I have a pretty funny relationship with doughnuts. Growing up, my mom would have these huge garage sales (we're talking hundreds of clothes for sale) and my sister, Tianna, and I would have to get up at the crack of dawn to help my mom put up signs around the neighborhood and drag everything from the garage to the driveway. My sister and I absolutely hated doing it, and so the only way my mom could get us to help was by treating us early on with a box of doughnuts from Yum Yum Donuts or Winchell's. Tianna and I were pretty lazy kids, but when food was promised we happily obliged (somewhat).
This association of doughnuts with garage sales has remained in my mind ever since and so I never really crave doughnuts unless for *special morning occasions* - getting up early for flea market excursions or before long road trips. I honestly beg my mom all the time to have garage sales solely for the excuse to eat a box of doughnuts. Yes, I know I can go buy a box of doughnuts whenever I please but it just wouldn't be the same!
My favorite kind of doughnut has been and always will be a Long John, the yeast risen unfilled doughnut bar with chocolate icing. With that said, I have never attempted to re-create Long Johns at home, or any fried doughnuts for that matter. I guess I've just been a little scared of the hot oil and making a greasy mess in my kitchen. Best to leave the frying to the professionals (for now!).
But when it comes to baking doughnuts, I have no problem whipping up a batch whenever Alex has a hankering for a slightly healthier version of doughnuts. What makes baking doughnuts so much easier than frying is 100% due to the invention of the doughnut pan, With this amazing contraption, you don't have to worry about cutting out perfect circles or deal with removing the centers; the hard work is done for you. I will say that baked doughnuts do taste very different than fried doughnuts in the sense that they taste more like cake, but listen to me when I say that they are still very delicious and will satiate your doughnut cravings.
I've made a variety of baked doughnut over the years and one of my favorites was a lemon poppyseed recipe. This time around I decided to simply do a lemon doughnut with a lemon glaze and leave it up to the baker on which topping to add: pistachios, freeze dried raspberries (strawberries will work as well), or poppyseed. All three of these toppings compliment lemon very well and give nice texture to the light and cakey pastries. Feel free to mix it up and use multiple toppings (pistachios and freeze dried raspberries look gorgeous together).
Baked Lemon Glazed Doughnuts
Recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma Taste
Yields 14-16 doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup milk (any kind will work)
1/3 cup buttermilk
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the lemon glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2-4 tbsp. milk (any kind)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Chopped roasted pistachios, crumbled freeze dried raspberries, and/or poppyseed, to finish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray doughnuts pan(s) with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a measuring cup, combine milk, buttermilk, and lemon juice.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl that you will use with your hand mixer), mix sugar and lemon zest by hand until combined and very fragrant. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix again for about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
With the stand mixer on low speed, alternate between adding the flour mixture and liquid mixture to the stand mixer bowl in 3 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until well combined.
Spoon the batter (it will be pretty thick) into a large Ziploc bag. Cut off one of the bottom corners of the bag and pipe the batter into the doughnut cavities, filling no more than 2/3 of the pan. This step is crucial because if you just use a spoon to fill the cavities, the doughnuts will come out of the oven looking lumpy! Use this video for guidance on how to pipe with a Ziploc bag.
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the edges are lightly brown. Continue filling doughnut cavities and baking until all batter is used up. Let the doughnuts cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack lined with parchment paper. Allow doughnuts to cool while making the glaze.
Make the glaze: in a large bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients together. For a thicker glaze, use 2-3 tbsp. of milk (this is what I did); add 1-2 tbsp. for a thinner glaze.
Dip one side of the doughnut into the glaze and immediately top with either chopped pistachios, freeze dried raspberries, or poppyseed.