AHAHAHAHAHAAAAA! I cackle with delight at the prospect of making these....these classic, sugary, yeast-raised, deep-fried, wads of scrumdiddlyumpcious revelry!
You must make them. Everyone will be impressed.
Okay, yeah...this recipe more complicated than the usual ones found in the Uprising world. But, you should know, I got your back. This post is accompanied by a veritable mountain of photographs to help you along. And if ya mess up, who cares?!?!? You'll have doughnuts to keep you company. Also, you'll need a candy thermometer. They're really really cheap and will save you lots of trouble in the long run. Grab one.
Ready to rock? 'Course you are. You're one brave hottie (look how sexy you are these days).
First things first: make a fabulous doughnut dough. It's a very very very similar process to regular breadmaking, so feel free to peruse my Vegan Whole Wheat Bread or Pizza Dough recipe if you need a refresher. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a regular mixing bowl if you're going to use your hands to mix), combine:
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
Use your hand to stir it around and dissolve the sugar. Then add:
1 0.25oz packet active dry yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp)
Stir it together, but for just a sec...do not "dissolve" the yeast. You only want to break the surface tension of the water to prevent the yeast from floating. Once that happens, leave the yeast in peace so that it blooms like a monster. Oh yeah.
While you're waiting for the yeast, put a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Add:
4 tbs Earth Balance Butter
Leave it to melt. Then, check your yeast. You want it to be foamy and nice. Something like this:
It takes about 5-6 minutes to achieve full yeast activation, which is cool 'cause you're waiting on your butter to melt anyway, right? When in doubt, let the yeast go a little bit longer. When it's ready add the following right on top IN THIS ORDER:
2 1/2 cups flour (now's not the time for whole wheat)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
Turn your mixer on low (fitted with the dough hook), or man a big spoon if your doing it by hand. Once a shaggy dough emerges, add the melted butter and keep mixing until the dough is sticky. Then, if you're using a stand mixer, add 1/4 cup flour to help the machine knead and let it work its magic for about 3 minutes. Non-mixer folks, once your butter is stirred up, dump the dough out onto a well-floured countertop and get busy kneadin' until the dough is smooth, about 6-8 minutes, adding more flour as needed. Whichever method you use, the dough should be soft and elastic by the time the kneading process is complete.
When it's there, plop the dough into an oiled bowl and let it rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for about an hour. I put mine right on top of my radiator:
Here's a zoom-in:
Can't you just sense the impending doughnut goodness? The rising process is complete when the dough has doubled in size, which can take longer than an hour if your house is drafty. I used to cheat this situation by turning my oven at 300 right at the beginning of my dough-mixing, turning it off after about 5 minutes. Then I'd toss the bowl in the turned-off-but-still-warmish oven to rise...seemed to work pretty well.
Okay. Has your dough doubled? Eh?
Dump it out onto your countertop and take a gander at all those nice air pockets you made:
With every little bubble of air your doughnuts become lighter and fluffier, not just balls of sweet dough. Awesome.
Now, it's time to shape your doughnuts. Since we cheated a bit by adding baking powder, you won't have to wait forever for the dough to rise a second time (just a few minutes, actually). Here's how I make the classic doughnut shape...first, I roll a bit of dough around in the palm of my hands, like this:
You want the doughnuts to be fairly small, since they blow up maniacally when you drop them in the oil. Smaller ones also cook better. Once your have a nice smooth wad of almost-doughnut, take your thumb and forefinger and smash them together through the dough to create a hole, like so:
Then, widen the hole with another finger, smoothing around the outside and working hard to keep the ring even all the away around:
You want the hole fairly large (about the width of your index finger...the one above is too small), since, as I said, these babies are gonna puff up like mad. The hole will close up if it's too small and you'll be left with a ball instead of a ring, which, incidentally, shouldn't make you too upset. You're about to eat homemade doughnuts.
Cover your formed dough with plastic wrap:
They need to rise for just a bit, giving you the perfect opportunity to heat up some oil for frying. You can use any kind of oil (I got away with using "light tasting" olive oil), but canola or safflower are probably the best choices. Fill a small pan with about 2 inches worth of oil, clip your candy thermometer on the side, and crank the heat:
Notice how I've used a deeper saucepan as opposed to a shallower, wider one. This is mostly because I'm cheap and want to use less oil, but also because the doughnuts do better when you fry just a few at a time, and because they'll be less oil splatter and less chance of a cranky version of you emerging after you had to spend 20 minutes scrubbing the stove. Everybody wins.
You want to oil to be sitting at a stable 375 degrees before you fry, but BE CAREFUL, GUYS. Make sure the handle of the pot isn't hanging over the side waiting to be bashed by your unsuspecting elbow. You'll thank yourself if you take a teensy bit more precaution, especially since you'll get to keep your skin. Once the oil is up to temp and not wavering (mine took only 6 or 7 minutes), it's time to start frying. Don't be surprised if your neighbors start peeking in the windows once you begin...they'll think Krispy Kreme has moved in next door when they smell the doughnut aromas wafting down the street.
Take a couple doughnuts and GENTLY place them in the oil like so:
They'll immediately pouf up and float to the surface, so keep your face away. Fry them for about 2 minutes or until the bottom is browned, then take a slotted spoon and flip them over. Their bottoms should look like this:
Nicely browned but not scorched. Let them fry for another minute or until the other side is uniformly cooked, then fish them out with your spoon and deposit them directly onto a plate lined with paper towels or a paper bag. THIS IS IMPERATIVE. Do not let them sit in their oil or they'll be mushy and grody. Ew.
Continue frying the doughnuts and cackling with glee, being sure to check the temperature of the oil a few times during the process in case it wavers. Once you're completely finished frying, turn the oil off and set it on the back of the stove, or somewhere it absolutely will not get knocked over. Once it cools you can dispose of it (I pour the cold oil into a big Ziploc, but that Ziploc into another Ziploc, and place it gingerly into the garbage).
And now, you get to dress 'em up. You can roll them in cinnamon sugar, regular sugar, or powdered sugar like so:
Or you can whip up a quick glaze by adding a few tablespoons of water to a small bowl of powdered sugar. Stir it up, then dip the top of each doughnut into the bowl and watch as the glaze drips down...oh baby (see photo at the top of the page). You could make a chocolate glaze too by adding a bit of cocoa powder, or even a maple glaze if you're feelin' sassy.
And really, who wouldn't feel amazing after making these!??!? Feel free to give yourself a giant pat on the back after this one. You're awesome.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and eat your doughnuts. You may want to share. Maybe.