I wasn’t one to eat doughnuts very often back in the day. Bagles? Sure, all the time. But doughuts? Better leave them for Homer! I do have a very special relationship to doughnut holes though, from which you cannot gain weight, according to Tori Amos, who says so in her “Doughnut Song”. It’s one of my favorite quotes ever. (Tori has been on the Atkins diet and off carbs forever, so I am guessing she would never approve of this recipe, hahaha. Probably her going on Atkins had something to do with her writing this song, too – well aside from the other reasons she had for writing it.)
Anyway, I’ve been around a lot of glutinous doughnuts throughout the past almost three years since I have been living gluten-free – while being stuck with eating the virtual doughnut hole. Enough! Time to make doughnuts! Not like I can buy them anywhere, right?
I wanted the whole nine yards! Deep-fried, fluffy, sugar-glazed goodness with colorful sprinkles on it. I also wanted some with pink glaze. Like the ones you can buy at Dunkin’ Donuts or the kind that the Doughnut Boy figure waves in the intro of The Simpsons. I also wanted doughnuts with dark chocolate frosting. Perhaps sprinkled I with a dash of gold dust! In essence, I wanted a doughnut party (here is an idea for an evening of fun!).There are different ways to go about making doughnuts. I know of people who bought themselves a doughnut maker (which works just like a waffle iron). I understand the appeal of tiny doughnuts. I did briefly consider buying a tiny doughnut station, you know the kind that goes “plop plop plop plop plop” as the doughnuts are gently dumped into a pool of hot grease by means of a machine. (I imagined it would be kind of zen to watch…) You can then watch the tiny doughnuts fry-float until they are golden brown. But, I’m sort of against gadgets in my kitchen that fulfill just one, very limited purpose. Also, this time around, I didn’t want mini doughnuts. I wanted the real deal where you eat an entire doughnut and can basically skip lunch calorie-wise.
So, the other day, I ordered myself a doughnut-shaped cookie cutter. (There is always space for a cookie cutter, regardless of how small your kitchen is, right?) I bought the one with the largest diameter available and finally got around to using it the other day. I am glad to report that the recipe turned out truly delicious. I tried to work around the fattiness of it all, and settled for frying the doughnuts only shortly on both sides in a pan and then placing them back on a baking parchment and baking them in my oven until they were done. This turned out to be the perfect strategy. The donuts were crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and above all just the right amount of sweet. I can’t wait to make these again!
If you want to try this method, too, please ensure to turn on the oven about half an hour before you plan on putting the doughnuts in there. It’s really conducive to the end-result if they can continue cooking immediately rather than sitting around waiting for heat to come to them!
I then set off to decorate. I melted dark chocolate. I melted white chocolate. I used ridiculous amounts of powdered sugar to make a thick white glaze, half of which I dyed pink (and my husband said I wouldn’t need the six tubes of food coloring that I bought the other day!). I used sprinkles. I used gold dust. And wished I had more fun things in my pantry.
I must say that I liked the chocolate one best. It was perfect. Please note that I am kinda done with donuts now. And with the sweet stuff. As my husband reminded me, I never used to eat doughnuts. But things change. Still, I’m certain I’ll always love the sweet stuff!
Gluten-free Doughnuts and Doughnut-Holes
¾ cup warm milk (by that I mean somewhat over room temperature, please don’t kill your yeast!)
¼ cup sugar
3 tsp active dry yeast
½ package baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 ½ cups gluten-free all purpose flour (I used one third Schaer Farine, one third Komeko Pastry and one third Harina de Reposteria from Ad-Pan)
1 tsp gluten-free helpers (xanthan and guar gum, carob and arrowroot flour)
1 tsp ground physillum husk
¼ salt plus 20ml of milk to dissolve it
3 tbsp butter (melted, with a dash of milk to cool it off)
2 eggs (separated, mine were medium-sized)
Decorations (depending on what you want): dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa), white chocolate, powdered sugar, a drop of milk, butter, sprinkles and gold-dust.
Turn your oven to 220°C.
Place the yeast and the sugar in a bowl. Add the milk, and whisk until it has dissolved. Add the melted butter and the egg yolks.
In a second bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (minus the salt) and add about half of it to the liquid ingredients, and knead into a smooth and even, lumpless batter. Allow to rest for about five minutes. Then add the remainder of the dry ingredients and the dissolved salt and knead until the flour has been incorporated into the dough.
Beat your egg-whites until they are stiff. Then incorporate into the doughnut batter.
Allow the dough to rise for about half an hour in a warm place.
Line a baking tin with baking parchment.
Sprinkle the dough and your work surface with flour. Place the dough onto the work surface and gently pat out evenly until about a finger and a half thick (about two centimetres). Cut out doughnuts with the help of your cookie cutter and place individual doughnuts (and if you like, doughnut holes) on baking parchment. Repeat with the remainder of the dough until none of it is left.
Then heat a generous amount of oil in your pan and fry doughnuts (leaving sufficient space between them) for about thirty seconds on each side. Place back on baking parchment and repeat with the rest of the raw doughnuts. Then, immediately place the doughnuts and doughnut holes into the oven and bake (preferably on a medium rack) for about seven minutes or until golden brown and done (mine turned out a little bit on the dark side, next time I would place an aluminium foil over them in order to control this).
Remove baking tin from oven and remove doughnuts from baking tin. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for about forty-five minutes. Then proceed to decorate each donut, e.g. with icing and sprinkles! (See instructions below for reference if you like) Serve and enjoy!
Now, about the glaze: the indications below are all approximations. It’s best to let the doughnuts rest for a little while after glazing them, so that the liquid in the glaze can be absorbed by the doughnut, creating that characteristic taste and texture.
For your sugar glaze:
Place about a tablespoon of powdered sugar into a small cup. Add a drop of milk and stir. You should end up with a very thick, but liquid paste. The thicker, the better (if it’s too runny, the glaze will just run off the doughnut and away from you!). Now is the time to add your food coloring, if you’re looking for an artificial look. I dipped the tip of a toothpick in the food coloring and then dipped it into the sugar glaze. This was more than enough to create a more than pink glaze. Distribute the glaze evenly on the doughnut. Add the sprinkles (like you would distribute a dash of salt between your fingers over a dish). Or omit them.
For a dark chocolate glaze:
Place about three large pieces of dark chocolate into a cup. Place the cup into a pot that you have filled with a little water and bring water to a boil. Be careful with your hands and the heat while waiting for the chocolate to melt. Add two drops of water and a teaspoon of butter. You should end up with an even glaze, that is a bit more liquid than Nutella (Oh, of course you can just eat your doughnut with Nutella). Distribute glaze evenly on the doughnut and sprinkle with gold dust.
The white chocolate glaze is essentially done just like the dark chocolate glaze, except that you shouldn’t add water and be careful to not overheat (your chocolate will go straight from firm to crumbly). You can also add a tiny drop of milk, if you like.