If you are in contact with Crist in any way, shape, or form (friends in real life, friends on facebook, following her on twitter or instagram), you are aware that we made donuts during her visit last weekend. Crist routinely emails me links to recipes, with subject lines like “MAKE THESE FOR ME!” or “I NEEEEEED THESE!” or “Why haven’t you sent me any treats lately? Why do you hate meeeeee?”. Of course, any response that I issue – other than a hearty “I’ll send a batch of these right away!” – is met with extreme disappointment, and sometimes fake crying. In recent months, she’s been sending me a lot of donut recipes. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE donuts – and despite that love, something about a 3 day old donut that’s been hurtling across the country in a box for half a week does not sound appealing. Oddly enough, this idea does not seem to bother Crist, and she remains persistent.
Anyways, since I refuse to send anyone treats that will be kind of gross upon their arrival (I can’t be sullying my good name by distributing sub-par treats, you know?), I told Crist that we could make donuts during her visit this month. And then spent the better part of a week convincing her that maybe making FOUR kinds of donuts was slightly impractical, considering there are only two of us. We finally got her list cut to two varieties – sugar-coated, vanilla custard-filled donuts, and glazed chocolate donut holes. I must say, both of them turned out quite well! (My house had a lingering smell of FRIED for 3 days, but it’s almost gone now.)
Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes*
recipe adapted slightly from here
makes about 3 dozen
For the donuts:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT dutch-processed)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
vegetable oil for frying
For the glaze:
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2 t vanilla extract
3-4 T whole milk
*for any kind of frying, I highly recommend getting yourself a candy thermometer (like this one). They’re relatively inexpensive, and will help you be more accurate and consistent with your oil temperatures when frying. Variances in oil temperature can produce hugely different results – from overly oily, greasy food, to something with a burnt exterior and a raw interior. Not so tasty!
1.) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, until everything is evenly combined.
2.) In a second bowl, whisk the sugar, buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter together to combine.
3.) Pour the wet ingredients unto the dry ingredients, and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until all the dry mixture is evenly hydrated, and you have a fairly consistent dough (once it starts to look evenly colored and dough-like, stop!).
4.) Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot (such as a dutch oven) over medium heat, and fill it with about 2.5″ of vegetable oil. Place your candy thermometer on the side of the pot, so that the bottom is submerged, but not in contact with the bottom of the pot. Let the oil temperature slowly rise; it will take a little while (maybe 15 minutes), but if you try to heat the oil too fast, it will be much harder to control your frying temperature.
5.) While the oil heats, use your hands to roll the donut dough into balls slightly bigger than 1″ across (they will basically double in size when you fry them). Place them on to a plate or baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
6.) When the oil has reached 350°, you’re ready to fry! (Another piece of equipment I’d recommend here is a spider. A slotted spoon will work just fine, but a spider gives you more surface area to work with, so you can move more items at once; additionally, a spider has less flat surface, so you drain more of the oil from the donuts.) Place about 5 donuts into the spider, and then gently lower it into the oil; the donuts are a bit sticky, so they might stick to the spider a bit at first. After they’ve been in the oil a few seconds, you’ll see the exterior change color as they start to form a bit of a crust – they should release from the spider pretty easily then. Remember to tip the spider AWAY from yourself as you drop in the donuts – that way you don’t get hit with any hot oil, should it splatter!
7.) Fry the donuts for about 2.5 to 3 minutes, flipping them occasionally. Keep an eye on the oil temperature, and raise or lower the heat on the burner slightly as necessary. If you can manage to keep it consistently between 345° and 355°, you’re doing pretty well!
8.) Remove the fried donuts to a paper towel-lined plate, and let them drain for a couple seconds; then move them to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
9.) Continue frying in batches of 5 donuts or so (allowing the oil a couple minutes to cool or heat in between batches, as necessary), until all the donuts have been fried.
10.) While your donuts finish cooling, mix up your glaze. Start with about 5 cups of powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of whole milk; whisk everything together until the mixture is smooth. You want the glaze to be pourable, but neither thin and runny, nor gloppy and thick. Add more powdered sugar or milk as necessary to get the right consistency.
11.) Roll your donuts in the glaze (the glaze should look a little bit too heavy right as the donuts come out of it; it’ll thin and become more transparent as it dries). Once they’re coated, place them back on the cooling rack, and allow the excess glaze to drip off on to the baking sheet. Allow them to dry fully (about 30 minutes) before placing them into a bowl or on to a plate to serve.
If we’re being honest, I am not a real fan of chocolate donuts – but I still thought these were delicious. The interior was soft and fluffy, the exterior had a tiny bit of crunch… and you obviously can’t go wrong with a deliciously, crackly, sugar glaze. If you can believe it, there are still a few of these donuts left, and they’re still just as moist and delicious as they were the day we made them!
(For some added fun, tuck a mini reese’s cup or a couple butterscotch chips into the center of the donuts before frying. Make sure the dough is smooth and “sealed”, once you wrap it around the filling, then fry as normal. I made a couple of these with reese’s cups inside, but forgot to take a photo… though I hear they were delicious!)
Donuts should be their own food group,