Friday, January 31, 2014

Baked Yeast Doughnuts with Blood Orange Glaze

Those hands.  Those sweet little boy fingers.  I've used my little man's hands a few times in photos for this blog and the results are always so captivating to me.  I don't know that you can get any more pure than little hands helping shape dough or adding ingredients to a bowl.  They just want to help- be in the mix- and it's always a joyful experience.  The photos are some of my all-time favorites because they capture such important yet small moments. 

But they're no longer the chubby little toddler hands, dimpled and clumsy, that used to love holding onto my index finger as we walked along together.  These hands have more slender, sure and independent fingers than they did even a few months ago.  Fingers that hesitate a moment before gabbing onto my hand as we walk home from school.  They now wield scissors with abandon and accuracy (for better or worse) and would much rather stack LEGOs than help his mom in the kitchen.

Here's the thing, though.  The little guy is still just 4 years old so there are times when he wants to be considered a "big boy" like his 9 year old brother, and times when he's still, blessedly, just a little boy.  He likes to twist his hair between his fingers (and gets mad if it gets cut too short to be "twirled") and stick his first two fingers in his mouth when tired.  Signs that my sweet little mama's boy is still in there somewhere despite his desire to grow up as quickly as he can.

When he agreed to actually stand still for three minutes and help me take photos of these sweet little doughnuts, I grabbed my camera as fast as I could.  I know those moments of patience for me and my desires are going to come less and less frequently as he grows up and I want to capture as many of them as I can.  Besides, it's really hard to get a four year old to stand still with a handful of warm, sweet-glazed doughnuts.  (Full disclosure, it would be just as hard to get me to stand still with these babies in my hand too.) 

Baked Yeast Doughnuts with Blood Orange Glaze
Makes about 3 dozen 2 1/2 inch round doughnuts.
For the printable recipe, click here.

These doughnuts are based on the sugar and spice doughnuts I made about a year ago.  They are wonderfully tender and delicious and just as good as their fried counterparts.  I like to make them small because, sadly, they don't keep too well after baking.  The small ones just seem to go faster than big doughnuts.  My guess is that it's just too easy to pop one in your mouth as you walk through the kitchen so everyone is tempted to grab one on the go.

1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk, heated to 115 degrees
1 tbs active dry yeast
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
2 1/2 cup to 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup room temperature butter, cut into cubes

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3-4 tbs fresh blood orange juice

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg and sugar together until the sugar dissolves.  Add the milk, vanilla, zest and yeast and mix on medium speed until blended.  Add 2 cups of the flour a 1/2 cup at a time with the mixer on low speed.  Beat until the dough is thick and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch to the dough hook.  With the mixer on medium add the chunks of butter one piece at a time, beating until no large chunks of butter are left, 3-5 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough gathers around the hook and comes cleanly off the sides of the bowl.  You want a soft, moist but not overly sticky dough.

***You can also do all of this by hand in a large bowl.  Follow the same steps simply using a wooden spoon to do the mixing.  Do the final mixing with your hands if it becomes too difficult to use the spoon***

Lightly butter a large bowl and turn the dough into the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight (or, if making right away, place the bowl in a warm spot and let the dough double in volume, about 1 hour). 

When you are ready to bake the doughnuts, pull the dough from the refrigerator (or from your bowl on the counter) and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface to 1/2 inch thick.  Using a round 2 1/2 inch cutter, cut the doughnuts out.  Place the doughnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart from each other.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 30-35 minutes for refrigerated dough and 15-20 minutes for room temperature dough, until nearly doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while the doughnuts rise.

Bake the doughnuts for 5-8 minutes until they are lightly golden. While they are baking, mix the powdered sugar and 3 tbs of the blood orange juice in a shallow bowl.  Add any additional juice in small amounts until you have a smooth, spreadable glaze.  When the doughnuts come out of the oven, immediately dip or drizzle the baked doughnuts with the glaze.  The doughnuts are best eaten right away.

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