Well then. Remember that horrible sore throat I mentioned in my last post? Turns out it was just the start of something worse. While the sore throat itself went away, I developed full-blown flu symptoms, complete with sinus congestion, breathing difficulties and coughing fits. It’s been a week and a bit since, and while most of it has gone away, I still find myself having to clear my throat and lungs by coughing heavily.
Long story short, I didn’t have a very good Easter break. It didn’t help that my laptop died on me two days ago while I was halfway through working on an essay for my History of the Supernatural: Angels, Ghosts and Demons class. I actually had a panic attack and ended up in tears. Luckily, after many hours of trying different things, James managed to retrieve all my files and transfer all my data to an external hard drive. Unfortunately, my laptop will never again be able to start up properly. Oh well… this gives me a wonderful excuse to get myself a new one. Anyone out there have any suggestions on a good, reliable model?
On the topic of donuts, I baked these quite awhile ago. I wanted to bake some yeasted spice-infused bread but ended up attempting donuts instead. Actually, I just wanted to knead some dough. I get in that mood sometimes. It’s therapeutic to me, kneading and stretching a lump of pliable dough. You also get a bit of a workout. And when you are rewarded with a product that is perfectly soft and chewy right out of the oven, you feel that sense of accomplishment wash over you.
I suppose I went a little overboard with the spices in this recipe. But I do love my spices and if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you’ll know how much I use them in my recipes. There’s a marriage of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom in the dough itself, followed by a generous coating of some classic cinnamon sugar. The resulting taste and smell is one that is aromatic, sweet and earthy.
Everybody loves a good donut. The soft-yet-firm chewiness is something people look forward to when they bite into one. These donuts come out of the oven beautifully risen with a slightly crisp exterior and a bread-like chewy, soft, fluffy interior. They taste absolutely amazing and are quite a bit healthier than those of the deep fried variety that are completely saturated in oil!
Baked Soft & Chewy Yeasted Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
1 cup low fat milk, warm
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon bread improver (optional)
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
for the cinnamon sugar coating
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, dissolve the butter in the warm milk. In a large bowl, combine the flour, bread improver, caster sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and yeast. Mix thoroughly and form a well in the middle. Pour the warm milk mixture into the well and use a wooden spoon to mix until all the ingredients come together. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Gather the dough into a ball. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Cover bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes or until double in size.
Punch the air out of the dough and roll out to about 1/4″ thick, then use round cookie cutters (one small, one big) to cut out donuts. I used a 3″ and a 1 1/2″ cookie cutter.
Place cut outs 2 inches apart on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper, cover loosely, and leave to rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200°C and bake donuts for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Once baked, remove and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cinnamon coating, combine the caster sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Very lightly brush each donut with the melted butter and dip them in the cinnamon sugar, shaking off any excess. Serve immediately.