During my last pregnancy, my biggest craving was milk, and my second biggest craving was a custard-filled donut (at least they went well together).  I can’t tell you how many times I did a last-second swing into a donut shop for that delicious treat.  Well, that was eons ago, before we were almost entirely organic and natural eaters.  I think I may have only eaten one or two donuts in the last 2 years, thought my desire for them has certainly not disappeared!  Then Terri over at Our Crazy Farm inspired me with a recipe she tried a few months back.  Still, being a diabetic, I was in need of a really good reason to make them.  I finally got that reason. 

Apparently, at S’s work, they have a rule where, essentially, if you do something really goofy, self-serving, or memorable, you have to bring a couple dozen donuts to split between 2 break rooms for everyone in the office.  Of course, most folks do a quick run by Krispy Kreme on the way to work, and their punishment is over.  Well, last Thursday, S made an unintentional, self-serving statement, and they called him on it.  The man in charge, known as the DCO (or Donut Control Officer), sent him the dreaded e-mail that he was selected for donuts this week.  Later, someone who knew of S’s healthy eating habits, jokingly asked if he would be making homemade donuts, using flour from his bicycle mill.  He half-jokingly replied, “Oh, you bet!!”  Then he proceeded to call me and ask if that was possible.  I remembered that recipe, and realized this was my chance! 

Having never made donuts before, we decided to experiment over the weekend.  Saturday morning, we got up and made the dough.  Our first stumble was in which flour to use.  The recipe called for yeast and all-purpose flour.  When you freshly grind your own flour though, generally you use hard wheat, which is comparable to bread flour, for any recipe requiring yeast.  Also, generally, if you try to use soft wheat for a yeast recipe, the final product will essentially be a pretty brick.  We decided to cut the recipe in half, and make half the batch out of hard wheat, and half out of soft to see which was more donut-like.  I also learned that with both types, it required quite a bit more than the recipe called for (that sometimes happens with fresh flour).  I had an important phone call, so S had to tend the rises and cut the donuts out.  I didn’t have a donut cutter, so he used my largest and smallest biscuit/cookie cutters to cut them out.  While the largest was a good size, the smallest still left the center donut hole waaay too big.  Finally, it was time to cook them.  The only oil I stock is coconut and olive, and I didn’t have enough of either, so we mixed them.  I learned quickly that one of those (or the mixture of the two) causes donuts to cook very quickly, and they can easily over-brown and/or burn (or maybe my meat thermometer just wasn’t accurate in oil)!  We also decided to make a little of the chocolate frosting just for the experience.  I didn’t have any powdered sugar, so we made some with my natural sugar thrown into the blender.  The frosting still wound up a bit grainy, and we also discovered that we like the chocolate waaay more than the sugar.  Nonetheless, we were happy overall with our first donut-making experience.   For the record, both types of flour made a good donut, but the hard wheat was more bread-like and softer, while the soft-wheat was more dense and chewy like a store-bought donut.  We decided to go for the more traditional texture and use soft wheat for his work debut.

As a result of our little experiment (which thrilled the kids by the way!!), we went out and bought a donut cutter, some canola oil (as required by the recipe), a good candy/frying thermometer, and some organic powdered sugar.  On Sunday eve, S ground me a bunch of soft wheat flour.  We got up a little early and started the recipe so it could rise.  S left for work, and I was left with 4 kids and donuts to make.  I did good until I had made all the donuts and set them in the oven to rise. 

I turned on my oil to heat, and it took too long.  I wound up having to re-knead and re-cut the first batch of donuts, as they over-rose before the oil was ready.  Finally, though, it all worked out and I managed to get them all fried. 

Then I started on the glaze and frosting.  I was mortified when I saw the powdered sugar called for by the recipe!  I don’t even OWN that much sugar!  No wonder our country has an obesity problem if that’s the way our donuts our made!  So, I cut the sugar in half right off the bat.  It was still far too sweet in my opinion, but this was for “normal” folk, used to a regular American diet, after all.  I glazed and frosted the donuts, while the kids glazed the donut holes.  Then the kids poured sprinkles on some select chocolate covered donuts.  In the end, we had a delicious assortment of plain, sugar and cinnamon coated, glazed, glazed and chocolate frosted, and chocolate with sprinkles. 

I admit, I was nervous about giving them to his work, as there weren’t enough for me to be able to sample them.  I asked S to please sample one before anyone else did–just in case.  Apparently I had nothing to worry about though.  S called about an hour after I delivered them, to report that his e-mail box had been absolutely flooded with e-mail comments singing praises and requesting the recipe.  I have to include my favorite one here, which had been sent out to the entire department…..

“If you haven’t had one of S’s homemade doughnuts yet, you ought to immediately drop what you are doing and get thee to a breakroom.  Wow!  I think half of the lab staff is right now standing in the lab breakroom saying nothing but “Wow…. those are…. Wow!  I can’t believe… wow!”  and then lapsing into some sort of hypnotic, heroin-like, goofy-smile-on-your-face trance.”

Let me tell you, that can make a cook feel pretty good!!  A normally thankless job can be quite rewarding with comments like that! 

I am still bothered by the sugar content of these donuts, and since I strive to post healthy recipes on here, I am going to experiment again later this week (all in the name of science, of course 😉  )  and try to alter a few things.  I want to possibly eliminate entirely the sugar content of the frosting and use Stevia in the donut dough.  I’ll post it if it works out.