Glorious Glazes

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Glossy chocolate with hairline cracks; a shimmering cherry pink surface; a slick drape of caramel: Some might say it's the glaze that makes the donut. When making donuts at home, it's good to keep that in mind—a plain yeasted or cake donut is a canvas that's infinitely customizable, and glaze adds both color and flavor with the ease of a dunk. An icing meant for dipping, not spreading, glaze is thin enough to create a uniform seal that acts as a preservative, and keeps the pastry moist and fresh. No matter what glaze you choose, keep the following tips in mind: Make the glaze when you plan to use it, to avoid it losing moisture while sitting out. If your glaze does get dry, stir in one tablespoon of water at a time until the consistency is restored. Sifting the confectioners' sugar is a nice extra step to ensure a smooth, satiny texture. If you want to achieve a generous bakery-quality coating, double the glaze recipe to guarantee plentiful dipping from the first donut to the last. Always make sure donuts are cool before you glaze them. Otherwise the icing will melt into the crust and make the donut soggy. If you're using sprinkles or other toppings, apply them while the glaze is wet so they adhere. Once you're done, let the glaze set until it's dry, about 30 minutes. Your patience will be rewarded.