One of my favorite memories from childhood is Christmas morning. Every Christmas morning, before I would get up, my mom would get up and make a batch of doughnuts. We weren’t a big fried foods family, so these were a wonderful treat. They were airy and sugary and chocolaty, generally wonderful. No donut I’ve had elsewhere (I admittedly do not go seeking doughnuts) has ever compared. This summer my mom decided to get rid of her deep fryer, since she hadn’t used it in years, and so I took it.
I should say, prior to this I have never tried to deep fry anything. This is for a number of reasons: first there is of course the health concern, deep fried food is bad for you, and getting into the habit of making it seems risky. There’s also something inherently frightening to me about oil heated above water’s boiling point. Isn’t this what they used to defend castles in the Middle Ages? Nonetheless, I decided to overcome my hesitations and attempt to make doughnuts.
At first I was only going to make one type of doughnut, and it being autumn I settled on apple cider doughnuts, a recipe for which had just gone up on Coconut and Lime. I made the dough, set it aside to rise, and went about my other business. But when I came back an hour and a half later, the dough hadn’t risen at all! Running low on time, I decided to try two things, to make a new batch of the cider doughnut dough, and a dough for chocolate doughnuts, which I found here. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time between when I started and when my guests arrived for either recipe. So I made each of them, and gave them as much time as I good (the chocolate dough ended up in the freezer to cool). What I definitely didn’t have time to do was to roll out and cut the doughnuts, and in the case of the apple doughnuts, to let them have a second rise (I really didn’t get much of a first). Instead I just used two spoons to get out little balls of dough, which I gently dropped into the hot oil. For those of you who don’t know, this is immensely stupid. When dealing with hot oil, you do NOT want to drop things in, as you risk splashing hot oil out of the fryer. Fortunately, I was able to minimize my burns, but I highly recommend that you be careful, and be sure to wear shoes (that oil that misses your hands is still heading down towards your feet). This technique worked fine for the apple doughnuts, which really just ended up resembling apple fritters. It did not seem to work at all for the chocolate doughnuts, some of which stayed together, others of which literally boiled themselves apart into little pieces of doughnut shrapnel floating in my hot oil.
Anyway, when all was said and done I had apple fritters. I coated them very lightly in a mix of powdered sugar and cinnamon, and served them. I can’t comment on the texture of the recipe as it was intended, but I thought my fritters were good, if not a little too doughy. As for flavor, they tasted like lightly sweetened, fried dough. I really didn’t think the apple came through as anything more than a hint, and even that might have depended on my knowing it was there.
Since these recipes were not my own, and I didn’t make them particularly successfully, I’ve decided not to repost them here. However, the links to both recipes are below if you are interested in making your own attempts (these bloggers clearly had more success than I did). Maybe I’ll try again someday with my Mom’s old recipes and a little more time.Use Real Butter’s Chocolate Doughnuts