Last night, around the time i was thinking about going to bed i was also thinking about donuts. Well, i guess i should stop the clock and rewind – i had actually been thinking about donuts all day since Erica vetoed them for breakfast. (By the way, these are in my breakfast book so they absolutely count as a valid breakfast.) But here’s the deal – Erica was at work, and i know she loves an after work snack while we watch an episode of Deadwood (if i’m not in bed already) so i thought that maybe i could get away with making them this time. I also thought “What the heck. I know it’s 9pm and these donuts take about 3 hours to make and i have to be up at 7:30am to play drums at church tomorrow but they’re DONUTS” (or as the recipe calls them, “doughnuts”).
Important to note: I halved the recipe because as much as i love donuts i really think it would be a bad choice for Erica and i to attempt to eat at least 6 each (and holes) at 11pm. I only ended up making two donuts and a plethora of holes, so i’m not really sure how many this recipe makes, but it’s just perfect for 2-3 people.
Whisk together in a medium bowl:1 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/4 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon(You can never have too many spices; i went with 3/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice)
In a large bowl, beat until foamy:
1 large egg
Gradually add and beat until thoroughly blended:
1/4 cup sugar
Stir until blended:1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla(again; you can never have too much vanilla. Use 1 tsp of vanilla paste)
Add the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated. The dough will be very soft.
Now, i feel it’s important to add here that the dough will in fact be very soft. Sticky. Hard to work with. You will even probably curse as you try to pat it into a disc in the next step, as it will stick to your hands, fingers, and most of all the damn plastic wrap. Plastic wrap is probably the worst idea to ever come about in cooking. Come on people, it’s like 2011. We put a man on the moon. What is the difficulty in finding some sort of wrap that doesn’t act possessed by static cling? Seriously.
Pat the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. The dough will never become firm but it will be workable when cold.
I got impatient during this part and i put my disc of dough in the freezer, turning it over every 10-15 minutes to check the consistency. This cut the chill time down to about an hour until it was workable.
Working on a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough out 1/2 inch thick.
Cut with a well-floured doughnut cutter, keeping the doughnut holes too.
Now before we move on, i just want to ask the question that i know everyone is thinking right now: Who the hell owns a donut cutter? A donut cutter, if you didn’t know, is a type of double “cookie cutter” if you will. It was the larger outside circle cutter to cut the donut and then a smaller inside circle to cut the hole out, all in the same press. I imagine you can get these off of amazon. In fact, here is a fantastic cutter from one of my favorite stores, Williams-Sonoma. My point is this: Who has one of these things laying around? Not I. And it’s not for price – anything you can get from Williams-Sonoma for under $7 is a bargain.
I think i lost my train of thought up there ^^. Anyways, my whole point was that i am not going to judge you for not having a donut cutter. I ended up using a fruit bowl for the outside circle of the donuts and after i made that cut i went back and cut out the holes using one of those empty glass seasoning jars. After you cut them out, let them sit for about 10 minutes on the counter. The slight crust they develop will reduce the amount of fat they absorb during frying.
Drop the doughnuts and holes, 2 or 3 at a time, into deep fat heated to 365 degrees (use a candy thermometer). Fry until golden on both sides. Drain well on paper towels and either dust with powdered sugar or shake in a bag with cinnamon and sugar. Serve while still warm or within a few hours of frying.
Now here is where the magic happens, and it’s very important to understand some key things. I am going to just quote from the book on this one, because they put it so well:
You can fry doughnuts in any oil or solid shortening. Most importantly, the fat must be impeccably fresh and clean. Using a deep skillet, saucepan, or fryer – an electric deep fryer with a rotating basket is highly recommended - heat about 3 inches of fat to a steady temperature of 360-370 degrees, unless otherwise specified. To keep the fat at a constant temperature, fry no more than 2-3 doughnuts at a time, being careful not to crowd them. The easiest way to slip a doughnut into fat is to dip a metal spatula into the hot fat and then lift the doughnut with the spatula from the counter to the pan, once again immersing the spatula. It is hard to give exact cooking times. Color is a better indicator than the clock, so fry doughnuts until they are deeply golden on one side, then flip them over. When the doughnuts are done, remove them from the fryer with tongs or a long-tined fork and transfer them to a triple layer of paper towels to drain, patting off any excess fat. As soon as one doughnut comes out of the fryer another should go in. If you like sugared doughnuts, shake them in a bag of granulated sugar while still warm or dust with powdered sugar after they cool a bit. Doughnuts taste best when they are still warm.
I used a stock pot and vegetable oil, so don’t worry that you don’t have anything fancy. Also, the book recommends 3 inches of oil – that is excessive. I used 2 inches and that was more than enough. I did have a problem keeping the oil at the right temperature (360-370) – the temp just kept climbing. I turned the heat down to medium when the oil reached 360 but it kept rocketing up to 400 degrees. This resulted in a tougher donut than i would have liked, but i am going to attribute that to my electric range (oh how i loathe thee). Anyways, here’s the final product. And in case you are wondering, yes they were incredibly delicious. Even Erica liked them.