My only love affair that has lasted longer than my marriage to Brett is that with coffee. For almost 10 years now I’ve been a routine coffee drinker, and that daily cup of brew is 99% of the reason I love the mornings so much. Long before I was drinking Joe, I had beautiful memories of it, so I’m delighted to share a few stories and these coffee donuts with you this morning.
To this day, when I trace my memories of coffee back as far as my brain will take me, I think of my Nana and Pops’ home. I can hear the whir of the burr grinder and the pot slowly filling with coffee. That first whiff of brew was strong and comforting, and even now, in my mind’s eye, a 5-year old me is pitter-pattering into the kitchen to dole out morning hugs and kisses to a few of my favorite sleepy-eyed faces. While the adults sipped their mugs, I’d saddle up to a plate of powdered sugar donuts and a tall glass of chocolate milk, a tradition that they probably shared with their other grandchildren but always felt like a secret morning ritual that was shared exclusively between us. Well into my teenage years and adulthood, their home welcomed me with those same tastes and smells, so much so that I can’t hear a burr grinder or look at a bag of Sweet Sixteen donuts without being transported in time back to that kitchen. Memories like that fill me up, even today.
This past week, my Nana and Pops flew into Selma to celebrate George’s second birthday and to view Aimee’s first dance recital. It’s remarkable to watch people who have loved you for so long share that same affection with your own children, and it doesn’t escape me that we are hugely blessed to be able to share in those generational relationships. Now, I’m one of the grown ups, the early riser boiling the water and grinding the beans and setting the table for breakfast. I wait for snuggles from my little ones like I think they probably did, but even now, if I close my eyes hard enough, that smell of coffee and the sound of their voices makes me feel like the kid again.
Today’s recipe, coffee donuts, is an ode to those mornings and the foods in our lives that takes us back to sweet moments in time. I have a number of those special memories, but these breakfast treats are something I think you’ll enjoy too. Admittedly, the amount that I love eating donuts is inversely related to the amount that I enjoy frying them myself. Making and waiting on yeast donuts is not something I’d choose every day of the week, but these coffee donuts just feel right- the flavors and smells of those childhood memories all fried up into one fluffy round of dough.
To make these coffee donuts, we start with the dough. Yeast is dissolved in warm milk before eggs, butter, sugar and flour are mixed in. The dough is sticky but firm and will rise for about an hour until doubled in size. From the risen dough, rounds are cut and allowed to rise a second time until slightly puffed. Heat a pot of oil and gently fry the coffee donuts a few at a time until they are all golden brown and cooked through.
The coffee donuts get tossed in a dusting of cinnamon sugar before being stuffed with your choice of coffee filling. I’ve prepared two options for you, depending on your preferences. The first, my favorite, is a coffee custard, made by cooking milk, eggs, espresso powder, and a number of other ingredients on the stove until thickened like a pudding. This filling is rich and decadent, similar to a Boston cream or eclair filling. The second option is for the sweet toothers who just need more sugar. Similar to a white donut filling, this coffee cream is prepared like a buttercream and requires a little less time. Both are delicious, you just can’t go wrong.
These coffee donuts are the perfect pairing of two morning favorites and are sure to shine a bright spot on your mornings to come. Give them a try and let me know what you think! Happy hump day and happy frying.
If you like these coffee donuts, you should check out:
Coffee Donuts : Two Ways
These coffee donuts are simple yeast donuts tossed in cinnamon sugar and filled with either a coffee custard or a coffee cream filling. You can stuff the doughnuts in whichever you choose- a yummy fried coffee treat for the morning.
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 120
- Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
For the doughnuts:
- 1–1/4 cup (300 gm) milk (I use whole or 2%)
- 2–1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ¼ cup (50 gm) sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4–1/4 cups (550 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2 quarts of neutral flavored oil for frying
- 1 cup (200 gm) sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the custard (if desired):
- 2 cups (480 gm) milk (I use whole or 2%)
- ¼ cup (50 gm) plus 1/3 cup (65 gm) sugar
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup (30 gm) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the cream (if desired):
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee granules
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups (230 gm) powdered sugar
To prepare the doughnuts:
- Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave until lukewarm but not hot. Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow the yeast to dissolve, about 5 minutes.
- Once the yeast is foaming, add the eggs, melted butter, sugar, salt, and two cups of flour to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until combined and then add the remaining flour. Switch to a dough hook attachment and mix on medium-low speed until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it’s still too wet to pull off the bowl add flour two tablespoons at a time until the dough is tacky and pulling away. Knead for a minute and then place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with a sheet of plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm spot of the kitchen for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
- Once risen, turn the dough out on a floured surface and roll or pat out until ½ thick. Use a floured doughnut cutter or a 2-3/4-3” drinking glass to cut out rounds of dough. If you don’t want to fill your doughnuts, you can cut out center holes as well, saving the small pieces for doughnuts holes. Knead any scraps together and repeat this process. Place your cut out doughnuts 2” apart on a floured baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel or greased sheet of plastic wrap to rise in a warm spot of your kitchen a second time. Once the doughnuts are slightly puffed, about 45 minutes, heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan or fryer to 375 degrees. Combine the cup of sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon in a large baking dish or rimmed sheet pan. Add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan or burn yourself with the oil. Cook on one side for about 45 seconds or until golden and then use a metal spatula to carefully flip to the other side. Cook for another 45 seconds or until golden. Remove the doughnuts to a towel-lined baking sheet or cookie sheet to cool for about 30 second to a minute and then carefully shake in the pan of cinnamon and sugar. Repeat this process with the remaining doughnuts, being sure to keep the oil to temperature. Allow to cool prior to filling to custard or cream. When ready to fill, poke a small hole into the side of the doughnuts to be filled and pipe the custard or cream into the doughnut using a piping bag or a large plastic bag with the end snipped off. Pipe until the doughnuts are full. Doughnuts are best eaten the day they are prepared.
To prepare the custard:
- Combine the milk, ¼ cup sugar, and espresso powder in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch. Once the milk mixture has begun to boil, carefully remove the pot from the stove and ladle a small stream of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking all the while. Be careful to whisk vigorously the whole time to avoid cooking the eggs and curdling your mixture. Add more of the milk mixture, continuing to whisk, until about half of the milk has been integrated into the eggs. Pour all of the mixture back into the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and thickened to a pudding consistency. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla, stirring to combine, and pour the mixture into a heat-safe bowl. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap directly touching the custard and refrigerate until the mixture has cooled at least to room temperature.
To prepare the cream:
- In a small bowl, combine the milk, espresso powder, and vanilla until the espresso powder is mostly dissolved. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Stir on low speed until combined and add the milk mixture. Whip to combine, about one minute. Add more sugar if your frosting appears a bit loose, or add more milk if it is too stiff.
- It’s important to keep the oil for the doughnuts at the appropriate temp! If it drops too low, it will take the doughnuts longer to cook and they will absorb the oil easily. They’ll tasty bad and greasy.
- Donuts are best eaten the day they are fried.
Recipe Adapted from New York Times