Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To the point

I made doughnuts, and they were good.

I had the synchronistic opportunity to make them for the this month's Daring Baker's Challenge and my parent's yard sale. The idea was to make them, eat a couple, and then sell off the rest for an outrageous 'home-made' price to hungry, on-the-run sale hoppers. But as usual, something went awry. To our benefit, the doughnuts themselves were not what went wrong. That Saturday morning it decided to rain. No yard sale; no bake sale. Many doughnuts.

You may be thinking: Well, now, those are very dark doughnuts. And, Amanda, why have they no icing or powdered sugar? They look positively naked.

I might reply: Yes, I am aware, they are well-done. But I liked them that way. And as for icing, really, do you distrust me so? I coated them with the spiced syrup used in that delightful Indian sweet Gulab Jamun. So much better than puffy powdered sugar. I always inhale at the wrong time.

I do admit, next time I would try them as suggested, with their holes, because the cooking time was completely off. I had to check them with a knife every few minutes, and they took about ten times as long as the recipe foretold. But then, in the end I might revert back to the no-holes doughnut, because eating a large, fried piece of syrup-soaked cake is actually very satisfying to the senses, however stressful the cooking time, however unsightly the results.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts

'The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.' But I tweaked a few things: more spices mostly, and I used a full dosage of regular table salt I'm trying to get rid of, even though it is stronger than her suggested Kosher. If you want the syrup, which I highly recommend, make it first and set aside. I used this recipe.


Sour Cream ¼ cup
All Purpose Flour 3 ¼ cup + extra for dusting surface
White Granulated Sugar ¾ cup
Baking Soda ½ teaspoon
Baking Powder 1 teaspoon
Kosher (Flaked) Salt 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg, grated 1.5 teaspoons
Cinnamon, ground 1/8 teaspoon
Cardamom, ground 1/8 teaspoon
Active Dry Yeast 1 1/8 teaspoon
Buttermilk ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoon
Egg, Large 1
Egg Yolk, Large 2
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon

  1. In a small stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, heat the sour cream until just warm.
  2. Heat the oil to 375°F/190°C.
  3. Over a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg; make a large well in the center. Place the yeast in the well; pour the sour cream over it. Allow it to soften (if using packed fresh yeast), about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into the well. Using one hand, gradually draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour. Mix until it is completely incorporated. The dough will be very sticky. Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.
  5. Sift an even layer of flour onto a work surface. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. You don’t want the doughnuts sticking to your counter. Scrape dough out of bowl onto the surface; sift another layer of flour over dough. Working quickly, pat dough into an even 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness. Dip cutter in flour and, cutting as closely together as possible, cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place holes and doughnuts on a floured surface. Working quickly, gather scraps of dough together, pat into 1/2-inch (12.5 mm) thickness, and cut out remaining doughnuts and holes.
  6. Drop three to four doughnuts at a time into the hot oil. Once they turn golden brown, turn them and cook the other side. Cooking times may vary, but with my oil at 375 °F/190°C, I found they only took about 20 to 30 seconds per side.
  7. Once cooked, place on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain, and coat with desired sweet topping (powdered sugar, spiced sugar, the honey syrup*). Serve while still warm. Enjoy!
*If you do decide to make these doughnuts with the syrup, I suggest a bath method similar to the Gulab Jamun soak but a little less luxurious, such as a 2-5 minute dipper at the most. I just spooned the liquid over in the sponge bath tradition, which I found lacking. Experiment and let me know!


  1. those doughnuts were soooo good!

  2. these remind me of deep cove honey doughnuts. yum! plus, who cares about eating THESE leftovers? i bet your beloved was happy to help you out. :)