This is the stuff that doughnut dreams are made of—both tart and sweet and totally delicious. Fresh lemon zest and flecks of vanilla bean take these to a whole new level of fried goodness.
Lemon and Vanilla Bean Doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
3 1/2 cups (17 oz./530 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz./250 g) granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) sour cream
Vegetable oil for frying
For the lemon glaze (optional):
1 3/4 cups (7 oz./220 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 Tbs. whole milk
Confectioners’ sugar for coating (if not using glaze)
To make the doughnuts, in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined, then beat in the sour cream.
Reduce the speed to low, then add the flour mixture in two additions, beating until combined and stopping the mixer after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, shape into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fill a wide, deep pot two-thirds full with oil and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350° to 360°F (180° to 182°C) on a deep-frying thermometer.
Meanwhile, if making the glaze, sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and then the milk 1 Tbs. at a time, stirring until the glaze is smooth and spreadable. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick. Flour a doughnut cutter and cut out doughnuts and holes, flouring the cutter as needed to prevent sticking. Alternatively, use two round biscuit cutters one about 3 inches (7.5 cm) and one about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter to cut out doughnuts and holes, collecting the scraps and rerolling them as necessary.
Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to carefully place the doughnuts and holes in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pot or the doughnuts will fry unevenly and the oil temperature will drop. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side; the holes will take less time than the doughnuts. Using the slotted spoon, transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Let the oil temperature return to 350°F (180°C) before frying more doughnuts. While the doughnuts and holes are still warm, dip one side in the glaze, if using. Alternatively, roll them in confectioners’ sugar. Makes about 8 doughnuts.
Find more than 30 super-fun and easy-to-make recipes perfect for the budding chef in our book Junior Chef, by the cooks of Williams-Sonoma’s Test Kitchen.