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Entries in donuts (20)

Sunday
May112014

Homemade Vanilla Kreme Style Donuts

Homemade vanilla kreme donuts

There are some pleasures in life that can only be described as guilty. You know they aren't great, in a technical sense, and yet, they are still so good. Among them, in my life: Beautician and the Beast, vanilla tootsie rolls, birthday cake from the grocery store bakery, Gossip Girl, and Vanilla Kreme Donuts from Dunkin' Donuts.

These super-sweet treats are a beautiful thing: rich in butter "kreme" filling, weighing about as much as a brick, and garnished with pretty rainbow sprinkles which sometimes changed colors during holiday seasons. They were my favorite as a child, and they are my favorite today. This is a sweet love which is perhaps not so guilty: it has been immortalized in love letter form, and I will proudly declare my love to anyone who asks.

And yet (proof that I am a complex person) I very much enjoy and appreciate a homespun treat, made with ingredients that I can pronounce. So I was particularly proud to have created a homemade version of the vanilla kreme donut. 

It's inspired by the Dunkin' creation, but made with "eat local" sensibilities: I made my own confectioners' sugar, used local butter and eggs; I used good quality flour and sugar and fried the doughnuts myself. 

Homemade vanilla kreme donuts

The resulting rounds of dough were truly a treat: a lightly crisp exterior and ethereally light interior, which I anchored right back to earth by piping a healthy amount of rich vanilla buttercream inside each donut. Finished by dusting the works with confectioners' sugar, piping a "puff" of buttercream outside of the hole and garnishing it with rainbow sprinkles, these donuts certainly fulfill the nostalgia part of the equation, with a more nuanced, "adult" flavor which will satisfy childhood Dunkin' Donuts lovers who have grown up into foodies. 

Donut stop buying the real thing (I know I won't) but please, do enjoy this tip of the hat to a favorite "fast-food" treat in homemade form.

Homemade vanilla kreme donuts

Homemade vanilla kreme donuts

makes about 18 (printable version here!)

  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (about 1.58 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • enough vegetable oil to fill a pan at least 3 inches deep
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting
  • 3 cups vanilla buttercream
  • rainbow sprinkles

Procedure

  1. Place the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside.
  2. Homemade vanilla kreme donuts
  3. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and butter until the butter has melted, or the mixture reaches about 105°F. Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Homemade vanilla kreme donutsIncrease the speed to medium-high, and continue mixing until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, five to seven minutes. It will still be somewhat sticky. Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Near the end of the rising period, prepare your work area. Dust a work surface with flour, and place the dough on top. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2- or 3-inch round cutter (or even a floured drinking glass rim, or the top of a wide mouth mason jar top, as I did), cut out as many circles as you can and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Homemade vanilla kreme donuts Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting out circles until you've used all the dough. Cover the rounds with plastic wrap and again let them rise, this time for about 30 minutes.
  6. Homemade vanilla kreme donuts
  7. Place paper towels under a wire rack. Have it near your frying surface. This is where you'll put the doughnuts to cool off.
  8. It's time to get frying. Heat your oil in a large deep skillet or deep pan until it has reached 350°F. 7. Transfer the rounds a couple at a time (you don't want them crowded) and fry until browned—about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip, and remember the second side takes less time to fry. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the wire rack. Continue frying until you've finished them all.
  9. Homemade vanilla kreme donuts
  10. By the time you're done frying, the first of the fried doughnuts should be cool enough to handle. Using a chopstick, make a hole and slightly "shimmy" it without enlarging the hole too much, to make more space in the doughnut for the filling.
  11. Homemade vanilla kreme donuts
  12. Load up a piping bag with your buttercream, and pipe as much as will possibly fit in each doughnut. Homemade vanilla kreme donuts (You can also spoon it in if you prefer, slicing the doughnut in half and putting a layer of frosting inside, then sandwiching it. Pipe the sides to make it look pretty.) Dust with confectioners' sugar. Finish a pretty puff of buttercream with a star tip outside of the hole in which you piped, and garnish with rainbow sprinkles.

What's your favorite commercial donut?

Friday
May172013

CakeSpy Undercover: Blue Star Donuts, Portland OR

Blue Star Donuts

On my book tour's first leg (don't worry, there are more dates), I found myself in Portland, OR--a delightful city for foodies if ever there was one.

