old-fashioned doughnuts.. driving me mad

I am a perfectionist.

I am not forgiving of my own mistakes. It drives me insane when I do everything right and things don’t go according to plan. I get frustrated, annoyed, and end up chucking half-started projects into the trash.

It’s kind of what happened with these doughnuts.

The plan was to make some amazing old-fashioned cake donuts.

Dreams of moist cake interior encrusted in a crispy sugar-coated shell danced in my head.

I followed the directions to the tee. (Kind of.)

They looked fine coming out of the fryer. I always say you can’t go wrong when you fry something. Twice wrong in one day. Already off to a bad start!


They look so much better than they tasted. Not the texture I was looking for at all! Too bready and dense. Not satisfied whatsoever. For the record, the chocolate glaze was good, though.  I was so deeply unsatisfied, I went for Round 2 the very next day.

And….  I’m still not 100% convinced. They look pretty though, right?

The second batch I feel lukewarm about. “Better than last time” is not what I was aiming for.

Old-fashioned Doughnuts: 2. Jean: 0.

Stupid elusive doughnut!!!! I need some better tips for round 3… Suggestions?

If I did attempt one of these recipes again, I’d go with the second recipe with cake flour and sour cream in it. It was more tender and had that cake, cruller, craggy-topped doughnut I was looking for. My suspicion is that I didn’t heat the oil hot enough, no candy thermometer and all. Deep-frying is still an art I am very, very far from perfecting.

Curse you doughnut!

The perfectionist in me is off crying somewhere. I usually console my failure with fried food but that’s not really working for me right now.

Recipe #1:
Old Fashioned Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze
makes between 6 and 10 doughnuts

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil for frying

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and sugar.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together yogurt (or sour cream), egg, and melted butter.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until well incorporated.  The dough will take some smooshing to gather into a dish.  It will be like a slightly more moist biscuit dough.  Wrap bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.

Place a candy/fry thermometer in a medium saucepan.  Pour oil into the pan until it is about 2-inches deep.  Heat oil over medium-low heat.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll bough to a 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut doughnuts with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, and cut a hole with a smaller circle cutter.

When oil reaches 360 degrees F, fry 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time for about 1 minute on each side.  Doughnuts will be golden brown.  Carefully pull out, drain, and let rest on towel paper.
Recipe #2
Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze
Makes one dozen donuts and holes

2 1/4 cup (255 grams) cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons butter flavored shortening
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) sour cream
Canola oil, for frying

In a bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugar together until sandy. Add the egg yolks and mix until light and thick.

Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, ending with the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl down as necessary. The dough will be sticky. Spoon it into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a donut cutter or two differently sized biscuit cutters to cut out as many donuts as possible, dipping the cutters into flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Pour the canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot to at least 2 inches deep. Heat to 325 degrees F. Add the donuts to the heated oil a few at a time, careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry on each side about 2 minutes, but watch to make sure they don’t burn.

Let drain on a paper bag to soak up the excess grease.

Vanilla or Chocolate Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk or water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For chocolate glaze add: 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar (and cocoa powder if making chocolate glaze.) Slowly stir in milk and vanilla extract. Whisk until silky and smooth. If you need a touch more milk to make this a dippable glaze, add a bit more.

Dip doughnuts in glaze and let rest to harden slightly.

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12 thoughts on “old-fashioned doughnuts.. driving me mad

  1. trialsinfood

    Your doughnuts look good! I feel ur pain though except I usually give myself some time before trying again. I’ve been frustrated with making chocolates, croissants and maccarons.

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  2. jeanniep

    Tell me about it! you think that the recipe skipped one ingredient or one instruction just to mess with your head right? I feel your pain. Trial and error. :(

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  3. Dot

    I’ve been looking for an old-fashioned doughnut recipe for years! I hope you perfect this one soon. I’m counting on you.

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  4. clementinecuisine

    I love how you tell us about kitchen failures! it always seems like it only happens to me and never to others… makes me feel better about my own! Good luck with your search for the perfect doughnut.

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  5. jean Post author

    @dot – let’s hope so!! i’m thinking of tackling it again in the next few weeks but i’m thinking of trying a different recipe.

    @clementine cuisine – they totally happen to everyone. i think we all know that painful feeling of having to throw a whole batch of something into the trash after toiling in the kitchen for an hour or two. it’s terrible!

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  6. atasteofmadess

    They sure do look tasty! But I know what you’re talking about. I have made SO many things that have turned out looking BEAUTIFUL, but the taste wasn’t on par with the appearance.
    I have only made baked doughnuts myself, so I’m no expert when it comes to the deep fried kind. But good luck!!

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  7. jean Post author

    Thanks! Maybe I’ll try the baked variety next time.
    I just threw a batch of chocolate meringues into the trash today :( Sigh. Practice makes perfect!

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  8. John

    We made Recipe#1 and it was a hit. Sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on them, and also put some sweetened whipped cream on others. So, so, so SO tasty!

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