B3 Doughnuts: Bourbon Blueberry Basil
It seems almost silly to celebrate Mother’s Day. We put so much pressure and emphasis on this one day in particular. Just one day out of the year to praise and pamper the women who gave birth to us. One day dedicated, especially, to the ladies who raised us and put (perhaps still do) our needs in front of theirs, each and every day. One day isn’t enough to show the amount of love and gratitude we have for these women. How could we possibly fit it all into 24 measly little hours? Everyday should be Mother’s Day. After all, they were parents to us every day, not just one day in May when they felt like it. No, they were there holding our hands when we were scared. Feeding us soup when we were sick. Making us laugh when we were sad. Singing us Happy Birthday when everyone else forgot or were to busy to care. These were normal occurrences that happened on the daily and without so much as a thought or hesitation. They were super heroes when we needed them to be because who else would or could be? We know all this and yet we somehow forget that they deserve so much more than just one day out of the 365.
So let’s celebrate their love and dedication everyday. Let’s thank them for being there for us and for all that they did, and still do, more than just once a year. Let’s throw this May day out the window and create our own rules. From now on Mother’s Day is everyday—or subsequently Father’s Day as well—because we owe it to them. Because they deserve it. Because we wouldn’t be here without them.
I could go on record to say that my mother is the best mother any son or daughter could ask for. I could go on and on about the woman who carried me for all those months (as she likes to point out in moments of guilt but I have to remind her that I did her a favor; she only carried me for 7 months). I could reminisce and share stories as to why my mother is the greatest, numero uno, A#1, mother in all the world. Sure, I could do all those things but I’m positive I’m not the only one who feels that way towards their mamma. Also I’m not sure I would even know how or where to begin. So this is dedicated to the woman who taught me everything I know. Dedicated to the days you’d drop me off at school and pick me up. Dedicated to the mornings you’d sing and dance for me to wake up. Dedicated to the moments when you were right (which was like always). To all the answers you had. To the special psychic abilities that freaked me out, the ones only a mother possessed. The jokes you told. The games we played. The meals you cooked. The strength you had. The hardships you survived. Devoted to the days you’d tell me to stop jumping on the bed because I’d get hurt—a handful of stitches above my left eye later—I finally understood you had indescribable super powers to look into the future. Above all this is to the love and commitment you have for your three children. We wouldn’t even be a quarter of the people we are today if it wasn’t for you. Now three grown adults who owe it all to you. With all the love in the world, I thank you.
Okay so I finally got a doughnut recipe in (pat on the back). It only took me 2 years. I love doughnuts. I’m a doughnut addict. I’ll scream it from the rooftops and I don’t care who hears me. I’ve been dropping doughnut hints for a while now (almost in every post) so I figured now was the time. A perfect brunch item for your Mother’s Day feast.
Let’s begin our doughnut dough by making a “starter” or a “sponge.” Those are just fancy bread making terms. It’s basically a mixture of flour, yeast and warm liquid of some sort. In this case we’re using milk. You let the sponge sit for a bit to allow the yeast to waken up and develop flavor. So let’s get started.
In a large bowl (don’t be fooled by that little bowl I started to use. I had to switch it later on, but that’s another story for another time. Learn from my mistakes folks) throw in the warm milk. It needs to be around 110°. Let’s be honest, I didn’t really check the temperature, I mean who has time for that. My rule of thumb is usually this, dip your finger into the warm milk. Is it too hot? That’s bad, it shouldn’t be too hot because it’ll kill the yeast essentially. Is it too cold? That’s not good enough, it won’t waken up the yeast properly. Is it warm and uncomfortably bearable? Then that’s perfect. It should be warm.
Drop in two tablespoons (yes you read that right) of yeast into the warm milk. It is a lot of yeast but not only do you need it to give the dough flavor, it is also key for raised doughnuts.
Add in ¾ cup of flour. For this recipe we are going to use bread flour. I like the texture bread flour gives the doughnuts. However if you really really want to make these but don’t have bread flour on hand and don’t feel like going to the market—because come on who wants to make an extra trip to the market?—then you can totally use all-purpose flour. That’s cool.
So that’s our sponge. Basic ingredients for a bread dough starter. Leave it alone for about 5 minutes, untouched, at this point. It gives the yeast a chance to start dissolving into the milk and it gives it the opportunity to start waking its lazy butt up.