There were plenty of delicious new spots, both brick and mortar and of the food truck variety, that I wanted to try. With limited time and obligations filling my time, it was tough to make it to many, but--and I was assured by more than one person--you've gotta go to Blue Star Donuts.

Well, as it happened my first evening in Portland, my better half dinnered on a delicious Little Big Burger, a small burger joint with low prices but plenty of style. Tasty burgers, too. Guess what? Blue Star Donuts is owned by the same people! So even before going, I knew that they were probably going to be well made and served in a stylish setting (but then again, everyone in Portland is either a chef or graphic designer, so it's sort of a given). 

Well, once I got there, I knew I was going to like it from the moment I saw this sign: 

Keep Calm and Eat Donuts

I was also amused by this:

Blue Star Donuts

As you walk in, they have the donuts displayed prettily so you can see what each style looks like. Blue Star Donuts Blue Star Donuts

And when you order, they take your name. Why? Because they glaze each donut to ORDER, so it might take a minute or two! We got an old fashioned cake glazed, a yeast glazed, and a yeast donut topped with dulce de leche and hazelnut.

Here I am with a donut. If I look a little windblown, it's because I don't always let things like brushing my hair slow me down, preferring to head directly to the donut shop upon waking.Blue Star Donuts

Wow! Let's start by talking about the yeast doughnuts. They're so light and airy...almost briochelike in their lightness. They have a very good flavor. They have a very good texture. You'll never want to eat a Krispy Kreme again!

That brioche-like thing, btw, was in fact confirmed when I looked at their facebook page, which says this:

Our donuts are made from a classic brioche recipe that originated in the south of France. The dough is made from scratch every day: we start with a certified sustainable bread flour from Shepherds Grain, add Cage Free eggs from Stiebrs Farms, mix in whole milk from Sunshine Dairy, and then fold in a European-style butter from Larsen’s Creamery. All the fruits that go into our fillings and glazes are organic, and we only cook our donuts in rice oil. Our donuts are made fresh through out the day - selections change daily and sell out quickly!

Dulce de leche hazelnut donut, Blue Star Donuts Dulce de leche hazelnut donut, Blue Star Donuts

The dulce de leche hazelnut was VERY sticky, owing to the fact that it was so freshly glazed. This was a bit distracting, and perhaps it would have benefitted by waiting a few minutes before consumption, you know, to let it "set". But who does that? Who can wait with something like this within arm's reach? On to the old fashioneds. Both regular (yeast) and cake.

Blue Star Donuts

Once again, that dazzling briochelike dough. What a fine donut!

Blue Star Donuts Blue Star Donuts

and the old-fashioned cake for last.

Blue Star Donut

A dense dough, sort of like that of a sour cream coffee cake or something. A crisp edge. Very good--but not as dazzling as the other two. But nonetheless a pure pleasure to eat.

Blue Star Donuts

Blue Star Donuts--just donut! You won't regret it.

Blue Star Donuts, 1237 SW Washington Street, Portland OR; online here.

Tuesday
Jan082013

CakeSpy Undercover: Rebel Donut, Albuquerque NM

Rebel Donut

When, with a rebel yell, she cried mo', mo', mo'...I'm pretty sure she was talking about donuts.

And if she was in Albuquerque, she was probably talking about Rebel Donut, a very cool place for donuts in the Land of Enchantment.

As their website entices, "Rebel Donut is Albuquerque's premier artisan donut and pastry shop specializing in designer donuts, baked goods, coffee and more. We pride ourselves in using quality ingredients to create worthwhile indulgence. Our menu consists of over 30 flavors that change daily. Come in and try our Maple Bacon, Rocky Road, Red Velvet Rebels, Raised Glazed, Fritters and much, much more. Come on....be a rebel."

Avec plaisir!

And it's not hard to love them from the get-go, with a donut counter filled with holey treats as bountiful as this:

Rebel Donut Rebel Donut

Ranging from the old standards to the new and funky, Rebel Donut has a lot of choices.Rebel Donut

And of course, because it's New Mexico, they have a flavor inspired by the Official State Cookie, the biscochito:

Rebel Donut

As well as a donut containing green chile, a staple food in the state.

Rebel Donut

And with a nod to the famous TV show which takes place and is filmed in Albuquerque, a "Breaking Bad" themed donut, complete with blue rock candy to resemble crystal meth (it's actually pretty cute):

Rebel Donut

Well. After much deliberation, we decided on a few flavors: a "birthday cake", glazed vanilla cake, and maple walnut. The donuts were affordable--I forget exactly how much each one was, but the total was less than $4 for everything.

