Sunday, October 6, 2013


This Summer when we went to Banff, we were so excited to get from Calgary to our ultimate destination that we bolted from the airport to our rental car and down the Trans Canada highway with nary a thought for lunch. It wasn't until we were near Canmore that we realized we were all hungry. At that point it had started to rain, there was traffic and few options for sustenance; as much as we wanted food we also just wanted to get to Banff. So we pulled into a Tim Hortons and grabbed some donuts. They did the trick. We got to Banff in good time in fairly good humour, hunger pangs temporarily sated, the sun came out and we spent the next four days having a great time exploring Western Canada.

The morning we were due to depart we decided to splurge and have brunch in the Bow Valley Grill. It was a fantastic spread, and included an assortment of fresh, home-made donuts which the kids devoured, noting that while Tim's donuts were good these donuts were a-mazing. I filed away their enthusiastic response, hoping that they might be interested in trying to make donuts at home. When I suggested we try it one Sunday morning they were game, since they could still taste the cinnamon sugar and remember happy, sticky fingers from our Bow Valley brunch.

Donuts are not difficult to make. They require some patience but only basic ingredients to create something fabulous. I think the part my kids liked best about making donuts was frying them. From what I can gather, they were pretending to deep-fry enemies of the Republic, or whatever side they are on in the whole Star Wars Clone Wars saga that I can't follow. Slipping them into the boiling oil, they would implore the risen donut round to 'Tell me what you know! Or be fried!'. You know how it ends. None of our doughy captives yielded. We fried them all, rolled them in sugar and ate them all through the day. Yum!

Classic Cinnamon Sugar Donuts - from Chatelaine
Recipe: Classic cinnamon-sugar donuts
Prep: 30 min Rising: 11/2 hours Baking: 1 hour
Makes: 19 donuts
1 8 g pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup unsalted butter
vegetable oil
1/4 sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
STIR yeast with sugar and warm milk in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Let sit for 10 min or until slightly frothy. Combine flour with salt in a large bowl.
MIX yeast mixture with paddle attachment at low speed for 1 min. Gradually add flour mixture while stirring, until combined, about 2 min. Replace paddle with dough hook attachment. Mix in eggs, yolks and butter until combined, scraping down when needed.  Increase speed to medium and mix 4 more min (stand mixer may move around the counter) or until dough has come away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth. Remove hook. Cover mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
TURN out dough onto a lightly-floured surface and punch down. Roll until 1/4 in” thickness. Cut our 3″ circles and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Use a 1″ cutter to cut out the centres of the donuts if desired. Reserve these centres to cook separately. Cover rounds with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 more min.
HEAT enough vegetable oil to reach 3″ depth in a heavy bottomed pot over high heat to 350F. Drop in like-sized donuts, a few at a time being sure not to crown the pot. Cook, flipping often to brown both sides until golden, about 2 min. Remove donuts to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining donuts. Let cool until warm enough to handle.
STIR sugar with cinnamon and pour onto a shallow plate. Roll warm donuts in cinnamon sugar until they are well coated. Cool or enjoy immediately.

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