Doughnuts. You know you want some.
When I lived in New York, my friend Gabe and I often met on the corner of 86th and Lexington, late at night. Neither of us lived in that neighborhood. But when we got the jones for perfect doughnuts, he got on the subway from Brooklyn, and I took the cross-town bus from the Upper West Side. We were always so excited when we met outside.
Inside awaited doughnut heaven. It was such a tiny shop. The men behind the counter looked tired but indefatigable. I think each of them had been there for dozens of years apiece. Once in awhile Gabe and I splurged with a crazy idea and went for chocolate-frosted doughnuts. Mostly, though, we always ordered the same thing: 2 old-fashioned doughnuts (the edges crisp, the inside soft) and a big glass of milk. Then we sat there, savoring, as we sat on stools by the window, talking.
I can no longer order doughnuts from that place. Not only because I can’t eat gluten anymore, but also because I read that it has closed since I moved away. (The tired men must have grown weary.) However, I can still taste those doughnuts.
You may be thinking — Shauna, this isn’t fair. Why are you talking about doughnuts when I can’t have any? You can’t have any good doughnuts, gluten-free.
Oh yes you can. Just hush. You can have great doughnuts, gluten-free. And dairy-free. You can make them in your own kitchen in less than 30 minutes.
See that picture above? Those are baked doughnuts, gluten-free and dairy-free. They’re from a new book by Silvana Nardone, who has become a friend of ours lately. Her new book, Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals, is lovely. Confronted by the need to make gluten-free and dairy-free meals for her darling son, Silvana tackled it all with grace and humor. Her cookbook is a beautiful record of what love can do.
You’ll see that her emphasis is on kid-friendly and family-friendly meals. Her recipes are attempts to replicate standard kid favorites, with a pretty white flour mix to match those expectations. If that’s what you are looking for, you’ll like this book.
She has several baked doughnuts recipes in her book. Sugar and spice! And these chocolate glazed espresso doughnuts. Yum.
(I’m going to be honest. That photograph up there? I took a photo of a photo from her book. We made the doughnuts last week and enjoyed them, but too late in the evening to get a photo. I would have re-made them, but we are leaving for NY tonight and I am still writing this post!)
Good gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate-glazed espresso doughnuts? Of course you can make those.
The book that we will baking doughnuts from most often is just about to be published: Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home.
Our friend, Lara Ferroni, wrote and photographed this book. We are so proud of her.
You see, Lara is not just our friend, but she is also the photographer for our cookbook. Those of you who own the cookbook already — and thank you for your beautiful emails and blog posts and Twitter messages about it — know what a gorgeous book it is. We owe so much to Lara.
When we first got our book deal, and found that we had a modest art budget for the book, we only thought of one photographer: Lara. She takes such striking photos, filled with light and fresh food. She really is an artist and it has been a privilege to work with her. (And we hope we’ll be working with her on another book. And another. And another.)
You see, in a not-traditional manner, we worked with Lara for over two years on this book. Most books get two to four days of photo shoots in NY, after the manuscript is done. We started shooting photographs with Lara when I was 7 months pregnant with Lu. We walked around farmers’ markets, stood in our kitchen, and shopped at our favorite seafood purveyor, all with Lara and her camera. All the plated dishes you see in the book? Danny cooked them in Lara’s kitchen. I ran them upstairs to her studio. She did her magic.
So we want to say, very publicly, how deeply grateful we are to you, Lara. You are amazing. We could not have done this without you.
And she wrote a doughnut book! When Lara signed the deal for this book, she had never made a doughnut before! Now, because of her dedication to learning and making things beautiful, you could soon be making Date and Walnut Doughnuts, Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Doughnut Holes, Bacon Maple Bars, and Huckleberry Cheesecake Dougnuts. Oh yum.
Lara came to our kitchen last year, to work on gluten-free recipes for the book. They work! They’re delicious. We love that she put those in her book. (Others of you will be happy for the vegan doughnuts.) We’re honored that her carrot cake doughnut recipe is a riff on the carrot cake in our book.
(Is it okay for me to pause and say that more than a dozen gluten-eating folks have said that the carrot cake in our book is the best they have ever eaten? Well, I just did.)
But I want you to know that, if you have the right flours and a kitchen scale, you could make any doughnut in Lara’s book, gluten-free. Buy it. You’ll see.
Don’t let anyone tell you that something is impossible, gluten-free.
Say yes instead.
Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Holes, Gluten-Free
Besides that place on 86th and Lexington, my favorite doughnut spot in the world is in Seattle. At the tiny stall in Pike Place Market, a machine drops splotches of doughnut batter into the hot oil. Someone spoons them out. Steaming hot, the doughnuts get thrown into a brown paper bag with a skim of cinnamon sugar on the bottom. Then, the seemingly interminable wait while the guy behind the counter shakes the bag, vigorously. You hand some ridiculously small amount of money to the person taking change, then you grab the bag full of hot cinnamon doughnuts.
Shut up. Those doughnuts are so good.
I can’t have them anymore, of course. I watch my friend Sharon eat them whenever she comes into town. I eat vicariously.
Now, however, I can have cinnamon doughnuts. And so can you.
This is an adaptation from Lara’s book, Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home. Lara’s gluten-free cake doughnut recipe is great. Make it! But we wanted to show you that you could make any of the doughnuts in the book gluten-free. (Lara has the recipes in grams. Genius.)
So, we’ve made a couple, and they all work splendidly. You can use our AP mix, or your favorite gluten-free mix, or separate flours. We highly recommend that you use the ratio of 40% whole grain flours to 60% starches. Just make sure you use the same weight of flours as Lara does in her recipe, add a bit of xanthan or guar, and you have doughnuts.
Heck yeah! Doughnuts.
240 grams Ahern AP flour mix
3 grams (about 1/2 teaspoon) guar gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
75 grams (about 1/3 cup) superfine sugar (and really, use the superfine)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter or shortening
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk, scalded and divided (we used soy milk here)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vegetable oil for frying (we like canola or safflower)
Combining the dry ingredients. Sift the AP flour into the bowl of a stand mixer (if you don’t have one, you can do this by hand). Add the guar gum, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. Mix well to combine.
Adding the butter. Add the butter (or shortening) in pieces. Blend until the mixture looks like coarse sand.
Finishing the dough. In another bowl, combine the egg, 1/2 of the milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Slowly, with the motor of the stand mixer running, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Be sure to scrape down the sides from time to time. Pour in the rest of the milk, slowly, until the batter is as thick as a good cookie dough. It will be slightly tacky to the touch. (You might not need all of the milk, depending on different conditions.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
Frying the doughnuts. Pour at least two inches worth of oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. (We like a Dutch oven for this.) Heat until the oil registers 360° on a deep-fat thermometer.
Drop tablespoon-size dollops of doughnut dough into the oil. (And drop them gently. You don’t want oil burns here. Keep the kids away.) Try to keep the dollops of dough of uniform size, so the doughnuts cook evenly. Fry until the doughnuts are a light golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. (The ones in the photo above, the ones in the oil? Those are not done yet. Just after that.)
Finishing the doughnuts. Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and let them drain on a paper-towel-covered plate. While the next batch is frying, put the hot doughnuts into a paper bag with cinnamon sugar. Shake.
Makes about 24 doughnut holes.