Rebel Donut

These donuts, while not so rebellious in the taste department, were quite good and fairly traditional donuts. And that is a good thing, people! Slightly on the soft side (not as much of a crispy "crust" as some donuts). Nice and cakey and soft inside. Delicately vanilla-scented dough. Very nice icings and frostings.

Rebel Donut

A very nice pit stop for holey treats if you find yourself in Albuquerque, and the shop's decor is fun, too.

Rebel Donut, 2435 Wyoming Blvd., Albuquqerque NM; online here.

Saturday
Nov172012

CakeSpy Undercover: Whoo's Donuts, Santa Fe NM

Vanilla Cake Donut, Whoos Donuts

Doughnuts, donuts. Whatever you want to call them, I go nuts for these holey treats. Since I'm writing about Whoo's Donuts in Santa Fe, NM, today, though, I'll stick with "donuts" for this post (if you want to explore the subject more, look here).

I mean, seriously. Aside from the fact that they are delicious, their very name is one of my favorite words to pun with. Some of my favorites:

If at first you donut succeed, fry, fry again.

Dead men donut bite.

Donut stop thinking about tomorrow.

Damned if you do and damned if you donut.

Donut have a cow!

Donut Stop Believin'.

and one of my faves...

Donut Soup!

(the donuts pictured in that last one are not from Whoo's, but are rather part of my donut soup recipe)

So. This is all to say, I am a lover of donuts, and as such, donut doubt my authority on telling you where to get a good one.

Donuts Coins

And if you want a delicious holey treat in Santa Fe, donut delay in getting yourself to Whoo's Donuts! Owned by the same folks as The ChocolateSmith next door, this is a fancy-ish donut shop where the donuts are more expensive than, say, Dunkin' varieties, but you definitely get what you pay for. All organic, they prominently feature the classics (yeast and cake, cream-filled); here is an example of how you can get two Vanilla Cake donuts and form a figure-eight of delicious...

Vanilla Cake Doughnuts

And to start with the classics, they have a very good donut baseline. Especially, in this Spy's opinion, on the cake donut front. The crispy edge that they somehow attain is absolutely fantasic, lightly crunchy and giving way to a soft, cakey interior. If you get a bit of that crispy edge in every bite, you're feeling like a holey roller. 

And their delectable donuts also dress up nicely for creative, tricked-out treats. Some that I have sampled are the choco-toffee variety, sprinkled with hunks of buttery toffee atop a rich chocolate glazed chocolate donut (yes! yes!):

Chocolate Toffee Donut, Whoos Donuts

I have also tried the Cherry coconut donut, which is sublime. The cherry flavoring adds a little zest to the doughnut, and the fat flakes of toasty coconut on top add a pleasant crunch and a pleasing richness. 

Whoo's Donuts

But my favorite treat from Whoo's so far has been the Lemon Pistachio White Chocolate donut. Something about the sweetness of the white chocolate with a hint of lemon zest, complemented by the salty pistachio bits just makes me wish this was a donut I could curl up in and live inside for a while. It is just so good.

Whoo's Donuts Whoo's Donuts

They also have donut holes ("Why-Nots") Whoo's Donuts

and filled donuts (Key Lime! Caramel-filled!) and the requisite bacon variety. But next on my list to try is the Blue Corn donuts!

Whoo's Donuts

So, basically what I am telling you is run, donut walk, to Whoo's Donuts. And drop in to The ChocolateSmith next door for something like this:

Chocolate Smith

Whoo's Donuts, 851-B Cerrillos Drive, Santa Fe NM; online here.

Monday
Jan232012

Just Doughnut: Doughnut Soup Recipe for Serious Eats

Why eat from "soup to nuts" when you can get all the important stuff in one delicious bowl of Doughnut Soup?

This creamy, dreamy dish is the ultimate in doughnut decadence. It starts by caramelizing glazed doughnuts in a buttery bath, then mixing it with milk and heating the mixture until the flavors merge beautifully in a hot, sweet, very creamy broth. It's my easy-to-prepare take on a dessert served at Chicago'sMoto, a restaurant revered in the world of molecular gastronomy.

