Maple & Vanilla Bean Glazed Doughnut Bars

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My already lacking self control plummets when I lay eyes on a doughnut. No doughnut is safe when it comes to me and my belly. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard “hide your kids, hide your wife” coming from a box of doughnuts as I approached.

I had a Maple Vanilla Latte while on vacation last year, and ever since I’ve been obsessively trying to replicate the flavor profile in my coffee at home, pancakes, muffins and today, doughnuts.

I often debate with myself whether the piece of fried delight in my hand is a “doughnut” or a “donut.” In my little mind a “doughnut” is made from yeasted dough, and a “donut” is leavened with baking powder. A quick Wikipedia search confirms that they are interchangeable, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Start by heating the milk until lukewarm, and gently stirring in 1 tablespoon of sugar and the yeast. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. The yeast should bubble and rise.

Yeast before and after

If there isn’t any yeast activity, either the milk was too hot and killed the yeast, or the yeast is too old and not active anymore. In any case, start over with fresh yeast.

Ingredients

Beat the egg yolks, and stir in the yeast mixture, shortening and vanilla. On low speed, stir the dry ingredients with a dough hook, and then slowly pour in the wet ingredients. If the dough is too dry, add milk a tablespoon at a time until you get a dough that is soft and a little sticky. Once the wet ingredients have been incorporated, increase the mixer to medium speed and knead for an additional 5-6 minutes.

First Rise

Cover the dough, and allow to rise for an hour to an hour and a half, until it doubles in size.

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Transfer the dough on a clean, floured surface and knead for about one minute. Roll the dough out about half an inch thick.

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Cut the curved edges off the dough so that it is a rectangle, and then cut the dough into 12 evenly sized bars. You can also use a ring doughnut cutter, or any other shape that strikes your fancy – just remember that simple shapes hold up much better after proofing and frying than more complex ones. Let the dough proof for 30-45 minutes until the bars double in size.

Heat oil to 350°F, and fry the doughnuts for 30 seconds on each side. Fry a few scraps first to make sure the oil is the right temperature. Use a thermometer to regulate the temperature of the oil between 325-350°F.. Let the doughnuts sit on several layers of paper towels after frying them so the excess oil drains from the doughnuts, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

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To make the glaze combine maple syrup and vanilla bean paste with hot water, and then whisk into the powdered sugar. Dip the top of each doughnut in the glaze, and replace on the cooling rack to dry. Let the doughnuts rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

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My four legged Sous Chef, Phryne, provided invaluable help when it came to crumb control, emotional support, and snuggles.

Maple & Vanilla Bean Glazed Doughnut Bars

  • Servings: 12 doughnuts
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Ingredients

For the doughnuts:

-1 cup milk, lukewarm

-1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

-3 tablespoons active dry yeast

-3 large egg yolks

-1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste¹

-55 grams shortening or lard²

-550 grams bread flour (about 4 cups)

-1 teaspoon salt

-Oil, for frying³

For the glaze:

-350 grams powdered sugar (about 3 and 1/2 cups)

-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

-1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

-1/4 cup water, boiled and cooled for about one minute

Directions

  1. For the Dough In a measuring cup or a small bowl gently stir in the sugar and yeast into the lukewarm milk. Set aside covered for about 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy and bubbling.
  2. Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks, then fold in the yeast mixture, vanilla bean paste and shortening.
  3. Combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the mixer on low speed slowly  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients using a dough hook. The dough should be slightly tacky. If it is too dry, add milk one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency is reached. Once the wet ingredients are fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and knead or about 5 minutes.Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours until doubled in size.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean, floured surface and roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut off the curved edges off of the dough, forming a rectangle. Cut the dough into 12 equal sized bars. Cover and allow to proof for 30 to 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
  5. Heat oil in a thick bottomed sauce pan or dutch oven to 350°F. Use a thermometer to maintain oil temperature between 325°F and 350°F. Fry the doughnuts for 20-30 seconds on each side, and lay on paper towels allowing the excess oil to drain off. Transfer to a cooling rack.
  6. 6. For the Glaze In a measuring cup or a small bowl stir together the maple syrup and vanilla bean paste into the water. Whisk the wet ingredients into the powdered sugar. Dip the top of each doughnut in the glaze, and return to the cooling rack. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

¹1 teaspoon vanilla extract may be substituted for the 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste in the dough. You could substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for the 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste in the glaze, but the flavor will be different. I don’t recommend adding more than 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in the glaze, as the flavor will be too strong.

²Softened butter can be used in place of shortening or lard, however when I tested this recipe with butter, the doughnuts came out slightly tougher due to the water content in butter.

³Use a neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point such as palm oil or canola oil.

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