My husband and I started a holiday tradition of making homemade doughnuts when we put up our Christmas tree...the day after Thanksgiving.
I know, I know. What were we thinking, right? Doughnuts after stuffing our faces on turkey day.
The tradition stems off of my family's tradition of decorating the tree on a Monday evening and enjoying homemade cream puffs that my mom makes. Being the anxious person I am, I hate waiting to put the tree up so it has to be the morning after Thanksgiving and I didn't want to eat cream puffs in the morning, so doughnuts felt like a better fit. (even though we all know that they probably have the same sugar and calorie count! ;) )
I love making the traditional round doughnuts and holes. But I also like to have fun with holiday shapes like angels, starts, holly berry and a Y for my BYU Cougars (not holiday but a must at our home!).
Last year I found this great recipe by Alton Brown through one of my favorite bloggers, Holly. Check out her blog, Phemomenon for step by step photos of how to make these!
Adam and I like to make these with a couple different glazes: chocolate, maple and regular vanilla. I also like to dust them with powdered sugar or even just roll them in cinnamon sugar.
Yeast Doughnuts Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004
Show: Good Eats
Episode: Circle of Life
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
2 packages instant yeast
1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)
Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. 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. 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, 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.
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 thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch 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 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side.
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
Chocolate Doughnut Glaze Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004
Show: Good Eats
Episode: Circle of Life
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.
Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving. Variation:
For Maple Glaze:
Follow the same directions as for the chocolate glaze except add 1 Tbsp Maple Extract and increase the confectioners’ sugar to 4 cups.