There’s a certain irony around here, in case you haven’t noticed: my first cookbook, which focuses exclusively on doughnuts, was released the same month I started eating gluten- and egg-free. When the diagnosis came, I thought it meant no more doughnuts. Ever. Sure, there’s a recipe for gluten-free old-fashioneds in the book, and it’s a good one, but no eggs? I wasn’t sure I wanted to eat ingredient-free doughnuts. I thought they’d be the pastry equivalent of tofurkey. Sure, they look like the real thing, but without the flavor, what’s the point?
When I told our nanny that I wanted to make doughnuts, she looked at me incredulously. “Doughnuts?” she asked. “You can think of doughnuts now?” I’m not sure why, people, but I had to try. I had to stir flaxseed meal into a little slurry–a thick one, to replicate the texture of egg yolks–and whip it around in the mixer with the sugar, and watch it behave surprisingly like the egg yolks always did, last fall when I was testing for the book. I had to fry them up, and watch them ridge up into the classic old-fashioned shape with, yes, a little surprise. I had to eat them, and feel the smooth, honey-tinged icing break across the roof of my mouth. And I had to say it: these were pretty good doughnuts.
What I like about this book–and what I think you’ll like, too–is that although the recipes are based on Top Pot‘s unique methods, they’re really quite flexible. You want clove-spiced doughnuts with orange glaze? Add some ground cloves to the yeast-raised recipe and look for that orange glaze. You want gluten-free pumpkin cake doughnuts? The tools are there. Even after binging in a major, major way on doughnuts while I was writing it last year, this book thrills me because it opens such a big, wide, welcoming door, and I can’t quite bring myself to stop frying, now that I’ve started up again.
You knew, of course, that this month is National Doughnut Month. This month, I dare you: make some doughnuts. Join me, and other bloggers, in frying up your favorite fresh, fat orbs from childhood, and decorating them however you choose–then tell us about it. Paste your post below, or just tell me about your favorite doughnut experience, or email me (jessthomsonATmeDOTcom) and let me know when you’ll be posting, and I’ll give you a shout. Because above all, this here doughnut thing is supposed to be fun.
If you’re in the Seattle area, I’ll be signing at the following locations in the months to come. There will be doughnuts, of course. See you soon.
10/12/2011, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Third Place Books (Ravenna Location)
10/15/2011, 12 – 1:30 p.m.
10/19/2011, 6 – 9 p.m.
Top Pot Doughnuts (Fifth Ave. Location)
10/27/2011, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
University Bookstore (Mill Creek Location)
11/10/2011, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
University Bookstore (University District Location)
This recipe is a spin on the one for gluten-free old-fashioned doughnuts found in Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker, only this doughnut is even more inclusive; it’s made without eggs. To get the doughnuts to split like regular old-fashioneds, make sure you wait until you can see cracks in the surface of the dough when you’re frying them on the first side before flipping them over. Let them cool for about 5 minutes before glazing the first time.
Time: 1 hour active time
Makes: 1 dozen if rerolled, plus a few holes
Equipment: Doughnut cutter (or 2 3/4-inch and 1 1/4-inch round cutters)
2 cups/255 g gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill), plus more for rolling and cutting
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp iodized salt
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp shortening
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons water
1 cup sour cream
Canola oil, for frying
Honey glaze (recipe follows)
Sift the gluten-free flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and nutmeg together into a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and shortening for 1 minute on low speed, until sandy. Whisk the flaxseed meal and water together in a small bowl and let it sit for about a minute. Add it to the sugar mixture, then mix for 1 more minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary, until well blended.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with the sour cream, mixing until just combined on low speed each time. The dough will be sticky, like cookie dough.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for 45 minutes (or up to 24 hours).
Using a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, heat oil (at least 2 inches deep) in a deep fryer, large pot, or high-sided frying pan to 350°F. (Really. Measure the temperature.) Roll the chilled dough out on a counter or cutting board generously floured with gluten-free flour to 1/2 inch thick, or about 8 inches in diameter, flouring the top of the dough and the rolling pin as necessary to prevent sticking. Cut into as many doughnuts and holes as possible, dipping the cutter into flour before each cut. Fold and gently reroll the dough and extra holes (working with floured hands makes the dough less sticky), and cut again.
Shake any excess flour off the doughnuts before carefully adding them to the hot oil a few at a time, taking care not to crowd them. Once the doughnuts float, fry for 60 to 75 seconds per side, or until deep golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels/absorbent paper.
Honey-Vanilla Doughnut Glaze
Makes enough for 1 dozen cake doughnuts
4 1/2 cups (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon high-quality honey
1/4 teaspoon iodized salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup hot water, plus more if needed
Place the confectioners’ sugar, honey, salt, vanilla, and hot water in a large mixing bowl or in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Using a whisk, or with the machine on low speed, blend until the mixture is smooth and all of the sugar has been incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary. If the glaze seems too thick, add more hot water, a teaspoon at a time.
To glaze, dip one side of each doughnut into the icing when the doughnut is still a bit warm, and let dry for about 10 minutes. Dip it in again, for a second coat, then let dry before serving.