These cinnamon roll doughnuts concocted by chef Thiago Silva can be tricky, but there are a few important steps for achieving perfection. First, when you are making the dough, you are looking to reach "window stage," meaning it's elastic enough to be pulled until paper thin and translucent without ripping.
Then, when assembling the doughnuts, make sure the two layers are sealed well. If there are any openings, the doughnut will pop open when frying (not pretty).
Finally, these doughnuts are fried low and slow, so the temperature of the oil is crucial. If the oil is too hot, the doughnut will be golden and puffed, but the cinnamon roll inside won't be fully cooked.
To see how it's made, step-by-step, read "Cin-ception."
Cinnamon Roll Doughnut
Recipe adapted from chef Thiago Silva, formerly of Catch, New York, NY
Yield: 12 doughnuts
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus proofing and freezing time
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes, plus proofing and freezing time
For the Dough:
5 tablespoons room-temperature water
2½ tablespoons active dry yeast
5 tablespoons whole milk
7½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2½ tablespoons salt
3 sticks, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
Canola oil, for frying
For the Cinnamon Brown Sugar Filling:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whiskey
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1¾ cup confectioners' sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
5 tablespoons whole milk
1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the water with the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. With the motor running, slowly add the milk and eggs, followed by the flour. Mix until well incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes, then add the sugar and salt. Continue to mix until a smooth, elastic dough comes together, 6 to 8 minutes. Slowly add the butter until incorporated into the dough, allowing for a piece to be stretched with your hands until almost translucent, another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and shape into ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, make the cinnamon brown sugar. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and whiskey. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
3. Make the cream cheese frosting: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the cream cheese and cook, stirring constantly until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, salt and vanilla seeds, and stir until incorporated. Stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
4. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and, on a lightly floured surface, roll each into a 12-by-18-inch rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. Return to the parchment-lined baking sheet, layering parchment in between each piece of dough. Place the tray in the freezer to rest for 1 hour.
5. Remove the tray of dough from the freezer and lay 1 sheet of dough on a clean work surface. Brush off as much flour as possible, then spread the filling evenly into an 8-inch square in the center of the dough. Trim the dough around the filling. Tightly roll the square into a log, then trim the ends. Slice into twelve ½-inch disks and set aside.
6. On a lightly floured work surface, lay out another sheet of dough. Lightly brush the surface with water. Arrange the cinnamon rolls on top, about 2 inches apart from one another. Lay the final sheet of dough on top of the cinnamon rolls, and using your fingers, press the dough around each cinnamon roll to seal. Using the top, curved side of a 2¾-inch plain circle cutter, press around each cinnamon roll to remove any air and fully seal the dough. Using a 3-inch plain circle cutter, cut out the 12 doughnuts. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet tray dusted with flour and let proof at room temperature for 1½ hours.
7. Pour enough oil into a 6-quart Dutch oven to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer reads 275°. Line 1 baking sheet with a wire rack. Working in 3 batches, fry the doughnuts, flipping once, until golden brown and puffed, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
8. Reheat the glaze over medium heat until viscous, then ladle over each doughnut to coat. Transfer the doughnuts to a platter and serve.