Friday, November 11, 2011

Home-Made Cake Donuts (or Doughnuts, if you must) Fresh From the Kitchen

I had fun this morning. Ok - for me this is fun. I created my own cake donut recipe by adapting a variety of ingredients in about 4 recipes that I liked and experimenting in the kitchen. Let's just say that they are amazing, and I don't often say that of my own baking! Here's Sharon's recipe for great (relatively simple) donuts. Please read the entire recipe before creating your delicious treats - it's good to be prepared, especially when working with hot oil.

Home-Made Cake Donuts (and donut holes)

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c sour cream mixed with 1/4 c milk OR 1 c sour milk (just add 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to 1 c milk to make sour milk or use buttermilk)
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) melted margarine or butter
  • 1 c white granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • approx. 4 c. flour
  • sugar mixed with cinnamon for sprinkling or dipping later
  • about 2 to 3 c canola or Crisco oil (for frying)
To Make These
  1. Mix together the eggs, sour cream/milk and melted butter or margarine. Add white sugar and mix with wooden spoon until creamy. Add dry ingredients - cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 3 c of the flour. Mix with spoon and see if it's stiff enough to handle with your hands. Add another cup of flour if needed. NOTE: Donut dough remains soft, so don't add too much flour, just enough for handling and rolling purposes.The flour on the work surface will coat the donut and  make it nice and crispy on the outside and soft and yummy on the inside.
  2. Mix with your hands until it sticks together to make a soft dough and then turn onto well-floured surface to knead for a couple of minutes. I usually put down some waxed paper so the surface doesn't get as messed up. Fold and press the dough to mix in the last of the flour, mixing it with some of the flour on the surface until you can roll it out. This dough stays very soft, but shouldn't be sticky. Flour your rolling pin and press gently on the soft dough, just enough to get it to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in thickness. You can pat the dough down if you don't have a rolling pin.
  3. I used a large glass (for the donut) and shot glass (for the holes) to make my donuts. I don't have a doughnut cutter anymore. If you do, lucky you! Dip these in flour and then first cut the donuts, then carefully cut the holes in the middle (more or less, these are home-made!)
  4. Pour enough oil into a HEAVY deep frying pan (or fryer) to cover the bottom by a couple of inches. You don't need to totally immerse the donuts, as you will flip them once. Heat the oil until a cube of bread browns within 60 seconds of being tossed into the hot oil or follow your deep fryer instructions. BE CAREFUL!
  5. If you put enough flour on the surface, you won't have trouble removing the soft donuts from the work area. You can use a spatula or scraper to do this so they don't tear. If you have trouble, more donut holes for you! I had lots of donut holes :)
  6. Gently place the donuts and holes in the hot oil, about 4 donuts and 4 holes at a time if you have a large pan, and let them brown on one side to a nice golden color, then flip over to brown on the other side. This shouldn't take more than a minute or 2 per pan. When done, remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel in a colander, then remove to a towel spread on the counter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while still warm. You can do that while rest of the donuts are cooking. If your cut out donuts fall apart, roll dough in floured hands before placing in oil and use as donut holes. Still good.
  7. Let cool slightly (yes, I know this is the hardest part) and enjoy! If your donuts get too brown, it means your oil is old and you may have to pour it out and start again with fresh oil. I managed to make it through with only one pan of oil. It took about half a bottle of canola oil to do it. 
Cooking Note: This is the first time I had such good success with donuts. I think it was the sour cream (which really added fluffiness), using a bit of ginger and cinnamon in the batter and putting enough flour on the board. Adapting the recipes really helped too. I also let the oil heat up enough - watching it carefully so it didn't overheat. I had to put 3 bread cubes in before it finally got to the right temperature. Once you start frying, you have to do it quite quickly - one batch in, then out, then the next batch in, so get the colander ready, layered with paper towel, and have the towel on the surface to take the drained donuts out before the next batch goes in. It took me about 3/4 hour in total for making the batter and doing the frying. I made a lot of donut holes :) Pretty quick work. I like cinnamon sugar, some folks prefer a confection sugar and water glaze. Whatever floats your boat!
ALWAYS RESPECT HOT OIL! It hurts! Use a splatter-guard if you have one and supervise children very closely when making this dish.

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