These doughnuts were a bit of an epic experience for me. I went through a lot of ideas for what to make for the food swap. I think it was down to bagels, doughnuts, cake pops, and onion potato chips. I think for next time I will make hot sauce. Anyways, I thought it would be fun to do a couple different kinds of doughnuts. This was fun because I got to compare some recipes. First I made Joy the Baker's chocolate doughnuts. These were a bit like biscuits and easy and quick to make. Then, I made doughnuts with vanilla glaze in the new Pioneer Woman cookbook. These were very epic. Actually the dough reminded me of Joy the Baker's cinnamon rolls and Dorie Greenspan's white loaves. I could tell from early on these were going to be amazing. We went out to the grocery store while they were rising, and then I was going to roll them out between the time we got home and the time I went out to the St. Patrick's Day Parade with my friend. I rolled them out, went out with her, giving them time to rise. Then, when we came back we were going to meet our friends for dinner later, but since our friend's wife couldn't come out to dinner, he was just waiting for us at Mahar's and asked us to come for a beer. While my husband was on the phone with him working on this plan, I was checking out my doughnuts, thinking maybe they hadn't risen enough because our house was kind of cold, so I turned the oven on its lowest setting and immediately turned it off. They did puff up a little more, and I turned my shortening on the heat on the stove. Then, my husband came back in the room and asked if I wanted to go to Mahar's. I just took the shortening off the heat, and said ok. We went out with our friend, had a great time, and then when I checked them out in the turned off oven, they had all totally fallen and dried out. Bummer. The only dough that was ok was the scraps around the cut outs that I had left in a bowl in the turned off oven with plastic wrap covering it.
I rolled the scraps out and fried those up and they turned out amazing. But, it was only about 6 of them (I lost two whole baking trays worth in the whole putting the dough in the turned off oven and going to Mahar's debacle). The Joy the Baker recipe had made about 8, and with these 6, I still felt like I needed some more. I got the idea of making cruellers somewhere online that said you could just use choux pastry dough, make them in a doughnut shape and dunk them in vanilla glaze. I used the recipe for choux pastry from Around my French Table when I made eclairs for my coworkers for Christmas. This time, I just had Baking with Julia by the same author nearby so I thought I would use the recipe from that book. The recipes are very, very similar except for one step where one says keep the dough over the heat for 30 or 45 seconds longer and one says 1 to 2 minutes before mixing it with eggs and piping it through a pastry bag. That time discrepancy made all the difference. The dough was much runnier than before and did not turn out exactly how I had hoped. They didn't really look like cruellers, but they tasted really good - so I thought I would just decorate them and hope people thought they were ok. So there it is - three different recipes - one epic doughnut making weekend.
That all being said - the food swap was really fun. My doughnut making labors got me: marshmallows (my husband called them the best marshmallows he ever had), honey walnut granola bars (amazing), a snickerdoodle dessert hummus, a shellfish savory cheesecake (very unique and delicious), fruit roll ups, and a salty chocolatey snack mix. I had a good time. I noticed that people who have traded with you before seem more likely to want to trade with you again (maybe because they trust what you made is good). Things I wanted and didn't get: corn tortillas, homemade pasta, and vermouth marinated olives (Scott was very disappointed I didn't get the pasta). I would say I had an easier time trading with people, so much so that the granola bar lady traded with me a minute before the trading had even officially started. The trick in any kind of bartering is really that you gain power if other people want what you have. There were a lot of Indian inspired items this time, and only one infused liqueur, unlike last time when there were a variety of those. Wish me luck next time with my hot sauce!