Photo by Mark Klebeck
Two years ago, Top Pot Doughnuts was just another Seattle institution to me. Since then, I’ve spent countless hours in their bakery, gathering everything I needed to write their cookbook, getting to know their staff, and learning that random acts of kindness, in the form of doughnuts, can indeed change the world.
Those two guys that started Top Pot, Mark and Michael Klebeck? Two of the kindest, happiest, most genuine guys I’ve ever met.
Happy 10th birthday, boys.
For you, dear reader, the doughnut recipe that started it all . . .
Top Pot’s Glazed Sour Cream Old Fashioned Doughnuts (PDF)
Recipe from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker
From Chronicle Books, September 2011
Top Pot co-owner Mark Klebeck’s ideal doughnut experience requires a cup of hot black coffee and a plain old-fashioned. Made with sour cream and extra leavening and turned twice while frying, these doughnuts require a little more attention—but the ridges and petals that form while frying are perfect for catching extra glaze, which means glazed old-fashioneds keep better than yeast-raised or cake doughnuts. Top them with Simplest Vanilla Glaze (recipe below) when they’re piping hot.
I recommend weighing ingredients whenever possible.
Time: 1 hour active time, plus glazing or icing
Makes: One dozen, plus a few holes
Equipment: doughnut cutter (or 2 3/4 inch and 1 1/4 inch round cutters)
2 1/4 cups/255 g cake flour, plus more for rolling and cutting
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp iodized salt
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup/100 g sugar
2 tbsp shortening, trans-fat-free preferred
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup/165 ml sour cream
Canola oil, for frying
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg together into a mixing 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. Add the egg yolks, then mix 1 more minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary, until the mixture is light colored and thick.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with the sour cream, mixing until just combined on low speed and scraping the sides of the bowl 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 inch deep) in a deep fryer, large pot, or high-sided frying pan to 325°F. Roll chilled dough out on a generously floured counter or cutting board 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 (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 15 seconds, then gently flip them. Fry 75 to 90 seconds, until golden brown and cracked, then flip and fry the first side again for 60 to 75 seconds, until golden. Drain a rack set over paper towels/absorbent paper.
Simplest Vanilla Glaze
Time: 5 minutes active time, plus glazing
Makes: Enough for 1 dozen cake or ring-shaped doughnuts
3 1/2 cups/350 g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp iodized salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup/75 ml plus 1 tbsp hot water, plus more if needed
Place the ingredients 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 the sugar has been incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, if necessary. If the glaze seems to thick, add more hot water, a teaspoon at a time.
To glaze, dip one side of each hot doughnut into the warm glaze, and let dry 10 to 15 minutes before serving.