Doughnuts and Dreams.

Man oh boy howdy . . .

That’s totally a phrase I use on almost an everyday basis, by the way. It may sound like I am a Midwest hick, but you would be mistaken . . . I am a Midwest lady.

I use this phrase when I don’t know what else to say in an awkward situation, inevitably making it more awkward.I use it when I’ve run out of words when I’m presented with something really great.

I use it as an automated response (which I hate that I do in the first place).


I do not use it when wrangling cows.I do not use it when I’m at the rodeo.

I do not use it when I’m out in the barn chewing with my fellow cowboys/cowgirls.

Because I don’t have fellow cowboys or girls, and I don’t chew. Because that’s disgusting.


I do, however, make doughnuts.In my dreamy dreams, the sun is always shining, and it’s almost always a summer late day/dusk-ish time. My house in the country is surrounded by land and farms (community farming!), but people are milling about. Friends, strangers, guests, people who just need to get away and process life, figure out where they are going. All these people find a home here, and there is always laughter. The windows are open and the only slightly warm breeze can make its way through the house, carrying the smells of fresh grass, clean laundry from the line, a ripe garden, and a tangible clean warmth (if that makes sense . . . ). It picks up these smells, delivers them to use, and picks up the smells of fresh baked bread, fresh vegetables, dinner in the oven, and pie, and carries them out the back door, where it can deliver them to the group hanging out on the porch. The wind and smells have combined forces and communicate to us some of our favorite things. Well, my favorite things, at least.


Can I tell you what else happens in my dreamy dream house?In this house, there is a lot of space in the kitchen. Enough for people to hang out, because that’s where people usually want to be: in a place that is brimming and over flowing with love and passion for food and others. A place to create and inspire. There is always a project for that can be worked on; vegetables that can be chopped, bread to be kneaded, a cake that needs to be frosted, lots of little things that require a team/family/friends. There is always an opportunity for someone to be swept up in the bigger whole of things and be a part of what is going on.

Maybe one day in this dream kitchen, we will make doughnuts. We will probably have an icing fight, which might end up being our favorite part. Besides eating them. Of course.

I was reading one of my favorite blogs by Joy the Baker  and came across this recipe. I’m usually not a sucker for doughnuts; cookies & ice cream & brownies & truffles & pie & etc are usually more the type of thing I can’t help myself around. But these are just. so. pretty. They are lady doughnuts, if you will. They are southern money Easter Sunday dessert/ snack. They are sweet tea and wide-brimmed hats. They are pearls in the kitchen and fancy gloves. They are delicious.



Mint-colored icing stalagmites.
Raised Doughnuts with Toasted Coconut
makes 12-14 doughnuts, plus dough holes/ bitesFor the Doughnuts:
3 tablespoons (four ¼ ounce packages) active dry yeast

1 cup warm water (about 105 degrees F)

½ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons iodized salt

4 to 4 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting, rolling, and cutting

¼ cup vegetable shortening

3 large egg yolks

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

canola oil for frying

toasted coconut for topping

For the Glaze:

4 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

¼ teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 to 3 drops green food coloring

scant 1/3 cup hot water, plus more if necessary

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk together the yeast, water, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Let stand for 5 minutes until mixture is foamy and frothy.  That’s how you know the yeast is alive.

To Make the Doughnuts:

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and 4 cups of bread flour.  Set aside.

Break up shortening and add to the yeast mixture.  Add the egg yolks, and vanilla extract and beat on low speed using the paddle attachment.  This will deflate the yeast bubbles and help break up the shortening.

With the mixture on low speed, add one third of the dry ingredients.  Blend until flour disappears.  Add another third of the dry ingredients.  Beat until flour disappears.

-If using an electric stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and add the last amount of flour.  Mix on low speed until no flour bits remain.  Add a bit more flour if necessary.  The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, and not stick to the bottom in a pool. Knead for 2 minutes.  The dough will be glossy, and just a bit sticky… but it shouldn’t stick to your hands.

-If using a bowl and a hand mixer, you won’t be able to go this far, because hand mixers can only do so much before they start smoking. Fact. Once it gets too thick to mix (which will be about halfway through), start to incorporate the remaining flour with a wooden spoon, then your hands. Dump the dough and remaining flour bits onto a clean counter top and continue to knead for about 5-7 minutes. The dough should have the same texture, look, and feel: glossy and sticky, but shouldn’t stick to your hands.
Transfer the dough to a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Shake into a 6-inch circle and dust the top with flour.  Cover with a dishtowel and set in a warm place to double in size.

*The Top Pot Cookbook has an awesome way to create your own proofing box!  Bring a large kettle of water to a boil.  Pour about 8 cups of water into a large baking dish.  Set it on the floor of your oven.  Place the sheet tray with covered dough on the middle rack above the steaming water, close the oven door and let rise for about 1 hour. Uh-mazing.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a roughly 12-inch circle, about ½ inch thick.  Cut into 12 doughnuts and 12 holes using a 2 ¾-inch and 1 ¼-inch round cutter.  Gently transfer the doughnuts and holes to two baking sheets that have been sprinkled with flour.  Set the doughnuts for their second rise about 2 inches apart.

Let rise in the oven for another 30-45 minutes, using another hot water proofing bath.

In a medium or large, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat canola oil that is 2-inches deep.  Use a candy thermometer to bring the oil to 350 degrees F.

When the doughnuts have doubled in size place a few doughnuts into the oil to fry.  Don’t overcrowd the pan.  Fry for 30 seconds on one side, flip and cook for another 30 seconds.  Doughnuts will darken slightly as they cool, so don’t cook them too dark.  Transfer to a few layers of paper towel to cool.  Bring the fry oil back to 350 degrees F before frying new batches of doughnuts.

Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To Make the Glaze:

Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Add the food coloring and hot water and use a whisk to incorporate.  Blend until entirely smooth.  If the mixture seems to thick to easily dip doughnuts, add more hot water 1 teaspoon at a time.

To ice the doughnuts, dip one side of the cooled doughnuts into the freshly made icing.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Let dry and set for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Joy the Baker
Listening to: The Avett Brothers pandora radio


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