Next step is to give the ingredients a whisky whisk. It needs to be completely smooth. Like a really smooth semi-thick pancake batter or thick paste I guess.
Now we loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it in a warm place for 30 minutes to allow it to double in size and get bubbly and risen-looking.
**Tip: I like to place it in an oven, that isn’t turned on of course, to let it rest because it’s a dark warm spot that works perfectly for all my dough rising needs.**
After half an hour the starter will look like this, observe exhibit A:
Oh look at that, my bowl also doubled in size! It got bigger in the oven as well (I had to switch bowls realizing the first was too small to contain all of my starter goodness).
See friends, that’s why it’s called a sponge. It looks all soft and sponge like.
Okay, let’s turn our attention back to the doughnut dough making process.
Let’s add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
Another tablespoon of yeast
And we’re also going to throw into that, our spongy starter.
Now give those ingredients a mix and stir until it is completely smooth.
It should only take about a minute to do that for you. Probably not even a minute. Maybe about 47 seconds. That’s so precise, I know, but I feel like it’s right. It feels right to me. Doesn’t 47 seconds feel right to you for some reason?
Add ½ cup of flour and mix again.
Throw in the butter.
**Tip: If you forget to take out the butter, allowing it to soften on the counter, you can just nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it.**
Once you’ve added the butter give the mixture another mix to incorporate it into the other ingredients.
We’re also going to switch over to the dough hook at this time. Things are about to get crazy in here. Watch out.
We’re now going to add the remaining flour, but listen closely. Or pay close attention I guess I should say since you can’t really hear me, I’m not talking, I’m typing. We’re going to add the remaining flour in batches, a ¼ cup at a time.
Add a ¼ coup of flour and mix. Add another ¼ cup and mix again….continue on that path until the dough forms into a ball and comes completely away from the sides of the bowl. It should be smooth and slightly sticky but not too sticky you won’t be able to roll it out.
Knead the dough for about 5 to 7 minutes, allowing it to become soft and smooth.
Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a smooth ball. Lightly oil the mixing bowl or spray with cooking spray. Drop in the dough ball and turn it over to coat both sides. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the bowl while it rests.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. But up to a maximum of 12 hours.
I know what you must be thinking, dough needs to rise in a warm place in order for it to double in size properly. While yes in most cases this is true. It’s not always true. If you remember we allowed the sponge to rise in a warm place. That already activated the yeast. Well our doughnut dough just went through a big beating in the stand mixer. So right now it needs a cool place to relax for a long sleep. While it’s sleeping, it will double in size.
Mine only rested for 1 hour, because I don’t have the patience to wait more than that and because I really wanted doughnuts pronto. Who can wait longer than they really need to?
Look how perfectly risen our dough is! It’s all big and fluffy and soft. Like soft doughnut dough pillows that you just want to lay your head on top of, but don’t! That’s unsanitary. We still need to eat these after all.
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface.
Roll out the dough about ½ of an inch thick, into a large rectangle.
Now we’re ready to cut out them doughnuts. You can use a fancy dandy doughnut cutter. I don’t have me one of those, I guess I’m not sophisticated enough. I need to add that to my Christmas list this year and coerce Santa into getting it for me. All I had on hand was a plastic cookie cutter (hey, it worked) and luckily I found a smaller circle cutter as well (that one was made of metal so I’m sorta fancy, give me a break). Believe you me, even if I didn’t have those cutters I would have found a way. You can use a drinking glass and a piping tip to cut out the middle. Let’s MacGyver these doughnuts.
Place the cut out doughnuts onto a baking sheet lined with a non-terry dish towel or cloth. Sprinkle the towel lightly with flour.
Don’t forget to save those smaller inner circles. As we all know those make great doughnut holes, they’re the perfect snack.
Incidentally, you’re going to need two baking sheets, so you might as well get two ready from the start. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and place in a warm place (like the oven again) to double in size.
**Note: They only have to rest for up to 20 minutes. You want to check them every 5 minutes and test to see if they are ready. You’ll know they are ready when you press one and if it springs back slowly it’s ready. If it doesn’t spring back at all, they’ve over proofed and you need to start over. You can punch the dough back together and recut them and proof once more. However, you can only do that once so make sure you don’t over-proof it the second time. But have no fear because I know you wont need to do that. Just check it every 5 minutes, initially, and you should be good to go.**
While the dough is rising, that’s when you should be heating up your oil.
