One of the magazines I most look forward to every few months is Martha Stewart Weddings. Even if you’re not planning a wedding it’s worth getting, really. Just skip past all the ads for gowns, the etiquette tips, and honeymoon suggestions (alright, maybe not those – we all need fabulous vacations, right). What you’re left with is a mag full of gorgeous colour schemes, fun crafts, great recipes, and stories about people with way more vision and energy than I’ll ever have!
One of those superhuman fabulous couples featured in the latest issue is Eunice and Daniel, a stationer and social gaming entrepreneur. Their wedding was full of fun, carnival-esque elements, bright colours and bold style. Eunice’s site Hello Lucky! features even more of their wonderful photos, plus diy instructions for some of their best crafty elements. I just love the donut hole bags they made!
Sure you could fill these up with treats from Tims, but if you’re thinking of using them for a smaller party and have more time, why not make your own donut holes? My favorites are made even more indulgent by using brioche dough. Despite it’s reputation for finickyness I think brioche is one of the easiest yeast doughs to make. You need a strong mixer, true, and a cool kitchen, but there’s almost no work involved and the results are amazing. Below is my go to brioche recipe, perfect for donuts or pillowy loaves of goodness.
(adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)
½ cup all purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
½ cup lukewarm milk
5 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1¼ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (but not greasy or melting)
½ tsp grated orange zest
Stir together the sponge ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 to 45 minutes or until the sponge rises and then falls if the bowl is tapped.
Add the eggs to the sponge and beat with the paddle attachment until smooth. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add this to the egg mixture and mix on medium speed until evenly mixed, about 2 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes so the gluten can start to develop.
On medium speed, still using the paddle, add the butter about ¼ cup at a time, mixing until each addition is completely incorporated before adding more. Once all the butter is in, mix for about 6 more minutes to thoroughly mix the dough. The dough should be very smooth and soft.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover it with plastic wrap or a lid, and place in the fridge to chill overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Making the donuts
Remove the dough from the fridge and scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough out into a rough rectangle about ½” thick. Using a 1″ round cutter, cut out your donut holes. Place the rounds on a floured surface to rest for 15 minutes while the oil heats up. Any scraps of dough can be returned to the fridge to firm and rerolled or shaped into buns to bake.
Fill a heavy duty dutch oven or saucepan with about 2″ of vegetable oil. Heat to 375° over medium heat. Once the donut holes have had time to rest, add them a few at a time to the oil. Cook for about a minute on each side, or until golden. Remove from the oil and dry on paper towels. Check the temperature of the oil between batches and make sure it returns to 375° before adding more donuts. Toss the warm donuts with sugar, powdered sugar, or sugar mixed with a little cinnamon.