French fries and chicken wings are the first sweets that come to mind when you think of fried food. But what about donuts? For me, Homer Simpson’s favorite food is one of the most delicious treats you can enjoy.
Whether you prefer Krispy Kreme, Dunkin ‘Donuts or another bakery, the problem with these sweet bread-based snacks made from fortified dough (containing fat and eggs) is that they are fried in gallons of butter. This not only makes them unsuitable for those trying to reduce calorie intake, but also leaves a strong aroma of fried food in your kitchen.
I used to make baked donuts in an effort to create a healthier version of these snacks, which I love so much, but the oven can never achieve the perfect combination of an evenly browned shell and a soft middle.
So I thought: if deep fryer can produce crispy, crispy french fries without the level of oil normally required for deep-frying – can you use them to create a healthier alternative to donuts at home without leaving your home with a smell like in a fish and chips store?
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Read on to find out what happened when we tried Krispy Kreme style donuts in an air fryer – or if you’ve already decided you want to invest in this handy kitchen appliance, check out the best prices on the best deep fryers we like now:
Let’s start baking
When it comes to bread-based snack recipes, I’m a big fan of recipes from the Great British Baking Show (or The Great British Bake-Off, as it’s known in the UK), Judge Paul Hollywood. Baker since adolescence, many of his recipes each week are shown as a technical challenge show, including this recipe for donut rings.
While I’m sure the Hollywood icing of icing sugar and lemon juice creates a savory finish that perfectly complements the donuts, I prefer the creamy filling from the original Krispy Kreme glazed donuts.
The brand never published the exact recipe of its glaze, but I found this copy Baking Mad was very similar in taste and decided to finish my donuts with this instead.
I combined the ingredients for the dough and then kneaded the dough until it became smooth and elastic. You can do this by hand, which will take about ten minutes, although I decided to use my KitchenAid mixer with a hook attached to the test to relax.
I transferred the kneaded dough to a clean bowl, lightly greased with oil (so that the dough does not stick), covered with a damp kitchen cloth and left to stand in a warm room for two hours. I then rolled out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/2 inch / 1cm and used a donut cutter to carve out 3.5 inch / 8.89cm wide discs with a 1.2 inch / 3cm hole in the center.
The donut cutter is just two cutters for the dough, one of which creates the basic shape of the donut and marks the center so you can use the second cutter to make the hole. However, if you don’t have a donut mold, you can just use two round cookie cutters, although it will be more time consuming to make sure the hole is in the center of the donut.
Then I put the donuts on an oiled tray, loosely covered them with plastic wrap and returned to a warm room for proofing. After that, there was nothing left but to cook.
Although I have a lot of experience cooking in the device – I discovered it before Air fryer – the secret of crispy crispy skin when cooking pork sternum and this French toasts in a deep fryer are much easier than on a stoveI wasn’t sure what temperature and cooking time to use.
As I mentioned, I’ve tried baking donuts in the past, but they require cake batter, not batter, so that experience here wasn’t helpful. Instead, I went online and did some research on donut recipes for the air fryer – I stayed at 374 F / 190 degrees C for 6 minutes.
I scored the temperature and duration of cooking Vortex Plus air fryer (currently our very ranking air fryer), who saw the device heat up for three minutes before warning me that it had reached the required temperature. Since the dough was a bit sticky, I put four donuts (all of which fit comfortably in the frying basket) on a sheet of greaseproof paper the same size as the airframe plate so they didn’t stick. Then I added it to the air fryer and started cooking.
At the time of cooking the aero fryer warned me that it was time to flip the contents of the basket so that hot air could reach every inch of the food to provide a crispy finish. Since I wanted the donuts to be crispy, evenly browned on both sides, I opened the deep fryer drawer and turned the donuts over before closing it and letting it continue cooking.
As soon as I got to the end of cooking, I opened the deep fryer box, and the donuts clearly rose. The greaseproof paper I used at the bottom to keep the donuts from sticking to the crispy plate meant that the bottom pieces (which were now the top when I flipped the donuts over while cooking) didn’t brown as much as I would have hoped. However, the sides that were originally facing up when cooking began were dark brown.
I took out the donuts and cut into one. While the middle was soulfully soft, the crust was extremely crunchy, and it’s not something traditional that is associated with a condescending treat. So I decided to reconsider the temperature and cooking time.
When frying donuts most recipes recommend the oil to have a temperature of 356 F / 180 C, so I decided to reduce the air fryer to that temperature and reduce the cooking time to five minutes.
I also decided to put the donuts in a metal baking dish instead of putting them on greaseproof paper on a plate. It worked well when cooking cinnamon buns in an air fryer to reflect heat, which will help ensure uniform color on all sides of the donut. Although I first greased the tin with oil so the donuts didn’t stick.
When this party ended, it was clear that I had hacked it. The donuts were a soft golden color on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The edge wasn’t so crispy that it cracked when I bit it.
I had no choice but to whip up a batch of Krispy Kreme glaze and dip the donuts in it. When my partner tried one, he was sure I had cheated and bought a dozen donuts at a local store instead of making them at home.
I’m thrilled to have found a way to indulge in one of my favorite sweets without compromising on calorie counting. If you are a fan of Krispy Kreme, then be sure to try these air-fried donuts.