Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts : An Exercise in Experimentation
This post functions as both a recipe and a little behind-the-scenes look at how I experiment to create new versions of recipes. It starts with a good base recipe. In this case, it was an adaptation of Hand-Forged Donuts’ recipe via Handle the Heat that I decided to use. I knew I wanted to try a few different things:
- a different shape
- a “filled” old fashioned (which I can’t find anywhere on the internets! Has this not been done? Insanity.)
- a “pretzel’d” version (because you know how I feel about pretzels)
One major change between the original recipe and my version – I’m using all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. Honestly, I just didn’t want to go to the store to get cake flour, especially since I knew that this batch was for experimentation purposes and not to serve to family or friends. Guess what – they were still delicious! Maybe the texture wasn’t as delicate or light as cake flour would have produced, but still damn good! So, if you only have all-purpose, this recipe still works. If you have cake flour on hand, even better!
- for the doughnuts
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling (or cake flour)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- canola oil for frying
- for the glaze
- 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted for lumps
- 2-4 tbsp heavy cream or milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- for the doughnuts
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and cream together the sugar and vegetable shortening on low speed until slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix at medium speed until light-colored and thick, about one more minute.
- At low speed, alternate adding the 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of sour cream to the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions. The texture will resemble a sticky biscuit dough or cookie dough. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 45 minutes (or up to 24 hours).
- In a deep fryer or large pot, heat about 2" of oil to 325F. Prepare a cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels and set aside.
- Generously flour your work surface with flour and roll out the chilled dough to about 8" in diameter, about 1/2" thick. Cut out as many doughnuts and doughnuts holes as possible, making sure to dip the cutter into flour after each cut to prevent sticking. I used a 3" round cutter and a 1" cutter for the holes. If you don't have biscuit cutters, try a wide mouth drinking glass and a shot glass. Gently re-combine the dough scraps and cut again. Don't re-combine / re-cut more than once - overhandling the dough creates a tough doughnut.
- Use a pastry brush to gently brush off any excess flour on the dough. Fry 2-3 doughnuts at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pot/fryer. Once the donuts float to the surface, cook until lighly browned (15-20 seconds), then flip over and cook another 1-2 minutes, until browned and crispy. Flip back over and cook another 1-2 minutes until golden. Place on the prepared cooling rack.
- Once cool enough to handle, dip the donuts in vanilla glaze and let set for a minute before devouring.
- for the glaze
- Whisk to combine the confectioner sugar with 2 tbsp of heavy cream. Add additional cream or milk for desired consistency. Mix in vanilla extract or vanilla paste. If you're not using the glaze immediately, keep it over a bowl of hot water so the glaze doesn't stiffen up.
For the pretzeled doughnuts, after cutting I poached them in a solution of baking soda and water (similiar to making a pretzel) for about 30 seconds. Then I got as much water off the surface as possible before frying. After they were cooked through, I glazed and sprinkled with sea salt.
For the filled doughnuts, instead of cutting a hole through the center of the doughnut, I made a deep indentation and fried as normal. After frying, I used a spoon to scoop out the center part (where the indentation was made), filled it with vanilla pastry cream, then topped it with the scooped out top.