I must confess that Valentine’s Day has never been the #1 holiday on my list (nor no. 2 or 3, for that matter); in fact, every year around Christmastime I dread it. Why? Maybe because in that moment I can’t imagine a holiday as wonderful as Christmas; after which the long, dreary months of January and February seem intolerable. Anyway, that said, when it rolls around each year I always like it in the end – probably because Christmas is well over with and Valentine’s Day is the only thing to look forward to in the dead of winter. (actually the dead of winter was back at the end of January in my opinion)
Enough of the babble.
To celebrate I made a menu to cause a heart attack (I’m giving an ode to vegetables at lunch). I’m not going to go into details or list every recipe (maybe some other time? Like when I share what I made for dessert…) but out of all of the meals, why not share breakfast?
This morning I made doughnuts. Fried doughnuts. Enter first heart attack… I know, baked is healthier and can taste just as good as fried – I know this because my brother makes the meanest chocolate baked doughnuts. But every once in a while you just get the urge to try something different and go all out. The last time I got this urge was back in the fall, when in an attempt to find a doughnut that tasted as heavenly as the ones you can get at Clyde’s Cider Mill in Connecticut, I made apple cider doughnuts. I was a little wary of frying doughnuts, but I was determined to give it a try. In short, the frying experience went well with no major mishaps and the doughnuts tasted delish (although still not like the melt in your mouth experience one gets from going to Clyde’s), so I decided to again try my hand at it. I visited my absolute favorite place to find a good recipe, TasteSpotting, and began the search for doughnuts. Here is what I came up with. Since they were just plain doughnuts I wanted a variety and so made various toppings. Cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, and glaze are what made it on the tops (and sides and bottoms) of my doughnuts this A.M. They turned out great! I was a little curious as to how they would turn out since I (1.) halved the recipe, ( 2. ) didn’t have cardamon so added cinnamon instead, and ( 3. ) put them in the fridge overnight and then brought them out in the morning to rise. I was also a little worried because this is the second time that when I’ve put dough in the fridge and put it out in the morning to rise, it didn’t seem to do its thing. I pressed on, made the dough balls and let them rise some more. Not much more rising occurred. I pressed on still, poked holes in the middle, and shaped them into doughnuts. Okay, by this time I was thinking we were going to have mini doughnuts for breakfast. Finally the moment arrived. I heated up the oil and then 1,2,3 plopped them in!
Do you know what happened? They were frying beautifully and puffing up – they were, in fact, turning into… doughnuts! Sigh of relief. After each one, I let them cool (1 minute? You still want them warm) before coating.
Then an even bigger moment arrived. Note: by this time, my siblings were looking like ravenous beasts ready to devour anything – just kidding.
The first bite. Ahhh…
Thus ends my second (but not final) venture of frying doughnuts, and with that I want to thank Home Style and Cuisine for this wonderful recipe that we enjoyed very much, and bid you a very Happy Valentine’s Day – cottura felice!
Ingredients (35-40 doughnuts):
2 cups milk 1.76 oz (50 g) fresh yeast or 56 oz (16 g) dry yeast 2/3 cups sugar 1 tablespoon cardamom (may be left out) 1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1/2 cup melted butter about 6 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl slightly warm up the milk (about 37 degrees C or 98.6 degrees F). Add the yeast and mix until it has dissolved in the milk.
Add the sugar, cardamom, salt, eggs and melted butter into the milk and yeast mixture.
Knead the dough by slowly adding the flour. Knead until the point where the dough does not stick to the walls of the bowl.
Cover the dough with a piece of cloth and leave it to rise in a warm place for about an hour.
Place the dough on a surface covered with flour, and slightly knead it again in order to get the possible bubbles of air out of the dough. Make small balls from the dough (about 2 ½ inches or 6-7cm in diameter) and leave them to rise under a piece of cloth for about 30 minutes.
Use your finger to pierce the ball in the center and by spinning it around your two fingers make the hole larger.
In a large casserole bring an appropriate amount of oil to a temperature of 170-180 degrees C (340-350 degrees F) and cook the doughnuts for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Place the cooked doughnuts on paper towel in order to drain the excess oil.
When the doughnuts have cooled enough, coat them on both sides with sugar. And voilà!, we have made sugar-coated doughnuts.
In order to prepare the sugar icing, you will need to mix together 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) and 6 tablespoons of berry juice. Cover the doughnuts with the icing. I covered one of my doughnuts with it in order to show you how it looks like.
Tip: Note that the doughnuts can become stale after one day. However, you can “freshen them up” a little by simply putting them in the microwave for a few seconds.