This An Ode To… donuts is a sprinkle-tastic reminder that any time adulting seems to drag you down, it may be time to roll the donuts in! Donuts, even when they show up in the most boring possible place, brighten everyone’s mood. They are colorful, delicious and enjoyed at any hour of the day. If you have a hole in your life, perhaps a donut can fill it.
Here is one of our favorite, basic donut recipes from food52. Enjoy!
In a small pot, heat the milk, water and butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Mix the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand). Add the warm milk mixture and mix to combine. Add the eggs, scraping the bowl well. Turn the mixer up to medium speed, and, using a dough hook, mix until the dough begins to pull away from the edges. If mixing by hand, knead until it easily pulls away from the sides of the bowl as you knead (it will still be quite sticky).
Transfer the finished dough to a well-oiled container and cover. Allow it to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the dough overnight so that it’s ready to make in the morning—but you may need to punch the dough down once or twice during that period to prevent it from over-fermenting.
To shape the doughnuts, roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2-inch thick. Use a doughnut cutter to cut doughnuts (alternatively you can use two circle cutters, or even the rim of a drinking glass and the rim of a shot glass, to shape the doughnuts). I also like to cut the doughnuts into squares (about 2 inches by 2 inches) using a pizza cutter—this is especially great for filled doughnuts.
Heat the oil to about 360° F. (You can use a candy/fryer thermometer, but I just do a test with one of the donut holes or a scrap piece of dough: If it rises rapidly to the surface, the oil is ready. If the donuts begin to brown too quickly, the oil is too hot.)
Fry the doughnuts, turning them halfway through cooking, until they’re golden brown on each side. Drain on absorbent paper towels. Finish as desired. (You can glaze the donuts by dunking them, or by pouring the glaze over donuts on a rack).
Some finishing options:
Powdered: Toss in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.
Glazed: Mix 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 3 to 4 Tbsp. heavy cream or milk (enough to make a runny glaze) and 1/2 tsp. vanilla (optional).
Chocolate-Glazed: Mix 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. dark cocoa powder and 4 to 5 Tbsp. milk or cream.
Chocolate-Coated: Dip doughnuts in tempered chocolate thinned with 1 to 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil.
Fruit-Glazed: Mix 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup fruit purée.
Violet-Glazed: Mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup cream or milk and 1 tsp. violet extract. Garnish with candied violets.
Pistachio: Glaze donuts with basic glaze, then press in chopped toasted pistachios.
Fun fact: Ever wondered about the donut vs. doughnut spelling controversy? Well, we have Dunkin Donuts to thank for all the confusion! The Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s approved spelling of these delicious fried treats is actually doughnuts. However, donuts (the shortened version), although originated in the 1800s, was made widely popular by Dunkin Donuts in the late 20th century. Now, Americans use donuts far more than doughnuts, while those outside of the US still prefer doughnuts.