Hi! Happy Sunday! Things have been same old same old round here, buuuuut I just got a deep fryer a few weeks ago, so I have been on a mission to fry alllll of the things! I love making doughnuts, and have been tossing up with the idea of getting one for a while now, and I finally bit the bullet and ordered one, and it has been a GAME CHANGER. I got a pretty small one (NYC life), but I love how evenly it holds the temperature, meaning I don’t have to fuss lots with measuring each time, and it has a nice little basket, which fulfills my childhood dream of working in a fish and chip shop! Until now I have been using a cast iron dutch oven and a thermometer, which also works super well, so whatever you have, use it! It’s worth it for doughnuts.
As part of my quest to fry all of the things (there’s an epic cruller recipe coming your way next week too), I figured it was about time I finally posted a mini version of my fave doughnut recipe! I have been meaning to make these for a while now, and then recently the lovely Sarah posted some on Instagram, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since, so here we are! I grew up with mini doughnuts as a treat - Mum sometimes used to bring them home from the supermarket, and we would heat them until they were semi-nuclear, then have them as an after school snack. I stuck with the classic cinnamon sugar coating, although you could toss these in anything that you like!
This is literally my regular brioche recipe (that I use in about every third post, she’s a versatile wee thing), but made into little doughnuts. That’s it! They are yum. I’m a big fan of cinnamon sugar, and so these are a great way to get that ideal cinnamon sugar : doughnut ratio. You should make them.
A few wee tips:
Chilled dough is easiest to work with and cut out, so I recommend giving these an overnight rise in the fridge if you can. Alternatively you could roll it out, place it on a sheet pan (you may need to divide it in two), cover with plastic wrap, and pop in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to help firm up.
If you choose not to do the overnight rise, I would recommend popping the cut out doughnuts on small squares of parchment paper, so that you can avoid touching the dough when transferring to the fryer or pot, which may leave little dents. You just stick the whole thing, paper and all, into the pot, then remove the paper with tongs! I find this a bit labour intensive so I often skip it, but if you are worried about mis-shapen doughnuts, you might want to include this step!
You will need a thermometer for frying. I like using a dutch oven too because they retain heat well. Check the temperature of the oil before each batch - too hot and the insides don’t cook in time, and too cool and the doughnuts soak up oil.
I love these heavy on the cinnamon, so dial it back a bit if you don’t!
Mini Cinnamon Sugar Brioche Doughnuts
- Makes about 40 doughnuts -
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
250g (1 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Neutral oil for frying
200g granulated sugar
3 Tbsp cinnamon (reduce this slightly if you don’t like strong cinnamon flavour)
1/4 tsp vanilla powder (optional)
- PROCESS -
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.
Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.
Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place overnight in the fridge to rise (see notes)
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Roll until it is 1/2” thickness.
Using a 1 3/4” round cutter, cut out circles of dough. Using a very small round cutter or a milkshake straw (I used a metal bubble tea straw), cut a circle out of the middle of each round of dough. Place onto the lined sheet pan. Repeat until you have cut out all of the dough - scraps can be pressed together and re-rolled. I like to use the scrap ones for the first test fry, as they sometimes turn out a little wonky.
Lightly cover the cut-out doughnuts with plastic wrap, and leave to rise for 45-50 minutes, until puffy. When you poke them lightly with your finger, it should leave a small indentation that springs back.
In the last 15-20 minutes of the doughnuts proofing, heat neutral oil to 350°f / 180°c in a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Combine all the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar in a medium bowl.
Once the oil has come to temperature, test it with a few scraps of dough, or your doughnuts you cut from the re-rolled dough. Gently lower the doughnuts, up to six at a time (depending on the size of your pot), into the hot oil. Cook , flipping every 30 seconds, for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 30 seconds before tossing in the sugar. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts.
Best eaten the day that they are made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and briefly reheated in the microwave before eating.