Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Doughnuts

I LOVE pumpkin. Like most bloggers about this time of the year, we feed off of each others creativity and passions to feed our own. The most popular food to be blogging about in the Autumn? Pumpkin of course.

I had a calling yesterday as soon as I read about this marvelous invention: the Pumpkin doughnut (doesn't that just sound amazing?). I immediately started making a list in my mind of what foods and tools I needed. I knew I had to make these soon. I actually made them tonight. Started frying those babies up at 12:30am, I just couldn't wait until morning!

Now, I don't fry foods. Ever. It's unhealthy and the people in my house just cringe at anything crunchy/fried. But these are doughnuts! These little balls of dough puff up into something wonderful and soft and NOT feeling fried at all. I was actually kind of nervous about it. I hot vat of scalding oil that I get to stand in front of and drop dough so it could splatter back up? Mmm...not so fun sounding, but the reward was tempting so it's OK, this one time....:)

I adapted this recipe to also include some of my other favorite things: MORE pumpkin flavor, MORE spices and my all around favorite Chai tea. I add chai to alot of recipes and it almost always turns out tasting amazing and looking amazing. So here you go, my first time making doughnuts and they do not disappoint.


Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Doughnuts
(adapted from Pinchmysalt.com, originally from Bon App├ętit)

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg (or 1 tbl flax seed and 2 tbl water)
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag of Vanilla Chai Tea (Bigelow)
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon molasses
2 cups canned pure pumpkin
Canola or Peanut Oil (for deep-frying)

1. Combine first 9 ingredients (flour through cardamom) in a medium bowl to blend well; set aside. Pour milk into a microwavable bowl and heat about 1 minute to warm. Seep tea bag into milk and let stand about 3 mins.

2. Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, cream sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in egg, then yolks, then vanilla. Gradually beat in chai milk and molasses, then beat in pumpkin. Open tea bag and pour in all the contents to the dough.

3. Gradually add the flour mixture into the egg mixture in 4 additions, blending gently after each. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours.

4. Lightly flour two baking sheets. When dough is well-chilled, lightly flour a work surface. Starting with about 1/3 of dough, gently press it out to a round that is 1/2- to 2/3-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Using 1-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes. Arrange doughnuts and holes on the baking sheets as you go.

I had an image of me just eating doughnut holes; something I can just pop in my mouth and enjoy. I also wanted something easy to give, and holes are a easy way to pass on the blessings.

But play around with your cookie cutters, all shapes do well as long as they are no bigger then 2in.

Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used. If dough is very sticky (and it will be), dip the round cutters into flour before cutting each doughnut.

5. Line two baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet or dutch oven to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pot and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F. Fry doughnut holes until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool completely.

6. Top with any glaze or sugar, or just pop them warm in your mouth.

Make sure to watch the color of your doughnuts, they will let you know when they are done.

Here is my first batch:
Not cooked long enough :( They were golden brown, but still gooey inside.

Lesson Learned:
Cooked just right :) Soft and cake like. These will be darker on the outside (approx 2 mins)

I played around with different toppings for the doughnuts, here is what I tried:

1. Spiced Orange Glaze: 1 c confectioners sugar, 1/4 c orange juice, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp nutmeg AND cinnamon. Combine until smooth, drop and coat doughnut holes, let dry. You can also try using apple juice which is very good on shortbread cookies, I just didn't have any today to try it.

Score: 4/5. The glaze is amazing and makes these lil' babies super moist and sweet.

2. Sugars: Mix 1 c sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg. Roll doughnuts in mixed sugar.

Score: 5/5: I loved this combination. Classic and simple for all the sugars.

3. Sugars:  Lightly dust with confectioners sugar

4. Plain :)

5. Vanilla Glaze: 1 c confectioners sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 tbl milk. Combine until smooth, drizzle over doughnuts. How awesome would this be if I used a vanilla bean?

Score: 5/5: This was perfect if your glaze isn't too sweet and is nice and vanilla-y (it's my word). You can really taste the pumpkin, yum!

6. Chocolate Glaze: 1 c milk, 2 oz dark melting chocolate, 1 tsp confectioners sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla. This is more of a chocolate sauce, but I dipped the doughnuts into it and let it set.

Score: 1/5: I don't like pumpkin and chocolate. But, I gave it a try again anyways (for science). I still stand by my first statement.

Other ideas: caramel glaze...

Mix in varieties: cranberries, raisens, chopped onion, cheesecake, herbs

Serving:

I made a paper cone, filled it with holes and gave it to my 2-year old to walk around and eat
Mommy had her's with hazelnut coffee


















Other shapes I tried:

Leaves

Hearts


Good Ole' Fashioned Doughnuts
 
See the speckling of tea and spices? <3


This was a fun project and I might make these again since they are really good, but...again, not a fan of frying things. We'll see. Hope you try this at least once.

Put it on your Bucket List right now before you forget. 

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