Monday, June 6, 2011

Time to Make the Donuts

.......And I'm back! I know, it's been a few months, and I kept wanting to write something, but (big news!) I'm pregnant! And unfortunately the first trimester was filled with nausea and food aversions and too many bowls of cereal, which I didn't think made for very compelling food writing. So, I'm back, and I hope to not have any more long absences.

One downside to a long break is finding that perfect recipe to return with. I've actually written a few posts and have recipes to share, but none seemed like good I'm-back-from-a-loooonnngg-break recipes. Then yesterday I was catching up on some work from home and figured I should bake something to make weekend working a little more bearable. I was planning to make scones, but then I stumbled upon a recipe for donuts from Food & Wine that I'd torn out last summer. Suddenly, donuts seemed the thing to do. Plus, it was Sunday, so if I put them in the oven after dinner I could bring them into work the next morning (and therefore not eat them all myself).

The recipe is pretty straightforward, and can be done entirely in your stand mixture, so the cleanup is a cinch (a bonus when you're supposed to be catching up on emails). It does take some time, as all yeasted doughs do, to rise a few times, but it is well worth the wait, I promise. The dough is silky-smooth and yeasty-sweet, and the currants give it a wonderful depth. Before it went anywhere near the oven, it smelled divine and had me drooling.

The recipe makes 12 donuts, but I opted to make a bunch of donut "holes." They didn't quite stay round, but don't let their looks fool you because they are delicious! Thank goodness I planned to bring them into work, otherwise I might have eaten the entire batch. No joke. Even though I put them in the oven after proclaiming I was stuffed from dinner, they smelled so tempting that I impatiently waited for them to be done so I could eat them already. At first I thought, I'll have one so I can make sure they're good enough to bring to the office. Then I had one more, because they're small, after all. Then I had three, and four...I'm not going to divulge how many I ate, but I will tell you that I had to go brush my teeth to stop myself from polishing off all 60 (sixty!) donuts! (This also explains the poor photography; I was so impatient to keep eating them that I just grabbed a napkin and shot the picture, my shadow be damned!)

And so, that is why I chose this recipe to share with you right now. It was so good that I couldn't stop myself eating them, and I hope that you make them and feel the same way. Unless you're sharing them with a crowd, I'd just go ahead and make them into regular donuts since you're going to eat a bunch of small ones anyway.

Baked Currant Doughnuts

This recipe is adapted from Christy Timon and Abram Faber and appeared in Food & Wine Magazine

The only thing I would change about this recipe is to increase the cinnamon a little bit. Don't get me wrong, they were fantastic just as is, but I'll probably double it the next time around (and I can't wait until next time!)

1 cup dried currants
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup of sugar, pus more for dredging
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup milk, warmed
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 tablespoons melted
2 teaspoons kosher salt

In a small bowl, cover the currants with hot water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the yeast with two tablespoons warm water (110 degrees) and a pinch of sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and 1/4 cup of sugar. Add the milk, egg, egg yolk and half of the softened butter. Beat at low speed for 3 minutes. Beat in the yeast, then add the salt. Beat the dough on medium speed until soft and silky, about 8 minutes, or until the dough is pulling cleanly away from the bowl.

With the machine on, add the remaining softened butter in walnut sized lumps, beating at low speed until each addition is incorporated. Drain the currants, pressing out any excess water. Beat them into the dough on medium speed.

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, turning to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a draft free place to rise for an hour, or until doubled in bulk (I like to use the oven with the light on). Punch dough down, reshape into a ball and repeat the rise for another hour, or until the dough is soft and billowy, about another hour.

Grease 2 large baking sheets. Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide into 12 equal parts. Pinch each piece into a ball and arrange on the baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes. Using lightly floured hands, press each piece into a flat 4-inch dish. Using a 1-1/4 inch round cutter, stamp out the centers of each disk and return the donuts and holes to the baking sheets. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, until risen slightly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. Bake donuts for 25 minutes, shifting the pans front to back and between racks halfway through. The donuts are done when when they are golden and puffy.

Spread sugar in a shallow bowl. Brush the donuts and holes with melted butter, then dredge in sugar. Serve warm. Try not to eat them all, but if you do, I for one will not judge.

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