The massive, two-week spring break has come and gone. Despite it being a long break, I am still left feeling wistful wanting more break time. I actually went to New Orleans and back, Providence and back, and still got almost a full week to myself on campus to, supposedly, do work. So all whining aside, I actually had a wonderful time: I enjoyed shorts and all the food adventures in New Orleans, ate Providence food and managed to have food get-togethers on campus with different people. Yes, food is the common theme here, but hey, what else would I do? Favorite food memory in New Orleans: unexpectedly, a meatloaf po boy!
Anyways, before all these adventures commenced, I did a couple food projects with a few close friends back on campus, one which involved one of the most comforting food: doughnuts. I have wanted for so long to get my doughnuts on, sadly the thought of deep-frying and post-doughnut cleaning has proven to be effective in keeping me from actually making doughnuts. Armed with a few more people, the power of number became enough to overcome my reluctance to deal with deep-frying.
I got the recipe from Food52, one of the most trustworthy food website out there. The dough is very wet but worry not, the dough is supposed to pretty sticky. After it rose, the dough was actually pretty workable and relatively easy to move into the fry. We even managed to make duck- and crab-shaped doughnuts!
Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts
very slightly adapted to Food52
1½ cups 2% milk
⅓ cup water
4 tablespoons butter
5 cups AP flour + 1 cup
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
1 packet (0.25 oz) active dry yeast
Vegetable oil, for frying
Cinnamon-sugar mixture, at the end of recipe
Combine milk, water and butter in a saucepan and heat it up until butter is melted. Set heat on low and stir occasionally so to avoid milk burning. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool. After it cools, stir in sugar into the liquid mixture and sprinkle yeast to let it proof.
Mix together 5 cups of AP flour, salt and sugar, ensuring it is well-combined. Add the yeast mixture and eggs, vigorously stirring and combining until the dough is well-mixed together. The dough is going to be very wet but you can add more flour until it is a little more workable. Do not add too much (I added another half cup). Knead until the dough comes somewhat together (again, it will be pretty wet dough). Set the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it proof for 1 hour or until it doubles.
After the dough rises, roll the dough to about ½-inch thickness on a floured surface (I used some from the last half cup of flour). Cut out doughnut shapes from the dough. You can make the ring-shaped doughnut using a wide-mouthed glass for the outer circle and a bottle cap for the inner circle. You can also use cookie cutter like we did and get cute doughnut ducks!
While shaping, heat up oil in a deep, heavy pan (I used my cast-iron pan). You can make sure temperature is at 350F or, what Camille taught me, you can stick a wooden stick in and if bubbles surround the stick, oil should be hot enough. Once oil is hot enough, you can start frying the doughnuts! Flip doughnuts when the fried side is perfectly brown. Once doughnuts are perfectly fried, transfer them to a colander and let the oil drip off for a little bit.
To finish, combine 1 tsp of cinnamon per every half cup of sugar. You can use a different ratio but I like a strong cinnamon flavor embracing my doughnuts! Move the finished doughnuts into a bowl and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the doughnuts. Move around the bowl to make sure that the doughnuts are perfectly covered in cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!