Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cheater "Homemade" Doughtnuts

Many, many years ago when we were pretty newly married and lived in the same state as my sister and brother-in-law, they introduced us to "homemade" doughnuts. We don't make them all the time because they are definitely an indulgence, but we do like to make them every now and then for a special treat.

I always think of autumn as doughnuts and apple cider season, so Saturday when we had some people over for dinner we decided to whip these up for dessert. The best part is they are easy, delicious and so quick. Between eight of us we polished off two dozen in about 90 seconds flat. 

Saturday we just did a simple glazed version, but Monday we made them again (because I wanted to take pictures) for our family night treat. 
Do you want to know how to make them? Here you go. You will need:
Oil and refrigerated biscuit dough (and stuff for toppings). That's it. I just buy the store brand biscuits. Either homestyle or buttermilk will work.
Pop open a can of dough, slightly flatten a biscuit with your hand and then use a small cutter to cut out the doughnut holes. We used a water bottle cap.
 Do this to the whole can of dough. You can do however many cans you want. There are generally 10 biscuits to a can.
 I like to cut mine all out and have them ready so they can go in the fryer all at once. You may need to do a batch of doughnuts and then the holes so you don't crowd the pan.

I just use my electric skillet with an inch to an inch and half of canola oil. I have found that 325 degrees to 350 degrees is the optimal temperature. We liked ours closer to 325 degrees. Just make sure the oil bubbles and the dough floats when you put it into the oil, otherwise you will get oil-logged doughnuts that don't taste that great.
 Watch the doughnuts so they don't get too brown. After about a minute  they will start to puff up and get golden. Flip them with tongs and cook the other side for another minute or so. Be careful of the hot oil. Hot oil always makes me a little nervous. You are not going to want to let your kids help with this part of the project. I actually didn't even let my kids in the kitchen when I was doing the frying.
 When they are done remove them and let them drain on paper towels for just a minute.
Now, while they are still warm, you can fancy them up. This is a good place to let the kids step in and help a little. Kids have a knack for coming up with creative ideas for toppings (and getting good and messy while decorating things). One of the easiest toppings is a simple glaze (recipe below). Dip the warm doughnuts in the glaze--both sides--then put them on a cooling rack with waxed paper under it and allow the glaze to set for a couple of minutes. Tongs are less messy for dipping and you can handle doughnuts that are still pretty hot this way without burning fingers, but fingers work too--just allow the doughnuts to cool a little bit longer before picking them up. You can also use sprinkles if you want.
Just dip one side of a glazed or frosted doughnut into a dish of sprinkles. Other options are powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, chocolate frosting or whatever sounds good to you.

We used cinnamon sugar on a bunch of the doughnut holes--just tossed them in a container of cinnamon sugar, snapped on the lid and shook lightly.

I also decided to try Nutella, although chocolate frosting would work just as well. I just spread it on with a butter knife. The Nutella ones with sprinkles were my boys' favorites.
 Cinnamon sugared doughnut holes.
Nutella doughnut with sprinkles

So there you go. They are best warm but if for some odd reason they don't all get eaten right away (yeah, right.) you can always nuke one in the microwave for five seconds.

For Easy Cheater Doughnuts:
  • canola oil
  • canned biscuit dough
Heat one to one and half inches of oil in a frying pan or electric skillet to about 325 degrees (you could also use a fry daddy if you have one). While the oil is heating, cut holes out of the biscuits using a small cutter or water bottle cap. When the oil is hot, fry the doughnuts in the oil for one to two minutes per side until golden brown. Remove doughnuts and allow to drain on paper towels to remove some of the excess grease.

For Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, half and half or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or try maple flavoring--perfect for fall!)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Whisk ingredients together over medium low heat and allow the mixture to get warm but not hot. Remove from heat and  using tongs, dip warm, cooked doughnuts into the glaze. Make sure to glaze both sides of the doughnut. Set doughnuts on a cooling rack over waxed paper and allow the glaze to set for a minute or two before eating.

The guys we made them for could not believe they were just fried biscuit dough. I'm not going to say they are just like Krispy Kreme, but they are a really good (and much cheaper) alternative. Give 'em a try and let me know what you think.

*Sources: I slightly modified Alton Brown's glaze recipe and the doughnut how-to was courtesy of my awesome brother-in-law, Patrick circa 1998.

P.S. Just a few days left of Finding Joy in the Journey. Check out my daily posts on joy  for the month of October HERE.


runningfan said...

How fun is that? We'll definitely try this!

creating memories.. said...

oh vow! that is such a CLEVER idea!