Wednesday, June 12, 2013

So, It's Been Awhile...

Yes, I know, I know.  I haven't been very diligent when it comes to updating this little blog.  But I promise you, all that time my powers were being used for good- weekly donut experiments were held!  Sweat and tears were shed!  (No blood, but maybe a splash of hot oil here and there.)  Delicious concoctions where created! 

I'm gonna pat myself on the back for a second here, and your reward for bearing with me is a good amount of donut porn.  I've come a long way from my first donuts- delicious pumpkin spice donuts that looked like piles of dog poo.  I mean look at this:

I'm filled with a weird combination of pride and shame.  Delicious shame.

I didn't really know what I was doing at the time, but I knew that I was in love.  So I started to test out a recipe or two, and the next thing you know, I'm writing up my own recipes.  I have to admit, there is a weird sense of pride and joy when you walk into kitchen and create something tasty without referencing a cookbook or a website*. Recipes that just came from my head??  It's mind boggling when I stop to think about it.

* I'm lying a little here- Joe Pastry just might be the best baking reference site out there.  There are a million explanations and tips on that site that are just GOLD for the self-taught baker.

But enough horn tootin'!  Here's what I've been working on.  You'll have to forgive me, I downloaded a bunch of ridiculous photo apps yesterday, and I think I may have gone a wee bit overboard.  Prepare yourself.

Café Sua Da Donuts- Vietnamese Coffee with Condensed Milk

I made some vegan donuts on request.  Hot damn, they were good.

Step by step, ooo baby!  Gonna get to ya giiiiirl.

And lastly:

The honey donuts are my proudest "invention" so far, even more so than the Dark and Stormies.  I figure I'm going to need a signature flavor when I start my donut business, something simple but something great, and I think this one fits the bill.

I love donuts and I love how happy people are when I deliver them an order of freshly made gluten free donuts.  I love that my boyfriend's niece associates my name with donuts.  I can't wait to open up shop so you can try them too. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Life's a piece of cake

This is how I feel the moment I drop off a donut delivery:

My answer to everyone that asks "What's up with this obsession with donuts?" is this- donuts make people happy.  Nothing wrong with wanting to make the world a happier place, is there?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lemon Rosemary Donuts with Honeymilk Glaze

I've been experimenting in the kitchen lately; building recipes from scratch and turning flavor ideas into actual donuts.  I call it Thursday Night Test Kitchen- the perfect night because Thursday is trash night and I can make all the horrible, soul crushing donut failures disappear by morning.  The "just okay" (edible donuts that are really failures in my heart) come with me to work the next day so I can collect feedback while I get rid of them.

Wow, that got negative fast.  

I have to keep reminding myself that these are experiments; that not every donut is going to instantly turn out perfect and wonderful.  Pete says I'm too hard on myself, but I say that it is good to aim high, isn't it?  Every time I scoop a cup of flour mix I expect the best to come out of it, dammit.  Otherwise I would have never created my new pride and joy: Lemon Rosemary Donuts with Honeymilk glaze.

It was a bumpy road.  The flavor came to mind when I was looking around my kitchen for ideas.  I was on a savory donut kick, and I thought a nice herb donut would do the trick and that a tart citrus would be just the right thing to round out the flavor.  So I threw it together.  It was pretty, but the texture was too heavy for my liking.  The rosemary wasn't cut fine enough, and I didn't like the feeling it left in my mouth.

Look away, I'm hideous: attempt #1 and attempt #2 respectively
The second time around the lemon was too intense and I was too heavy handed with the flour.  One thing I have learned through these experiments is that to get a lovely airy donut you must use less GF flour than you would regular wheat flour.  So attempt #2 produced some nice lemon donut shaped biscuits, which was a step backwards from attempt #1.  Ugh.  Back to the drawing board.  

Thinking back to when my baking adventures weren't so disappointing, I remembered one of my recipes: Michael Chiarello's Olive Oil Cake.  A sweet yet savory recipe, Chiarello's cake produced the same flavor and texture I was after.  So I pulled from his recipe and combined it with my tried and true old fashioned donut recipe.  I was at work when this lightbulb went off- I jotted it down on a scrap of paper and just looking at it made me feel deep down inside I created a success.  I suffered through the rest of the work day until I was finally able to run home to the test kitchen.

I used olive oil instead of butter or shortening, so the batter was wetter than the previous attempts.  So instead of rolling it out I piped the donuts out onto squares of wax paper.  I used a giant #9 french star tip, which added to the fanciness of the donut.  The moment the donuts hit the oil, I knew I'd done good.  They were so light I worried they would soak up too much oil, but one bite proved me wrong.  The endless days of sweat and tears paid off, and I could finally bring some decent donuts into work.  Thanks, Chiarello.

Lemon Rosemary Donuts with Honeymilk Glaze
(adapted from Michael Chiarello's Olive Oil Cake via Food Network)

2 1/2 cups gluten free AP flour (I suggest a rice flour/potato starch based mix)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons)
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp orange brandy (any citrus liquor will do, this is what I had on hand)
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 tbsp crushed anise seed
canola oil for frying

Glaze ingredients:
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp honey
almond milk
lemon juice or extract 


In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.  
In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and oil together until they create a sandy texture.  Add eggs, buttermilk, lemon juice, zest, brandy, rosemary, and anise seed.  Mix until combined.
Add flour mixture a little bit at a time, mixing until well combined.  Cover bowl and let dough set in the refrigerator for an hour.  
After setting, transfer dough into a piping bag.  On 4x4 squares of wax paper, pipe out donuts.
In a heavy bottomed pot, heat oil to 375 degrees, using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.  Fry the donuts two or three at a time, making sure not to crowd the pot.  Fry each side for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the donut from the oil.  Drain on a cooling rack over newspaper.  
Allow donuts to cool.

