In a small bowl combine warm milk, a teaspoon of your sugar, a tablespoon of your flour and your yeast. Let sit for about 15 minutes – the mixture should have produced a decent amount of foam.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the remaining flour, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt.
Add in the yeast mixer and mix to combine. Once combined, turn the mixer speed to low-medium (mine was on 3) and let the dough “knead” for about 10 minutes. The paddle attachment for your mixer will work just fine. You are adding some structure in the form of air, but since we are not producing gluten, we are just giving lightness and flavor to our dough.
Watch the dough, if it is impossibly sticky add a little more flour a teaspoon at a time. I added about a teaspoon of extra flour. A little sticky is ok, but you don't want incredibly sticky dough.
After 10 minutes, place the dough in a greased bowl in a warm spot (my microwave is the warmest spot in my kitchen). Cover with plastic wrap.
Let the dough raise for 45 mins-1 hour. It should have just about doubled in size.
Roll out the dough to ½” thickness and cut it into small circles. If the dough is really sticky, dust it with a little flour. (I used a small cup and they were about 2.5” in diameter.) Then, cut a smaller hole in the center. (I used an inverted pastry tip).
Place the doughnuts onto a greased baking sheet. Keep re-rolling the dough until you use it all up. (I got 16 mini-doughnuts from this recipe).
Let them rise for another 60 minutes.
When your doughnuts have about 15 minutes of raising time left, simmer the milk and spices over low heat in a small saucepan. Stir occasionally, but keep on the heat until the doughnuts have all been fried. You want to get as much flavor infused in the milk as possible.
With about 10 minutes of rising time left, heat 1 quart of oil in a big, deep pot (I used my 5 quart dutch oven). You want it to be about 370 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, use a bamboo skewer. When you stick it in the oil, you should see small bubbles form around it. If you don't see bubbles, the oil isn't hot enough yet.
Fry the doughnuts for about a minute on each side. You want them to turn a nice golden color.
Set on a cooling rack that is positioned over a cookie sheet to catch the grease.
Strain your warm milk-tea-spice mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar. Keep whisking til you have a smooth glaze.
Once all the doughnuts are fried and are cool enough to touch, dip them into the glaze. Return the doughnuts to the cooling rack to set.