Every summer I look forward to the county fair when we can visit the donut stand and get those delectable mini fried donuts covered in cinnamon sugar. Why wait?
Step 1: Prep Ingredients
Most of your ingredients like the milk, butter and egg will need to be room temperature so go ahead and get all of your ingredients out before you start. I go ahead and measure out the milk so it can get to room temp.
You will need:
2 Tbsp. warm water
1 package active dry yeast or 2 tsp.
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 cup milk, at room temperature
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp. salt
pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon for dough
vegtable or canola oil, for frying
cinnamon-sugar, for dipping (spike sugar with as much cinnamon as you like)
This would be a good time also to get out the tools you will need. I'm using 7 qt Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a dough hook. Completely overkill, any size stand mixer will do. You could also do this without a stand mixer but you will have to knead that dough like crazy.
Step 2: Proofing the Yeast.
Mix the water, sugar then the yeast right in the bowl you will be using to make the dough.
Working with yeast can sometimes be intimidating but no need to worry! Just think Baby. I posted a picture of my baby waving to help you remember the key to activating yeast. The water you will use to activate the yeast needs to be BABY BOTTLE WARM. What temperature the yeast likes and what a baby likes are the same. Run the water over your hand and ask yourself is this too hot for a baby? Is the water comfortable on your skin? Yeast is actually pretty forgiving, the water would have to be pretty hot for you to kill the yeast. You will know pretty soon if you got the right temperature or not.
Let it sit for 5 minutes and see what it is doing. Is it foamy? Bubbling? Then its working! The sugar you put in first should help it activate faster vs. putting the sugar in later. If it's not doing anything then either your water was too hot or your yeast is old. Sometimes if your kitchen is really cold then it might take longer for your yeast to activate. Luickly if its not doing anything, now is the time to try again before you add your other ingredients.
TIP: You will only be adding 2 Tablespoons of water. If you've ever tried to put water right from the faucett into a small Tablespoon measure it will spill right out! I use a liquid measuring cup, filling it up with the baby bottle warm water then measure the water out from there.
Step 3: Make the Dough.
If you are using a stand mixer start it on the lowest setting. I started it on a 1 or 2 and start adding in the rest of the ingredients.
Put in 1 cup of flour to start, hold off on the rest of the flour for now. Next the room temperature milk, the soft butter, an egg, salt, a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon. Now you can put in some more flour 1/2 cup at a time. You might not need all of it so put a 1/2 cup in and let it work in for a minute and watch it. What your watching for is a clean bowl. As its kneading around look at the sides and bottom of the bowl. Is the dough sticking? If so, then tappy-tap a little more flour in, until your bowl is "clean". You want a soft dough but not sticky.
When it looks like its cleaning the bowl, stop your mixer and take off your bowl. Pick up the dough and using a little flour dust the bowl. Put your dough back in the bowl and cover it with a tea towel or dish towel and let it rise for 40 minutes or until doubled. If you are in a hurry you can try these tricks:
- Microwave a cup of water until it boils. Move the cup of hot water to the the corner of the microwave ad quick put your covered dough into the microwave and shut the door. DO NOT MICROWAVE THE DOUGH. Your are just using the microwave as a proofer.
- While your making your dough, turn your oven on to 350 and let it heat up your kitchen while your making your dough. When you go to set the dough somewhere warm, turn off your oven and set the dough on top of your oven.
Step 4: Let Your Dough Rise.
After letting your covered dough rise in a warm area for a good 40 minutes or so you can check to see if the dough is ready. Has it doubled in size? You can push your thumb into it and if your dent stays, its ready. The time it takes to rise depends on the temperature of your kitchen.
Step 5: Prep Your Stations.
While your dough is rising, now would be a good time to prep your different stations.
Frying station: You will need to prepare a heavy pot for frying. I'm using a heavy duty dutch oven. I put about 1 inch of oil in it and put it on medium to just a little over medium heat. This will take some time to get up to the right temperature, so just put a lid on it and get yourself something to turn the donuts with and something to take them out with. To turn the donuts I use two chopsticks. You can also use these to take them out of the oil, but I find when I want to take four donuts out at the same time a quick way is the scooper. Not sure what it's called, but its a handy tool with a long handle and a wire basket at the end. The last thing you will need is something to transfer the hot donuts to, I use a plate with a cloth or a paper towel on it.
Donut making station: You will need some flour to dust your workspace with. A rolling pin and something to cut the donuts out with. I used what I had on hand, a glass baby food jar. Other people use a shot glass, or a cookie cutter.
Cinnamon sugar: You will need some cinnamon sugar, and a cookie sheet to place the completed donuts on. I used a cookie sheet with a cooling rack on it. I thought this would help somehow, but it was pretty useless. You probably just need one or the other not both. I used a medium sized bowl to toss the donuts in the cinnamon sugar and I think this helped because there was plenty of room to fit multiple donuts in at a time.
Step 6: Making the Donuts.
Lightly flour your workspace. Take about half or 1/3 of the dough and roll it out. I rolled it out to about the thickness of the chopsticks. That would be about 1/4 inch. I would even say you could do it a little thicker but not more than 1/2 inch thick.
Using a shot glass or baby food jar, or something similar sized, cut out your circles, then using your fingers make a little hole in the center. I found it easier to make a bunch like this before I started frying, because once you start frying you really have to keep your attention on that.
Step 7: Fry Your Donuts.
Start with one test donut. You want to make sure your oil isn't too hot or too cool. It should sizzle right away and take about about 40 seconds a side. If the oil isn't hot enough the donut will just sit there soaking up oil and it will make it taste very heavy. If its too hot, it will burn the outside and not cook the inside. After your first test donut, taste it and if you are happy with it you can do about 3-4 donuts at a time. You don't want to do more than that because adding too much dough will cool the oil down. Watch your donuts carefully and never leave them alone. Don't get distracted by kids (that's my big problem), phone or door because they will burn quick. I used that little basket thing to scoop out a couple of donuts at a time, then I placed them on a tea towel.
Step 8: Finish Donuts
After coming out of the oil and sitting on a towel for a minute, toss them around in the cinnamon sugar. Then place them on a cookie sheet or cooking rack. But theres not much point to that because they wont last long!
These would be perfect for a kids carnival, a fair themed party, dipping in hot chocolate or just for a fun treat for the family. My husband and kids both loved these!