Homemade Doughnuts; Revisited

We had some friends come over for breakfast a while back.  I knew I wanted to make doughnuts, but wasn't sure if I wanted to fry or bake them.  The very first time I tried baking doughnuts, it was a very large fail.  I tried baking them again, with much more success.  This time, I wanted to give frying a go.  They turned out awesome.  Much better (although a lot less healthy) than the baked variety.  They were soft and light inside, and golden brown on the outside with just a light crunch.

I made 3 different varieties of doughnuts this go around (with some input from Jeremy).  

I made a traditional glazed doughnut.

a doughnut with a maple glaze, topped with bits of bacon. I know this sounds weird.  Bacon? On a doughnut?  trust me.  It works.  Our guests were weirded out also, but this one actually turned out to be the favorite.

And lastly, a PB&J doughnut - covered with a peanut butter glaze, filled with jelly.

They were all delicious!  

Homemade Doughnuts - The Fried Version 
Adapted from the PioneerWoman

For the doughnuts:
1 1/8 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 stick butter, melted
4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
Oil, for frying (we used canola)

for the original glaze:
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk

For the bacon doughnuts/maple glaze:
2-3 slices bacon, fried (or baked, however you like to cook your bacon) and chopped 
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup

for the PB&J doughnuts/PB glaze
Jelly of your choice (we used strawberry)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

To make the dough:  Warm up the milk, in either the microwave or on the stovetop, till it reaches about 110 degrees (not too hot too touch, but warmer than luke-warm, a thermometer helps!).  Add the sugar to the milk, and stir until dissolved.  Add the yeast to a small bowl.  Pour the milk/sugar mixture over the yeast, and stir gently.  Let this sit for 10 minutes, until it foams up.

Add the beaten eggs to the butter, stirring constantly so that the eggs do not get cooked by the melted butter.  Add this mixture to a stand-mixture with a  dough hook.  (if doing by hand, add this mixture to a large bowl).  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and salt.  With mixture on medium-low, pour in the yeast mixture.  Allow the dough hook to stir  for a couple of minutes (mix with a wooden spoon, if no stand mixer), until thoroughly combined.  With the mixer still going (While stirring vigorously), add in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until all is mixed together.  Mix for 5 minutes (Knead for 5 minutes).  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes after mixing.  

Lightly oil a large bowl, and place dough in the bowl.  Toss the dough to coat it in oil, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours.  

To make the doughnuts:  Remove dough from the fridge and place dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness.  using a biscuit cutter, (Or a large mouth glass-approximately 3-in diameter) cut out rounds of dough.  Cut out holes in the middle of each round, using the smaller round of the biscuit dough (If you don't have a biscuit cutter, maybe you could find something around that has 1 1/2-in diameter?).  NOTE:  For the filled doughnuts, do not cut an inner hole.  Place the doughnuts (you can keep the holes for frying too!) on a floured baking sheet.  Cover with a large tea towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place, for about an hour, until the doughnuts have puffed up and are "airy"  (as in, they'll look like they'll collapse if you touch them).

To fry the doughnuts:  Heat a generous amount of oil in a large pot until it reaches 375 degrees (you really need a thermometer here).  Above 380 degrees is too hot, so you'll have to monitor the oil heat.  One or two at a time, grab the doughnuts and carefully place them in the hot oil.  Cook for about 1 minute on each side, until they are golden brown.  Remove doughnuts with a frying net or large slotted spoon, and place on a layer of paper towels, to drain the grease.  flip the doughnuts over on the paper towels a few times to get off all the oil.  Repeat with remaining doughnuts (and holes, if you are frying those also). 

To make the glazes:  for each separate glaze, mix all ingredients together.  Some may require a little play to get the right consistency.  You want it runny, but not total liquid.  If you need it to be a little thicker, add a few tbsp cornstarch instead of more powdered sugar to prevent over-sweetening.  If you need it to be thinner, add some milk.

For the original glazed doughnuts:  After the doughnuts have slightly cooled, dip the top and bottom of the doughnuts into the glaze until it's covered.

For the bacon doughnuts:  Dip the slightly cooled doughnuts into the maple glaze, and immediately sprinkle bacon pieces over the top.

For the PB&J doughnuts:  Put some jelly into a piping bag, fitted with a large-mouthed frosting piper.  Make a hole in the side of one of the hole-less doughnuts with a sharp, pointy object (We used a kebab skewer), and twist  the end to make a larger hole in the middle of the doughnut.  Stick the end of the piping bag into the hole, and fill with jelly. Dip the doughnut into the PB glaze.

That's it!  They take some work, but they're totally worth it! 

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