Again I don’t have a deep fryer so I just used a medium-ish pot, filled halfway with vegetable oil. You can also use canola or peanut oil if you wish.
The oil needs to be at 360° no higher than 375°. I don’t have deep fryer thermometer so just do the good ol’ wooden spoon test. What’s the wooden spoon test you might ask? Well it’s simple really, you stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles up rapidly around the handle, the oil is ready.
Okay so now the oil is ready and the doughnuts are good to go. What do we do? WHAT DO WE DO?
Carefully lower a doughnut into the oil, I like using a slotted spoon to lower it gently. Don’t overcrowd the pot—since my pot is rather small and my doughnuts rather large—I fried them one at a time. The things I do for doughnuts, people.
Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side or until they are light golden brown in color, flipping only once.
Transfer the fried doughnuts—allowing the excess oil to drip—onto a baking sheet lined with a wire rack.
AND we can’t forget about the holes!
Continue this until all the doughnuts and holes are fried.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Well if you were thinking that we needed a closer look at those doughnuts, then we’re on the same page…but if you weren’t thinking that, I bet you are now. Eh, eh, eh?
Let’s make the glaze, which as we all know is what makes these bourbon, blueberry, basil doughnuts what they are, B3 doughnuts.
We start with half a pint of blueberries in a food processor (you can do this by hand too, it’ll just be chunky).
We need to purée the berries into a smooth sauce? Liquid? Juice? I’m not sure what we’d call it. Anyhow just pulse it until smooth.
You can use frozen blueberries for this if you’d like or if that’s all you can find at the grocery store. Just thaw them out before pulsing.
We of course need to add the basil and bourbon. It’s only a tiny amount of fresh basil, but trust me, it’s a great combination.
Pop the lid on that once more and pulse until completely smooth.
Then turn your attention to the large bowl. In the large bowl there is an abundant amount of powdered sugar….what else would there be?
Spoon in the B3 mixture a little at a time and whisk after each addition. Also I don’t feel there was enough bourbon in it, so I’m adding a splash more. Just a splash. You can use vanilla extract instead of the bourbon if you so wish.
Whisk until completely smooth. If the glaze is too thin add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add more B3 mixture. If you’ve run out of B3 mixture and it’s still too thick, add a splash of milk, but just a splash.
**Note: Remember you can always add some but you can never take some back. No takesies backsies when it comes to cooking and baking.**
Then dunk the doughnuts into the glaze and place them back on the cooling rack.
Allow the glaze to set for a few minutes before digging into the doughnuts. I know I know that’s the worst thing I could have possibly said, but it makes a difference. These 5 minutes will be the worst 5 minutes of your life. I warn you. You will want to scream. You’ll want to pull out your hair and punch a wall. Someone close by will do. You’ll claw at your cheeks with tears streaming down your face. 5 minutes is up in no time and everything will be right in the world once more.
Maybe that was just me. I’m projecting.
I’ve we’ve recovered from those torturous 5 minutes you can tell everyone to stand back and just have at the doughnuts. Once you’ve tried one you might be tempted to eat them all. How do you go about keeping other people from eating any? Well that’s simple. You try one with people surrounding you. Then you go on to say they’re the worst doughnuts ever. Just plain awful. Tell everyone that these must be thrown out. No exception. You’ll dispose of them, never they worry. Then you sneak off into your bedroom and keep all the doughnuts for yourself. At that point you twirl your mustache (imaginary ones work too) and laugh an evil maniacal laugh). I think that’s a good plan.
But if you do feel like sharing and don’t want to be greedy like yours truly, well then I guess that would be okay too. I mean those are meant to be shared with the Mothers in your life after all so I wouldn’t be mad if you allowed other people to eat a few.
Also now I’m just being cruel and tempting you with tall stacks of doughnuts. I’m tempting you to try to convince you to make these. soon. Like tomorrow soon.
Your mother doesn’t need fancy gifts. She doesn’t need expensive paper-wrapped packages. I can guarantee you 100% that she’ll appreciate a home cooked brunch way more than anything you could ever purchase at a store. So roll up those sleeves and get in the kitchen. I happen to know for a fact that mom’s love doughnuts. Particularly bourbon blueberry basil doughnuts. Or at least I know one mom that does for sure.
