I must admit there are guilty pleasures and then there are GUILTY pleasures. Doughnuts are one of those amazing treats to have once in a while. We all know that when frying food you want to eat them sparingly but more importantly we want to consider of the type of oil we are using to fry in. In this post I have two recipes for doughnuts. The first is a classic raised Doughnut from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book. If you have a chance to look at her books they are impeccable classics. I don’t dare change a thing in her recipe for Raised Doughnuts except for substituting the vegetable shortening with butter, they are perfect. The second is an old fashioned Apple Cider quick doughnut and it is not a leavened dough and we experiment in this recipe using Coconut Oil to fry in.
Marion Cunningham’s Raised Doughnuts
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours to over night
1/3 cup Milk, warmed
1 package Dry Yeast
1 cup Water
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Sugar plus 1 cup more for sprinkling
4 cups All Purposed Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
Vegetable Oil for frying
Place the warmed Milk in a mixing bowl and add the Yeast, stir and let dissolve for about 5 minutes.
Put the Water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add the Butter and 1/2 cup Sugar. Stir until dissolved and let cool until room temperature.
Add the Yeast mixture to the warmed Water mixture.
Stir in the Eggs and 2 cups of Flour.
Mix well, then add 2 more cups of Flour, Salt and Cinnamon.
Stir until the dough just comes together.
Place the dough on a floured counter and knead until smooth. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk 1-3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
When the dough has risen, punch it down, remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured counter.
Roll it out to 1/2 inch thickness and then cut out your doughnut shapes. A 2 inch circle works well with a smaller whole for the inside unless you are making jelly or filled doughnuts.
Place them on a parchment lined sheet pan, 1 inch apart and cover with a flour dusted towel for about an hour to let them rise slightly.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan between 365-375°. Fry only about 4 doughnuts at a time so they don’t overcrowd. Fry until they turn a nice golden brown.
Remove from the oil and let them drain on a wire rack that is lined with paper towel.
Roll in sugar.
The only change I made was the butter. The recipe calls for shortening and if you prefer baking with vegetable shortening put it back in the recipe in place of the butter. They are worth the extra time and so delicious when warm.
Add cinnamon to the sugar for variety or make a quick glaze with 2 cups confectioner’s sugar and 1/3 water or milk, dip the tops of the doughnuts in the glaze.
Several articles reflect on oils, farming and GMO’s that are very insightful and offer important information. The Business Insider and The New York Times articles are valuable to read and helpful when trying to choose what type of oils are best for us. Becoming more aware of what we put into our bodies also generates new ideas of how we cook. I must admit that I always used a Vegetable Oil to fry in until recently when I tried Coconut Oil. After trying the Coconut Oil, I was surprised. The Doughnuts were not greasy and best of all didn’t have that fried taste but rather they had a rich, nutty taste that was really nice and only made these little gems taste even more decadent.
Making healthy choices for long term well-being especially with foods kids enjoy eating can open up a whole new way of learning about food and the way we eat. So enjoy what you are eating and feel good about what you are putting into your body without feeling guilty. The guilt will do more harm than the oil anyway.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
3 dozen small doughnuts or 5 dozen doughnut holes.
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours
1/3 cup Apple Cider
1 Cinnamon Stick or 1 teaspoon ground
5 whole Cloves
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Molasses
1/4 cup Butter
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Buttermilk
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Approximately 1 quart of Coconut Oil for frying
1 cup Sugar mixed with 4 tablespoons Cinnamon for dusting.
Warm the Apple Cider in a pan with the Cinnamon Stick and Cloves. Set aside.
Cream the Butter until pale yellow. Add the Sugar and Molasses and whip until light and fluffy.
Add the Eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated.
Add the Buttermilk.
Combine all of the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and mix to blend together.
Heat the Vegetable Oil over medium heat until hot or using a thermometer, to 360-375°
Strain the Apple Cider to remove the Cinnamon Stick and Cloves then pour the Cider into the Buttermilk.
Pour alternating with the Buttermilk/Cider with the dry ingredients into the Creamed Butter mixture on low until just combined.
Place the dough onto a floured work surface and shape into a rectangle. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan. cover with wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
When read to fry, heat the Coconut Oil over medium heat until hot or using a thermometer, to 360-375°
Place the chilled dough on a floured work surface and cut out desired shapes. You can choose traditional round doughnut shapes or mix it up with squares or strips. Any shape will do.
Fry until golden brown making sure not to over crowd the pot. Transfer onto paper towel to drain.
Roll in Cinnamon Sugar.
Here is a perfect example of why homemade is so much better than store bought. These doughnuts are worth the effort, a little time in the kitchen will pay off. It is a good Sunday morning tradition once in a while and with a little advanced planning the night before, you can have these cut out a ready first thing with a cup of hot Coffee.