Chasing Delicious | Citrus & Thyme Potato Doughnuts (Spudnuts)
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Spudnut Stack

Citrus & Thyme Potato Doughnuts (Spudnuts)

 

Hey, y’all. Curious about food videography? I’ve written a guest post and shared a how-to video over at Sylvie Shirazi’s Gourmande in the Kitchen. Check out the post here

Summer mornings deep in Texas provide a charming cacophony of lively sounds, hinting at the abundance of life hiding in the foliage. Before busy neighbors rise, as the sun just begins to scrape the ground, the morning belongs to critters. Crickets, cicadas and katydids whine behind the soft murmur of rustling leaves and shifting branches. Sparrows chirp. Bluejays yell and scream. A lone hawk somewhere in the sky calls out as if to warn his prey.  And the mockingbird imitates them all.

Early summer storms, now long gone, leave behind intimidatingly tall grass and a never ending sea of beautiful weeds – the stuff we call Texas wildflowers. Worn dirt paths lay hidden beneath overgrown greenery. Finding the trusted routes become almost as fun as foraging the unkempt, untouched landscape hiding behind our backyards.

No longer are the small dirt roads lined with wild dewberries, strawberries and blackberries – the heat too much for them. Now rogue citrus bushes and trees call out with a siren’s allure; their yellow and orange fruit beg to be taken home. I stumble on a centuries old cemetery on one of these old fruit-lined paths - I’ve it seen before but somehow keep forgetting about. My mind wanders. Could those citrus trees have belonged to the german immigrants that settled and farmed this swath of land early in the nineteenth century – a time when Houston was only a brand-new hamlet. Or perhaps they were left by the Atakapan tribes that walked these prairies and creek beds before them – perhaps a novel idea considering the meaning behind the name Atakapan: people eaters.

I chuckle to myself. How I came to think about long-dead cannibals as I foraged for fruit to make some sweet concoction escapes me. I shrug it off, realizing epistemophilia has pulled me off into some daydream again.  I am thankful no one is awake yet to find me lost in my own curiosity in the middle of this field.  My eyes dart back to the landscape looking for anything delicious for me to snatch up. My legs carry me forward, often confusing tickling grasses for dangerous bugs.

My pockets now full with citrus – I never can remember to bring a basket with me – I retreat home. The sun has risen higher in the sky and I no longer have the morning to myself. I am greeted by neighbors on their morning jogs, walks, bike rides or meanders as I head in the opposite direction. I’ve already seen what they trek to find.

The delicate sounds of singing insects, calling birds and wind-moved trees and bushes barely make a noise next to the clattering feet, distant cars, roaring lawn mowers, laughing kids and the obnoxious starting gun of a horn coming from a nearby swim meet. More and more people flood the paths encircling the small vestige of greenery on the outskirts of  this massive southern city I call home. Nature makes its retreat in the face of the ferocious human front.

A pair of bikes whiz past me and I almost lose my balance; I hear a distant, “sorry!” fade off as the bikes whir away. More and more smiles from strangers. Close to home I see traffic building up as families head off to some weekend activity. Kids start running from yard to yard. Rogue retiree neighbors tend to their fastidiously constructed gardens.

I duck and jump over spitting sprinklers – almost home. Just one more street to cross. I forget to look left again and am nearly run down by a truck. It’s my neighbor. She chuckles when she sees it is just me; this isn’t the first time my clumsiness has put us in this situation. At my door I turn around and admire the busyness coming to life. I can never decide which I like more: the serene, idyllic moments spent lost alone or the comforting, inspiring moments spent lost amongst a whirlwind of strangers, neighbors and friends.

You’d be hard pressed to find a city that doesn’t have a few dozen famous old doughnut shops or a one-horse town that doesn’t have one. Doughnuts, quick and easy for the modern-day consumer, are a delicate, time consuming process just like any yeast dough. It’s this  marriage of two contrasting ideals that has me loving doughnuts so much. For me they’re well worth waking up early, if only to surprise family and friends with their favorite quick and easy weekend treat.

Using potatoes in dough is not a new revelation. In fact,  potatoes, and the starchy liquid they were cooked in, were used long before yeast to leaven breads and baked goods. While it may seem quite novel to use potatoes in baking now, they do serve a couple of purposes.

Spudnuts: Potatoes are high in starch and products baked with mashed potatoes (or potato flour or some variation of potatoes) are lower in gluten. This tends to create a moist, tender dough. It can also create a brick of a dough if you use too much potato and not enough flour. Potato doughnuts tend to be doughier than their potato-less cousins and have a nice chew to them. It is for this reason that many doughnut shops use potatoes in their recipe – whether you know it or not.