Note: Of course, while not mandatory, it's far more adorable when garnished with mini doughnuts before serving.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Sunday
Nov272011

CakeSpy Undercover: Cake Gumshoe Jenny's Sweet Texas Finds

Photos: Purple House DirtCakeSpy Note: Cake Gumshoe Jenny, who blogs at Purple House Dirt, is an invaluable source of sweet knowledge. She's visited sweet-shops in Ireland and was a recipe tester for my lovely and amazing book. After recently visiting the State Fair of Texas, she also hit up a couple of other sweet stops along the way:

After the State Fair, I also snagged some snaps at a little roadside hand pie shop I found in Hillsboro, TX. I had the tastiest sweet potato pie in this bakery-in-an-Exxon. I watched as they rolled out fresh dough and filled each pie full, and then fried the whole thing in peanut oil. They advertise for miles before you get there - and if you don't pay attention you'd just pass it on the interstate. But it was worth the stop for a hot pocket of sticky sweet potato. 

Funky Monkey DonutI've added some pictures from another sweet spot I encountered in Austin - Gourdough's. It is manna from doughnut heaven. Open really late in the night, they have drunken cravings covered - from donuts with fried chicken and honey butter to menu items that make you giggle when you order them (Blue Balls, anyone?). I caught Gourdough's the night before Austin's all-mobile-food bonanza, the Gypsy Picnic, and was lucky I did - it wasn't open any other night I was visiting. Although I know the area well, finding this little truck was a bit of a challenge - I must have driven by 6 times before I saw the driveway. I watched groups of 5 and 6 eating single doughnuts, and I was worried I over-ordered...but sacrifice I must! I got the Funky Monkey - which is basically bananas foster over cream cheese icing and a fresh fried old fashioned doughnut (it might have been a cake doughnut, but it was hard to tell). I ate that one blazing hot, standing in my rental kitchen gorging at midnight. I also grabbed a Miss Shortcake (pictured top), one of the favorites on the menu, and at it for breakfast. Another cake doughnut covered with cream cheese frosting, but then topped with sliced strawberries. I know I'll be back there again. 

For more of Jenny's adventures, visit Purple House Dirt.

Sunday
Jun192011

C'mon Get Happy: Happy Donuts, San Francisco

First things first. If you like boutique doughnuts, and you're in San Francisco, go elsewhere. Go to Pebbles or Dynamo, where they have a fine product and creative flavors with local ingredients and all of that business.

But if you're looking for a donut that simply gets the job done, and is deliciously greasy and cheap, go to Happy Donuts. They have several locations throughout the Bay Area; I went to the one on Haight Street.

This place was suggested by SpySister's Boyfriend, who saves the world professionally for a living, and who, unlike me, is unconcerned with the backstory of his baked goods, when I was asking around about the best baked goods, said something along the lines of “I like Happy Donuts because they are good.”

That was enough for me. And at 90 cents apiece, these doughnuts will do you right. I bought two chocolate frosted (with sprinkles) and immediately downed one, and found it a perfect low-brow, high-sweet treat; I left, and was solicited for money by a down on his luck fellow on the street. “Do you have a dollar?” he said. “No,” I replied, “But I do have an extra donut.” Well, as it turns out that's what the guy was going to use a dollar for, so he was pleased as punch to receive this round of dough. Dollars to donuts indeed!

Happy Donuts, Haight Street and elsewhere, San Francisco.

Tuesday
Jun142011

Love Letter to the Vanilla Kreme Donut at Dunkin' Donuts

Dear Vanilla Kreme Donut of Dunkin' Donuts,

You may have suspected this for some time, but I'd like to put it out there so it no longer tortures my soul from within:

I love you.

I love you, I love you, I love you. I have since the first time we met, on a serendipitous day in my third or fourth year, as a child growing up in suburban New Jersey. At that time, Dunkin' Donuts still allowed smoking, and was a popular hangout for recovering alcoholics, who could belly up to the donut bar at the location next to Foodtown on 18th Avenue, buy cigarettes at the vending machine conveniently located in the store, and drink unlimited coffee and eat donuts and talk about how long you'd all been sober and how deeply, extremely happy you all were.

I love how you're an elusive beast of a sweet treat: not every Dunkin' location has you. And even of the ones that do, not all versions are created equal. Some locations serve a version that looks like a jelly doughnut from the outside, but has a Kreme filling instead; some are served with a dollop of Kreme filling served on top, as a garnish; some have it coming out of the side, where the Kreme is piped in. Some versions have sprinkles. For the record, my ideal version is the one where the excess Kreme is piped out the side in a pretty pouf, with sprinkles.

