The epic love story between Emma Chapman and donuts continues. Did you know that this is my, I believe, eleventh donut recipe I've shared on the blog? I am a big, big fan of donuts! It's probably my favorite treat, followed closely by ice cream.
I am all about celebrating spring right now. I thought a strawberry shortcake donut could be really fun! My first thought was to try a baked donut style where the cake tasted more like shortcake than a typical cake donut. The thing with shortcake is that it's typically pretty dry, like a biscuit (or at least traditional ones are). And that didn't sound very good to me. I kept thinking about those little round pastry cups they sell this time of year at nearly every grocery store. You fill them with strawberries and whipped cream, and even though the texture is more like angel food cake, that's really what I think of first when I conjure up images of strawberry shortcake. So, I decided to use these considerations when developing the following recipe. I hope you like it. Everyone at our office was into them. I may have eaten two.
Strawberry Shortcake Donuts, makes twenty 2 1/2 inch round donuts.
(Very) Loosely Adapted from A Baker's Field Guide to Doughnuts (my current favorite donut cookbook).
1/3 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter (or shortening like Crisco)
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/4 cup flour (all-purpose)
Combine the warm water and yeast. I usually add a pinch of sugar to the water before pouring the yeast in, just to really get things going. After about 5 minutes the yeast should be foamy looking. If not, discard and begin with new yeast (your yeast may be old). This step is very essential as this will cause the dough to rise as well as aid in making the donuts puff up when we fry them. So we can fill them with cream. 🙂
In a bowl, combine the melted (and cooled) butter, milk, sugar, egg, salt, and vanilla extract. Stir until just combined. Add in 1 cup of the flour; stir until combined. Add the second cup of flour; stir until combined. You may not need the additional 1/4 cup flour. The dough should be sticky but able to form a loose dough ball. If it still seems too sticky, add the additional flour. I almost always need that extra 1/4 cup, but it's good to check because you don't want dry donuts after all this work.
Knead for a few minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1 hour (or until doubled in size).
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch wide circles. I couldn't find my biscuit cutters (they are the one kitchen item I seem to continually lose!), so I used the edge of a drinking glass.
Place the cut-out dough circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and a bit of flour. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. This is a good time to make the glaze and heat up your oil.
In a heavy pot, heat 2-3 inches of oil over medium-high heat until the oil reaches around 350°F. Fry the donuts on each side for 45 seconds to a minute. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, to remove excess grease, when they are done. I like to use kitchen tongs when frying anything as it's often easier than a spatula or slotted spoon.
For the glaze, combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons water or milk. It's good to sift the powdered sugar first as this will help your glaze to be completely smooth and free of lumps. I added a couple drops of red food coloring to tint my glaze pink.
Once the donuts are cooled enough that you can handle them, fill a piping bag with fresh whipped cream or Cool Whip (I used Cool Whip). Fill the donuts with cream. Dip the tops in the glaze. Sprinkle on chopped strawberries and crumbled shortcakes.