Everyone has little routines that get them relaxed and in the zone. One of mine is at night when I straighten my hair after showering. Straightening my hair isn't something that I enjoy - I find it annoying and kind of tedious. I wish my hair would just dry with a natural wave but alas, I am blessed with a thick, frizzy Hermione Granger status mane. To make the process enjoyable, last year I started listening to podcasts, particularly the Bon Appetit Podcast, while straightening my hair. Listening to Adam Rapoport and his guest banter on about various food trends makes doing my hair enjoyable and I lose myself in thought. The other day I was listening to an older episode with Nigella Lawson and she was talking about the relaxing nature of cooking, and how cooking is something that can be learned and should not be intimidating. People always ask me about my blog and when I became interested in cooking. I think I've always been interested in food and cooking, but it wasn't really something I did until moving to New York because I finally had my own kitchen. I remember while in college I used to dislike going to meals in the dining halls because I always ended up eating the same boring meal. Since I've had my own kitchen I've been able to explore more food and have discovered things I like but had never tried before. For me, cooking and baking is definitely an activity I use to escape, relax, and explore. There's something about following a recipe (or just making one up) that makes me feel happy and as though I've achieved something.
Rewind to a couple weekends ago when I made these salted caramel doughnuts and felt peak joyousness. I'd never deep fried anything before (this hasn't stopped me from enjoying all things deep fried) and I wanted to try but had been too intimidated. I came across this recipe from My Name is Yeh and all of a sudden felt like I could deep fry doughnuts as well. It was surprisingly easy and I can't wait to try my new technique on other foods (ie. pickles). Just a warning, it did leave my apartment smelling like McDonalds for an afternoon - but it's worth it, I promise!
P.S. If anyone has any good food podcasts, please let me know! I will love you forever.
Salted Caramel Doughnuts
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable, plus more for frying
For Salted Caramel Filling:
- 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons white sugar
Combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a medium bowl and stir gently. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Mix salt, flour, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.
Once the yeast is ready, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead on a floured surface until you have a smooth and and tiny bit sticky dough. You can add more flour if necessary. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size.
On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough so it’s 1/2” thick. Use a 3” biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Re-roll scraps until you’ve gone through all the dough. Cover the circles with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 more minutes. Fill a large heavy pot with 2" of oil and heat over medium high heat to 360º f. (use a cooking thermometer). Fry the doughnuts in batches for 1-1 1/2 minutes on both sides. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a wire rack and let them cool.
To make the salted caramel filling, heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Stir consistently until the mixture is bubbling and slightly smoky. Pour in 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and stir quickly. The mixture will seize up a bit when the milk is added so it’s important to keep stirring. Once the mixture has settled add in salt and remove from heat. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.
Whip remainder of the heavy whipping cream with the white sugar until stiff peaks form. When the caramel is cool enough, mix it into the whipped cream. When the donuts are cool enough to handle, use a skinny knife to poke a hole in the sides and rotate it to create space for the filling. Transfer salted caramel cream into a piping bag to pipe the filling into the donuts, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.