Saturday, August 17, 2013
Before we got married, Rodgers used to have breakfast at a donut shop every morning. Every day, he would leave for class early to sit in the donut shop for donuts and coffee. The people who worked there even gave him a Christmas gift! (Five $1 gift certificates!)
Then we got married. I had a coffee maker with a timer. We had coffee waiting for us when we woke up, and we would have cereal or toast or cooked breakfast. This is why Rodgers lost weight the first year of our marriage. I was pregnant, so we still got donuts often enough, but they weren't such a big part of our lives. (No more Christmas gifts from the donut shop, unfortunately). But we do like donuts. Good ones.
A donut in this country is horrible. There are no donut shops (that I've seen), but some bakeries sell donuts. And they are a huge disappointment. Think of a really big cake donut. Which is completely dried out. And has no flavor. Or moisture. And you can hardly even bite into it without breaking a tooth. That is the Kenyan version of a donut.
We have lamented this many times.
My husband loves experimenting in the kitchen, and he has been learning something that I haven't yet: how to use yeast. Making donuts was the next logical step. Our first try was so much better than Kenyan donuts but (as my mom pointed out) they were ugly. The taste and texture also wasn't quite right. On the second try, we had perfection!
We found the recipe on the internet, but optimized it for our own needs. For instance, the original recipe says to put the dough in the oven to rise, on the top rack, with a roasting pan of boiling hot water on the bottom rack, to create a nice, warm, humid environment. Our kitchen is already warm and humid, so we let it rise on the counter. I won't make you wait any longer, though. This is what you came here for:
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp yeast
1/4 cup shortening
3 egg yolks
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 2/3 cup flour
Warm milk, vanilla, 1 Tbsp sugar; put in mixing bowl; add yeast and let stand until foamy (~5 min). Add shortening, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar; beat until shortening is broken up. Beat in salt and baking powder. Add flour 1 cup at a time, until dough firm but tacky (usually only takes 3 cups, but we use the 2/3 cups while kneading/rolling/cutting).
Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Pat into a disk, dust with flour, and cover with a towel. (Or put in the oven with the boiling water if your kitchen is cold.) Let rise until doubled (~1 hour).
Roll dough into 12 inch round, 1/2 inch thick. Cut donuts as close together as possible. (We use about 2 1/2 inch circle and 1 1/4 inch hole.) Let stand until doubled (~45 min). When they are almost ready, make the glaze (and a pot of coffee to enjoy with the first hot donuts). Set a wire rack on cookie sheets for glazing the donuts and letting them cool.
Fry donuts a few at a time in 2 inches of oil (~1 min or less per side). The donut holes fry very fast. Transfer immediately from frying pan to glaze.
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Combine milk and vanilla and warm (either on the stovetop or for about 30 seconds in the microwave). Whisk powdered sugar in slowly, until well combined. Set this bowl into a pot of hot water to keep it from cooling and hardening. Drizzle over the donuts with a spoon while the donuts are still hot.
You can apply a second coat of glaze after they have cooled for about 5 minutes or flip them at that time to glaze the bottoms. I add sprinkles to the donut holes for the boys, while the glaze is still wet.