These soft, fluffy caramel doughnuts are filled with a thick, sweet brown sugar custard and topped with caramel icing.
So I’ve been trying to master Doughnuts for a while now. In fact, they’re on my cooking wish list of things to learn this year.
Check! Done it! Bingo! I’ve cracked the code!
I’ve had a few tries now. The first batch was terrible. The second batch were doughnut-like in flavour but not at all the soft and fluffy texture a really good doughnut has. I’ve researched and researched and fried and fried and now I can confidently tell you I have developed the best ever doughnut recipe. Crispy on the outside, light and fluffy in the middle.
It’s funny. I grew up not a big fan of doughnuts. My brother used to have them and I would always go for candy or chocolate instead but at some point that changed. I didn’t mind a jam doughnut but it is never something I would crave. Now I’ll quite often be doing the shopping and think “A doughnut would be great right now”. These days, a good doughnut is one of my ultimate comfort foods. When I bit into one of these, sweet and caramel-ly doughnuts, I was on cloud nine. One because “Wow, I did that!” and two ‘cause they just taste so good. You really need to make these. Serve them up fresh and everyone will be inhaling them and coming back for more 🙂
How do you make a great doughnut awesome? Well you ice them and fill them, of course. So I did. I topped these gorgeous bliss bombs with caramel icing and a custard made using brown sugar. Super decadent but you’re worth it 🙂 and it’s not like we eat this stuff every day, right?
Ok, so maybe this isn’t as easy as popping into you’re local Krispy Kremes store (my prior favourite, I might add), these are so, so much better made at home. They do have yeast, so there is a little pre-planning involved but the great thing about this recipe is that the rise time (overnight) means you can mix up the dough one day and then cook them the following day. I’ve tried recipes using both the same day and next day dough and by far the doughnuts that tasted best were the ones that where the dough was left overnight.
The other important thing here is to use a thermometer when cooking to make sure your oil temperature stays constant. If the heat of the oil drops too low, they doughnuts will cook too slowly. If the temperature is too high, they won’t cook all the way through and will be too dark on the outside.
I hope you enjoy my Caramel Doughnuts. I’d love to hear how you go or if you have other flavours that just can’t be beat.
Go forth and fry 🙂
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For the Doughnuts
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 sachet (7g or 2 ¼ tsp) instant yeast
- 3 ½ cups (450g) plain flour
- 50 g (4Tbsp or 1/4 cup) of sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 100 g butter, softened
- 2 litre vegetable (canola / sunflower / rice bran) oil
For the Custard
- 3 egg yolks
- 40 g (about 4 tablespoons) plain (AP) flour - (note 1)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup full fat milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 ml whipping or heavy cream
For the Caramel Icing
- 30 g butter, chopped
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk - (note 1)
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- For the Doughnuts; Warm the milk for about 15 seconds in the microwave. You don’t want it to be hot, just slightly warmer than room temp. Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer then sprinkle the yeast on top and stir it around. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Add the flour, sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolk. Beat with a dough hook on low speed for a couple of minutes until the dough comes together. With the mixer on medium add the butter a spoonful at a time until it is all fully incorporated.
- Grease a large bowl with a tiny bit of oil or oil spray. Place the doughnut dough into the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- For the custard: Whisk together the egg yolks, flour and sugar until very thick and creamy and light in colour.
- In a saucepan on low-medium heat, heat together the milk and vanilla until it reaches a simmer. Take it off the heat and while whisking continuously, slowly dribble the hot milk into the eggs. You must do this slowly so the eggs heat up slowly and don’t scramble.
- Return the saucepan to a low heat. Stir constantly until you have a very thick paste. Make sure to keep stirring so that you don’t get any lumps.
- Push the custard mixture through a sieve into a bowl to remove any lumps, then refrigerate until completely cool.
- Whip the cream, then fold it into the cold custard. Now it’s ready to pipe into your doughnuts. Refrigerate until required.
- To cook the Dougnuts; Line a baking sheet with baking paper. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the dough to about 12mm thick (1/2 inch) and make it about 30cm square (12 inch square). Use large round cookie cutters to cut out 9 rounds from the dough and lay them on your baking paper.
- Put them aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours until they are doubled in size and puffy looking.
- Lay out a couple of layers of paper towel on a plate or tray. Attach a thermometer to the side of a deep pan and pour in the oil. Heat the oil to 180C. Gently place the doughnuts one at a time into the hot oil, in batches of 3 only. Deep fry for 1-2 minutes, then flip over and fry the other side for 1-2 minutes. Repeat with the other 2 batches of 3 doughnuts at a time making sure the oil is at the right temperature before starting. Remove them from the oil using a slotted scoop allowing the oil to drip off and transfer them to the paper towel until slightly cooled, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once they are cool, cut a small slit in the side and place the tip of your piping back into the slit and gently squeeze in your filling until you feel the piping bag being pushed back. Gently pull out the piping nozzle but filling the doughnut right to the outside.
- For the Caramel Icing: Add the butter, sugar and milk to a small saucepan, stirring over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add the icing sugar and whisk in until fully incorporated.
- Place your doughnuts on a cooling rack, set over the top of a baking tray to catch any drips. Pour the icing over the top of the doughnuts while it is still a bit warm.
- I use a Australian standard 20ml Tablespoon
- Start this recipe one day ahead