January can pretty much be summed up in one word: blah.
It's the month when Mopey Mary rears her ugly head to make every day feel drawn out, dull, and dreary. The holidays are over, the glow of the new year has started to fade, and all I really have to look forward to are the short, chilly days of winter. Every year I tell myself to plan a holiday for mid-January but, instead, I spend my days drudging through work and my evenings lazing about on the couch watching mainly murder shows because, well, murder shows are pretty great and why the heck not?
(ps how am I only watching Fargo now?!)
In my mind, there is only one thing that can help spurn that grumpy gal to the sidelines and that is doughnuts. Sure, any sweet would do and I sure have had my fair share of chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and brownies these past two and a half weeks but doughnuts! Oh baby, doughnuts are the answer to my forlorn prayers!
Draped with a Simpsons-esque pink glaze and scattered with a few little sprinkles, nothing brings a smile to my face and a spring to my step quite like a classic vanilla dip! As I tend to be a bit lazy this time of year, these little puppies are a classic cake doughnut rather than a yeast risen because when I want doughnuts, I don't want to have to wait on yeast!
So, what are you waiting for? Banish those January blues and get to frying!
Vanilla Cake Doughnuts
Makes 12 doughnuts and 12 doughnut holes
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla. Pour this wet mixture into the well and mix just until a soft dough forms. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge and heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat until a thermometer registers at 350F. On a generously floured work surface, roll out your chilled dough to a ½ inch thickness and, using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Using a 1-inch round cutter, remove the very centre of each circle, giving you doughnuts and doughnut holes!
Feel free to bring the remaining dough together to reroll and cut out more doughnuts but only do this once as rerolling the dough a third time might make the doughnuts a bit tough.
Before frying, prepare a draining station for your doughnuts by lining a cookie sheet with paper towel and a cooling rack.
Now, it’s time to fry! Gently lower four or five doughnuts into the hot oil and cook, flipping once, until all the doughnuts are golden brown and lovely. Remove the cooked doughnuts to the rack-lined cookie sheet and continue to fry until all of your doughnuts and doughnut holes are done.
When cooled, dunk each doughnut and doughnut hole in classic vanilla or chocolate glaze and leave to set for at least 30 minutes.
Classic Vanilla Dip Glaze
1 ¾ cups icing sugar
2–3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8–12 drops red food colouring
Sprinkles, for decorating
In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, milk, vanilla, and food colouring until smooth. Dunk your doughnuts into the glaze followed immediately by a scattering of sprinkles and allow the doughnuts to set up for at least 30 minutes.