Today is International Women’s Day and it has me thinking about all of the women I’ve known in my life. I’ve been lucky enough to have many great women role models in my lifetime, most notably my mom and sisters. I have learned a lot from them as well as my mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, both grandmas, aunts, cousins and nieces from both sides of the family; friends, bosses, co-workers and volunteers, all with big hearts.
Of course, everyone I can think of brings up food memories as well. And, I guess because it is also my son’s favorite food, I’m thinking of donuts! The kind we used to make from bread dough when I was a kid. Hand shaped, deep fried, hot, puffy goodness, cooled just long enough for us kids to fight over our turn to shake them in the brown paper grocery bag. Out they came from the bag, glistening with cinnamon sugar crystals like glittered clouds.
No day was ever bad if it began with homemade donuts!
Thank you to all of those women, the ones who can make someone’s day with a smile, loving hugs, strong gestures and kind words. The ones who can turn grey skies into glittering clouds.
To make these, simply make a batch of bread dough using my Light Honey Wheat Bread, or purchase fresh or frozen bread dough from the grocery store. I made a batch of bread dough this weekend, adding an extra egg and a pinch of ground nutmeg to the recipe. I baked one loaf, divided the rest into two portions and placed it in the freezer. It’s a great, versatile dough to have stocked in the freezer.
Let the dough thaw to room temperature, or if it’s fresh from a rise, deflate it and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheets with parchment.
Roll dough out to 1/2 or 1 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface, and shape using a donut cutter, biscuit cutter or cookie cutters; or just roll into ropes and shape by hand.
Place shaped donuts on baking sheets, leaving an inch or two between them to give them room to rise. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 40 minutes to 50 minutes.
Bake for just 5 to 7 minutes for small donuts, 7 to 9 minutes for larger ones. Remove before they brown. Melt a half stick of salted butter while the donuts bake. Prepare a paper bag with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
Remove donuts from oven. Let cool just a minute or two, then dredge in butter, place in the bag and shake a few times, until coated. Remove donuts from the bag and set them back on parchment lined baking sheet to cool.
Share and enjoy your glittered clouds of dough!
*Note: one half of the Light Honey Wheat bread dough recipe will yield 3 dozen 4-inch donuts, or 5-6 dozen small 2-inch donuts.
Think outside the box when decorating your donuts. They can be glazed, iced with frosting and decorated with chopped nuts, fruit or sprinkles. They can be filled with homemade jam, pastry cream or ice cream.
Because this recipe doesn’t call for a lot of added sugar in the dough, it is very versatile. If you bake them ahead of time and freeze them un-decorated, they can be used for just about any sweet or savory application.
Decorate them for donuts, reheat them coated in herb butter and cheese for dinner rolls, or split them in half for sandwiches. Try kneading sweet or savory ingredients like chopped fruit, nuts, seeds, cheese, pesto or sun dried tomato before shaping and simply glaze with egg before baking.