We are on the 3rd day of polar vortex school cancellation and we’ve been busy. Busy making delicious things and staying warm, that is. On the 1st day we made homemade strawberry pop-tarts; They were so fun—more on that in another post. On the 2nd day (yesterday) we made these beautiful doughnuts. And today, the 3rd day, as I’m typing this at the kitchen island, my darling husband is making his beer crust pizza dough and his famous peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies. Sigh.
I adore snow days and having the kids home; It’s like bonus time. We get to make treats and memories and they get a well-deserved break.
This dough is one of the softest, most supple and satisfying doughs I have ever made. Like any yeast dough, these take a bit of time, but much of it is hands off. They also have a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure element, which is always fun; You can fill them or not, fill them with any flavor jam, curd (lemon would be amazing), Nutella, nut butter, cookie butter (!!), vanilla or chocolate custard. You can cut them any size you like, glaze them, toss them in powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or just plain granulated. You can leave them naked and just enjoy the simplicity of warm, fried dough. They are almost too good to be true. One of my boys even said we could sell them for $20 a piece. I laughed of course, but really, they are that good.
Don’t let “brioche” intimidate you. It’s just an egg and butter fortified yeast dough. It’s the stuff of dreams. So rich, yet so light. I do suggest (beg!) that you read this whole recipe all the way through before you lift a finger. It has a few stages and many steps, but it is not difficult. If you make them, let me know how they turn out! Comment below or tag me on Instagram @cookonawhim #cookonawhim.
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 1 1/4 sticks salted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- seeds from one vanilla bean, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 4 1/2 – 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 gallon neutral frying oil such as peanut, vegetable, or vegetable shortening
- 1 cup of raspberry jam (or any jam you like), in a pastry bag or large ziploc bag fitted with long, narrow tip
- 1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella, in a pastry bag or large ziploc bag fitted with long, narrow tip
- 2 cups granulated sugar for rolling, placed in a shallow dish such as a pie plate
Preheat oven to 170 F
Once oven reaches temp, turn off and leave door closed. Combine yeast with warm water in a glass measuring cup and let sit at room temperature while you proceed with the recipe.
For the dough:
Place butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and cream together on medium speed until combined, light, and fluffy.
Add eggs (I find it useful to crack all three into a bowl or measuring cup and add while the mixer is running on low).
Add yeast/water mixture and one cup of flour and mix until fully combined.
Switch from the paddle attachment to a dough hook.
Add remaining flour and mix on low speed for 5 minutes until thoroughly combined and you have a soft, sticky dough. It will cling to the bowl a bit, but it should be almost in a ball. Add a bit more flour if it is extremely sticky, but be careful, you don’t want it as firm and smooth as bread dough.
Remove dough hook, and remove bowl from mixer. Cover bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise in warmed oven for 1 hour. *(This is a good time to get your frying, cooling, filling, and rolling stuff set up.)
After dough has been rising for one hour, lightly flour work surface and top of dough. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness.
Cut rounds (or any shape you like) and place onto floured cookie sheet to rest for 10 minutes while oil heats. I use a 2 inch wide biscuit cutter and get about 20-22 doughnuts.
Optional: Using the wide end of a metal pastry tip, cut as many tiny doughnuts out of the remaining dough scraps as you can. These will make the cutest little doughnut “holes.” You won’t want to waste any of this gorgeous dough.
Heat oil over medium-high heat to 375 degrees in heavy, large pot, I prefer cast iron.
Once oil is hot, carefully place doughnuts in oil, about 5-6 at a time depending on your pot, and fry for 2 minutes per side, just until they are golden brown and puffed.
Remove with slotted spoon to sheet tray with rack.
Repeat until all doughnuts are fried.
Finally, add your little baby dough balls all in one batch and stir gently until golden.
Remove with slotted spoon to rack with other doughnuts.
Poke pastry tip into the middle of each doughnut and fill with your choice of fillings.
Roll each filled doughnut in granulated sugar.
Roll baby doughnuts in plain sugar, powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar. You can even fry the dough scraps and give them the same treatment.
Enjoy while fresh and warm!