I’ve thinking a lot about donuts lately. My beloved Krispy Kreme – just a stone’s throw from work – closed down, leaving me bereft of my favorite flavor: glazed kreme filled. Now, my only local options are Dunkin’ Donuts (serviceable), the bakery department at Wegmans (pretty good) or Timmy Ho’s (where I seem to get stale donuts 50% of the time). I don’t think we have any “artisanal” donut places in the area (If I’m wrong, PLEASE correct me) so I’m filled with envy any time I see anything about Voodoo Donut or the Doughnut Plant.
So Peabody and Tartlette’s challenge – Time to Make the Donuts – seemed like the perfect idea. I could satisfy the donut craving right at home! But since I didn’t have any experience deep frying, I thought I’d make things a bit easier on myself by finding a recipe using pre-made dough.
Slightly adapting Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for Italian donuts, I cut pizza dough into donut and donut hole shapes, then fried and decorated them.
Things were nearly flawless, with the exception of my deep fat thermometer cracking while in the oil. (Thankfully, it was only an inconvenience and not the disaster it could have been.) The dough puffed up beautifully, turned a nice golden brown, and was tasty both warm and cool. I made two types: donut holes rolled in cinnamon-sugar, and donuts dipped in a butter vanilla icing. I thought the cinnamon guys were delicious, until I tasted the iced donuts – heaven on earth.
It's amazing how simple ingredients -- flour, oil, sugar, and butter -- can create an extraordinary treat. But I guess that's the beauty of donuts.
Pizza dough (this worked surprisingly well)
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
(See icing recipe, below)
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness.
Using a floured 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out donut rounds. Using a floured 1-inch cookie cutter, punch out a hole in the center of each donut. (I used a wide-mouth wine glass for the donut rounds, and a small circular cookie cutter for the hole.) Gather the dough scraps and reroll. Cut out more donuts.
For donut holes:
Use a small, round cookie cutter to punch out bits of dough. Gather the dough scraps, reroll, and cut out more donut holes.
Whisk the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl to blend. Place cinnamon-sugar inside a medium-sized paper bag and set aside.
Pour vegetable oil into a large frying pan to a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the donuts or donut holes until they puff but are still pale, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the donuts to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly. While the donuts are still warm, generously coat each 2 times with the cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm.
Alternately, cool the fried donuts to room temperature. Melt 4 Tbsp of butter and add enough powdered sugar to form an icing. (If needed, add more powdered sugar to thicken; thin the icing with small amounts of water.) Add a bit of vanilla extract, perhaps 1/4 tsp. to start. If desired, add food coloring and blend well. Dip 1 side of each donut into the mixture, dust the donut with sprinkles and set aside until the icing is set.