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Farmer’s Table: Baked Doughnuts

I like doughnuts. I like sugary glazed doughnuts, cake doughnuts, chocolate doughnuts, doughnuts with or without holes, cream-filled doughnuts, jelly doughnuts, yeast or raised doughnuts, beaver tails, malasadas and bar doughnuts.

Most would say they are an unhealthy indulgence and not the best breakfast selection, but they are, oh, so satisfying.

This is the time of year when I crave doughnuts. When I think of spring in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle where I grew up, I think of a seasonal food favorite, paczki, the Polish doughnut that contains a fruit jelly filling.

Like German Berliners or Pennsylvania Dutch kinklings, paczki are a traditional doughnut intended to use up sugar, butter and lard before the Lenten fast.

I am not Polish, but, just as everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone in the Northern Panhandle is Polish on Fat Tuesday when paczki appear in the local bakeries and grocery stores.

Since I rarely deep fry food, I usually resort to making cake doughnuts that can be baked in the oven.

Cake doughnuts are considered an American invention. The first recipe for cake doughnuts appeared in American cookbooks in the 1830s. That is understandable, since that is the time when baking powder and baking soda became commercially available.

There is no need to wait for the yeast to rise when making cake doughnuts. They can be fried, but baking is quicker. Cake doughnuts are denser than yeast doughnuts, which makes them better for dunking in milk or coffee. Cake doughnuts can be made in many flavors.

I found a barely used electric doughnut maker at a thrift store, which simplifies the process of making doughnuts without a lot of grease and sugar.

Although I don’t often consume doughnuts, I am happy to occasionally be one of the Americans who contribute to eating approximately 10 billion doughnuts a year. On a cool spring morning, there is nothing better than a warm doughnut.

Baked Doughnuts

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons oil

1/3-cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup buttermilk

1-1/3 cup flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease doughnut pan.

In a large bowl, combine butter, oil and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk until smooth.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir until just combined. (The batter will be thick.)

Spoon batter into a piping bag or zip-lock bag. Cut off the end of the bag and pipe batter around doughnut mold. The batter will rise as it is baking.

Bake about 8 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool about 10 minutes before removing doughnuts from pan.

Ice or glaze doughnuts, if desired.

For questions about recipes or other information, contact Susan Maslowski at mudriverpottery@aol.com or go to our websites at metrokanawha.com and putnamreview.com. Susan also has a Farmer’s Table Facebook page.


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