Yesterday morning I got up at 6:00 AM so I could make Heidi Swanson’s baked doughnut recipe and deck them out in true “Erin style” with oodles of pink icing and coconut. Since I couldn’t bring true Top Pot Doughnuts back to Boston with me I decided I’d at least have them in spirit. Voila! Baked Feather Boa Doughnuts were born. The process took a little more than 3 hours to complete from start to finish. The last puffy pastry was dunked in pretty pretty princess colored icing and sprinkled with delicate coconut just in time for CK to take them to work. Honestly, I doubt I could be trusted with two dozen pink doughnuts tempting me from the counter all day, so my little tutu like treats had to go far far away.
Obviously nothing baked could ever compare to the deliciousness that is a true deep fried Feather Boa Top Pot Doughnut, but Heidi Swanson sure knows her stuff. These doughnuts came our very tender, and once topped with your sugary toppings of choice you can almost forget that you skipped that whole frying step entirely.
Note: I don’t own a doughnut cutter so I improvised by using a water glass to cut out my dough circles. Then I used a metal pastry bag tip to cut out the inner hole. I felt like a regular kitchen MacGyver.
Baked Feather Boa Doughnuts
Baked Doughnut recipe adapted from Heidi Swanson’s website 101 Cookbooks.
Makes 1 1/2 – 2 dozen medium doughnuts.
1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees (divided)
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 tablespoons milk (depending on your desired consistency)
2-4 drops of red food coloring (depending on your desired shade of pink)
Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes or so. Be sure your milk isn’t too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt – just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. This is where you are going to need to make adjustments – if your dough is overly sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add more milk a bit at a time. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.
Transfer the dough to a buttered (or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place (I turn on the oven at this point and set the bowl on top), and let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. Most people (like myself) don’t have a doughnut cutter, instead I use a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. If you cut the inner holes out any earlier, they become distorted when you attempt to move them. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes – start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, combine the confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla, and food coloring in a medium bowl. Place the coconut in a separate bowl.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the icing, and than sprinkle the coconut onto the top of the doughnut. Eat immediately if not sooner.