This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge proved to be just that: a challenge. Through a serious of hilarious events, my procrastination meant that when I had an urgent phone call to come into work, I had to leave my sponge proofing for not one, but six hours. I didn’t have any more honey to remake the sponge, so it became a “make it work” moment. Instead of being a beautifully molded bambloni stuffed with lemon curd (which you may still see later), I made drop doughnut holes rolled in a chili curry sugar mixture. Not my original plan, but these were delicious. They’re super light, and quite frankly, they put those dense doughnuts from the grocery store to shame.
Adapted from Food and Wine
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
1 1/2 envelopes active dry yeast (3 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons milk
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 cups peanut oil for frying
For the sugar mixture
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, mix the water, yeast, honey and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the flour. (Alternatively, whisk the ingredients by hand.) Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 1 hour.
Return the bowl to the mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of flour, along with the milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and the salt. Mix at low speed until blended, then add the butter and knead at medium speed until silky but sticky, about 5 minutes; the dough will not pull away from the side of the bowl. Using an oiled spatula, scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. The dough will not rise.
In a large saucepan, heat the peanut oil to 360°. Line a rack with paper towels. If you made your dough correctly, you should be able to roll it out to a scant 1/2″ thick and cut it with a 1/2″ biscuit cutter. I, however, had soupy dough, so I just took spoonfuls and dropped them into the hot oil.
Combine the sugar mixture in a large bowl, and toss the doughnuts about eight at a time in the sugar. These are fantastic served warm with a big glass of milk.