When I was a girl almost every town in New England of any size had a donut shop, each with their own specialties, and what donuts those were! Nora's Bakery turned out the most stunning cream filled donut - square, with just the teeniest dusting of powdered sugar. Adam's Donuts produced both apple and cherry filled donuts. Some days you had to choose. A donut shop I no longer remember the name of out in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, was famous for their Boston Cream Donuts, which they claimed to have invented. And of course there were hundreds more. But then came the national chain and slowly but surely all of those donut shops went out of business. At first all the chain-store donuts - dozens of varieties - were made right in the store, fresh every four hours, and you could stand at a window and watch them being made. Over the years, though, the donuts were made just once a day, then only at certain centralized shops for several chain donut stores. These days who knows when those chain-store donuts were made - or where. The last box I stopped for cost most of a $10 bill and every one of them was stale, so I was delighted to see Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker and couldn't wait to order it. As luck would have it, the book arrived on the very same day that I fetched home a great big bag of the very first of this year's crop of New England apples.
If I do have one quibble with this book - and I do - it is that I had to spend a good hour or so hunting for my reading glasses in order to read the directions, but the results I had were well worth the hunt. As I sit here typing at 6:30 in the morning, I'm munching on the most luscious Apple Fritter I've had in years - straight from my own kitchen, courtesy of Hand-Forged Doughnuts. This is one of the two most "complicated" recipes in the book and it was as easy as 1-2-3. I will admit I made some substitutions. I was out of mace, so I used nutmeg. And here in New England we think Maple goes with everything, especially apples and pumpkin, so I used real Vermont Maple syrup in the glaze rather than corn syrup - I try pretty hard to avoid corn syrup. The results are STUNNING! I wish I had a camera handy to show you a picture. Better yet, you should smell them - or taste them. Best donuts, doughnuts - however you spell them - I have had in years and years. I've already had requests for a delivery of those Apple Fritters. Unfortunately, they are half gone, so I guess I'll have to make another batch!
If you love doughnuts, grab yourself a copy of Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker. You may not turn out two dozen varieties a day, but your donuts will be scrumptious!
Highly recommended, despite the fine print!
A Few Notes:
You'll find recipes for two dozen varieties of donut, plus a few extras like Doughnut Bread Pudding, Baked Raised Doughnuts and even a couple of varieties Gluten Free Doughnuts and of course a wide variety of frostings and glazes. Each recipe makes one dozen donuts.
The authors state that the recipes for cake and old-fashioned varieties of donut are easily doubled but not the raised ones. I would take exception to the later statement. I had no problem handling a single batch of the Apple Fritters, a raised donut, with my Cuisinart HM-70 Power Advantage 7-Speed Hand Mixer, Stainless and White and could have easily doubled or even tripled the batch with my 6 quart Kitchen Aid. I would suggest that you consider the size and power of your mixer when deciding whether you can double a batch.
Ateco makes some of the sturdiest cutters around, some of which have been in my kitchen for more than 40 years. You might want to pick up both the Ateco 3-1/2-Inch Stainless Steel Doughnut Cutter and the Ateco 2-1/2-Inch Stainless Steel Doughnut Cutter mini while you're shopping. Both are eligible for Super Saver Shipping.
Finally, if you want to produce Baked Doughnuts, you will need a special pan. Here are several to choose from, all also eligible for free Super Saver Shipping.
Norpro 6-Count Nonstick Donut Pan
Norpro 3980 12-Count Nonstick Mini Donut Pan
Wilton Nonstick 6-Cavity Donut Pan
Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Mini Donut Pan
And if you are in a playful mood you might enjoy Wilton's Nonstick 6-Cavity Heart Donut Pan. If only they were pumpkins! Never mind, I'll just make Top Pot Hand Forged Doughnuts Pumpkin Donuts, frost them with maple and pile on the sprinkles!