O.K. friends, these soft and spicy gingerbread doughnuts are honestly one of the best things I have ever created. Did you catch that?!!! I created this doughnut recipe!!! I am very excited about this fact. Can you tell? The number of exclamation points are exponentially related to how excited I am.
Since blogging, I have finally moved past reading recipes and am now in the creative phase of my baking obsession. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of times I follow recipes, but lately I find I am inventing them more than following them, and I am pretty dang pleased with my results.
I know, I have a grandiose impression of my mad skills in the kitchen and I am oh so humble about it. Sorry. It’s a pretty big personality flaw; I realize this. I’m not really planning to work on that part of myself though because I have much bigger fish to fry. There’s a whole mess of other stuff that ranks higher on my list of self-improvements so I wouldn’t hold your breath for this blog to improve its social etiquette anytime soon.
Back to the doughnuts—I really wanted a gingerbread doughnut this morning with a big cup of hot coffee doused with a teensy bit of eggnog (and rum?). After rummaging around the internet, I decided there wasn’t one recipe that hit the flavor profile I was going for. So I decided to meld a few ideas together from here and there and go for it.
They turned out exactly like I was imagining they should be. This recipe combines some ideas from a pumpkin doughnut on an Edible Mosaic while adding some bits from an apple-spice doughnut I found on Food Network.
These next few shots are my favorite ones of all time on this blog. My dog, Sadie, was watching me take some photos of this apple on a swinging bench we have in the backyard. As I was snapping away and checking my viewer, I started to realize that a tongue was randomly making a guest appearance now and then.
Sadie had worked her way under the bench and was trying to lick the apple through the slats. The swinging bench would move and she would try again. Kind of like bobbing for apples upside down. To no avail she worked tirelessly to get that apple off the bench where she could eat it in its entirety.
I hope this goes without saying, but this apple DID NOT make it into my recipe. Notice dog slobber is not on the list of ingredients anywhere. I have standards.
O.K., now that we have finished with the comic relief, back to the yummy doughnuts. They are lightly spicy, without hitting you over the head with ginger, just a touch sweet—not syrupy sweet. Their texture is cake-y and soft with just that perfect crunch on the outside.
I made two different icings trying to try to decide which was the better pairing; maple icing or eggnog icing. Rum did not make it into any icing but I have a hunch that brushing the tops of the doughnuts with rum and adding a little bit to the eggnog icing would be just fine. Both icings were a lovely match to the ginger and spice flavors.
I hope you enjoy making these doughnuts…perhaps for a festive Holiday Brunch. They are tedious and best served the same day they are fried. If you make the dough the night ahead and fry them in the morning, it will make the morning a lot easier.
Gingerbread “Cake” Doughnuts
Recipe by Geni of Sweet and Crumby
Make about 20 medium-sized doughnuts and doughnut holes.
1/4 c. shortening, 0% hydrogenated oils
1/2 c. DARK brown sugar (this has more molasses than light) packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 T. dark unsulphured molasses
1 c. of peeled apples (any sweet variety), grated and chopped
1/4 c. Canola oil
1 t. vanilla extract
5 c. flour (FIVE…this is not a type-0)
2 tsp ground ginger
2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. ground cloves
3 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 – 1 c. more flour added for rolling out
Gallon sized container of Canola oil or Vegetable Oil for frying
Candied ginger, mini chocolate chips and or sprinkles for garnish
Maple Glaze (you may want to cut this in half if you plan to make both icings)
Taken directly from Under the High Chair
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 Tablespoon water
(optional: few drops maple flavoring)
2 c. of sifted powdered sugar
6 T. Eggnog (add more if you need to thin it out)
For the Doughnuts: Peel, grate and chop 2 apples, preferably the grating and chopping will be done in your food processor. I don’t think I have it in me to do all that by hand but if you do, have at it.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together shortening and sugars until fluffy. Add molasses through vanilla and combine on medium speed. In a separate LARGE mixing bowl whisk together the flour through the salt. Slowly, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Combine then add 1/3 of the buttermilk.
Repeat until all of the flour and buttermilk has been adequately incorporated. Beat on medium for about a minute until all of the ingredients are well combined. Notice my batter resembles a thick muffin type of batter, rather than bread dough. I let it rest like this but when it was time to roll out, I added flour 1/4 a cup at a time up to 1 cup until it looked and felt like soft, pliable bread dough. This dough is not as firm as bread dough but not loose like a cake batter.
Let stand for at least two hours. If you are making this the night before, place the dough in plastic wrap and then inside a Ziploc bag. If the mixture is too wet to wrap adequately, you can add another 1/2 c. of flour at this time (up to one whole cup) and work it in with your HANDS until a dough forms. Note the consistency of the final dough consistency in the picture below.
Place oil in a large stock pot, about 1/2 full (about five-six inches of oil). Clip a candy thermometer to the side. This is important. Your oil needs to get to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat. Layer paper towels on a cookie sheet near where you will be frying your dough.
Dust flour onto a pastry board. If you did not add flour previously, this is the time to do it. Add flour, 1/4 c. at a time (up to 1 c. total), and work flour into dough with your hands until a pliable, soft dough forms. Divide the dough into two portions and roll out your first portion.
Use a round cookie cutter to cut the dough into doughnut circles. I used a cap of my pourable 1/2 gallon of milk carton to cut out the doughnut hole. It worked great! Flour your cap in between each cut. Roll out the left-overs of the first portion of dough and repeat until you have cut out the first half of the dough.
When the oil has reached 250 degrees, use a slotted spoon to carefully place the doughnut circle into the oil. You can fry three doughnuts at a time. Any more and you will crowd the pot and you won’t have uniform frying. Fry the doughnuts for two minutes a side. Have a cookie sheet ready with paper towels layered on them. Carefully drop the doughnuts onto the paper towels and pat with the towels to remove excess oil.
Finish the first half of frying your doughnuts and then make the glaze.
For the glaze: With either glaze, use the bowl of a stand mixer, place all ingredients and beat with paddle attachment until smooth. The glaze should be fluid but hold up to a doughnut being dunked upside down in it. After dunking half of the doughnut in the glaze, let it stand a minute and then dunk again. This makes for a nice thick coating.
Repeat all steps above to fry-up the second half of your doughnut dough.