Monday, February 17, 2014

The Easiest Homemade Donuts Ever

Honestly?  Valentine's Day stunk.  Hard.  Paul and I both had plans to do something for each other but the weather didn't cooperate.  What did we do?  Well, not really anything, which was horribly disappointing for both of us.  Living in the social media age means that we're surrounded by pictures of the meals people made for their partner, the flowers, the cards, the chocolate, the [insert annoyingly romantic/gushy thing here].  It hurts.

How do we fix this?




It occurred to me last night.  Today is President's Day.  It's a holiday.  A new chance.  This is our mulligan for Valentine's Day.  Starting RIGHT NOW President's Day is the most romantic day of the year.  Bonus?  I just bought a huge box of chocolate at CVS at 50% off.

I picked up some tri-tip steak and even though I have no idea what to do with it yet I'm going to figure it out because I know Paul will appreciate it.

We've even been writing President's Day messages to each other, inspired by the Yahoo! mail valentines that are still available if you have Yahoo! mail:

Dearest Hubband Paul,
You make me feel as though I could leap over tall buildings in a single bound. You are more fragrant than a field of wildflowers, unless you just ran outside in which case you smell like not wildflowers. I think George Washington would have really liked you as a person. Abe Lincoln probably would have too. I know I do.
You had me before hello,
Ashley

Dearest Whiff Ashley,
Your cooking makes my tummy happy and your smile makes my heart happy. Your baby whispering skills are exquisite, and your pet whispering skills are not to be sniffed at. Your arms are strong enough to push FDR.
You had me at the Dunkin conversation,
Paul


We didn't completely fail at Valentines Day.  A day late Paul drew me a really cute Doctor Who themed card (he's quite talented) and I made heart shaped donuts.  Brian and Amy came over on Saturday morning to hang out and watch the FA Cup, and I was ready with the freshest possible breakfast treat.  I had no idea how these would turn out, it was a total experiment, but the result was phenomenal.  I am not the first to give this a try and I know I won't be the last.

Deep frying at home is kind of scary.  I don't know about you but I've seen way too many stories of people burning themselves and their homes because of poorly executed at-home deep-frying.  I now know it's doable.  Having the right equipment is key.

You will need:
  • a large pan that is at least 6" deep, like a dutch oven
  • a deep fry / candy thermometer that clips to the side of your pan
  • a large slotted spoon, flatter is better
  • large cooling rack
Are you ready for the ingredients?  Here we go:
  • refrigerated biscuit dough (one can = 8 donuts & 8 donut holes)
  • a few quarts of peanut oil (Crisco makes a great soybean/peanut blend that is more affordable!)
  • cinnamon, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, powdered sugar for topping


Pour about 3 inches of oil into your pot or pan.  Clip your thermometer onto your pan and bring the temperature to 350º over medium high heat.  This takes a little while so while that's heating up work on your donuts.

I used Grands classic Buttermilk Biscuits.  I gently flattened each biscuit before cutting out the center to make sure that the donut hole didn't get all the good stuff.  These guys fluff up beautifully in the oil so don't worry about having smushed dough.

When your oil is nice and hot carefully drop your donuts into the pot.  In my cast iron dutch oven I fit two donuts at a time even though it was possible to squeeze three.  

Fry donuts for about 2 minutes on each side and remove with the slotted spoon and put on a rack to cool.  Keep an eye on your temperature!  Adjust the heat as needed so your oil doesn't get too hot.

Don't waste any dough!  Donut holes cook up in half the time and you can make so many cute shapes.



Once your donuts have a few minutes to cool off you can roll them in sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or chocolate!  Use a 2:1 ratio of granulated sugar to cinnamon and powdered sugar to cocoa powder.  

I set out bowls full of sugary goodness and as the donuts came out of the fryer we dipped our own to see what we liked best.  I loved pure powdered sugar the best but I think cinnamon sugar was the most popular.  I can just imagine frying up whole biscuits and filling them with cream or jelly and rolling them in sugar.  Aaahhhhhh.... 

These are just amazing.  Perfectly crispy on the outside and so fluffy and tender on the inside.  They almost melt in your mouth.


Do I need to try to figure out nutrition facts for these?  I think it's safe to assume that they're not going to win a single nutritional award.  I wouldn't recommend eating these on a regular basis but they are the perfect treat for special occasions and were so fun to make.  

Thanks for popping by!  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go figure out a romantic Presidents Day dinner...