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.
Well, ok, the "alien" wasn't part of the challenge but it is almost Halloween so they seemed fitting! Aren't they cute?!? My 4 and 6 yr olds loved helping dip the donuts (or doughnuts, as we write in Canada).
Sadly, I had some rather aggrevating camera problems during this challenge so I don't have any pics of the actual making of the dough process :( Also, if you don't have time to make the actual donuts at home, you could always buy some at Timmy's or Dunkin' and decorate yourself to save some time and effort.
The icing is good 'ol Betty Crocker Vanilla that I coloured with some food colouring gels. Then I microwaved the icing until it was quite thin and melted (maybe 15-20 seconds per cup of icing). Acting quickly, I dipped the donuts and donut holes and then placed them on a cooling rack on a pan. To help them set I then put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Once set, I carefully placed the holes on top of the donuts and decorated with licorice and m&m's.
The whole process made for quite an afternoon! Messy and fun!
Here is Alton Brown's recipe for yeast donuts in case you decide to try these for yourself!
- A Dutch oven or very deep skillet
- Deep fry thermometer, candy thermometer or any thermometer that will withstand and measure temperatures of up to 380 degrees
- Metal slotted spoon, metal slotted spatula or tongs
- Cookie sheets or a wire rack lined with paper towels to allow doughnuts to drain
- Electric hand mixer or stand mixer, or a bowl and a spoon if you are able to utilize a lot of elbow grease
- Doughnut or biscuit cutters or you can use a glass and a piping tip for the center
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)
What to do:
- 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.)
- Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
- 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.
- Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- 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).
- 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.
- Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
- Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
- Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan.
- Decorate as you wish once cooled.