Our favorite part of summer is the very last week before school starts. The Minnesota State Fair is in full swing, there are fireworks every night, and there’s a never-ending smell of mini donuts lingering around in the air. Carnival rides play loud music and spin bright lights, and my kids wait for the night that it’s their turn to visit the fair, ride the rides, see the animals and, of course, eat the mini donuts.
Then fall comes, and all too quickly winter is here with its ice and snow and gray skies, and the smell of mini donuts seems far away. It’s about this time, at the beginning of a New Year and as part of our kid-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration that I start daydreaming of fairs and sunshine and green grass to roll around in, which means it’s time to whip up a few mini donuts to get us through to summer.
Do-It-Yourself Mini Donuts adapted from Martha Stewart
4 1/2 teaspoons or 2 packages active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
31/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons warm buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and brought down to room temp
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Gently stir together 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast (1 packet) and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water around 110 degrees in a medium bowl. Let them stand until the yeast is foamy on top, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour and beat gently until combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature on the counter.
When the dough is at room temperature, in a separate bowl combine 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast, 2 tablespoons water and the warm buttermilk. Let the mixture stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.
In a stand mixer add sugar, salt and 2 1/4 cups flour. Stir to combine. Then add in the buttermilk mixture, egg yolks and the melted butter. Beat on a low speed for 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture from the day before. Beat for 4 minutes until the dough is sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. Place the ball in a greased bowl, cover and allow to rose in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 3 to 4 hours.
Roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness and cut small 1-1/2″ rings out. Place rings on a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to rest for 15 minutes. While the rings are resting, heat vegetable oil in a tall saucepan or in a fryer to 350 degrees. Gently place donuts into the oil. Flip after 1 minute or when they turn golden brown. Fry 1 minute more. Drain on paper-towel-covered racks and let rest for 5-10 minutes before coating with cinnamon and sugar mixture.