True, you can always buy doughnuts. But making homemade doughnuts yourself brings its own sweet rewards: Yours will be fresher and better.
What Are Doughnuts?
Doughnuts (also spelled donuts) are deep-fried pastries made from dough. Doughnutlike fried pastries appear in many forms the world over, from savory to sweet. However, in the United States, doughnuts are most often sweet treats, commonly enjoyed at breakfast or as a midmorning or midafternoon snack. Although doughnuts are sometimes filled with jam or pastry cream, the most common American doughnut type is circular with a hole in the middle -- it looks like a puffy, chubby ring.
The Hole Story
How the hole ended up in the center of the doughnut is unclear, but one believable story is that in the mid-18th century, a Maine baker's apprentice was frustrated by a succession of fried pastries that turned out with underdone centers. The apprentice decided to poke holes in the pastries before frying to help them cook more evenly.
There are two basic ring-style doughnuts:
Safety First When Making Doughnuts When deep-frying, the cooking oil reaches very high temperatures, which can start fires or cause burns. Before you roll up your sleeves to make doughnuts, review a few safety guidelines:
Special Equipment for Making Doughnuts
Step 1: Mix ingredients
Combine ingredients as directed in doughnut recipe. Cover and chill dough for at least 2 hours (dough will remain slightly sticky).
Step 2: Prepare the Coating, Glaze, or Icing
About a half-hour before the end of the chilling time, get the coating, glaze, or icing ready for the doughnuts. Coatings and toppings should be prepared before you start to fry the doughnuts, as they should be applied while the fried doughnuts are still slightly warm. Doughnuts can simply be coated with powdered sugar or granulated sugar. Place the sugar in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate. Or you can ice the tops of the doughnuts with one of the following:
Step 3: Roll dough
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Use a generously floured rolling pin to roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness.
Step 4: Cut doughnuts
Cut dough with a floured 2-1/2-inch round cutter. Use a 1-1/4-inch round cutter to cut the hole for the doughnut. (Or you can use a standard doughnut cutter.)
Tip: Dip the doughnut cutter in flour between cuts to keep the dough from sticking.
Step 5: Fry doughnuts
Fry two or three doughnuts at a time in a deep saucepan filled 1/3 full with hot oil (375 degrees F) for 2 to 3 minutes or until doughnuts are golden brown, turning once. Remove doughnuts with a slotted spoon so excess oil drains back into the pan. Drain doughnuts on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough.
Step 6: Ice or glaze doughnuts
Cool doughnuts slightly. Coat them with powdered sugar or granulated sugar. Or, if desired, dip tops in glaze or icing. Allow doughnuts to dry on a rack.
Step 7: Decorate doughnuts
If desired, dress up glazed doughnuts with colorful sprinkles or chopped peanuts. Or, instead of adding icing, simply roll doughnuts in powdered or granulated sugar. For a spiced variation, include a dash of cinnamon with the granulated sugar.