I have become a doughnut snob. Not that I won’t indulge in one at the local coffee shop, but like anything else, nothing beats homemade, especially when it’s something that’s made out of dough and can be eaten warm. Think of a homemade cookie vs store-bought. Now translate that to a doughnut.
I always envied friends who had memories of making doughnuts from scratch with their grandmothers, and so thought I’d just go ahead and create those memories myself. I’ll be the one everyone likes to make doughnuts with. Isn’t that the sort of thing aunts are for?
I don’t need sprinkles myself. But you can leave them off for the grownups, and add some for the kids. (Try them instead of cupcakes at your next party.) I’m not sure why, but nothing appeals to my five year old like a sprinkle doughnut. And nothing appeals to his mom like a warm glazed one.
This basic doughnut can be dipped in any number of glazes – make it maple by swapping maple syrup for the milk in the glaze, or chocolate by stirring some cocoa into the powdered sugar first.
Yeast Raised Doughnuts
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter or shortening, softened
canola oil, for cooking
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla or other extract (optional)
multicolored sprinkles (optional)
In a small bowl, stir together the yeast and water and set aside for 5 minutes. (If it doesn’t get foamy, toss it out!) In a large bowl, stir together the milk, sugar and eggs; add the yeast mixture and stir until well combined. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and beat until well blended. Add the butter and beat until incorporated.
Add the rest of the flour gradually, stirring (or using the dough hook on a stand mixer) until the dough comes together and isn’t too sticky. Continue to beat with the dough hook or turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let sit for an hour, until doubled in size.
Roll or pat the dough out and cut into doughnuts (if you don’t have a doughnut cutter, use a round cutter or glass rim, then another smaller round cutter for the middle); cover and let sit for a half hour to an hour, until they get poufy again. (They’ll rise even more as they cook.)
Heat a couple inches of oil in a heavy pot until hot but not smoking. Gently cook the doughnuts in batches, without crowding, turning as needed until golden on both (or all) sides. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze to coat their tops, then sprinkle with sprinkles. Serve warm, if at all possible.