Doughnut Semi-Fail

22 08 2011

I (Steph) have a bad habit of starting a recipe before I read it the whole way through. I read the ingredients, make sure I’ve got ’em all, and then skim glance at the directions, and then dive on in. Most of the time,  this isn’t a problem, but there have been a few times where I didn’t realize something needed to be chilled, or I didn’t realize how many steps were involved.

Rewind to a few months ago, when it felt like every blogger was making doughnuts. Ok, maybe it was just Jenna and Kristin who made some scrumptious looking cake doughnuts, but then I saw a recipe in my Food & Wine magazine for Sweet Potato Doughnuts. That was it. I HAD to make some. The only problem was I didn’t have one of these:

After some thinking, I decided that I didn’t really NEED a doughnut pan, but if I happened to stumble upon one at HomeGoods, I’d treat myself. Well, I frequented HomeGoods more than usual, and despite getting all of this during one of those trips:

(all for about $50, which was the original price of that knife alone! Booya!)

they didn’t have a doughnut pan. I had finally convinced myself that I could really do without a doughnut pan, until I saw Ashley’s recipe. OH MY GOODNESS. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the masterpiece she created in her doughnut pan. Ok, maybe I didn’t, but peanut butter + marshmallow donuts? DROOOOOL!  I used to take a fluffernutter sandwich to school EVERY DAY when I was in elementary school. How could I NOT make these?

I ❤ Peanut Butter

Ashley posted her recipe right around the same time as MamaPea’s book was coming out, which I knew I wanted to order. So, on to Amazon I went and added Peas & Thank You to my cart. And then I added Carrots N Cake. And then, since I needed to spend a few extra dollars for free shipping, why not throw in a doughnut pan too?

I decided that this weekend I’d make the doughnuts, since I knew they took a little bit of time, and I had all Saturday free, I figured it was the perfect opportunity. My boyfriend also happened to be flying in on Sunday, so wouldn’t I be the sweetest girlfriend ever if I greeted him with some fresh, homemade sweet potato doughnuts?

So, I got to work on Saturday morning, prepping the batter so it had time to rise. I timed my morning so that I could make the dough before I went to the gym, let it rise for an hour, and then bake ’em when I got home.

So, I returned from the gym, to continue working on my donuts, only to realize that 1) They needed to rise again and 2) I didn’t need a doughnut pan in the first place! I was supposed to cut out circles with a cookie cutter, not pour the dough in the pan. Way to go Steph.

I pressed on, and waited yet another hour for the donuts to rise before putting them in the oven.

I followed the baking instructions, but I let them cook too long, and they started to burn 😦 They also didn’t exactly turn out the way I envisioned them to-I was thinking they’d be like a dense cakey doughnut. Unfortunately, they turned out more like a dry cakey cookie. 😦 They taste fine, but I definitely didn’t get the doughnut experience I was hoping for. Fail.

At least some turned out quite photogenic:

Lessons Learned:

1) READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE FIRST! This is like rule #1 in cooking, and I always break it. Must. Stop. Doing. This.

2) The recipe calls for bread flour, but I used all-purpose. I think this mistake contributed to the final consistency of the doughnuts. Need to purchase bread flour.

3) The recipe also required the use of a dough hook to mix the dough. I kneaded it for a little bit, but definitely not the 5 minutes that the recipe called for (I had a spin class to get to!). I need to do what the recipe says.

4) Learn more about yeast and flours and how the different kinds of flours affect the way the final product turns out. Allie did some research and wrote up a few posts about it. I think I need to reread those posts.

Anyhow, here’s the recipe, from Food & Wine Magazine. Good luck!