My mamma happens to love these 3 flavors which is where the idea came from. Blueberries are her favorite berry. Basil is her favorite herb and I can’t remember a childhood moment where she wasn’t drinking bourbon. (I’m totally kidding about that last one. She’s going to kill me for that joke, but I’ll leave it in for kicks).
If you’re not feeling the B3 combination on these doughnuts, we’re not friends anymore. Forget I ever existed. Don’t write. Gotcha! I kid, I kid, that’s okay too. You can top the doughnuts with whatever you’d like. A simple white vanilla glaze? Sure why not. Chocolate? Go right ahead. The doughnuts are a blank canvas so you can paint them anyway you’d like.
Nothing shows your mother just how much you care more than a big platter of doughnuts. Now if said doughnuts happen to be homemade and include bourbon, well then, I’m sure that happiness is doubled if not tripled. Soft pillows of fried dough is the stuff that dreams are made of, well my dreams anyway.
B3 Doughnuts: Bourbon Blueberry Basil
This is really just a basic raised doughnut recipe. You can top these with a simple vanilla glaze and sprinkles or a chocolate glaze with jimmys. Use this recipe to create all your wonderful doughnut masterpieces. Of course the original is always the best, so try it with this spectacular B3 combination.
yield: about 12 doughnuts, depending on size of cutter
- 3 tablespoons (22 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 cup (250ml) whole milk, warmed to 110°F (43ºC)
- 2 to 2½ cups (320 to 400 grams) bread flour
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- vegetable oil for frying
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of yeast and ¾ cup milk. Allow the yeast to slightly dissolve. Add ¾ cup flour and whisk together until a smooth batter is formed. Almost like a smooth pancake batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. I like to place it in the oven that is turned off. It should double in size and appear spongy.
2. Combine the remaining ¼ cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. And the sponge, sugar, salt, vanilla and egg yolks. Mix until smooth. Turn off the mixer and add ½ cup flour. Mix on low for about 30 seconds until the flour is just incorporated. Turn off the mixer and add the softened butter and mix once more until it is combined. Swap out the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Add ¼ of the remaining flour at a time, kneading the dough between additions, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. It should be soft, moist and slightly sticky. If it is still very sticky and stuck to the sides of the bowl, add more flour until it forms a soft ball. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. It should rest for at least 1 hour, until it has doubled in size. It can remain refrigerated for up to 12 hours.
3. Place a kitchen towel (non-terry) on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with flour, you might need two baking sheets. Roll out the dough about ½ of an inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Cut out doughnuts with a doughnut or cookie cutter. Place the doughnuts on the prepared pans, spacing them out evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Allow to double in size, 5 to 20 minutes checking every 5 minutes to see if they are ready. You’ll know the doughnuts have proofed properly when you touch one lightly with your fingertip. If it springs back right away, it needs more time. If it springs back slowly, the doughnuts are good to go. Also if it doesn’t spring back at all, they have overproofed and you can punch them all together and reroll it once.
4. While the doughnuts are rising, preheat the oil in a heavy-duty pot until it registers 36o°F. It should have at least 2 inches of oil. Carefully drop in the doughnuts a few at a time. Do not overcrowd the pot. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until light golden brown. Drain the excess oil and transfer to a cooling rack. Continue until all the doughnuts are fried. Allow to cool before glazing. Glaze with your favorite glaze or the B3 glaze below. Enjoy!
Blueberry Bourbon Basil Glaze
yield: about 2 cups
- 1 cup (½ pint, 170 grams) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
- 1 tablespoon (2.5 grams) fresh basil, chopped
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) bourbon
- 3 cups (375 grams) powdered sugar
1. In a food processor, pulse the blueberries until a smooth liquid forms and the berries are completely broken down. Add the basil and bourbon and pulse once more until completely smooth.
2. In a large bowl combine the powdered sugar and blueberry mixture (a spoonful at a time) until the glaze is smooth and the perfect dipping consistency. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick add more bourbon or a splash of milk. Whisk until desired consistency is reached. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze and place on a cooling rack, allowing the glaze to set before eating. Enjoy!