These homemade French cruller doughnuts are dipped in a sweet maple glaze. The doughnuts are light, fluffy, and airy!
In a medium sauce pot, combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Add flour and stir to combine using a wooden spoon or sturdy silicone spatula. Continue to heat and bring to a boil as you continually stir dough. Keep stirring until dough pulls away from the sides of the sauce pot. At this point the dough should be smooth.
Transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until the dough has cooled to room temperature. (Do not be alarmed when the dough steams!)
When the dough has cooled, add eggs one a time on low speed. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. As you add the eggs, the dough will separate. This is normal. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. The batter will loosen and look curdled at first. Continue to beat until dough is cohesive, shiny, smooth, and thick.
Transfer dough to an airtight container and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Cut out eight 4-inch square parchment sheets. Brush both sides of parchment squares with vegetable oil. Arrange oiled squares on a large baking sheet.
Transfer chilled dough to a pastry bag (piping bag) fitted with a 16mm star tip. Pipe a large circle within the space of the parchment square. Apply even pressure when piping out the circle. At the end, simply release all pressure and pull the tip in the direction of the circle to cut dough. Don't worry about a little dough overlap.
Once all the cruller rings have been piped, place baking sheet in the freezer for 10-15 minutes while oil is heating. Do not cover dough. Simply place in freezer as is.
Attach candy thermometer to a large heavy bottomed pot (cast-iron or Dutch oven, preferred). Fill pot with 3-inches of oil*. Set over medium heat until an oil temperature of 360 degrees F is achieved.
Remove cruller rings from freezer. Carefully place 2-3 cruller rings into the hot oil. Place the crullers into the oil upside down, with the parchment side up and the piped doughnut down.
Cook for 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the first side. Use kitchen tongs or kitchen chopsticks to carefully remove the parchment paper. Turn doughnuts over and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn doughnuts once more and cook for 45-60 seconds until golden in color.
NOTE: Keep an eye on the thermometer and adjust heat as needed to maintain a constant cooking temperature.
Drain cooked doughnuts on a wire rack over a paper towel lined baking sheet.
Sift confectioners sugar into a medium bowl. Stir in salt, corn syrup, vanilla, maple extract, and maple syrup. Once mixture is well combined, add in hot water. Mix until smooth.
Dip slightly cooled doughnuts into glaze. Allow excess glaze to drip back into bowl. Set glazed doughnuts on wire rack and allow glaze to set. Enjoy doughnuts warm or at room temperature.
*Choose a neutral flavored oil with a high smoking temperature. I suggest using vegetable oil or this vegetable shortening.
I recommend this maple extract from Boyajian (sold at King Flour Flour). Stay away from anything labeled “imitation” maple extract.
A word on leftovers: Doughnuts are best enjoyed the day they are fried. Store any leftover doughnuts in a breathable box (like a cardboard bakery box or container with the lid slightly jar). The maple glaze needs air circulation, otherwise it will melt and make the crullers soggy.