For the last six weeks or so, my 5-year-old son has been asking me to make him "bread with sugar." It wasn't until I sat with him to watch Disney's The Princess and the Frog that I realized he wanted beignets. Hot, crispy, fried dough floating in a sweet cloud of powdered sugar. . .
I tried a recipe from Nola Cuisine. The instructions were direct and easy to follow, but the results did not meet expectations. The beignets were puffed, brown and crisp. However, the yeasty, slightly rich flavor reminded me of a bread-maker loaf: definitely home-baked, but with little care and heavier than I like. I wanted a melt-on-your-tongue light interior with rich flavor, a crisp exterior and just enough salt to balance and enhance the sweet topping. Enter Daring Bakers, an group of food-minded people who accept a challenge to try a new recipe each month.
The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.
I chose to complete the challenge using Alton Brown's yeast doughnut recipe. The recipe includes a few more steps (and at least four mores dishes) than I would have liked, but the results, oh my. . . why did I ever buy doughnuts at the store?
The chocolate glaze recipe is also from Alton Brown.
I halved the recipe thinking it would make too much.
I ended up fudging a maple glaze and rolling the remaining doughnuts in cinnamon sugar.
Tips and tricks should you decide to make these at home:
Candy and frying thermometers must be immersed to a certain point to accurately read temperatures. If the liquid is too shallow to meet this need, lay the thermometer down for an accurate reading.
The idea of fried food sitting in cooking grease appalls me, so does wasting paper towels. To conserve, drain foods on a wire rack set over newspapers.