Chunky woolen sweaters from jcrew, warm mugs of cider and cooler weather…

these are three of my favorite things about fall. Oh and I can’t forget my six year old jcrew vest and woolen ski hat. The other day someone asked if I had stopped posting anything baking related on my blog, since I was working full-time with Made in His Image. Good question, and the answer is no, I can’t forget my roots (Hi mom). I still love to eat, cook and bake; I just don’t get to do it as much. And yes mom, I do have money to buy groceries. My mom was a little concerned (as most moms I imagine would be) when I left my job for MIHI. Not because she didn’t believe in the mission, she just wanted to make sure I was provided for. She still asks periodically if I have money for food (thanks mom, I just Trader Joe’s it up).

So, it’s officially fall, and Nashville’s weather is starting to act like it with its crisp evenings and chilly mornings. All of the local cafes’ have brought back their pumpkin spice lattes, spiced apple cider and their assortment of seasonal baked goods. To follow in the festivities of the season I thought I would post a recipe for donuts. Yep, that’s right, that would be homemade donuts. So now you can save that five dollars or more that you would spend on a dozen donuts and make them yourself. Plus if you have children, they will love it! Just don’t let them do the frying, but I think that’s common sense. I made donuts with one of the little girls I tutor and she LOVED it. She went around the block with me handing them out to her neighbors because she was so proud of herself. So, making donuts can also be a confidence builder, even better!

Yeast donut dough
3/4 cup whole milk
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) quick rise yeast
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
 
Other ingredients needed
Canola oil for brushing and frying
2/3 cup of the best quality strawberry jelly or seedless raspberry, apricot, or blueberry jam. I love the seedless raspberry the best. 
1/2 cup of superfine sugar 
 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat.

Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. In the mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast and beat on low-speed to mix. Add the hot milk mixture, raise the speed to medium, and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and beat until the dough is well blended and smooth, about 1 minute longer. The dough will not pull away from the sides of the bowl and will still be somewhat sticky.

Scrape the dough into a large bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let stand in a warm place until well risen and increased in bulk (it may almost double in size), about 45 minutes. Use the dough right away.

Alright here we…let’s do this, let’s make donuts.

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and brush the paper with oil. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle about 10 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3-inch round pastry cutter, cut as many rounds as possible. Use a wide spatula to transfer the donuts to the oiled paper. Gather up the scraps and repeat the rolling and cutting out donuts. Cover the donuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes. The donuts should look soft and puffy, but will not double in size.

Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a medium size pot that you would boil water in. Heat the oil until it reads 360 degrees F on a deep frying thermometer. Carefully, lower 2-5 donuts into the hot oil and deep fry until golden in color, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook until dark golden on the second side, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to the towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat to fry the remaining donuts, allowing the oil to return to 360 degrees F between batches.

Spread the sugar on a large plate or in a wide, shallow bowl. When the donuts are cool enough to handle, roll them in the sugar to coat on all sides. Fit a pastry bag with a 1/4 inch round tip and spoon the jelly into the bag. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, cut a 1/2 inch slit in the side of each donut. Press the tip of the pastry bag gently into the slits and pipe about 2 teaspoons of jelly into each donut. Enjoy as a perfect fall treat!

Kitchen notes: If you are using raspberry jam it has to be seedless, or the seeds will get stuck in the tip you attach to the pastry bag. Make sure your thermometer is a candy thermometer, a regular kitchen thermometer will not measure up to 360 degrees F.

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