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Test Kitchen tips: Homemade doughnuts

January 25, 2013|By Noelle Carter
  • Homemade doughnuts are a special treat and really not hard to make.
Homemade doughnuts are a special treat and really not hard to make. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

There's something magical about the doughnut. You don't have to be Homer Simpson to swoon when you're greeted with all those bright colors and sparkly decorations in a doughnut shop display case. But no matter how wonderful they appear, it's hard to find a store-bought doughnut that compares with homemade.

And, believe it or not, they're really not hard to make. You can whip up a batch of cake doughnuts in about an hour. Put together a batch of yeast-raised the night before, and all you have to do is fry them the next morning. Making breakfast for someone special? Try a batch of French crullers, their thin, golden crusts yielding to the most delicate, lightly flavored interiors.

A few years ago, I did a piece on making your own doughnuts. I tried a bunch of homemade doughnuts: basic cake, devil's food, yeast-risen, and French crullers. If you've never tried them (and/or maybe have been a little intimidated), give them a go. They're really fun, and make a perfect weekend project.

Here are some recipes to get you started:

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

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You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Email Noelle at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

Buttermilk doughnuts

Total time: 1 hour

Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 dozen donuts

4 1/4 cups (18 ounces) flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, grated nutmeg and cinnamon.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the eggs and egg yolk with the sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. In a large measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and butter.

4. Alternately beat the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture into the egg mixture, one-third at a time, until all of the ingredients are combined and a dough is formed. It will be soft and sticky.

5. With floured hands, remove the dough to a floured board and gently roll out until the dough is one-half inch thick. Using a doughnut cutter, or 2 biscuit cutters (a larger one measuring 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter, and a smaller one measuring about 1 inch in diameter), cut the dough into doughnuts, spacing the doughnuts as close as possible. Collect the scraps and roll out to form another batch of doughnuts (note that this batch may be a little tougher than the first as the dough has been worked).

6. Meanwhile, fill a deep fryer with oil, or a large pot to a depth of at least 3 inches, with oil, and heat to a temperature of 350 degrees.

7. Gently place the doughnuts in the oil, being careful not to crowd. Fry the doughnuts on each side until puffed and golden, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.

8. Drain the donuts on a rack and cool slightly, then frost and decorate as desired.

Each doughnut: 291 calories; 4 grams protein; 31 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 17 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 41 mg. cholesterol; 9 grams sugar; 237 mg. sodium.

Chocolate glaze

Total time: 15 minutes

Servings: Makes about 2 1/2 cups glaze, enough to frost a batch of doughnuts

1 pound bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (chips or finely diced)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup water

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons corn syrup

Pinch salt

1. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cream, water, vanilla, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a good simmer over high heat. Remove from heat.

3. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and gently stir to combine, melting the chocolate and forming a glaze.

4. The glaze will thicken as it cools. This makes 2 1/2 cups glaze, which will keep for up to 1 week, covered and refrigerated. Rewarm slightly to thin.

Each tablespoon: 81 calories; 1 gram protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 7 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 7 mg. cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 5 mg. sodium.

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