Glazed Cake Donuts

Silky, sweet milk glaze veils golden-fried donuts for this Federal Donuts classic. You can stick to the original recipe or, as Chef Solomonov suggests, customize the basic glaze with new flavors. Either way, these fresh, frosted confections are as fun to create as they are to eat.
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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Active: 1 hr 25 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
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Ingredients

Basic Milk Glaze

Water

3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup whole milk

Donuts

12 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, shake well before using

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for dusting

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend, available at specialty markets or online

3 cups canola or peanut oil, plus more as needed, depending on size of pot

Directions

  1. Basic Milk Glaze: Add a couple inches of water to a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Into a large heatproof bowl, add confectioners' sugar, salt, and milk. Snugly fit the bowl on top of the pot to make a double boiler, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water; whisk until glaze is combined and smooth, 3–5 minutes. Set aside. (Note: Basic Milk Glaze can be made in advance, cooled, and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Reheat over double boiler when ready to use.)
  2. Make donut batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add egg yolks and sugar. Mix on medium speed just to combine, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy and ribbons start to form, about 3 minutes. Reduce to medium speed, then slowly stream in the melted butter and buttermilk; mix until combined, about 5 seconds.
  3. Turn the mixer off. Add dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and baharat. Mix on low speed just to combine, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue mixing until batter is smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Prepare a work surface by taping a 12" x 16" sheet of parchment paper to your counter to keep it from slipping. Generously dust the parchment with flour. (Keep extra flour nearby to use as needed. You’ll dust off excess flour before frying, so don’t skimp.) Scrape down the paddle attachment and turn all the batter out onto the floured surface. The batter will be very sticky and loose. Dust the top of the batter with more flour, including the edges; flour your hands thoroughly. Place a second piece of parchment paper on top of the flour-dusted batter. Roll the batter between the parchment paper into a ½-inch thick rectangle, about 10" x 14". Using only the weight of the rolling pin itself, very gently ease it along the parchment paper—first from top to bottom, then from side to side—to evenly flatten the batter without rolling it too thin. Once you've achieved the right thickness, slide the dough (still sandwiched between parchment) onto an overturned baking sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  5. Preheat the frying oil: In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 2–3 inches of oil. Clip a deep fry thermometer onto the side of the pot and heat oil to 350 degrees F. After at least 30 minutes, remove dough from freezer. Generously dust your work surface with flour. Peel the top layer of parchment off the dough. (It’s ok if some of it sticks—just be gentle and persistent!) Flip the baking sheet with dough onto the floured surface, so the bottom piece of parchment is now on top. Remove this layer of parchment and use a pastry brush to brush excess flour off dough.
  6. Cut donuts: Working quickly, use two sizes of ring cutters to make the donut shapes. Flouring the cutters well and often to prevent sticking, stamp out as many 2.75-inch circles as possible; then use the 1-inch cutter for the holes. The dough scraps can be gathered together, re-rolled and cut for more donuts.
  7. Fry the donuts: Carefully lift the dough rings with a spatula and slide them into the oil, about 4 at a time, depending on the size of your pot. After about 1 minute, the edges will begin to brown; flip the donuts and fry for another minute, then flip again and fry until golden brown and delightfully puffy, another 30 seconds. (Total frying time for each donut will be about 2½ minutes.) Transfer donuts to a rack set over a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining donuts and donut holes. (Donut holes take 60 to 90 seconds and tend to flip themselves.)
  8. Glaze the donuts: Warm up the milk glaze in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Hold the bottom of the donut with your fingertips and submerge the top in warm glaze, a little more than halfway up the sides. Remove the donut from the glaze and, with a twist of the wrist, turn it right-side up, allowing the excess glaze to cascade down the sides. Place on a wire rack to cool completely, 10-15 minutes, before serving. After the donuts are cool, store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.
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