(Okay, here's where I get sloppy.  I didn't really measure out the glaze ingredients, just combined them until I got a taste and texture that I wanted.  Sorry.  Just go off my measurements of the sugar and honey, add the almond milk by the tablespoon until you get your desired texture.  I threw in the leftover lemon juice from my Meyer lemons.  If you find your glaze went too thin, add more confectioners sugar.  Easy peesy lemon squeezy, yo.)

Dip cooled donuts into glaze and return to cooling rack to dry.  



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It was a Dark & Stormy night.

I'm going to take a moment to brag to you about something.  Most of the time I am a fairly modest person (although now it sounds like I'm bragging about always being modest), but today, well, today I just can't help myself.  You see, I have a handful of donut flavors in my baking repertoire that are pretty good, but admittedly all of them could still use some work.  But not this one, ho no.  This one, to my delight, is pure perfection.  Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the Dark and Stormy:

How YOU doin'?

My friends, the bartender's handbook is a treasure trove of donut flavor ideas.  Tried and true flavor combinations galore!  And who doesn't love a boozy pastry?  A damned fool, that's who.  Here, I combined a rum ginger donut with a dark rum glaze to create possibly the best pastry ever.  Ugh, that's so braggy.  I'm sorry.  But it's true!  Celiacs and glut-tards beware: this baby is so close to the real thing that you will panic, thinking that I've sabotaged your diet.  I promise you I haven't.  

The secret ingredient that gives these bad boys a lovely, spicy ginger flavor?  Candied ginger.  Which I realized looks like sugary crack rock and is possibly just as addicting.  Combined with a bit of lemon zest, it makes for one amazing rum cake.  The batter has just the right amount of moisture and when fried it has the perfect amount of crumble.

Totally legal, I swear.

Dark & Stormy Donuts
adapted from Bon Appétit's Ginger Doughnut


3 1/2 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (I highly suggest Gluten Free Pantry)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped candied ginger

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, beaten until frothy

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup dark rum (I prefer Goslings)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum
2 to 3 tablespoons almond milk

Canola oil for frying

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, candied ginger, and lemon peel.  Stir well to blend.  In a large bowl, cream the sugar and shortening.  Mix in buttermilk, rum, vanilla extract and eggs.  Add dry ingredients a little at a time, mix until well blended.  Dough will be sticky- cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough for at least an hour. 

After the dough has time to chill, roll out on a floured surface to a 3/4 inch thickness.  Gluten-free dough is sticky, try not to add too much dough when rolling out.  Using a well floured 2 to 3 inch donut cutter, cut out dough rounds.  Gather the dough scraps and re-roll and cut until all the dough is used.  
Fill dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot with 2 inches of oil.  Using a candy or deep fry thermometer, heat oil to 350 degrees.  Try to maintain this temperature while frying by adjusting the heat.  Fry donuts 2 or 3 at a time for 2 minutes each side, or until golden brown.  Transfer donuts to a cooling rack lined with paper towels.

While donuts are cooling, combine confectioner's sugar and rum.  Stir in almond milk one tablespoon at a time, until you get your preferred consistency.  While donuts are still slightly warm, dunk them into the icing.  Return donuts to cooling rack for glaze to set.

Makes about 2 dozen donuts.  


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Once more, with feeling.

This isn't my first attempt at yeast donuts.  I first tried them for a holiday get together with Pete's family, and I was so excited.  The dough seemed to be following the recipe's description (note when baking gluten-free: this doesn't and, most of the time, shouldn't happen), and I was gleefully rolling out the dough and chomping away with my donut cutter.  But when I came back to check on them after an hour, I found to my horror that they didn't rise.  I killed the yeast!  Flat as pancakes and I only had a few hours until the get together!  Worst.  Baker.  Ever.  I fried them with tears in my eyes, and served them with a thousand apologies.  Pete's family, god bless 'em, were good sports and ate them.

I stuck with cake donuts for a few weeks after that.  

But today, with the failure still gnawing at me, I decided to try again.  This time I figured I'd follow Gluten Free Girl's advice and follow Alton Brown's recipe (not that the first recipe I followed was bad, but GFG has never steered me wrong)  And this time, I'd pay attention to the yeast water's temperature.  Et voila:

Yeast donuts with plum jam filling

Crispy on the outside, light as air on the inside.  I busted out the "flavor injector" Pete's mom had given me for Christmas and filled those puppies up with plum preserves.  


The dough was nice and wet (quite a difference from my first attempt) which creates a lighter, fluffier donut.  I used a giant pipping bag to pipe circular disks onto squares of parchment paper- this makes dropping the sticky dough in hot oil a breeze.  As soon as they hit the oil they puffed up- I couldn't help but do a little dance as I fried them.  There may or may not have been singing.  

I cannot wait until our next holiday gathering to redeem myself.

Maybe just one more.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Oh, hello.

First post, and I am at a loss for how to start.  I'm Carol and I make gluten-free donuts.  Ever since my first french cruller came out of the pan and onto the cooling rack, I've been hooked.  I think about flavors, I make up recipes, I impatiently wait for my work day to be over so I can go home to my test kitchen.  To paraphrase Jiro Ono, when I make a good donut, I feel triumphant.

I think I may be going through a mid-life donut crisis.  Not that it's a bad thing.

Anyway, welcome to my donut diary!  Best with a cup of coffee.