Glazed Yeast Donuts with Sprinkles

If you've made some sort of healthy-eating New Year's resolution, you may want to click out of here ASAP because there will be temptation in the form of cute sprinkle donuts. And unless you have amazing willpower or you're the type of person who hates delicious things, you will start to hate yourself for making that stupid resolution and you'll hate me for posting something like this, just a week into the new year. However, with all this nasty polar vortex business happening outside, you might want to forego the diet for a day and read on.

A hot, freshly made donut is one of the sweeter joys in life. Because (authentic/delicious/good) donuts are deep fried, they tend to taste stale if they're not super fresh (re: still warm), which is why I tend to avoid donut shops. Even the best donut shops will be less-than-delicious if your timing is less-than-perfect. That's why the safest option for avoiding stale donuts is to make them yourself and eat them while they're still hot. If you don't believe me, you've never had a fresh donut before. Besides, I'm the type of person where if I want something done, I'll do it myself; I'll make it and I'll make it right.
Donut Ingredients [yields 1 dozen "normal" sized donuts or 2 dozen mini donuts]:
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoons dry active yeast
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
oil for frying

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk (might need more or less depending on the humidity of the day)
+ pinch of salt
+ 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
+ sprinkles

The first step is to warm up the milk. Just stick it on the stove for one minute until it feels lukewarm. The milk shouldn't be warmer than 110F. Remove the milk from the stove and whisk in the brown sugar. I like the flavor of brown sugar but if you want to use plain old caster sugar or *gasp* faux sugar (re: Splenda, Stevia, Equal, etc.) then I suppose you could do that too.

Add the yeast to a bowl and then pour the sugary milk over the yeast. Whisk together and set aside to bloom the yeast. It should foam up after just a few minutes.
Melt the butter halfway and then use a whisk to dissolve the rest of it. This way, it won't be too hot when you combine it with the egg. Break up the egg a bit and then drizzle in the butter. Whisk until it's homogeneous and sprinkle in the salt and mix that in too.
Add the milky and sugary yeast to the buttery egg mixture and whisk to combine. Mix in the vanilla extract and then switch to a wooden spoon.
Add the flour in 1/2 cup increments and stir with a spoon until a slightly stiff dough forms. Mix the dough for a few minutes, either with the spoon or kneading by hand. If you have a stand mixer, you can certainly use a dough hook and let it do the work for you. But let's face it, if you're cheating on one of your resolutions already, you could use the exercise, right?
Cover the dough and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to calm down. Otherwise, the dough will be harder to handle and won't roll out as easily.
After 30 minutes have elapsed, flour your working surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick. Use some cutters to punch out your donuts. I went for sort of mini-ish sized donuts; I used a 2.5" cutter and a piping tip to cut out the holes.
Place the donuts on a sheet pan and cover with a tea towel and leave them to rise for about one hour. They'll poof up a bit and look airier and that's how you'll know they're ready to be fried.
Heat up some oil and set up a "draining" station. I used a stack of newsprint paper and a paper towel.
I chose to fry my donuts in a small saucepan because I don't deep fry things often and I don't like the idea of wasting a bunch of oil. Test the temperature by frying up a donut hole. If it browns up in less than 20 seconds, the oil is too hot. If it doesn't sizzle at all when you drop in the dough, it's too cold. If it browns up in between 45 seconds and a minute, then the oil is perfect. Use a little strainer to pull the dough out of the oil once it's golden brown.
I like to start with the little donut holes first, because they're good for snacking, and then I get started on the actual donuts.
Carefully drop the donut into the oil and allow it to cook on each side for about a minute (until golden and beautiful) and then pull it from the oil and let it drain on your draining station.
To make the glaze, just mix together the powdered sugar, salt, and milk until smooth. The glaze should be thin enough to coat the donut but thick enough that it doesn't run all over the place.
Same thing with the chocolate glaze.
Dip the still-warm donuts in the glaze, flip them over, and shake on some sprinkles (if you want) and then dive in.
The glaze hardens pretty quickly so you need to dip and sprinkle one at a time.
There are seriously so light and airy and delicate and delicious. The dough itself isn't overly sweet so the glaze is a pretty important ingredient. These just might change your world.
I put my donuts in a little homemade bakery box (which I'll be sharing soon). These will keep for two or three days but the quality deteriorates rather quickly. I suggest eating all of them - that's right, ALL of them - as soon as they come out of the fryer.
I even made a little label for the box. How cute am I?
These donuts are friggin' good but also, they look adorable, which is probably one of the most important aspects.
Here's the recipe page:


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