Kitchn Love Letters

I Used to Own a Doughnut Company — and Now I Make Them In This Simple Appliance

published Dec 10, 2021
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Apple cider donuts with one bitten.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

My life used to consist of waking up at 2 a.m., slipping into my clogs and apron, and then afterwards? A whole lot of frying! Having a doughnut business is hard work with all of the rolling, proofing, glazing, and bookkeeping, but the trickiest part is hands-down the frying. Getting the golden brown crust just the perfect amount of crispy while managing a dozen doughnuts all in the fryer at once? It’s a pain!

So when I gave up my business back at the start of the pandemic, I assumed making doughnuts would be the rarest of instances. Lugging out my at-home fryer for one tiny batch of doughnuts seemed fairly ridiculous after cranking out 10 dozen per night in an industrial fryer. But once you’re used to a constant stream of homemade doughnuts, it’s kind of hard to give them up. With all these new air fryers floating around, I thought maybe I don’t have to skip those delicious morning treats — so I did some digging.

The air fryer I settled on is actually an air fryer oven, with a fry basket that can fit five doughnuts, a small chicken, crispy cauliflower florets, a batch of battered fish for tacos, or pretty much anything you’ve got up your sleeve. The machine “fries” by continuously circulating very hot air around the chamber until food is crisp to perfection.

The Cuisinart TOA-60 has 7-functions; so although I purchased it for frying, I found I equally use its bake, broil, toast, and warming settings (I even used the warming setting for proofing the doughnuts). In fact, we actually got rid of our old two-slice toaster and just use this bad boy now. Because I live in a city whose energy source is entirely renewable, using my TOA-60 in place of my oven for roasting and baking means I’m cooking in a more sustainable kitchen as a bonus!

Credit: Stella Totino

When I tested this all-in-one appliance with my doughnuts, I was pleasantly surprised. I stood in awe with the oven light on, watching the doughnuts rise and turn golden, stopping them only once to flip them. It works more quickly than the appliances it mimics, so I kept a watchful gaze to avoid burning. Once the timer signaled the doughnuts were fried, I prepared to glaze them noting how the crust was indeed crisp, just as I had hoped. Glazed and taste tested, I can attest, this air fryer truly does its job!