Citrus & Thyme Potato Doughnuts: While the potatoes won’t add too much of that heavy potato flavor (depending on the variety you use of course), it will add a little earthiness and substance to the flavor of the doughnuts. This makes it a great base for other flavors. In this recipe, the thyme and citrus zest add  delicate sweet and floral notes that pair very well with the potato and yeast. With the sweet, bright lemon vanilla glaze, these doughnuts are perfect in my mind.

As for the variety of potato, I used a middle of the road potato – not too starchy but not very low in starch -, the gold potato. Baking potatoes, which are higher in starch, will contribute a slightly moister, denser crumb. Boiling potatoes, low in starch, will affect the crumb less, giving it a chewier, bread-like crumb.

You may notice a bunch of new symbols next to the recipe titles. These symbols are a quick look at any special attention a recipe may require. At the bottom of each recipe the symbols will accompany notes or special instructions. Here, the lock, stopwatch and thermometer indicate this is not an easily adaptable recipe, is time sensitive and temperature sensitive –  standard stuff for yeast doughs.

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Citrus & Thyme Potato Doughnuts nit

y 1 dozen doughnuts plus 2-3 dozen doughnut holes.
d Intermediate

t 3-4 hours

Prep: 40 minutes
Kneading: 5-7 minutes
First Rise:  1-1.5 hours
Second Rise:  1-1.5 hours
Frying: 4-6 minutes

o Tools:

Paring knife or peeler
Chef’s knife
Medium-sized pot or saucier pan
Potato Masher

Small pot or saucier pan
Fine mesh sieve
Stand mixer with dough hook attachment
Large metal or glass bowl
Tea Towel
Rolling Pin
2″ cookie cutter
1/2″ cookie cutter

Large, deep pot
Candy thermometer
Mesh or slotted spoon
Newspaper or paper towels
Baking sheet
Cooling rack

i Ingredients:

8 ounces peeled gold potatoes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk (5 fl oz)
1/4 ounce thyme sprigs (about 10-15 sprigs)
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 ounces honey
15 to 16 ounces flour
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 ounces butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 quarts canola or vegetable oil (for frying)

2 cups lemon vanilla glaze (recipe below)

n Instructions:

1. Cut the peeled potatoes into evenly sized pieces. Boil the potatoes in water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain all the liquid and mash the potatoes until completely smooth. Set aside.

2. Place the milk and the 1/4 ounce whole thyme sprigs in a small pot. Heat just to the scalding point (about 200°F). Remove from the heat and allow the milk to cool to 115°F. Remove the sprigs from the milk.

3. Once the milk is at 115°F, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you plan to knead the dough by hand). Add the yeast and stir until the yeast is completely dissolved.

4. Add the sugar, honey, 15 ounces flour, mashed potatoes, chopped thyme leaves, lemon zest, orange zest and melted butter. Mix (on low speed) until the dough comes together. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest 20 minutes.

5. Add the salt to the dough. Knead for 5 to 7 minutes (on low or medium low speed) until the dough is elastic – if you stretch the dough, it should remain intact and become thin enough to be translucent before tearing. The dough will be slightly sticky. If the dough seems too sticky, you can add a little more flour but avoid adding too much – sticky dough is a good thing.

6. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Roll the dough around in the bowl to cover it in oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it in a warm place (ideally 85-90°F) to rise. Let the dough double in volume. This should take about 1 to 1.5 hours.

7. Once the dough is doubled in volume, punch down the dough (remove the air) and knead it with your hands for a few seconds. Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

8. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2″ thick. Using the two cookie cutters (or a doughnut cutter) cut out one dozen doughnuts – separating the centers from the rings to make doughnut holes. This may require combining scrap dough and rolling it out a second time to get all 12. Cut extra doughnut holes with any remaining dough that wont yield more full doughnuts.

9. Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes on a baking sheet to rise. Cover the dough and let rise until the dough expands to about 1.5 times the volume. This should take 30 minutes to 1 hour - avoid letting the doughnuts double in volume this time as they will continue to rise (albeit incredibly quickly) in the oil.

10. While the dough is rising, heat the 2 quarts of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed, high-sided pot to 350°F. Use a candy thermometer to make sure the oil is at the right temperature. Oil that is too hot will cause the doughnuts to brown too quickly and can leave the inside raw. Oil that is too cool will require long cooking times and this can cause the doughnuts to absorb excess oil. 

11. Cook the doughnuts in the oil in small batches about 2 or 3 minutes on each side, or until lightly golden brown on each side - don’t overcrowd the pot and leave room for them to expand. 

