This series – My 2018 bakes – is all about trying new things and learning some bakes I haven’t attempted before, because how satisfying does it feel to accomplish something new? That, and I really enjoy baking, not to mention eating! I’d been wanting to make doughnuts for ages as they’ve long been a favourite of mine, whether that be hot, sugared doughnuts at the funfair or decadent iced and filled treasures from Krispy Kreme. If you read my last post about Ruby Tandoh’s book, ‘Eat Up’, you’ll know that I’m a little bit in love with the way she writes about food. So before I go into the making part, I thought I’d just leave this gorgeous quote here: “I often think about where food begins and ends…You’re holding an iced ring doughnut in your hand – I mean the sticky edges where the doughnut meets skin, the long sweet history of beignets and crullers and cronuts, and the impluse to snack. I mean the science that turns heavy dough a deep orange hue when it hits the fryer, and the social currency of a doughnut box at work.“
Perhaps that quote gave me the last little push I needed to give them a go myself. I’d seen a recipe in ‘Rainbow Bakes‘, an amazing colour-filled book of treats I was given last year (thanks again Amber!) and the only thing really stopping me was a thermometer. It turns out they’re not pricey at all and I found this one on Amazon which worked out perfectly.
So what does doughnut making actually involve? Answer: TIME. You need to be around for the day really, or at least a few hours, as there’s a fair bit of proving involved (term I learnt from Bake Off which just means letting the dough rise in a warm place, not difficult in this weather!). Aside from the time thing though, the process isn’t is as tricky as you might think. The recipe I used started off with the following steps: making the dough, letting it prove for a couple of hours, kneading it some more and separating into 16 blobs, before letting it prove again.
Then comes the fun bit. I cut the dough into rounds, taking out the centres to make the classic ring doughnut shape, and heated sunflower oil in a deep pan. Once the oil got to temperature I used a slotted spoon to lower three doughnuts at a time into the pan and honestly, watching them brown was so satisfying! Of course once they’ve browned on one side, you flip them over to repeat the process on the other, and gradually work your way through the batch. I also fried the off-cuts of dough to make gorgeous little fried doughnut balls, which I dipped in cinnamon sugar – DELICIOUS. With the ring doughnuts I made up some icing with what food colouring I had, and coated the tops. They didn’t look quite as vibrant as I’d hoped, but I still got a nice marbley pattern going by swirling the colours together, and I can vouch for the fact that they tasted great. If you haven’t before, I would really recommend giving doughnuts a go, as they’re not difficult at all and the results are wonderful.
As I mentioned earlier, I used a recipe from a book but I’ve found a link for a very similar recipe, which you might like to use, here.
Practical tips for making iced ring doughnuts
- Don’t worry too much about timings when frying – my recipe said a couple of minutes each side but I started off by following this religiously and the first set were a bit overdone. I found it worked best to just do it by eye, as naturally the temperature fluctuates a little
- You don’t need to go out and buy dough cutters – I just turned a glass upside down to cut out the circular shapes, and then the lid of the oil bottle to cut out the centres
- Work fairly quickly with the toppings, all my icing had set before I could get any sprinkles on!
- Consider baking the doughnuts in the oven if you don’t want to fry them – the recipe suggests this as an alternative, which might be nice if you don’t want to use all that oil
- The doughnuts are really best eaten fresh, so to avoid waste (unlike silly me), if you won’t be able to eat them all in time, halve the recipe and make a smaller batch.
I hope I’ve inspired you to give iced ring doughnuts – or something else new – a go! Have you tried out any new recipes lately?