When I was a child, college students would come through the neighborhood selling “Spudnuts”-raised potato donuts. They were light and soft, puffy and a little crispy on the outside with a sugary glaze that flaked when you bit them. They were absolutely delightful.
Easy donuts. You can make the same raised donuts. The really easy way is with a mix. Mix the dough with your stand-type mixer or bread machine. Let it rise, pat it down, cut the shapes, let it rise again, and fry them. There’s waiting time but not much prep time. And they are almost foolproof.
My “go to” mix for raised donuts is a Sour Cream Potato Roll Bread Mix. It’s a bit richer than most bread recipes and is made with sour cream and potato flour. It’s perfect.
- Mix the dough in accordance with package instructions using your stand-type mixer, your bread machine set on the dough setting, or by hand.
- Once the dough is mixed, place it in a large greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides, and cover with plastic wrap or place in a proofing bag. Let rise until double, about one hour.
- Once the dough has risen, roll it out on a floured counter. Let it rest for ten minutes. Finish rolling the dough to one-half inch thick. Use a floured donut cutter to cut out the donuts.
- Cover the donuts and let them rise until they are very light, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Add the donuts, a few at a time, to the hot oil being careful not to splash oil. Fry for about one minute and then turn the donuts with tongs. Fry for another minute. The donuts should be golden on both sides. Remove the donuts to drain on paper towels.
To glaze your donuts, mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Dip the warm donuts in the glaze.
If you can make donuts, you can make filled donuts. It’s easy. In fact, you can fill a dozen of them in a minute. Just don’t cut the centers out, cut only round circles, and let them rise and cook as other raised donuts. To fill them, use premade pastry filling. Cut a 1/4-inch corner off a bag of pastry filling. Poke the corner into the top of the donut and squeeze. Use Bavarian cream, raspberry, lemon or more.
(By the way, this is the same way that you fill cupcakes -just poke and squeeze.)
Easier donuts. Bake them like donuts-in a donut pan. If you can make muffins, you can make baked donuts. Mix the batter and pour it into a baked donut pan-it bakes them in a donut shape. They’re cake donuts, not yeasted donuts. Because they’re baked instead of fried, there’s less fat. They’re still crispy and you can frost them and decorate them. Cool.
Easiest donuts! Squeeze the handle, make a donut! The donut shops use a batter drop donut dispenser for cake donuts. Squeeze the handle and the batter drops out in an “O” into the hot oil. It’s a slick, quick way to make cake donuts. If you like cake donuts, this is the way to go.
What you’ll need:
Okay, you’ve got three different ways to make donuts plus filled donuts: Raised donuts, baked donuts, and cake (fried) donuts.
- If you’re making raised donuts, try my Sour Cream Potato Roll Mix. It’s the easy way to make light sour cream potato donuts. If you change your mind, you can always make dinner rolls.
- If you’re filling your donuts, choose your pastry fillings.
- If you’re making baked donuts, get a baked donut pan.
- If you’re frying cake donuts, get a donut batter dispenser. They are surprisingly inexpensive-not much more than $10.
There you go-three ways to make donuts, one baked and two fried. It’s a great project for a lazy afternoon-the dough has to rest for awhile but you don’t invest much time in them. If it’s summertime, you don’t have to turn the oven on.
My suggestion? Pick up a couple mixes and some pastry filling. If you never get around to making the donuts, you can use the pastry filling to fill cupcakes and the mixes for great dinner rolls for Sunday dinner.
Dennis Weaver is the founder of The Prepared Pantry. He is the author of How to Bake, a 250 page book about the art and science of baking and has written many articles. He has worked as a professional baker. He is married and has five grown children. You can download a free copy of How to Bake here.