Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Daring Bakers Go Nuts for Donuts!

I loved loved loved loved this challenge! It was so fun! And I loved having the whole family to enjoy our donuts and coffee feast, even if it was at 7:00 on a Sunday night! 

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 love donuts, so I decided to make several kinds. 

First, I made the Alton Brown yeasted donuts, which were easy to make and so variable! I made glazed, chocolate glazed, cinnamon sugar donut holes. But you could also use this recipe to make custard/cream filled, jelly filled, and make all kinds of fun frostings and toppings!

Yeast Doughnuts:
Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Rising time - 1.5 hours total
Cooking time - 12 minutes
Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size
Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
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)
  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
  2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
My husbands favorite donut are French Crueller's, which are also called "Old Fashioned". I really only found one decent recipe for these, and they are baked! These were fairly straight forward to make, but I had some problems piping them out. They baked ip beautifully, though! They tasted good, but not a thing like a french Crueller! I think these definitely need to be fried and not baked. 

French Cruller Doughnuts (from "A Passion for Baking" by Marcy Goldman)
Makes about 8
Choux Paste Doughnut Base
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

For Choux Paste Doughnut Base: In a large saucepan, stir milk, water, sugar, and salt together over medium heat. Stir in butter and allow it to melt. Increase heat and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in flour all at once. Blend well with a wooden spoon, adding vanilla and beating briskly until mixture forms a ball that leaves the sides of pan. Beat vigorously 1 to 2 minutes before removing from burner and turning out into a large bowl. Allow mixture to cool 5 minutes, but do not let cool completely.

Using a wide whisk or wooden spoon, add eggs, 1 at a time, until mixture is smooth and glossy. Spoon choux paste into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch star tip
. On prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each pastry, make a 4-inch circle of batter with another circle on top -- concentric circles. If you don't have a pastry bag, use a soup spoon to spread out a ring of batter as best you can. It will be fine once it puffs.

Bake pastry 15 minutes; then reduce oven temp to 375F and bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until doughnuts are light in texture and medium brown all over. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

To make glaze, whisk everything together in a medium bowl to a thick glaze consistency. If mixture seems thick, microwave for 10 seconds. Dip each doughnut once, let excess drip off back into bowl. Let doughnuts set on a wire rack.

Since I made my husband's favorite donut, I had to make mine as well, so Apple Fritters it was! These I found to be a bit more challenging. A lot of the recipes I found online were for little fritter balls. I wanted the flat, irregular shaped donuts you find in bakeries that are so big you may or may not be able to finish it. That is exactly the kind of recipe I wanted to make! I think I found a great recipe, the donuts were fantastic! They were a little messy to make, but good! The recipe has you cut out circles of the dough and fry that, but it says nothing about putting the leftover scraps back together to make more. I assumed since it says "cut them as close together as possible" that scraps were just that...not meant to be used! But of course I had to glob it back together and fry that up! It was messy, I lost some lovely apple chunks, but man they were delicious! And the glaze....oh man, the glaze... I'm drooling just remembering them! These will definitely be made again!

Apple Fritters***DOUGH***
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup whole milk
3 1/4 cups unbleached flour plus
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
4 extra large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sparkling apple cider
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean
7 granny smith apples, peeled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sparkling apple cider

1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted plus
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

To prepare the dough; place the yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, over med. heat, heat the milk until warm to the touch. Pour the milk over the yeast to soften, 1 to 2 mins. Add 2 cups of the flour to the milk mix, w/0 stirring.Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the surface of the flour cracks, about 30 to 40 mins.

In a small bowl combine the egg yolks and sugar. Add the cider, melted butter, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and 1 1/4 cups of the flour and mix until combined. Add this mix. to the yeast. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, mix on low for half a minute, then turn up to med. for about 1 min. Add the rem. 2 Tablespoons of flour and mix on low for half a min, then on med. for another half a minute. The dough will be very sticky.

Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface; scrape the dough out of the bowl, onto the work surface Clean the mixing bowl and lightly coat it with veg. oil. Gather the dough and return it to the oiled bowl. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

TO prepare the apples; in a large skillet over med. heat, melt the butter. Using a small paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise. With the back of the knife, scrape out the pulp and the seeds of the vanilla bean, and add the scrapings and the pod to the butter. Heat the butter until bubbly. Add the chopped apples, tossing to coat them with butter. Add the cinnamon and sugar, and sauté 3 to 5 mins. until slightly softened and the majority of the apples are deep golden. Add the vinegar and cider, and reduce over med. high heat. IF they are still very firm, turn the heat down to reduce slowly. The apples should be cooked, but still slightly firm to the touch Remove the vanilla bean and place the apples on a baking sheet to cool.

Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and stretch into a rectangle about 2" thick. Spread half of the apples over the dough and fold into thirds by bringing the bottom up and the top down, patting with your hands to flatten slightly. Scatter the rem. apples on top and fold into thirds again. Gather the dough together by tucking under the edges and return it to the oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 mins.

Heat the oil to 375.

Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and gently roll or pat it into a rectangle about 1/2" thick, flouring the surface of the dough as necessary. Dip the cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the fritters. Place them on a floured surface and allow to rest for 10 mins, no longer.

To prepare the glaze: in a small stainless steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, combine the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Heat until just warm, stirring frequently. The glaze should be thin and translucent; if necessary, thin it down with more cream.

Dip your hands in flour, and stretch the fritters by pulling them gently, elongating the round shape into a 4" oval. Don't worry if you puncture the dough as you stretch it. Drop directly into the hot oil and fry till golden brown.

Drain on paper towels and brush the fritters with glaze while they are warm.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Apple Fritters serves/makes 12


  1. All of your doughnuts look incredible! Especially those French cruller doughnuts...YUM!

  2. Ooooo, chocolate glazed. Yum! You really went above and beyond on this challenge, it looks like quite a feast!

  3. All of your doughnuts look tasty! French crullers are my favorite, too, but I didn't get a chance to try the recipe that one of our fellow DBers posted in the forum. Here it is:


  4. Wowo such variety. Looks so so good.

  5. JENNI...I could have sworn I had seen your donuts and commented on them! UGH, I'm losing my mind lately!! However, what an awesome treat for the eyes seeing your gorgeous donuts. You really went all out, and the apple fritters sound amazing! LOVE your sugared holes too..perfection! :)


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