Donuts. Picture taken with my netbook’s webcam.
Grainy, sure, but I like it. Captures the feeling of transition.
Because I’m moving back to NYC. Because I haven’t baked in a long time. Because it’s time to have a final, farewell breakfast with my distinguished colleague and graduate school bud, Nick, and his dad on the morning of graduation (part 1). I’d bookmarked this baked donut recipe a while ago, so I jumped at the chance to get in that old Maryland kitchen one last time before I set off on my trip back to the big city.
I decided not to walk for graduation because I’d already gone through that ceremony thrice before (pre-K, high school, and college). Plus, my fam and ‘Chefski couldn’t make it down, so there was even less incentive to buy a cap n gown. Still, I’ve really enjoyed the hefty handful of goodbye lunches, end-of-year gatherings and get-togethers that I’ve been able to attend — it helps give a nice finality to it all, with an added “to be continued” vibe as a bonus.
These donuts were airy yet substantial, light, buttery, and easy to pull-apart so as to enjoy all that fluffy goodness. I’m convinced they’d be great with a variety of toppings, icings, and probably plain as well. (An update late in the day solidified their awesomeness: I made ’em at 10am, and by 7 o’clock, they’re gone.)
How do they compare to the fried kind? I have to admit, I’ve never been too much of a donut fan, but these are so tasty I don’t feel at all tempted to try any fried-donut recipes at home; I’ll leave all that hot oil to the pros.
Congratulations to all my buddies — we made it! — and here’s to to next adventure!
I’ll catch you on the flip side.
Baked Donuts Topped with Cinnamon Sugar
Yield: ~ 12 huge donuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup of heated milk
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups to 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour, divided, plus more for kneading
1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
For Cinnamon-Sugar topping:
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar + 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1. In a large bowl, beat together egg and sugar until well incorporated.
2. Add hot milk, yeast, salt, and vanilla.
3. Once well combined, add 2 cups of flour and stir together until it comes together (I used a spatula to do this).
4. Start adding the butter a few pieces at a time and mix with the hand mixer until worked it. Now, you gotta work with me here, because I’ve adapted this recipe from instructions that use a stand mixer, which I don’t have, nor will I have until I win one through the many food blog contests I enter to win one, or someone buys it for me off of a wedding registry…. one day…
5. Once you’ve added in all of the butter, add more flour until the dough starts to come together and is no longer sticking to the bowl. Thanks to Maryland humidity, I ended up needing the full 3.5 cups, but use your judgment.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until smooth.
7. Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise for one hour, until doubled.
8. Punch down and roll out to approximately 1/2 inch thick. Since today’s the day I move, and I don’t have biscuit cutters out, I used a drinking glass that had a large rim, and a bottle cap to cut out the doughnut hole. Take this time to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
9. Place the doughnuts about an inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to nearly double in size atop the preheating oven, approximately 25 minutes.
10. Bake until golden brown, approximately 5-8 minutes (if, you’re oven is silly, keep adding 5 minutes and keep your eye on them til they’re golden).
11. Dip the warm donuts in the melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mix.
12. Enjoy at once, and celebrate earning your Master’s in English, being homeward bound, or whatever new adventures are in store for you now that school’s out!
I don’t know why you say “goodbye.”
I say “hello.”