The glaze on these airy donuts achieves its satiny consistency thanks to a combination of clarified butter and evaporated milk.
- 2 (1/4-oz.) packages active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1 1⁄2 cups milk, scalded and cooled
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 6 tbsp. vegetable shortening, plus more for greasing
- 5 cups (1 lb. 6 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
- Canola oil, for frying
- 10 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1⁄3 cup evaporated milk
- 2 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1⁄2 cups confectioners' sugar
Combine yeast, 1 tbsp. sugar, and 6 tbsp. water heated to 115° in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar, plus milk, salt, eggs, and shortening; mix until combined. With the motor running, slowly add flour; beat until dough is smooth. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; roll dough into a 13" round about 1⁄2" thick. Using floured 3 1⁄2" and 1 1⁄2" ring cutters, cut out donuts and holes; gather and reuse scraps. Place on greased parchment paper—lined baking sheets, at least 3" apart, and cover loosely with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Heat 2" oil in a 6-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325°. Using scissors, cut the donuts out of the parchment paper, leaving about 1" of paper around the sides of each donut (the paper makes it easier to transfer them to frying oil). Working in batches, place donuts in oil, paper side up, using tongs to peel off and discard paper. Cook, flipping once until puffed and golden, about 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet with a wire rack; let cool completely.
Melt butter in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-low heat. Using a small ladle, skim and discard white film from surface. Slowly pour liquid from pan into a bowl, leaving sediment behind; let cool 1 minute. Add evaporated milk, vanilla, 1⁄4 cup water, and sugar; whisk until smooth. Dip donuts in glaze, coating completely; return to wire rack until glaze is set.
To avoid oily donuts, remember: Fat attracts fat. The less you use in your dough, the lighter the donut will be after frying. Also go light on flour when rolling out dough, and use a brush to remove any excess; loose flour particles attract and absorb oil.