Lindsay Kucera/The AS Review
Okay, I admit it. These aren’t shaped like doughnuts. They’re also too big to be doughnut holes, primarily because I really just wanted a snack, and didn’t want to wait while I punched out all the traditional doughnuts, so I made these small button doughnuts. I originally tried these for an early-morning staff meeting, and the fact that they’re baked is an extra bonus—there’s still a good deal of sugar, but not a lot of grease. And you’re not risking your life fishing those doughnuts out of the deep fryer! I call that a win. This recipe takes a little longer, and is a little more labor intensive, but as soon as you sink your teeth into one, you’ll know it was worth it.
Cost: Approximately $10.00
Makes: 24 buttons
For the dough:
1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 F (divided)
One packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
One teaspoon vanilla
One teaspoon fine grain sea salt
For the topping:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
For a glaze:
One cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk
Directions: Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in a mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast and set aside for three to five minutes. Make sure the milk isn’t scalded, or you will kill the yeast and your doughnuts. Stir in the butter and sugar and the remaining cup of milk into the yeast mixture. With a fork, gently stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg and salt until the flour is incorporated. If your dough is sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. If it’s too crumbly and dry, add a little bit more milk. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter, knead a few times and shape into a ball. The dough shouldn’t be sticky or shaggy.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover, put in a warm place and let the dough rise until it nearly doubles in size. This dough can be slow, so I have let it rise overnight before.
Push down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick. Now, to make the buttons, you can do one of three things: You can tear pieces of the dough and roll them into balls about 1 1/2 inches wide; you can use a small cookie cutter or you can use a doughnut cutter and make full doughnuts. If you happen to have a doughnut cutter, be sure you cut the big circles first, move the dough to the baking sheet and then cut out the smaller hole, otherwise it will be all warped and mangled.
Bake at 375 F until the bottoms are golden brown, about eight minutes, but check them before because they’re so small. The dough will rise more in the oven. While the doughnuts are baking, place the melted butter in a medium bowl for the topping. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and toss quickly in the sugar bowl to coat them. You can also coat them with powdered sugar, melted chocolate or the sugar glaze I included above. Be sure to share! (I know it’s hard!)
This recipe was adapted from Heidi Swanson’s “101 Cookbooks.”