Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Well this blog wasn't intended to be a blog about food... but it's been the topic lately it seems! Growing up my mom made homemade cake donuts about once a year- they were delicious! About a year and a half ago, some of our friends in San Jose invited a bunch of friends over for homemade donuts on Halloween morning. I clearly remember being in a very bad place emotional at this time. Luke had just found out he did not get a job that we thought was a for sure thing- and my world felt like it had turned upside down. It was a season of many tears. So when we got this invitation for donuts, I honestly didn't really want to go. I was depressed and didn't want to see anyone and pretend I was ok. But we went- and I am so glad we did. For one thing, I needed to be around other people and not just sulk in self-pity. But the other, more shallow reason I am glad we went, is because that was the first day I got to try Sarah's homemade donuts. WOW! Seriously, they were THAT good. I continued to think about them often for months. We had lots of donut shops in California, but none of them were as good as Sarah's donuts. When we went back to California for Thanksgiving last year, during our time in San Jose we stayed with Brandon and Sarah. Sarah promised me that she would show me how to make donuts one morning- and I was so excited! So I helped her make the donuts and Silas was the sprinkle master. We had a great morning- and ate far too many donuts (or at least I did!).

Well on Memorial Day I decided to venture into the unknown and try making homemade donuts on my own. We invited my parents over for breakfast, so there was added pressure that these needed to turn out right since company was coming! (I know that's silly being they are just my parents, but company is company.) So far too late on Sunday night I started making the dough. The recipe Sarah used was an overnight refrigerator dough. I contemplated making more then one batch of dough because I wanted to be sure we had enough. I stuck with one batch and eventually went to bed. When I woke up on Monday morning and took the dough out, I was horrified when I realized it didn't rise. I began to google things about refrigerator dough rising... I came to the conclusion that it was probably fine, and just hoped they would turn out! I started heating up the oil and cutting out donuts.

Once the donuts were cut out, I had 31 donuts and a bunch of donut holes. They cooked really quickly and I was done sooner then I had planned. (Let me assure you, this almost never happens!) I shook some donuts in sugar and glazed the rest. I then dipped the tops of the some of the glazed donuts in chocolate and maple glaze. Let me tell you, they were delicious. DE-LIC-IOUS. I ate a lot of donuts on Monday. I also had a nice workout at the Y on Monday which probably still didn't undo the damage I did with the donuts. I may never get rid of the rest of this baby weight at the rate I am going...

Here are the pictures of the process and the recipes I used.

Donuts cut out and ready to fry.
The first batch cooling off...

Overnight Refrigerator Dough (originally from the Joy of Cooking, but I slightly modified it)
1 package of active dry yeast
1 T. sugar
2 T. water (105-115 degrees)
1 cup milk (scalded)
7 T. butter
6 1/2 T. sugar
3 beaten eggs
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour

~Mix the yeast, 1 T. sugar, and water together in a large bowl- set aside. Scald milk; add butter. Let the milk and butter cool to 105-115 degrees. Add milk and butter mixture to yeast/sugar/water mixture. Add remaining sugar, eggs, and salt. Mix together. Start adding the flour, a cup at a time. (The original recipe says to beat the dough for 5 minutes. This did not work with my mixer. So I ended up stirring it by hand for about 5 minutes.) Cover the dough with tin foil and put it into the refrigerator. Remember, it doesn't really rise in the refrigerator- so don't panic (like I did!) when you take it out the next morning.

~On a floured cutting board, roll out about 1/3 of the dough until it's about 1/2" thick. Cut out donuts! You can buy actual "donut cutters." I unfortunately forgot to do this, which required some improvising. I found a circle cooking cutter, and also used just a regular glass. To cut out the center of the donut I used the lid of a sprinkle bottle (the little red lids). This actually worked out just fine. The donuts were not regular full size donuts, but that just allows you to eat more of them! (And they were the perfect size for kids.) Put the cut out donuts on some parchment or wax paper that is dusted with flour (so the dough won't stick). I let the dough rise for about 30 minutes.

~In a large wok or deep pan, heat oil until it's 375-400 degrees. Add the donuts to the hot oil; they will cook quickly. I used a small metal strainer to flip the donuts over and take them out. You need to continue to watch your temperature because the temperature drops as you cook. You may need to let it reheat to get it back up to the right temperature. I cooked 4 to 5 donuts at a time; if you cook too many at once, they may not cook evenly. I cooled the donuts on a cookie racks and then moved them paper towels.

~Tip: I put an old towel in front of my stove on the floor and then lined the area around the pan of oil with tin foil. This makes clean up quick and easy. I don't think any grease actually got on the floor, but I wanted to put the towel there to be safe (and because I cleaned my kitchen floor the night before). The tin foil around the pan most definitely had splatters of grease on it- so I am glad I used it.

Chocolate, Chocolate with Sprinkles, and Maple
Sugar and Glazed
Glaze Recipe
2 cups powdered sugar
1 T. butter (softened)
1/8 cup milk or hot water
1/2 tsp. vanilla

~I basically just created this recipe. And you will change it more if you use it. I started off by combining these ingredients together in a medium size glass bowl- and then I continued to add more powdered sugar and milk/water until I got the consistency I wanted. I also microwaved the icing so it was hot- which made it thinner.  Once it was thin enough, I dipped the donuts (the entire donut) in the glaze. I let the excess glaze run off and then I put the donuts on cookie racks so the glaze could harden. I had a tough time getting the glaze thin enough at first, so the plain glaze donuts had a THICK coat of glaze.  I eventually got the glaze thinner, and I dipped the top of those donuts in chocolate or maple glaze too. To make chocolate glaze, I started by putting some of the regular glaze in a bowl and I added a few teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa to it. Just add cocoa until you get the desired taste you want (some people like it to be more "chocolatey" then others). For the maple glaze, I started by putting some of the regular glaze in a bowl and adding some maple extract or flavoring. This is normally a pretty strong flavoring, so you don't need to add much. Again, just add as much flavoring as you want- taste it and see if you like it. If you want a stronger maple flavor, add more!

~Because we have kids, sprinkles are a must. I poured out a bottle of sprinkles on a plate and dipped the top of some of the chocolate donuts in sprinkles immediately after dipping them in the chocolate glaze.

~For the sugar donuts, I just put the donuts (one at a time) in a ziplock bag of sugar and shook them up. This works best while the donuts are still warm. Next time I may try to make some cinnamon sugar and powdered sugar donuts too.

~For the donut holes, I dipped some of them in glaze and some of them in sugar. Some of the glazed ones I also drizzled chocolate glaze on and sprinkles. They were quite festive looking! :)

The finished product~ all ready to eat!

So there you have it! My donut making experience. Honestly, I couldn't believe how easy these were to make. That is both a positive and a negative. Now that I know how easy they are to make, I will have to have serious self-control to not make them often. (Remember food, specifically bread, is one of my love languages.) Also, there are no donut shops in Colorado Springs. If you want donuts, you get them at the grocery store. There is one Dunkin' Donuts- and it's not close. And they sell out quickly (probably because not only are they good, they have no competition).

Let me know if you try making donuts. I had a lot of fun making them and hope you will too!