I love how sometimes (oh, beautiful times!) when I purchase you, you are so full of Kreme filling that you weigh as much as a brick (the sweetest and best brick ever). Sometimes the Kreme filling is paltry, but I still love those times I have with you--just slightly less.

I love how your filling is called Kreme, not "Cream" or even "Creme". There is no illusion being made here that your filling is in any way healthy or good for me. And I appreciate that honesty.

I love how, when put in the freezer, the Kreme filling hardens into a sweet, hard (but not frozen) mass, and the experience of eating you, dear donut, can therefore be stretched out, sucking on the Kreme filling until it gently melts on my tongue.

I love how you make me a believer in yeast doughnuts, which are usually too airy and disappointing to me, but your Kreme filling adds the substantial aspect I seek in a sweet treat.

I love how you leave your mark upon me, leaving me looking like some sort of cocaine fiend after I've devoured you--and though you are a drug, the powder is far more benign, made of confectioners' sugar.

It is true: from time to time I have strayed. I have had a fling or two with Chocolate Kreme, but it cannot compare. There's just something about you, Vanilla Kreme, with that filling that tastes like the most wonderful donut filling adaptation of store bought birthday cake frosting, that I simply cannot quit.

And I never want to quit you, dear donut. Ours is a forever kind of love. And even though I live in Seattle, where we do not have Dunkin' Donuts, I promise to visit you whenever I return to Dunkin' Donuts country.

Love, CakeSpy

For a Dunkin' Donuts location close to you, visit dunkindonuts.com.

Friday
Jun032011

Holey Yum: A Baker's Dozen of Sweet Donut Links and Lore

Photo: The Felt BakeryGuess what? It's National Donut (or is it Doughnut?) day. Here's a baker's dozen of sweet holey links and lore:

FACT: William Rosenberg, founder of Dunkin' Donuts, met Mario Puzo (author of The Godfather) "at a weight-loss clinic...Puzo had a hand in convincing Rosenberg to write a memoir, Time to Make the Donuts." (Donuts: An American Passion)

Sweet, but not to eat: a felt doughnut-breakfast plate by The Felt Bakery. (pictured top)

Just Donut! Holey treats...using canned biscuits? It's true.

Father, son, holey spirit! Jesus Donut! (Thanks, Mike!

Doughnut Upside-down Cake: Believe it.

Doughnut...or donut? Let's discuss.

Why, oh why, do doughnuts have holes? Learn more lore here.

Sweet destination: Peter Pan Donuts, Brooklyn.

The places you'll go: Doughnut Seeds!

Ever heard of doughnut pops? The most delicious thing I played no part in inventing.

Sweet love: a love-letter to Donut Pub, late at night.

Don't hit a wall: Visit Wall Drug, in South Dakota, and get doughnuts!

Eat like a cowboy: discover Cowboy Donuts, in Wyoming!

...and of course, if you're in Seattle, The Original Bakery is celebrating Donut Day in a big way!

Friday
Apr152011

Just Donut: Sweet Love for Peter Pan Donuts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

I'll tell you something. My first apartment, after moving out of my college dorm, was in a magical little Polish corner of Brooklyn known as Greenpoint. And my first bakery visit in my first apartment was to Peter Pan Donuts.

The first visit (this was in 2001, btw) was sort of like stepping into a time and space machine: the staff was seemingly completely comprised of teenage Polish girls wearing (totally non-ironic) pink zip-up uniforms. But amazingly, the donuts were only about 80 cents. Score!

To say I fell hard for this place would be an understatement: I even learned how to say “thank you” in Polish to endear myself to the counter girls (it worked).

What is it that is so great about these donuts? Well, they are unfussy, unpretentious, and just straight-up good. They are fried to perfection, slightly greasy without being soggy, and cakey and thick without being leaden. Just out of the fryer they are a donut revelation; even at the end of the day, they hold their own.

Since 2001, Peter Pan has gained some acclaim, capturing the heart of Tina Fey; the donuts are now $1; but it's still just as magic as I remember.

Also tasty: the crumb cake and corn muffins. This visit, I heard that they had cupcakes too, but they were out by the time I arrived.

Peter Pan Donuts, 727 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop on Urbanspoon

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