To make the doughnuts, warm the milk in a pan, over medium heat, just enough to melt the butter. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water and 1 tsp of sugar and wait for about 5 minutes till the mixture is foamy. You can mix up and knead the dough in a mixer, but I did it with a wooden spoon.
In a large bowl, put the dissolved yeast, the butter-milk mixture, the egg, sugar, salt and about 2 1/2 cups of flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix well till the flour is incorporated. Now add about 2 cups of flour and mix till a rather sticky dough forms. If your dough is very sticky add another 1/2 cup of flour, but no more. Do not give in to the temptation to add more flour.
Mix the dough again with the spoon until all the flour has been well incorporated into the dough and looks smooth. It will still be a bit sticky.
Lightly dust your palms with flour, and shape the dough into a ball, and place it in a well oiled bowl, turning it to coat it with oil. Loosely cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Then place the risen dough in the fridge for another hour or so till it rises and is almost double in volume.
Dust your work surface with flour and place the dough on it. Using your hands (dust your palms if necessary), lightly press the dough out to flatten it a bit and the roll it out to 1/2" thickness. Flour your cutter and cut out the dough into desired shape/ size.
I made three different shapes u2013 the traditional round ones with a hole in the middle, some square ones, and some flower shaped ones. I used my doughnut cutter to cut small round doughnuts. For the square ones, I used my pizza cutter to cut out squares and then punched out the holes in the middle with a small piece of metal piping.
For the flower shaped ones, I first cut out circles with a pastry ring and then used my dough scraper to make 6 equally spaced cuts from the edge towards the centre. Place the doughnuts on a floured surface and cover them loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rise for about 30 minutes.
Then heat enough the oil in a pan (or fryer to 185C/ 365F), about 3u201d deep. I donu2019t have a fryer or thermometer, but because I have done a lot of deep-frying before, I can gauge the temperature of oil well enough.
Slide the doughnuts, about 3 or 4 at a time, and fry them on both sides till theyu2019re a uniform golden brown. Remember the oil temperature needs to be right. If the temperature is low, the doughnuts will absorb a lot of oil and be greasy. If it is too hot, the doughnuts will turn dark quickly and be uncooked at the centre.
Drain them on paper towels and allow them to cool a bit. Drop them into a paper bag containing cinnamon sugar and shake well to coat the doughnuts with sugar.
Otherwise let them cool completely (about 15 to 20 minutes) before glazing them. This recipe makes about 20 to 25 doughnuts depending on the size and holes.
Freezing doughnuts : If you would like to freeze some of your doughnuts, you can do it now before glazing them. Let them cool to room temperature. Place the doughnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer. When theyu2019re completely frozen, put them in a freezer bag and seal well.
Whenever you would like some, remove the doughnuts from the freezer, place them on a sheet and heat them in a 200C (400F) for about 10 minutes. Dust them with sugar, fill them or glaze them, and serve.
For the Tangy Saffron Cardamom Glaze, put the milk in a small pan and warm it over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat, add the saffron threads and let them steep in the milk for about 10 minutes, so that the saffron colours the milk.
Put the pan back on medium heat, and heat the milk till it is warm again. Add the icing sugar and whisk well. Add the lemon juice and whisk again till the glaze is smooth. If you feel the glaze is a bit on the thinner side, add a little more icing sugar and whisk it in. Take the pan off the heat and place over a bowl of warm water.
Working quickly with one at a time, dip one side of the doughnuts in the glaze. Place on a rack positioned over a cookie sheet, for about 10 mintes till the glaze sets. This recipe should be enough to glaze about 20 doughnuts, depending on the size.
For the Chocolate Glaze, put the butter, milk, honey and vanilla in a pan, over medium and stir until the butter has melted. Turn down the heat to low and add the chocolate and the coffee powder. Whisk until the chocolate has melted. Take the pan off the heat and add the icing sugar. Whisk until smooth. Place the pan over warm water and dip the doughnuts, one at a time in the chocolate glaze. Place the glazed doughnuts on a rack over a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes for the glaze to set.
This recipe makes enough chocolate glaze for about 20 doughnuts depending on the size. You can store this glaze in an airtight container for a few days and use it to drizzle over cookies or pancakes. Just warm it over warm water first.