make the doughnuts for Daring Bakers this month, I decided to use them for a breakfast theme dinner. However, since doughnuts aren’t really that great for you (even if you do use half whole wheat flour), I tried to find some healthy and light options to go with it. We made Florentine Scramble from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking Made Light cookbook and it was DELICISIOUS! The fresh basil in the eggs was so good. I bought some Jimmy Dean turkey sausage; which was also very good and went over MUCH better with the fiancĂ© than the time I bought turkey bacon. And I rounded it out with an apple and grape fruit salad.

If you want to try the pumpkin doughnuts, here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Doughnuts:

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 15 minutesChilling time - 3 hoursCooking time - 10 minutes
Yield: About 24 doughnuts & 24 doughnut holes

All Purpose Flour 3.5 cup / 840 ml / 490 gm / 17 ¼ oz
Baking Powder 4 teaspoon / 20 ml / 24 gm / .85 oz
Table Salt 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Cinnamon, ground 1 teaspoon / 5 ml / 6 gm / .2 oz
Ginger, ground ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
Baking Soda ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml / 3 gm / .1 oz
Nutmeg, ground ¼ teaspoon / 1.25 ml / 1.5 gm / .05 oz
Cloves, ground 1/8 teaspoon / .6 ml / ¾ gm / .025 oz
White Granulated Sugar 1 cup / 240 ml / 225 gm / 8 oz
Butter, Unsalted 3 Tablespoon / 45 ml / 42 gm / 1.5 oz
Egg, Large 1Egg Yolk, Large 2
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon / 5 ml
Buttermilk ½ cup + 1 Tablespoon / 135 ml
Pumpkin 1 cup / 240 ml / 285 gm / 10 oz (Canned pure pumpkin or fresh cooked and pureed pumpkin – DON’T use pumpkin pie mix!)
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Powdered Sugar Glaze:
Powdered (Icing) Sugar 2 cup / 480 ml / 250 gm / 9 oz
Whipping Cream (About 32% butter fat) 4 Tablespoon + more if needed / 60 ml

Whisk together the first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (the mixture will be grainy and not smooth). Beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk; beat in pumpkin. Using rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition. Cover with plastic; chill 3 hours.
Sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets lightly with flour. Press out 1/3 of dough on floured surface to 1/2- to 2/3-inch (12 mm to 15 mm) thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) -diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Arrange on sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in 2 more batches. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used.
Using 1-inch (25 mm) diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes.
Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches (40 mm). Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F (185°C to 188°C). Fry doughnut holes in 2 batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool completely.

Glaze Directions:
Whisk powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons whipping cream to blend. Whisk in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to form medium thick glaze.
Can be made up to 3 hours ahead.
Add doughnut holes to bowl of cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.
Spread doughnuts on 1 side with powdered sugar glaze.
Arrange doughnuts, glazed side up, on racks. Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes.



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