Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

It’s hard for me to describe what I like about doughnuts. I mean, we all know I have a sweet tooth, but I’m quite fussy when it comes to doughnuts. I used to love Krispy Kreme cake-style doughnuts, but over the years they’ve become too sweet for me. I much prefer a simple glazed or cinnamon sugar yeasted doughnut. The difference being that a yeasted doughnut is much less dense, with the yeast allowing the dough to rise and get airy, rather than just using baking soda to expand the dough as it fries.

When a doughnut is good, it is great. But here in Hong Kong, I’m never quite happy with the doughnuts that I find. Having said that, the best ones are usual from some little local bakery: yeasted and rolled in sugar. They’re just not a big part of the local population’s favourite types of desserts. Krispy Kreme was here for a while, but they were too sweet and eventually closed up shop and left. The same as Ben & Jerry’s. This upsets me, because I love B&J’s.

Anyway, tangent. These doughnuts take time. You need the give the dough time to rise, twice. I aided the dough with an oven that I heated at a low temp and then turned off. But I would recommend just putting the dough in a warm, dark place and allowing to rise on its own. There’s no harm in letting it rise overnight either.

I do eventually also want to try baking doughnuts, but from reading different recipes, I believe that baked doughnut batter is much more liquid, and therefore needs a doughnut tray. It can’t just be shaped and chucked in the oven. My guess is because this basically would be like making bread otherwise, so it needs to be more “cakey”? I don’t know, I’m not a pro at this – as you can see from my super funky shaped doughnuts.

You can mess around with the ingredients added to the doughnuts, and also glaze them however you wish, if you don’t want to cover them in cinnamon sugar (but I mean, really, why wouldn’t you? I’ve had multiple blog-based rambles about the amazingness of cinnamon).

Stop rambling, I hear you shout, and get to the recipe already! Okay, fine! But only because I want you to make these doughnuts and treat yourself. A little bit of deep-frying every now and then isn’t terrible. Remember, you only live once. But also remember, that this isn’t something we’re supposed to eat every day. Balance is a doughnut in one hand and a coffee in the other, right?

Ingredients

125 ml plus 1 tbsp milk, warm
7g sachet active dry yeast
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
250 grams all-purpose flour
50 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
500 ml sunflower oil

100 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  1. Pour warm milk into a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy on the top. Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the yeast. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg.
  3. In a smaller, separate bowl, whisk butter and egg until well combined.
  4. Whisk the butter and egg into the milk and yeast mixture. You can use a free-standing mixer at medium speed, or a handheld electric whisk at medium.
  5. Add the flour to the bowl a couple tablespoons at a time, using the dough hook on your mixer. Once the dough starts to get a bit thick, I stopped using my whisk as the dough was going to get clogged up in the top of the beaters. So I used a wooden spoon and then my hands to incorporate the rest of the flour.
  6. Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, your dough is ready. Ensure all of the flour is mixed in. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Lightly oil a large bowl, and place the dough into it. Toss the dough around to coat it in oil. Cover loosely with a tea towel, and place in a dark, warm place for at least an hour, or until it doubles in size.
  8. Once doubled, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to 1 cm thick. You can use a doughnut cutter, or you can improvise like I did and use a mug and a small tupperware for salad dressings. Whatever you have in your kitchen that will make a big circle, and then a smaller circle inside.
  9. Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes on a lightly floured baking tray. Cover lightly with a tea towel and place back into the dark, warm place to rise. This can take anywhere between 1 and 3 hours, depending on how warm it is. Once the doughnuts have doubled in size, they’re ready.
  10. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  11. Fill a cast iron dutch oven, or high-sided pot with the sunflower oil, and heat to 180°C. If you don’t have a thermometre, the best way to test is to take a small piece of leftover dough and put in the pot. If it sizzles, and starts to turn the dough golden, the oil is hot enough.
  12. Place 2 – 3 doughnuts into the oil, depending on the size of your pot, and fry for about 2 – 3 minutes, turning often, until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pot and allow the excess oil to drip back into the pot. Then place in the bowl of the cinnamon sugar, covering the entire doughnut.
  13. Once covered, place on a plate. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and doughnut holes.
  14. Enjoy. Best eaten on the day they are made.

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