Good afternoon friends! Is your sweet tooth ready? We sure hope so! Because on today’s installment of Aaron & Whitney’s Food Love, we have some deliciousness to share with you. Who doesn’t love donuts? I really cannot think of a single person who doesn’t have some sort of affinity for these soft and tasty confections. And that’s the coolest thing about donuts. They’re just desert when it’s all said and done, yet they’re an acceptable desert with which we begin our days. I don’t know about you, but we love that!
In our first post of this project we baked some rustic bread and made strawberry jam from scratch. And, while the two items weren’t necessarily the best pairing together, they’re quite delightful when paired with other options. Today, however, we are going to focus on one item and that is the cake donut! We will be making two different kinds, but both will share the exact same base and treatment up until we dress them with sugary, cinnamony, and maple-bacony goodness.
This recipe was simple, and, before we jump into the actual directions part of the post, I will throw down our quick review. This is a very easy one to follow and bring to life. We had a great time working on it together, too. The donuts come out with a great consistency that’s soft and tender on the outside, but nice and fluffy on the inside. And with the vanilla extract, they have a great flavor that is subtly sweet while not being overbearing. And, sure, they’re fried up chunks of dough, which isn’t exactly nutritional, but we don’t look to donuts as a source of healthy eating and you probably don’t either. Haha. Comparatively, these almost have a taste that is similar to that of a funnel cake, and if you dress them with powdered sugar, you will really see what I mean. For this go-round, we elected to do a cinnamon/sugar spiced donut along with a maple glazed/bacon topped donut. If I had to choose a favorite of the two, it would definitely be the maple/bacon. Because BACON. Having said that, both were so good!
The cleanup wasn’t bad either. If you enjoy cooking/baking, you already know that messes are just part of the process. But if you’re tackling this stuff as a team, not only is the time spent together more enjoyable, but the hassle of cleaning up the inevitable piles of sugar, flour, and random bowls strewn about, etc, moves so much faster.
We both had our “designated” tasks for this project. Whit prepped the dough and made the maple icing, I fried the bacon and the donuts, and we both cut the shapes together. From start to finish, we spent about 2.5 hours bringing these bad boys to life. Not a bad way to spend a lazy Sunday around the house! Now that we’ve delivered our thoughts, let’s get down to business.
For this post, we will include the recipe for the donuts, the cinnamon/sugar coating, and the maple icing. And, as always, we will link to the original recipes at the very bottom of the post.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (We omitted the cinnamon from the donut batter in favor of a cinnamon/sugar coating)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 quarts oil for deep frying
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
Three pieces maple bacon friend and crumpled
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 TBSP milk
1 TBSP corn syrup
2 tsp maple extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1. We took a large bowl and added our flour, a 1/2 cup of sugar, our baking powder, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. After adequately stirring those items up together, you will make a well within the mixture. Think of this like a hole if you’re unfamiliar with the term “well” in this case. Once you’ve made the well, take your beaten egg along with your milk, melted/cooled butter, and vanilla and pour all of those items into the center. Mix thoroughly until everything is well blended. Once your batter is complete, cover and refrigerate for one hour.
2. After the batter has sat and cooled for an hour in the fridge, it’s time to get things going. You will want your oil heated in a deep pan to 370 degrees F (185 degrees C). This is where the candy thermometer is quite helpful. While your oil is heating, take your batter and place it on a floured board. *Important* Take your roller and coat it with some flour, then begin rolling our your chilled dough. This dough can be sticky, so it’s important to use a floured board and have your roller floured as well. You will want it to be about a 1/2 inch thick. Once your batter is flattened, begin cutting your donuts! We recommend buying an actual donut cutter to save time and hassle. You can find them for a few bucks a pop at places like Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The original recipe calls for 3″ cutters, but ours were 4″. Either will work just fine! And, if you don’t wish to buy a cutter, you can use a cup or one for cookies. Just be sure that you cut your center holes large enough to keep the donut from sealing as it fries.
3. Once your oil has reached the necessary temperature, place two to three donuts at a time in the pan. Let them cook for approximately 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Using a wok strainer, remove the donuts and place them on a bed of paper towels to begin cooling.
4. When we iced and coated the donuts, we first let them rest for different times. For the the cinnamon/sugar coating, we let them sit for about 1 minute. We then took our mixture (recipe below) and put it in a pie bowl. We then coated both sides of the donut to liking. For the maple/bacon topping (recipe below), we let the donuts sit for 3-5 minutes. Then with our maple icing still on the stove, we held the donuts with one finger in the center and our thumb on the outside and dipped one side. We then laid the donuts out and sprinkled crumbled bacon on top.
For the toppings, they’re both so easy to make! So let’s hop on that now.
We first fried up a few pieces of maple bacon and let them cool on some paper towels. Once cooled, we just crumbled them up into bits using our hands. In a small saucepan, combine your butter and brown sugar and whisk in your milk. On medium heat, warm for about five minutes, stirring often until your butter is melted and your sugar is dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and add your corn syrup and maple extract. Add in your powdered sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until it is smooth before the next addition. After all of the powered sugar is added, let it sit. It will begin to harden just a little and that’s when it’s ready for dipping. Keep the glaze warm on the stove and whisk occasionally.
In a freezer bag or pie bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with a 1/2 cup of sugar. That’s it.
We really hope this was simple and easy enough to follow. We are so new to this, but know that with time, we will get better with not only our choices for what we share with you guys, but our explanations will become much more concise and engrossing! Until then, let’s just continue to cook, eat, and drink in good company.
Take care and talk soon!
-Aaron & Whit
A big thank you to Christina for the donut recipe and to Jessica for the maple glaze recipe. Be sure to check out the originals at the links below!