Rise’n Roll “Amish Crack*” Donuts: My Hunt For a Top Secret Recipe
Spoiler alert: This, so far, is an unsuccessful attempt at recreating the most decadent donut my family and I ever tasted. I share it because I’m on a hunt and in hopes that you may help figure out the missing ingredient, step, or tweak.
Back story: It all began with my high school friend Deb while we were all in Northern Indiana this summer. She served us some great homemade bread and my daughter and her husband wanted to know where she got it. She told them (I wasn’t around) about Rise’n Roll bakery between Middlebury and Shipshewana. And she also tipped them off that they had a donut that was so good and so addictive and so sweet it had the underground name of “Amish Crack.” Let me be clear: *not a drug, but it might as well be.
The donut: Freshly made at Rise’ n Roll, it’s a yeast raised donut apparently dipped in a caramel type glaze and then sprinkled with a heavy dose of cinnamon sugar. So you’ve got a warm fresh donut, coated with thin caramel and then cinnamon POWDERED sugar. Do I need to go further?
It is to die for, and yes, if you eat too many, thou shalt surely die, to quote someone in the Bible. Oh, yeah, that would be God in the Garden of Eden. Well “Garden of Edenish Delights” could be another name for Rise’ n Roll.
The store/bakery/restaurant sets out about a dozen cups of samples throughout the deli area of freshly made ham salad, tiny crackers, humus dip, traditional dip, cold meats, cheeses, jams, apple butter, pickles: some Amish-style treats, and others (like the humus) not so Amish. All of the Amish and conservative Mennonite young people working there were like a busy hive of bees, scurrying to provide great customer service while in the background, you could see the baking prep operations going on. It is the real deal. There are several of these Rise’n Roll bakeries in Northern Indiana (Middlebury and Nappanee and also small markets in Chicago and Fort Wayne) and it is a good thing I don’t live there anymore. The best news is you can buy some of their stuff online. But not the fresh donuts.
At any rate, we all fell in love with The Donut and I set about trying to duplicate the debauchery.
I found a review on line that at least gave me a hint that the glaze was a caramel type frosting. And that the sugar was as described above. But ratios? I was on my own. And while I hardly follow a recipe for everything I cook, when it comes to baked goods, I stick to recipes and usually just improvise.
This was improv from the get go.
They were good, but not THAT good.
Here is what I tried.
Using my favorite Yeast Raised Donut recipe from the good old North Goshen Mennonite Cookbook, I made half a batch (since I was experimenting, and my husband and I were the only ones home. Usually we make donuts as a party or family celebration).
Step 1: The Donuts
1 cup scalded milk
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1/4 cup shortening, Crisco type
3/8 cup sugar
¼ cup warm water
3 ¾ – 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
(Also takes 3-4 cups Crisco in electric skillet or other cooker to fry the donuts.)
Scald milk, then add sugar and salt. In separate container, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes with stirring. When scalded milk has cooled a bit, stir yeast and water before adding to the milk. Stir in beaten eggs and add shortening. Add the flour in 2 additions, using hands if needed to add the last half and knead dough for several minutes. Let dough rise till double. Punch down, rise again. Then roll out dough to 1/3 inch thick on floured surface, and cut with doughnut cutter. Put cut out donuts on trays, such as cookie sheets. Let rise again about 30-45 minute.
To fry donuts, drop in hot shortening, 375 degrees. Turn donut over once. (It will probably only take 30-40 seconds on each side to nicely brown.) Do not over cook. Remove donut from shortening and drain on paper towels.
Adapted from recipe by Sue Christener, North Goshen Mennonite “Fellowship Cooking” Cookbook, 1960s era.
Step 2: The Glaze
While warm, dredge donuts in caramel glaze. The recipe below is adapted from Ree The Pioneer WomanTasty Kitchen Recipes.
Easy Caramel Sauce (also good on ice cream, apple pie, etc.)
1 cup brown sugar
½ stick butter
½ cup half and half or cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook while whisking gently for 5-7 minutes, until thicker. Turn off heat. For glaze type consistency, add more milk if sauce is too thick to dip donuts in.
Dunk doughnuts in glaze/sauce while still warm. Then let them drip, hanging on a clean dowel rod to suspend the donuts over a dripping pan for glaze to cool without making a mess everywhere (could also use the long handle of a wooden stirring spoon).
Step 3: The Sugar On Top
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Put powdered sugar and cinnamon into sifter. Sift onto the glazed donuts. Set on paper towel to absorb mess.
Like I said, they were pretty good, but not to-die-for good.
So. Here I am, a pathetic wannabe part-time recipe blogger, writing a half-baked recipe that is not the yummiest yet or the bestest.
What suggestions do you have? Have you eaten the Rise’n Roll donuts? Go there. Other reviews say it is worth driving 100 miles out of your way. While I wouldn’t literally go that far, if you’re in the neighborhood, do stop in, and tell me how YOU would duplicate them.
Or, looking at the above, what ideas do you have for improving my odds of hitting my big fat donut target??
Homemade Doughnuts: Techniques and Recipes for Making Sublime Doughnuts in Your Home Kitchen by Kamal Grant (Quarry Books, 2014) has a recipe for Salted Carmel Icing especially for dunts. Here’s that recipe, but I have not yet tried it:
¼ cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons water
¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon fine salt
Briefly stir together the white sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until the mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6-7 minutes.
Remove from heat and slowly add butter, cream, and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
Combine the caramel, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix until completely mixed and lump free. Cover and refrigerate before using. Makes 1 ½ to 2 cups.
Do you think that would be worth a try? Speaking of caramel, my neighbor/blogger friend Jennifer Murch wrote about to-die-for Homemade Salted Caramel Ice Cream just last week, which does look yummy!
And oh yeah, anyone want to open a Rise’n Roll franchise in this neighborhood??