Friday, July 27, 2012

Homemade Olympic Doughnuts

The 2012 Summer Games kick off tonight in London and I can barely wait! In preparation for the opening ceremony, I wanted to make an "Olympic themed" treat. After a brief glance at the iconic Olympic logo, I knew exactly what I was going to make. The Olympic rings are round...Doughnuts are round! I will make doughnuts! The fact that I spent the day making these colorful glazed doughnuts is confirmation that I will never be an Olympic athlete. That is, unless they make baking and eating an Olympic sport! A girl can dream, can't she? What would you compete in if you were participating in the Olympics? Did you know canoeing is an Olympic sport? If I start practicing now, maybe I'll have a chance at the 2016 games in Rio! 

I've never actually made doughnuts before, so I wasn't sure where to start. Do I want to bake the doughnuts or stick to the traditional frying method? Do I want yeasty doughnuts or a more "cake-like" texture? In the interest of time, I decided against using yeast and having to wait for the dough to rise. I found this simple Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnut recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Baked Explorations, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. These doughnuts are perfectly "cakey" on the inside and crispy on the outside. Instead of using the toppings the recipe called for, I created five different colored vanilla glazes to dip the doughnuts in. The glaze will be your starting gun! Once it hardens, you are good to go...well, eat. The real competition will be trying to make 'em last through the Olympic Games. Enjoy!

Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts
Adapted from: Baked Explorations

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly browned and cooled
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and another baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream until combined. Add the melted, cooled butter and whisk again.
4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. With a rubber spatula, slowly fold the flour into the liquid center until the mixture forms a sticky dough.
5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and pat it out until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
6. Use two round cutters, approx. 3 1/4" and 1 1/2". Dip the large cutter in flour and press out the rounds. Dip the smaller cutter in the flour and cut out the center of each dough round. Arrange both doughnuts and doughnut holes on the parchment-lined baking sheet, pat the dough scraps back together, and use them to make as many more doughnuts and doughnut holes as possible. Chill the dough while you heat the oil.
7. Pour enough oil into a deep skillet to make a layer approximately 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches deep. Slowly heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is 365 to 370 degrees F.
8. While you are waiting for the oil to reach temperature, make and color the vanilla glaze.
9. Once the oil reaches temperature, gently lift the large doughnuts off the baking sheet and place them in the hot oil. Do not crowd the skillet-make no more than 3 doughnuts at a time. Once they have browned on one side (this takes 2-3 minutes), turn them over with tongs or a slotted spoon and continue to cook for another minute or just until browned (they can overcook or burn rather quickly). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel lined baking sheet and continue to fry the rest of the dough until finished. The doughnut holes will cook faster and can be made in two or three batches after the doughnuts are done.

Vanilla Glaze
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Red, black, blue, yellow and green food coloring

1. In a medium wide-mouthed bowl, whisk together the sugar, the milk, and the vanilla paste.
2. Divide glaze evenly into 5 bowls. Place several drops of each color into the 5 bowls and stir, adding more drops if needed, until you have the perfect Olympic colors.

Once you have finished frying, work quickly to dip the doughnuts in the glaze. Serve immediately.

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