Who would not want to have a mother who loves good home baking? I for one is quite blessed to have someone who was not just fond of cooking but baking as well. The aroma of freshly made doughnuts, breads and pastries would usually fill our dining room. We would rush to the table and leave everything behind to have the taste of something hot and oozing with great taste. And now that I am a mother with two toddlers roaming around the room, I constantly think of what good food I can serve them. With growing and always hungry boys, they are always excited to see what I am baking. And since one old time favourite came to mind, I decided to make some doughnuts and do a twist with the normal fried ones and instead bake them. I want to make it more healthier and more bread-like appeal to it.
I came across with this recipe which I adapted from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001561.html and from http://shaunasever.com/2010/03/baked-doughnuts-yes.html. This is really quite simple and easy. I have also added some tips to keep in mind while baking.
For the dough:
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons warm milk, divided, 95 to 105 degrees (take its temperature–too hot and it will kill the yeast)
1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast (about half a packet)
1 tablespoon butter or shortening, melted and still warm
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, optional
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
For the cinnamon-sugar coating:
1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water or as needed
*Makes about 1 dozen of regular size or 2 dozens of mini doughnuts
Place 3 tablespoons of the warm milk (not overly hot to the touch) in the bowl of an electric mixert. You don’t want to kill the yeast. Stir in the yeast and set aside for at least five minutes (or until foamy).
Place the remaining 1/2 cup of warm milk in a small bowl, stir in the butter and sugar, and add it to the yeast mixture. On low speed, stir in the egg, flour, nutmeg, and salt – just until the flour is incorporated.
Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. At this point, make a few adjustments – if your dough is seriously sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add a little bit of milk. Eventually, you want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and become soft and smooth. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface, knead it a few times by hand, and shape it into a smooth ball. Knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
Transfer the dough to a greased or oiled bowl (cooking spray works great here), cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place. Let the dough rise until its doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on a floured work surface. The dough is ready if you touch it, and the indention remains.
Dip your doughnut cutter or use your 2-3 inch cookie cutter before you stamp out the circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut holes in the centers with a smaller cutter. Cover the baking sheet with a clean cloth and let the doughnuts rise for another 30 minutes.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, about 8 minutes – start checking around 6 minutes. Better to underbake then overbake here–pull them early if in doubt. Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Add the sugar coating or dip into the glaze.
For the cinnamon coating:
While the doughnuts are baking, melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugars and cinnamon in a separate bowl (or large ziploc bag), stirring to blend evenly.
For the glaze:
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.
You may add a pinch of sugar into the warm milk to make the yeast more active. I read that the yeast loves to feed on sugar.
If you don’t have a cutter, just use two different sizes of round cutters at least the other cutter is half the size to have a more defined hole in the centre.
You can either dip the baked doughnut or add some fillings to to it.