My GIANT Donut Challenge

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We celebrated my Son’s Birthday this weekend and as I have stated earlier, he challenged me to create a GIANT fried yeast donut Birthday Cake. I did a test run Saturday afternoon to “get to know the dough”, see how much it would rise, etc., as I was afraid it would be too big for my biggest cast iron frying pan (fire extinguisher was handy). I also wanted to be sure I rolled the dough out thick enough; I learned that ¼ inch is good for a standard sized donut, but I should roll the GIANT out to at least ½ an inch to get a good rise out of it, pun intended. I admit I had a “backup plan” just in case; I baked a GIANT chocolate cake donut and I’ll share that recipe next as it was quite yummy for a back up

Here’s the recipe for the yeast donut:

3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups peanut oil (approximate)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add all at once to the dry ingredients. Mix and knead with the dough hook attachment to make a soft dough, about 1-2 minutes on medium. Cover with a clean dish towel and let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
After the dough has rested, knead it for about 7 minutes on medium in stand mixer with the dough hook. until it’s smooth and soft. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn it over to coat the top, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled.
To shape the doughnuts: Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it 1/4″ thick for regular sized donuts, and cut out doughnuts with a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter. For the GIANT donut, cut a 8 inch circle and use a 1 inch round cutter to cut out the hole. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let the doughnuts rise for 30 minutes to an hour, until doubled.

To fry: Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, I prefer my large cast iron pan for this, to 350°F. Carefully place the doughnuts in the oil, 2 or 3 at a time for regular sized donuts, one at a time for the GIANT, and fry until golden brown. Turn over (chopsticks are perfect for flipping) and cook the second side; each side should take no more than a minute for the regular donut, the GIANT will need about 30 seconds more per side to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a rack set over a sheet pan with absorbent paper toweling on it. Fill or frost doughnuts as desired, using your choice of sugar topping or glaze. I just sprinkled the GIANT with powdered sugar, as requested by the birthday boy. For the donut holes, I used 2 brown lunch bags and put powdered sugar in one and cinnamon sugar in the other. After the holes drained for about a minute I put them in the bags and tossed them around to coat.

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