Homemade Donuts with Vanilla Bean Glaze and Cinnamon Sugar

Lukas works as our stock assistant after school and during the summer. He didn't have to think long about his guilty pleasure: Donuts. When we quizzed him on which type of donuts he preferred, he rattled off every donut variety. Clearly, Lukas likes donuts. All the donuts. We normally leave this sort of fare to the experts, but for Lukas, we fired up the deep fryer, mixed the dough and set it out to rise overnight. The end result were warm, melty donuts with a sweet glaze and crunchy cinnamon sugar. Lukas may be on to something, here.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients for the Donuts:

1-1/8 cup Whole Milk, Warm
1/4 cup Sugar
2-1/4 tsp (one Package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
2 Large Eggs, Beaten
1-1/4 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Murray River Salt
Peanut Oil

Directions for the Donuts:

Make sure milk is warm, but not overly hot. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add yeast into a small bowl, and pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.

Melt butter in separate bowl, and add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it's thoroughly combined.

Mix the flour and Murray River Flake Salt. With the mixer still going, add the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five minutes. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl. Give the mixture one more mix for about 30 seconds.  Then turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in fridge. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

To Make the Doughnuts, remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and repeat. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter. Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet. Cover with large clean towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen. Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour. Doughuts should be puffier and look light and airy.

To fry, in a large dutch oven or deep fryer, heat the peanut oil to 375 degrees. Lower the donuts, two at a time, into the oil. Turn after one minute. Cook the second side for one minute. They cook quickly. Remove to a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Allow to drain and flip to drain the second side. Then move them to a second sheet pan lined with paper towels. They should have two opportunities for the oil to be absorbed so that they won't be greasy.  Repeat with remaining donuts and holes.

Ingredients for Vanilla Bean Glaze: 

3 cups Powdered Sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Ground Vanilla Beans 

1/2 cup milk

Directions for Vanilla Bean Glaze:

Mix Glaze ingredients in a large bowl. Dip the donuts until halfway submerged, then turn over. We used a combination of bamboo skewers, tongs and a slotted spoon to maneuver the donut. Move to a rack over a sheet pan to drain.

For the Cinnamon Sugar coating...Combine 2 tsp Vietnamese Cinnamon with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Mix well and dredge the donuts in this combo.  Works best with warm/hot donuts.

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