This book review is VERY long overdue and I don’t have an excuse.  I could totally make one up, my dog ate the book…but I don’t have a dog.  It was buried in our last blizzard, except the last blizzard I recall was about 5 years ago.  It seemed kind of “vanilla”?  That would be appropriate being that the title is Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques and is packed full of recipes containing various forms of vanilla.  That’s not the reason either.

Pure Vanilla

It could have been the holidays and then it was buried under two other books that I needed to review also.  Sitting on the coffee table for months and I only used one recipe at Christmas when I made the Vanilla Bean Tuiles.  I finally busted into it last week and boy….was I missing out.

My pantry is now full of three different types of vanilla extract, vanilla beans, vanilla bean paste (this was a new one for me) and vanilla powder.  I don’t have room for any of it but it’s there, squeezed in between the rainbow sprinkles and the hoisin sauce.  I’m now armed for anything needing a punch of vanilla flavor.

I couldn’t believe the various forms of vanilla available for purchase and thankfully, this book explains each in great detail as well as makes suggestions on their appropriate applications.  Shauna also gives you the history of vanilla and a quick lesson on where it comes from. You will know more than you ever thought possible on vanilla when you purchase this book.  The photos are scrumptious and the recipes themselves are to die for.

I highly recommend trying out the Vanilla Bean Tuile recipe.  But I will tell you… MUST make these Glazed Vanilla Bean Doughnuts.  You MUST.

We’ve been trying to eat a little healthier so I only ate two and a half of these yesterday when they were warm.  (and then I ate the Son of Baconator from Wendy’s for dinner…but that’s all I ate, I promise.)

I couldn’t believe the flavor of these doughnuts and the glaze just makes it even more gooey and sinful.  I ate the glaze with a spoon.  While watching Divorce Court.  And then maybe I licked the bowl, I don’t remember but what’s really important is that you make these doughnuts. You will impress anyone that eats one.

A few things to note:

  • The recipe calls for vegetable oil for frying, I used Crisco because I feel it tends to leave the food less greasy than a liquid oil.
  • It also states to heat the oil to 350 degrees, which is deep fry temp on a thermometer, but I felt the oil was too hot.  I may need to calibrate my thermometer but you can take a piece of leftover dough and toss it in when the oil is hot to test it out which is what I ended up doing after turning a couple of doughnuts into cinder blocks.
  • The recipe calls for cooking the doughnuts for two minutes on each side but, again, I feel this was a little long.  When the edges turn a deep golden brown, flip them over.  It was only about 30-40 seconds each side.
  • The glaze recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of whole milk but it seemed a bit thick…more like a frosting so I upped the amount to 3 tablespoons which gave me the consistency I was looking for.
  • I dipped each doughnut top into the glaze and then let it drip on a cooling rack instead of spooning it over the doughnuts.  I felt it coated more evenly this way.  I also double dipped letting the glaze dry after the first coat and then added the second coat.

Now…it’s time for you to make the doughnuts. Ready? Go!

Glazed Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

Glazed Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

Makes about 1 dozen doughnuts and holes

For the doughnuts:

1 tablespoon dry active yeast

1/4 cup warm water (100 – 115 degrees F)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Caviar of 1/2 vanilla bean

3 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for kneading

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Vegetable Oil, for frying (I used Crisco)

For the Glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons whole milk (I used an extra tablespoon)

Pinch of salt

Caviar of 1/2 vanilla bean

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together yeast, warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, milk, vanilla extract, vanilla caviar, egg yolks and butter. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and begin mixing on low-speed.

Add flour and salt and mix for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle often to keep the dough moving.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand several times, dusting with flour as needed. Place dough in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, you can let it rise in the refrigerator overnight, 8 to 12 hours.)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll to about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut out doughnuts with a 3-inch doughnut cutter, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until doughnuts have doubled in size.

Pour 2 1/2 inches of vegetable oil into a 4- or 5-quart pot and heat it to 350 degrees F. Fry doughnuts in batches of no more than 4 until they are deep golden brown, 2 minutes per side (see my notes above) turning only once. (turning too often can result in greasy doughnuts.) Transfer to paper towels to drain.

For the glaze:

Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, salt and vanilla caviar until smooth.  Spoon glaze over warm doughnuts and serve.

The Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques cookbook was written by Shauna Sever and can be purchased at

Mr. Cranky Pants

This was the perfect post nap snack…snapped him right out of his cranky mood!