Sweet Potato Donuts

Recipe from Food & Wine Magazine

Ingredients:

One 12-ounce sweet potato
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 envelope instant dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon dark rum (I used gold)
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
3 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling

Topping

1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

How to:

  1. MAKE THE DOUGHNUTS: Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork and cook it in a microwave at high power for 10 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then peel and puree the sweet potato; you should have about 1 cup.
  2. In a small skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until nutty and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Scrape the browned butter and solids into a small bowl and let cool.
  3. In the same skillet, heat the milk until just warm, about 105°. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Gently mix in the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt, vanilla seeds, nutmeg and rum. Add the sweet potato puree, browned butter and solids, egg and egg yolks and beat until combined. Add the 3 1/4 cups of bread flour and beat at medium speed until the dough is evenly moistened, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to moderately high and beat until a soft dough forms, about 5 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball and transfer to a buttered bowl. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place for 1 hour.
  4. Punch down the dough and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2 3/4-inch round cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible. Using a smaller round cutter (1 inch), stamp out the centers. Transfer the doughnuts and holes to 2 parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the doughnuts and holes rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400° and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. Bake the holes for 10 minutes and the doughnuts for about 20 minutes, until risen and golden.
  6. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE TOPPING: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Put half of the hot doughnuts in a large bowl and drizzle with some of the melted butter; toss and turn to coat. Sprinkle with some of the cinnamon sugar and toss and turn until evenly coated. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, butter and cinnamon sugar. Transfer the doughnuts to a platter; serve.

Question of the day: Have you ever started a recipe before knowing exactly what you got into? What happened? OR What’s your favorite kind of doughnut?

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12 responses

22 08 2011
Life's a Bowl

I guiltily admit, I often start making a recipe before reading it through the end 😛 Oh well, you live and learn, right?! I’d still eat your donuts, they look good to me!

22 08 2011
321delish

Most of the time, its not a problem, but sometimes it can be! Thanks, they require a BIG glass of milk with them:-)

22 08 2011
countrywayeats

I am super guilty of consistently thinking I can ‘cheat’ the recipe by cutting out some steps (“That isn’t totally necessary, right?”), esp. when baking, which requires a lot more patience than I have sometimes! Hence why I stick to NOT baking very often! But I am learning to embrace the baking/exact recipe process more. Curious if you liked the flavor? I LOVE sweet potatoes; I may have to procure one of these donuts somewhere!

22 08 2011
321delish

It’s that “Exact” part of baking that gets me! I used to be super precise when I followed recipes, but now, as I experiment on my own, that has carried over into my baking. Bad idea. But, YES< the flavor was DELICIOUS! I LOVE sweet potatoes; The sweet potato + cinnamon reminds me that fall is just around the corner!

22 08 2011
bb

The donuts you made were my favorite donuts evah’! I ate them all! 😉

22 08 2011
321delish

I’m glad you enjoyed them:-)

24 08 2011
bubblymel

Oh I have done that heaps of times especially with things that need to be marinated over night!!! Normally I am really good at reading the whole recipe through but some times I miss a few points! Those donuts looks scrummy! I thought most donuts were deep fried?

24 08 2011
321delish

YES! I konw exactly what you are talking about with the whole marinating thing. I sometimes say, well, 15 minutes is sufficient, right? NOT!

The donuts were delicious! I think a lot of donuts are deep fried, but the cake ones are baked:-) So, a little healthier maybe!

24 08 2011
idiosyncraticeye

Hehe. I’m always doing that! Never seen a doughnut pan before, only seen them fried. I tried doing a recipe like that YEARS ago and after the first batch we stuck raisins in the mix and called them Welsh Cakes. Definitely closer to! 😉

28 08 2011
Miss Emm

What? You are supposed to read the entire recipe? I always figured they were merely “guidelines” not step by step rules.

If you ever end up in Los Angeles, there is a neat diner http://nickeldiner.com/dinner-menu.htm that’s their link. They specialize in making the most bizarre and unique doughnuts.

28 08 2011
321delish

ooh I’ll have to try it!

22 10 2012
Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips « 321delish

[…] Sweet Potato Doughnuts […]

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