Glazed doughnuts

Be prepared to fend off the minions while these cool.
I'm all about simplicity these days.  If I can make or prep something the day or night before, leaving me time to enjoy family or company, I'll do it.

These doughnuts are perfect for a holiday (it's similar to the dough I use for the sweet zeppole), long weekend or whenever there will be a few young ones (or anyone with a sweet tooth) around mid morning, when it is normally time for a morning cuppa.  I know this is technically a baking blog but frying makes these fritters delicately light and airy, it cannot be replicated al forno.  Plus, we don't fry too many treats these days, so I don't get too excited about it. 

Make the dough the night before and fry up the meltingly tender fruits of your labour in the morning. Best eaten the day they are made, these are without compare.  I've posted this recipe (as a link to the Gourmet website) before but feel compelled to post it again because the recipe truly is a keeper. If you only ever make these on a Christmas morning, it will be the first of many and you'll not regret it.

Ingredients for doughnuts
  • 2 1/2 teasoons or a package of active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (40- 45°C)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling dough
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted (sweet) butter, softened
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • About 2 liters of vegetable oil (I like grapeseed or peanut oil) for deep frying
For espresso glaze
  • 1/4 cup ready-made espresso
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • About 1/4 cup sanding sugar (optional)
  • Special equipment: a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; a 3-inch and a 1-inch round cookie cutter; a deep-fat thermometer
Make dough:
Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Mix together flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture in mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more.
Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming). Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (I cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in mixer bowl in the refrigerator 8 to 12 hours - overnight.)
Proofed doughnuts ready to fry.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gentle roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round (1/2 inch thick). You'll notice straight away how tender this dough is thanks to the bit of butter and slow proof. 

Cut out as many circles as possible with 3-inch cutter, then cut a hole in center of each round with 1-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts (and dots!) with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts).  re-rolled scraps won't perform as well as the original rolled doughnuts but are good for determining the temperature of the oil and determining when the doughnuts are done. Plus they have no calories..

No calories in the dots..
Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 180°C (350°F) on thermometer. Fry doughnuts, 2-3 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, around 2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Allow oil to return oil to 350°F between batches.)
Fry the dots (the center holes from the doughnuts) last in batches of 5-6 or so.  The cook a little quicker then doughuts and need a little attention so that they are flipped and cook evenly. Again, allow the oil to return to temperature between batches.           
To make glaze: Stir together espresso coffee (or boiling water and espresso powder) in a medium bowl until powder is dissolved, then stir in powdered confectioners sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and pinch of salt until smooth.
Dip doughnuts into glaze, turning to coat well, then put on a rack set over a shallow baking pan or tray (to catch drips).  While glaze is wet, if you are using the sanding sugar, now is the time to sprinkle doughnuts.  Let stand until glaze sets, about 20 minutes.
On any morning, with your favourite cuppa, sweet perfection. 
Source: Gourmet, December 2006