What New Year’s resolution?
It’s mid-January, aka a rather depressing time of year where people are trying to be better by swearing off anything from alcohol to meat, signing up for gym memberships, and attempting to be a more well-rounded person. I personally do not set New Year’s resolutions and rather fall into the mindset of trying to stick to realistic goals for myself 365 days of the year.
For example, I do some form of a workout every day and I make sure to change it up so my body won’t get used to it nor will I get bored. I sometimes take an intense strength training class with weights, sometimes I take a more mellow yet challenging PiYo class (pilates and yoga combined), or I’ll take an hour walk in my neighborhood while listening to my favorite podcast. Just as long as I move for at least an hour each day, I’m happy and feel good about myself.
As for what I eat, I really try not to deprive myself and yet focus on little tricks that will allow me to eat things that I love. Three things that I try to stick to every day are: 1) not eating past 8pm, 2) drinking a gallon of water throughout the day and 3) eating at least two servings of fruit and/or veggies. Following these three things are extremely doable for anybody and better yet, allows you to live a normal and social life. You’re not taking anything away from your diet, but rather adding to it which makes it a much more positive experience where you’re not punishing yourself. Furthermore, I save drinking alcohol for the weekends, which I know makes a huge difference when trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
It’s because of these tricks that I’m able to allow myself to eat cookies, or order a side of french fries, or not worry about going out to restaurants because the food doesn’t work with my diet. I am in no way a lifestyle coach or health expert, but I really think that extreme dieting, intermittent fasting, or beating yourself up over a piece of chocolate isn’t going to work in the long run, and it usually doesn’t! Making small changes really does make an impact and you’ll have a better chance of not giving up once February hits.
So. My point in all of this is that life is short and we deserve a doughnut from time to time, ok? And not just any doughnut but an insanely delicious maple bacon doughnut made from a yeasted dough and fried to golden perfection. We do not have to eat this every day, nor should we, but like all sweets, they should be enjoyed in moderation. I’m in the school of thought where if you’re going to have a sweet for dessert like ice cream, I’d rather reach for the full-fat stuff from Häagen Dazs or Breyers, have a scoop or two, versus eating an entire pint of the fake/healthy ice cream that’s been trending recently.
I’d been wanting to make yeast doughnuts for the longest time since they’re my favorite type but was a bit hesitant because I figured that it would be too difficult and that I would mess up somewhere along the way. But I gotta say that making them was not only fairly easy, but actually a lot of fun and so worth it in the end! The doughnut recipe I’m giving you today is simply a standard yeast dough that yields a perfectly plain and barely sweetened doughnut that can be finished and glazed whichever way your heart desires. In the world of doughnuts, you’re either Team Cake Doughnut or Team Yeast Doughnut, and I definitely fall into the latter category. I like my doughnuts light and chewy, and these yeast doughnuts are exactly that.
When it came to deciding what kind of doughnut flavor I wanted to make, I thought I’d be selfless this time around and make Alex’s #1 favorite, maple bacon. To put it simply, bacon is Alex’s love language (that’s right, there’s a sixth category that you can test into!), and so whenever we visit an “artisanal” doughnut shop like Sidecar, Blue Star or Holy Donut (in Maine!), Alex orders a maple bacon 100% of the time.
A tip that I have to make the bacon suuuuuuper crispy is to chop it up with a sharp knife before cooking it on the stovetop. I had never thought to do this before and was really happy with the results, and plan on doing this in the future when I make homemade wedge salads or potato skins. Crispy bacon is vital to these doughnuts and should not be skipped! As for the maple glaze, you will be using not only pure maple syrup (the good stuff, ok?!), but also a splash of imitation maple/maple extract, which can be found at your local grocery store. I normally wouldn’t use something like this, but it really does help give a lot of maple flavor and it makes the doughnuts smell so unbelievably good. A bottle of it will set you back about 3 bucks, so I say buy it the next time you’re out shopping.
Let me know if you plan on making the doughnuts anytime soon!
Maple Bacon Doughnuts
Makes 6-8 doughnuts
Doughnut recipe from Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen via Amanda Frederickson
For the doughnuts:
1 cup warm (~ 110°F) milk, whole or 2%
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 tsp. salt
Canola oil, for frying
For the maple glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp. milk, depending on desired consistency
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. maple extract / imitation flavor
6 bacon pieces, cooked and finely chopped
Make the doughnuts:
In a small bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast and 1 tbsp. of the granulated sugar. Stir together, and let sit until proofed, about 5 minutes. The mixture will be foamy with bubbles.
Transfer the proofed yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Add the flour, vegetable oil. egg and salt, and mix on low speed for 4-6 minutes, or until the dough is shiny and has pulled away from the bowl. It will be fairly sticky.
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it by hand a couple of times on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been coated with cooking spray, and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for at least one hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once doubled, give the dough a small punch to remove some of the gas bubbles, then transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to 1/2” thick and, using a doughnut cutter (alternatively, you can use a 3 1/2” cutter with a 1” cutter for the holes), cut out as many doughnuts as you can. You will probably have to roll out the dough once more in order to use up all the dough.
Move the doughnuts and doughnut holes to a lightly floured parchment lined sheet pan and allow to proof once again for about 1 hour, or until the doughnuts have doubled in size.
Using a large pot or Dutch oven, heat about 3” worth of canola oil on medium heat until the oil reaches 325°F. Working in batches, fry 2 to 3 doughnuts at a time for about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. The doughnuts will be a deep golden brown color. The doughnut holes will fry up in about 1-2 minutes. Transfer each finished doughnut and doughnut hole to a cooling rack (place paper towels underneath to catch any excess oil) and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes before glazing them.
Make the glaze:
In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk (start with 2 tbsp. and work from there to reach your desired consistency), maple syrup, and imitation maple. Dip each doughnut and doughnut hole into the glaze and immediately sprinkle with bacon bits. Enjoy! Doughnuts are best eaten ASAP, but can last a few days at room temperature. Just give them a quick reheat in the microwave to make them chewy again.