Friday, January 21, 2011

Triple Treat ~ Doughnuts, Doughnut Holes & Doughnut Muffins

Yesterday I gave you an introduction to sugar maple time in Vermont from the King Arthur Flour Cookbook, a season which brings about the making of fresh, hot doughnuts or doughnut holes to dip in maple syrup. Today I'm going to give you three recipes from King Arthur Flour. The first recipe is for a cake doughnut, and the second is for doughnut holes, the third is for doughnut muffins. These doughnuts sound like the perfect dessert for a winter's day.
The last paragraph of that introduction gave us a little information about the cake doughnut:
Cake, or baking powder, doughnuts were developed in New England many years ago. They were originally shaped like nuts, hence their name. (The Pennsylvania Dutch added the holes.) Combining these with pickles and "sugar on snow" is probably one of the oldest traditions in America....

Doughnuts for "Sugaring"                                                               

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup brown or granulated sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup King Arthur Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat the eggs with the buttermilk until light. Add and beat in the sugar and melted butter. Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together. Blend with the liquid ingredients, mixing as little as possible.

The dough will be sticky so turn it out onto a well-floured board. With a rolling pin, also well-floured, roll out the dough until it is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.

Cut the doughnuts with a doughnut cutter and allow them to rest while you heat a frying pan of lard (traditional), vegetable oil or shortening to 365 degrees F. It should be deep enough so the doughnuts will float. (See information below for frying Vermont Doughnut Holes.)

Fry the doughnuts, giving them enough room to expand, until they're a golden brown on both sides. Remove them to a paper towel to drain. Try dipping a doughnut in warm maple syrup.

King Arthur Flour's web site says: Never mind the doughnut--this recipe is an easy way to make only the holes, crunchy little nuggets perfect for dipping into maple syrup. There's no finicky rolling or rising involved. Instead, simply stir up a stiff pancake-like batter and drop it by spoonfuls into a shallow (3/4") bath of hot oil. Four minutes later--golden brown, ultra-crisp doughnut holes, golden and tender inside, ready to sprinkle with cinnamon sugr or confectioners' sugar, or dunk in maple syrup or honey. Step-by-step photos illustrating how to make these doughnut holes are available at Baker's Banter, our King Arthur blog.

Vermont Doughnut Holes                                                      

For frying
4 1/2 cups (30 ounces) vegetable oil

Doughnut Batter
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, King Arthur White Whole Wheat or combination
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (4 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Pour the oil into a 10" skillet that's about 2 1/2" deep; an electric frying pan is a good choice here, especially since its adjustable dial makes it really easy to heat the oil to the correct temperature. If you don't have this size skillet, use whatever similar-size pan you have, using enough oil to fill it 3/4" deep. Start to heat the oil to 350 degrees F while you're preparing the doughnut batter.

Whisk together the milk, egg, and melted butter in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a thick batter/soft dough.

When the oil has come up to temperature, use a cookie scoop (or a spoon) to drop balls of batter into the hot oil. This recipe will make 2" doughnut holes using a tablespoon cookie scoop and dropping in balls of dough about as big as an undersized ping pong ball; or 1 1/2" holes, using a teaspoon cookie scoop and dropping in balls of dough about as big as a chestnut.

Fry the doughnut holes for 2 minutes on the first side, or till they're deep brown. Some of them may turn themselves over; that's OK, just use a pair of tongs to turn them back. After 2 minutes, turn the holes over, and fry for an additional 2 minutes (for the larger doughnut holes), or 1 1/2 minutes (for smaller ones). Transfer the doughnut holes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain and cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with sugar and/or dipped in maple syrup or honey.
Yield: about 2 dozen larger doughnut holes, or 4 dozen smaller ones.

And I couldn't resist this recipe for muffins...doughnut muffins! They look easier than doughnuts and are baked in the oven, so these could be on your table tonight.

Doughnut Muffins                                                                                  

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup milk

3 tablespoon melted butter
3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs, beating to combine.
  4. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
  5. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.
  7. Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
  8. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. While they're cooling, melt the butter for the topping (easy in a microwave).
  9. Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
  10. Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature.
Yield: 12 large muffins. Reviewers said that these are pretty filling and made smaller muffins.
Please feel free to go to the King Arthur Flour website to see what is offered there or to use these recipes from their online blog. Since you must read over a recipe to see if you want to cook it, I give these recipes mainly for that purpose. Whether you bake a lot or a little, I think you'll enjoy eating all of these doughnuts.

Have a great Friday!

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