12. Remove the cooked doughnuts once both sides are cooked. Place the doughnuts on newspaper or paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Once the doughnuts are cool enough to touch, but still warm, dip one or both sides in the glaze . Set the glazed doughnuts on a cooling rack to cool completely and to allow the excess glaze can drip off.

r Store in an airtight container at room temp. Doughnuts are best served the same day.
n Avoid changing the ingredient amounts, rising or cooking times, temperatures and steps.
i Pay attention to rising and cooking times in this recipe.
t Pay attention to rising and cooking temperatures in this recipe.
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Lemon Vanilla Glaze: Few things are as easy to make as a simple glaze (essentially a thin royal icing). It’s best to dip or spread the icing when the doughnuts are still warm.

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Lemon Vanilla Glaze ab

y 2 cups doughnut glaze
d Easy

t 10 minutes

o Tools:

Bowl
Spoon or Whisk

i Ingredients:

8 1/2 ounces powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest

n Instructions:

1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth.

r Best used right after mixing.

aIngredient amounts can be changed to suit different consistencies and flavors.
b This is a basic recipe that can be used for numerous different items and can easily be modified.

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Enjoy!

AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Born and raised in Texas, Russell van Kraayenburg may sit you down for a stern lecture if you confuse barbecue with grilling. Creator of Chasing Delicious, and author of Haute Dogs, his work has been featured in Southern Living magazine and on such sites as Lifehacker, Fast Co. Design, Business Insider, The Kitchn, Live Originally, The Daily What, Quipsologies, Neatorama,Explore, and Fine Cooking.

51 Comments

0
  • Sydney @ The Crepes of Wrath

    Are you kidding me? First of all, the photos are drop dead gorgeous. Secondly – doughnuts! What a thing to read on Monday morning – now I need one of these.

  • Carolyn

    Whoa! Spudnuts…how awesome!

  • shelly (cookies and cups)

    I could swim in that glaze. Ok, that’s kind of weird.
    Love these doughnuts!

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    Alright Russell…. you ranked high on my list BEFORE. But now I want to squeeze you as hard as possible. SPUDNUTS. The word alone gets me really excited. Glazing up these little beauties has me feeling whoozy with anticipation. We will be making doughnuts this week.

  • Miriam @ Overtime Cook

    I dunno about that “clockwork” you mentioned cuz this looks absolutely delicious and gorgeous.

    I really need to try the potato trick!

  • JulieD

    holy doughnuts, I’m in love!!! I’ll take a half a dozen please! Oh darn, I wish we were neighbors seriously…

  • Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine)

    Wow, I need to try this! I never knew the wonders of cooking with potato in this way…

  • Cassie

    These are incredibly unique. Beautiful writing and photography as always. And I read the tutorial on Sylvie’s site, so great. I definitely need to dive into videography!

  • Kathryn

    Spudnuts = best name for a food ever.

  • thyme (Sarah)

    Spudnuts. Too cute, too cute. Have you been to the German village of Fredericksburg? It is so cute and really captures the German settlement in Texas. Awesome donuts…I’ll bet they were to die for when they were nice and hot!

  • Eileen

    Potato dough may not be new, but I’ve never heard of potatoes in doughnuts! Sounds amazing with the citrus & thyme. :)

  • Jeanette

    Russell, love the combination of citrus and thyme in these puffy treats.

  • naomi

    you brought a whole new way for me to look at potatoes, Russell! Great recipe. Love the photos.

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    omg WOW Love these!

  • Maria

    Beautiful and delicious post from start to finish!

  • Sasha

    OMG These are so beautiful. I would pat you on the back for having the patience to do this if I could.

  • Meki

    you made me want to make doughnuts! <3

  • Marina@ Picnic at Marina

    I came here after I’ve read your guest post on Gourmande in the Kitchen. Thanks and thanks! Beautiful photos and a heart warming writing… :) Oh, and thanks for the doughnuts too!

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)

    Spudnuts!!! Love the name! And they look so inviting. Especially that lemon vanilla glaze. I could eat a bowl of that.

  • sarah

    Love. I’ve been daydreaming of fancy doughnut combinations, but you win. These looks so delicious, and your photos are beautiful.

  • RavieNomNoms

    Oh em gee!! This looks soooo tasty! What a sad day indeed when these are all gone. So wonderful!

  • Kristen M.

    Thank you! I’ve been waiting for you to post the recipe ever since you teased us on twitter.

  • Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

    One more reason to use my fresh thyme, (as if I needed one!) These look so amazing Russell! I love the idea of the lemon flavor in a doughnut. I tend to be a little picky about doughnuts, and this one sounds like the flavor I would choose. Unless there was a chocolate doughnut right next to it!

  • Erika

    That first photo is enough to have my heart racing.. Spudnuts has to be the best name for a doughnut EVER!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    I absolutely loooove your guest post! So much to take in and so well presented! These little donuts look fabulous too…you rock my world.

  • basalevolution

    Amazing photography. Amazing recipe. Amazing blog. Glad I stumbled upon it!! Can’t wait to follow more posts!

  • Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand

    Never heard of spudnuts before. What an intriguing name. An early morning spent in your neighbourhood sounds lovely :-)

  • Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    It’s midweek now.. and am intrigue by the doughnut recipe. Never heard of spudnuts before but they do sound so cute ;). Love the lemon glaze too. Suddenly I am craving to make some doughnuts at home. Time, I just need a lot of space and alone time.. LOL. Have a wonderful week ahead!! Cheers, Jo

  • Steve

    Geez ! Sounds and looks good ! I like the combo idea :)

  • Kelly Senyei

    I have never met a doughnut I didn’t like, and the fact alone you nicknamed these “spudnuts” pretty much makes my entire morning complete :) So happy to have found your blog!

  • Michael Toa

    I love the name spudnuts! Can I tell you a secret… I have a huge soft spot for doughnuts and must be supervised whilst eating them, because I can eat a lot of them… I can also be bribed with doughnuts (good home-made ones).
    I must, must give this a go. Thanks for sharing Russell.

  • marla

    LOVING these creative spudnuts :)

  • Amy @ fragrantvanillacake

    These doughnuts sound delicious! The potatos must give them a wonderful texture and so perfect with the bright flavors of citrus! Yum :)!

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Lovely, Russell! I’m not a huge doughnut fan, but I love the subtle notes in here… and I don’t think I’ve ever had one with herbs in it. Looks absolutely amazing. Now I’m heading off to check out your guest post!

  • lisaiscooking

    Well, I’ll be dealing with a serious doughnut craving now! I love how potatoes react so well to yeast. The texture of these must be amazing, and the thyme and citrus flavors sound lovely.

  • Reem | Simply Reem

    I have been looking for recipe for Spudnuts, these look fabulous…..
    God I juts woke up and now I have seen this… My day will be spent dreaming and craving this!!!

  • Riley

    I remember eating spud nuts when I visited my cousins, and they were always delicious! These look great!

  • Stephanie

    I absolutely love all your posts! Thanks so much for the imagery!

  • JJ @ 84thand3rd

    Beautiful and delicious – I could go one (or five) just about now!

  • anh@anhsfoodblog.com

    Yum yum! And I totally enjoy your post on Sylvie’s blog :)

  • Javelin Warrior

    I love this post – I never knew why recipes used potato flour or flakes or mashed potatoes. I always assumed it would lend some moisture retention to the dough, but I never thought about why or how it worked. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I love the inspiration I get from your food…

  • Beth {local milk}

    These are an exciting departure from rote doughnuts! Yeast leavened doughnuts are my favorite; I do hail from Krispy Kreme country after all. I’ve never made doughnuts at home, however, and would (naturally) love to try them w/ a twist… I think potatoes and thyme would suffice to keep me interested! I can see why you were excited about this one! And as I said… yes, yes, yes to epistemophilia! I can end up thinking about the Aztec pantheon of drunken rabbit gods (yes, that is a thing) in 2.5 from thinking about foraging.

  • Kathy - Panini Happy

    These look every bit as fabulous as I imagined they would when you mentioned them on Facebook. I would so love to taste one!

  • Monet

    Just beautiful. I’m in Colorado for the next few weeks, and I miss several things about Texas…good doughnuts being one of the more decadent ones. Thank you for sharing. Maybe I’ll just make a batch to get me through mid-August.

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I enjoyed your post at Sylvie’s – I know nothing about videography so your tips are helpful!

    I don’t indulge in donuts very often but these look too good to refuse. Love the lemon vanilla glaze!

  • Jen @ Savory Simple

    Your photos are inspiring! And these doughnuts look amazingly delicious.

  • Anna

    I love your perspective in your photo compositions. And doughnuts, how timely! I wanted to make some and now I’ll just have to try these. Thank you!

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  • Angie

    Spudnuts are delicious! I grew up with them, and they are the best.

  • Soma

    A splendid read. I had not realized that you were from my home state! Deep in the heart of Texas. As I read through your lines, I see it even deeper and prettier. Gorgeous photos.

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