Makes 1 dozen
If you’ve never made home made donuts, give it a try. This recipe is not difficult and results in donuts with a crispy outside and a lovely soft interior. My kids like to help me with this recipe.
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup buttermilk (or make your own with a scant 1/2 cup milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar)
3 tablespoons shortening, melted
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil, for frying (at least 2-3 cups)
2 -1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon of freshly grated orange zest
Dissolve yeast and in warm water in a large bowl. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. If you are making your own ‘buttermilk’, mix milk and vinegar and let it sit 5 minutes also. Into a bowl measure 2 cups flour and mix with baking powder, sugar and salt. Add buttermilk, yeast mixture, and melted shortening and mix well. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for a minute or two. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thick and cut with a donut cutter. If you don’t have a donut cutter, use a large glass tumbler to cut the outside of the donuts and a small lid (like on the top of a bottle of cooking oil) to cut the hole in the center. Place doughnuts on wax paper or on a lightly floured counter. Let rise about an hour. Donuts will puff even more during cooking.
Fill a medium sized deep pot about 2-3 inches deep with oil. I chose a pot that fit only 3 donuts at once, so I didn’t have to use so much oil. Heat oil over medium heat to 325 or 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, let oil heat 3-4 minutes and trial the temperature by frying one donut. One side of the donut should get a nice medium brown in about a minute, at which point you should carefully flip the donut and cook for another minute on the other side. If the donut gets dark brown before the time is up, the oil is too hot, and you should turn the heat down.
The oil will get hotter the longer it heats. After your first batch, you’ll need to turn down your heat a bit so that the donuts don’t cook too fast, which results in dark outsides and doughy centers. If needed, you can also add a bit more oil to cool the temperature down even more. However don’t let the oil cool too much or the donuts will cook too slowly and be overly greasy. Cook donuts about 2 minutes each or until lightly golden in color, turning once. Drain well on paper towels.
Combine 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Stir until smooth. using a knife, spread glaze over the tops of donuts while still hot, allowing extra glaze to drip off. Cool or serve warm. Or do like I did and make a double batch, half to eat warm and half to eat later. Enjoy!