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Doughnuts at home?

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Sometimes all it takes is a photograph to make me want to try something new. That’s what happened about a week ago when I saw a photo of some homemade doughnuts.

“I want to make those,” I told myself. It’s something new. It’s a challenge. All I needed was a doughnut pan because I had no intention of frying doughnuts. Baking is much easier, and besides, I love cake doughnuts.

With Amazon at my fingertips, it’s almost too simple to make a craving come true. In this case, two doughnut pans arrived at my doorstep two days later.

As soon as the pans arrived, I started looking for doughnut recipes. There are so many options if you type the word “doughnuts” on Pinterest: blueberry lemon doughnuts, baked birthday cake doughnuts, strawberry buttermilk, baked pumpkin spice, carrot cake, double chocolate, cake doughnuts with chocolate glaze.

I decided to try a basic doughnut the first time and chose a King Arthur Flour recipe — again, a photo drew me in.

Baked doughnuts three ways is a very simple recipe that gives three options for topping the baked doughnuts: powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and vanilla glaze.

The batter is very basic, almost like making muffins or cupcakes, and includes a little nutmeg. I was experimenting with this batch, so I didn’t use as much nutmeg as suggested in the recipe.

Once the batter is made, you pour, or spoon, it into the doughnut pans. I used my large cookie scoop to get the batter from the pan, then used a spoon to put the rather thick dough in the doughnut well. I had batter left over after making 12 doughnuts, so I pulled out my mini muffin pan and made maybe six little muffins that ended up looking like doughnut holes once they were covered with powdered sugar. (They were my favorite.)

I left the doughnuts in the pan while they cooled, as directed in the recipe, but first I flipped each doughnut so the bottom was now on the top. The bottoms were quite brown, and I didn’t want them to cook anymore while they were still in the hot pans.

While the doughnuts cooled, I added powdered sugar to one plastic, zippered bag and cinnamon sugar to another. I didn’t add a vanilla glaze to mine. After the doughnuts had cooled some, but were still warm, I put them into the bags, one or two at a time, and shook them around. In no time, I had homemade powdered sugar doughnuts — one of my favorite treats.

We enjoyed the doughnuts at my house; our neighbors did too. We all agreed the powdered sugar doughnuts were our favorite.

Next I want to try apple cider doughnuts. We had some at an apple orchard in Virginia about 15 years ago, and I have craved them ever since.

Things I learned from this recipe:

• The doughnuts are best the first day. I thought the taste of the canola oil was strong the next day. When I make them again, I might add a little more butter and a little less oil. Or I might make sure I’m using a new bottle of canola oil.

• The cinnamon sugar doesn’t stick well to the doughnuts. The next time, I will try adding cinnamon to some powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar. Or I could brush the doughnuts with a little melted butter and then add the cinnamon sugar.

• It’s messy getting the batter into the doughnut wells. I’ve seen a suggestion to add the batter to a zippered bag, cut the tip and squeeze into the wells in a circular motion. That process looks much easier and less messy.

Lisa Boykin Batts has been writing a weekly food column since 2001.

Baked Doughnuts Five Ways

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 57 grams) butter

1/4 cup (50 grams) vegetable oil

1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar

1/3 cup (71 grams) brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, to taste

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 2/3 cups (319 grams) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 cup (227 grams) milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, vegetable oil and sugars until smooth.

Add the eggs, beating to combine.

Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.

Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined. The batter will be fairly thick; when you draw your spatula through the batter, it will leave a furrow.

Spoon the batter into the lightly greased doughnut pans, filling the wells to about 1/4 inch shy of the rim.

Bake the doughnuts for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and wait 5 to 7 minutes before turning them out of the pans onto a rack.

For cinnamon doughnuts, shake warm doughnuts in a plastic bag with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup cinnamon-sugar. For sugar-coated doughnuts, shake doughnuts in a plastic bag with about 1/2 cup (57g) non-melting topping sugar (for best results), or confectioners’ sugar.

If you prefer glazed doughnuts, find use a favorite glaze or frosting and top with sprinkles or nuts. (I did not make any glazed doughnuts. King Arthur has recipes at www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/three-easy-doughnut-glazes-recipe

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