You know those mini doughnuts that you get at the fall fair? I have a confession to make. I used to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner when my sisters and I camped out at the fairgrounds when we were in 4-H. I think my love (or rather, my obsession) for cinnamon and sugar sprouted from there. Excuse my pun…fall fair..sprouted....nevermind! When I saw this recipe, I stopped dead in my tracks. Was it possible? A doughnut that aroused my childhood nostalgia and fond memories of the fair (and not the 4-H part!)? I am happy to report that yes, they are!
I seem to be finding myself looking for recipes that are completely from scratch. Yes, they take longer. Yes, not everyone has time for them. However, here is a huge sense of pride and satisfaction knowing how things are made and what is in them. And the fact that they are baked, not deep fried. I absolutely loved watching them rise and bake in the oven. Even though I used a simple cinnamon sugar coating, there are many different combinations that I am sure you can try-maple glazed, chocolate glazed…whatever you can concoct!
Baked Doughnuts with Cinnamon-Sugar
For the doughnuts:
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk, heated to 115 degrees
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ to 3½ cups all purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading
4 oz butter (1 stick) cut into small pieces
For the cinnamon-sugar coating
4 oz butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup granulated sugar + 3 tablespoons cinnamon, mixed together
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the sugar and egg on medium speed for 1 minute. Add in the milk, yeast, salt and vanilla. Add 2 cups flour and change to the dough hook. Mix on the medium speed and add in the butter until smooth. Decrease the speed to low, add in the rest of the flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough sticks to the hook and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should not be sticky, but soft and moist.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth. Lightly coat a mixing bowl with cooking spray or olive oil, place the dough inside and cover with a damp towel. Rise for one hour, or until the dough has doubled.
Punch down the dough, roll it out until about ½ inch in thickness. Using biscuit cutters, cut out 4 inch circles with 1.5 inch holes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place 1 inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap, let sit on top of oven until doubled in size, about 25 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake 5-8 minutes, or until lightly golden. While the doughnuts bake, melt the butter and prepare the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Dip the doughnuts into the melted butter, then coat with the sugar mixture. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.