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Mr. Smith and the Puddin' Donuts: A tragedy

As you may already know, Mr. Smith is a lover of chocolate. He is especially fond of chocolate breakfast items (Devil's Food Cake Doughnuts, Chocolate Croissants, Chocolate Cheerios, etc.)

The first time we traveled to the East (as in coast, not the Middle East or anything) he became a frequent flier at a certain Dunkin' Donuts in the great (and now snowy) state of Maryland.

Now it needs to be said that we do not have Dunkin' Donuts in our part of the world. Southern California is too snotty and pretentious for such things. Nope, we have Krispy Kreme*, and Winchell's and the like, but nothing quite the same.

Mr. Smith discovered the culinary innovation of a Chocolate Pudding-filled doughnut. These are heavily dusted with confectioner's sugar, so it masquerades as a jelly doughnut, but in the end, much tastier because it delivers the delectable treat of chocolate pudding for breakfast. What more could a chocoholic ask for in a doughnut, right?

Mr. Smith waxed poetic about these donuts for months. He tried to figure out ways to get me to agree to move (for at least several months each year) closer to the source of these donuts. Knowing what special hell winter can be in the Eastern states, I declined.

He persisted in his quest for said donuts. He even chased the dragon while we were in the mythical land of Waverly, New York, but there were none to be had. Total heartbreak.

At one point, Mema (my aunt and surrogate grandmother to our children due to the untimely firing of my mother-in-law from the position of grandmother), had discovered an alternate source in her neck of the woods. She even was working on a plan that involved Fed Ex-ing (is that a verb now?) a dozen of these sweet concoctions right to our doorstep.

Before the mission could be completed, however, Dunkin' Donuts saw fit to discontinue these particular doughnuts. Perhaps because the main consumer of this item lived on the West Coast? You tell me.

Each trip Mr. Smith has hilarious misadventures while finding and procuring these objects of his love. He requests them from the non-English-speaking personnel of the local Dunkin' Donuts, but they choose to fill his orange box with a mixture of pudding and jelly doughnuts instead. Joke is on the American.

Alas, it appears that Mr. Smith was not meant to be with his little powdered loves. Instead he is destined to savor the memory of their brief romance. Better to have loved and lost than never to have had the doughnuts in the first place, or something like that.

Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Raised Doughnuts. Her recipe was for simple glazed doughnuts, poetic in its simplicity. It occurred to me that I might be able to MAKE the doughnuts that Mr. Smith has been longing for all these months.

After a brief pow wow, it was agreed that he would prefer the doughnuts filled with chocolate pudding and frosted with chocolate glaze. (More about Mr. Smith's culinary leanings in another post.)

For the frosted glaze, against my better judgment, I turned to my nemesis, Alton Brown. Mr. Smith and Grand Master H are extremely fond of his doughnut-themed episode. I won't be nasty about this, but if memory serves, it involved a puppet. I have a problem with any cooking show that involved puppetry. I am sorry, but Julia Child is probably rolling over in her watery (Neptune Society Member) grave every time he whips out a sock puppet!

 These are a real time investment and require some planning. You need to make room for a big bowl in your fridge (that is difficult around here). Also, the dough is made a day ahead and cooked the following day, in hot oil. Try not to freak out about this as much as I do. The source of my fear is my mother (terrified of hot oil) and The Churro Incident of the early '80s. A girl living in Western Pennsylvania has NO business trying to make churros. None at all. Hence the burns on my neck from the ill-conceived attempt to do just that! I'm just saying!

 A satisfied customer

Anyway, the results were mediocre (as far as the demanding Mr. Smith was concerned). The pudding (Trader Joe's Chocolate Pudding) was too rich. I will have to go back to the drawing board on that one. Grand Master H liked them. He pretty much just eats the glaze and leaves the doughnut, so he was happy with the results.

The evidence

So, if you have a few days to kill and you aren't deathly afraid of frying stuff, here is all the info:


1-⅛ cup Whole Milk, Warm
¼ cups Sugar
2-¼ teaspoons (one Package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
2 whole Large Eggs, Beaten
1-¼ stick Unsalted Butter, melted
4 cups All-purpose Flour
¼ teaspoons Salt
Canola Oil

3 cups Powdered Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Vanilla
½ cups Cold Water Or Milk

Preparation Instructions
To Make the Dough:

1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot.
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won’t be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter’s not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it’s thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add helpings of the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.
14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge.
16. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

To Make the Doughnuts:

1. Remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
3. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as much as you can, etc.
4. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.
5. Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet.
6. Cover with large tea towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen; my kitchen is very drafty, so I have to briefly warm the griddle, then turn it off and set the sheets on top to keep warm.
7. Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15 minutes if necessary. Doughuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.

 Doughnuts rising under nifty heat lamps

To Fry the Doughnuts

1. Heat plenty of canola oil in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees—do not let it get hotter than 380 degrees! 375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor.
2. One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly.
3. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.
4. Place doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over onto a clean part of the paper towels. Count to five, then flip it over again; the purpose, obviously, is to drain as much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut.
5. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side.
6. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.

To Glaze

1. Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.
2. One by one, dip doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged. (Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, then remove with slotted spoon.)
4. Remove from glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch dripping glaze.)
5. Serve warm if possible, or room temperature.

If you are partial to chocolate glaze, you can use Alton Brown's recipe for Chocolate Glaze. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone if you don't.

In the meantime, we will still have to travel to acquire doughnuts for Mr. Smith. Pray for us all!

*BTW, did anyone know that THIS was going on at Krispy Kreme? Mr. Smith just ran out the front door!

Post edit: S'mores doughnut was good, but the other new flavors? Krispy Kreme fail!

Triple (Minus One) Cinnamon Scones

Soft Pretzel Lust