Doughnuts and Interviews

by catherinebrownell

Today has been a very exciting day and start to 2014. As I type this I’m actually being filmed for the local news. About a month ago I was nominated by my art teacher to be an Arts All Star for 7 News. They asked me if  they could come film and interview me in my kitchen for the piece they would be featuring me in. I of course said yes, because who doesn’t want their fifteen minutes of fame? So this morning has been kind of a blur for me.

I had a very difficult time figuring out what exactly I wanted to make for this very special occasion. Of course whatever I made had to be impressive. I debated for a long time before I finally came up with the idea of doughnuts. These aren’t any old doughnut though. They’re lavender doughnuts with a Wildflower Honey glaze. I know, it sounds kind of weird. But believe me when I say that lavender and honey is one of the best flavor combinations out there. The lavender I used was in fact the actual flower. I picked up some dried lavender at our local food co-op and it was so incredibly fragrant. When I started to bake with it this morning the kitchen was filled with the scent. Now, lavender is supposedly a very calming scent, but it wasn’t having much of an effect on me. I was quite stressed this morning, making doughnuts for the first time and expecting the local news to be arriving any minute. Maybe not the best time to make something new, but hey, it’s not everyday you get featured on the news.

Also I want to apologize for the lack of photos. I was only able to get a few of the end product because I was just so busy making them and getting myself ready. And then when the 7 News guys came I kind of had to abandon the photo taking.

interview

(My interview will air Thursday the 9th at 10:00 on channel 7 news)

Lavender Doughnuts

  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk, heated to 110˚F
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for the work surfface
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed, dried lavender
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil, for frying (or canola)

1. In a medium bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of the yeast in 3/4 cup of the warm milk. Stir in 3/4 cup of the flour to create a smooth paste. Cover and let rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

2. Combine the remaining warm milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the flour mixture along with the sugar, salt, vanilla, lavender, and egg yolks. Mix until smooth. Turn off the mixer and add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour. Mix on low for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and mix until it becomes incorporated, about 30 seconds. Switch to a dough hook and, with the mixer turned off, add more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time. Knead the dough on medium speed between additions until the dough pulls completely away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and not too sticky. It will be very soft and moist, but not so sticky that you can’t roll it out. (You may have flour left over.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. (don’t worry this won’t kill the yeast)

3. Line a baking sheet with a lightly floured dish towel. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thick. With a doughnut or cookie cutter, cut out 3-inch-diameter rounds with 1-inch-diameter holes. (Note: If making filled doughnuts, don’t cut out the holes.) You can re-roll the scraps and cut out additional holes.

4. Place the doughnuts at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm spot to proof until they almost double in size, 5 to 20 minutes, peeking every five minutes. To test whether the dough is ready, touch it lightly with a fingertip. If it springs back immediately, it needs more time. If it springs back slowly, it is ready. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it has over-proofed, in which case you can punch it down and re-roll it once.

5. While the doughnuts are proofing, heat a heavy-bottomed pot with at least 2 inches of oil until a deep-fat thermometer registers 360˚F (182°C). With a metal spatula, carefully place a couple of doughnut holes or doughnuts in the oil, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until light golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a wire rack over a paper towel, and let cool slightly before glazing. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and holes, keeping the temperature consistent.

Honey Glaze

  • powdered sugar
  • honey
  • whole milk

Now there aren’t really exact measurements for this part since glazes can be done many different ways. To get the consistency you want I suggest simply adding small additions of each ingredient and mixing until the desired consistency is achieved. I prefer a thicker glaze personally, which would involve a greater amount of powdered sugar.

Candied Lavender  (this is what I garnished them with)

  • dried lavender
  • egg white (beaten)
  • caster sugar

First, separate one egg and put the yolk to the side. Beat the egg white just enough to break it up. With a pastry brush, brush the lavender with the egg whites. This part is messy so don’t worry about it and just do your best to lightly coat each piece with the egg white. They will clump together. Now as for the caster sugar, if you don’t have any ( or have no idea what it is) don’t worry. All caster sugar is, is really finely ground granulated sugar. So you can easily make your own with a food processor. Now that your lavender is brushed with egg white, you want to sprinkle the caster sugar over it. Make sure each piece is generously coated and don’t be shy with the amount you use. After all of your lavender is coated, set it aside to dry. This will take about 30 minutes to an hour. Once it’s all dry you can break up any clumps with your fingers. Sprinkle sparingly on donuts, this is more for looks than anything else.

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