Doughnuts Doughnuts Doughnuts

When was the last time you ate a doughnut? The last time I ate one was this summer at the Gathering Together Farm in Philomath, Oregon. The Gathering Together Farm is an organic farm/restaurant. My mom, dad, uncle Peter, and I stopped there on our way back to Portland, Oregon from the coast. My mom remembered the farm's name from some brochure she had picked up some where, and luckily, Peter had his iphone with him and was able to use the GPS to successfully guide us there. The restaurant is located in the middle of several fields. It serves a terrific Saturday breakfast and sells produce from the farm and these mighty fine chocolate-covered potato doughnuts. After breakfast, we ordered one for each of us. They were heavenly. Peter didn't eat his right away, but he put it in a box for later. In the car, Mom kept hopefully asking at one hour intervals, "Pete, when are you going to eat your doughnut?" We should have bought her one for later!

My sister, Katherine, is a big fan of doughnuts. She's been known to whip up a batch of doughnuts on the weekend and invite her friends over to enjoy the feast. Her enthusiastic telling of such occasions over the phone inspired me to invite my dear friends ChloƩ and Louis over for brunch last Saturday. And that's how I found myself making doughnut dough at 1 AM while talking to Katherine on the phone to verify that I had the right consistency.

Deep-frying often scares people. But there is nothing to fear. It's simply a matter of experience. And you don't need a fancy deep-fryer or a fire extinguisher or a special kind of oil (although if you plan on serving a deep-fried meal every week, I highly recommend purchasing one as it is easier to control the temperature).

These doughnuts are super easy to make and a great way to impress your guests (or yourself).

Caprial's Doughnuts
From Caprial's Deserts (an excellent book).

Makes 8 big doughnuts, plus the holes.

This is a cake doughnut and straightforward to make. The only difficulty I had was the amount of flour to use. All flours behave differently. I would start with the amount that the recipe calls for and then add more if you need to. If the dough is slightly sticky, don't worry. It will absorb more of the flour overnight in the fridge.

A doughnut cutter is the easiest way to cut the doughnuts out, but a glass and a shot glass would work too.

An instant read thermometer will help you keep the temperature of the oil constant.

1 3/4 C flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of five spice powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt

1 litre of vegetable oil for deep frying
white sugar for dredging the cooked doughnuts

- Mix together the dry ingredients.
- Mix together the vanilla and milk in another bowl.
- Cream together the butter and sugar, add the egg.
- Add half the flour and half the milk to the butter and blend on low.
- Add the remaining flour and milk and blend until well combined. Add more flour if necessary. You may need to knead the dough.
- Cover the dough and chill it overnight or for 2 hours.

To deep fry

- Pour the oil into a large pot and heat over medium high. Check at regular intervals with an instant read thermometer for the temperature.
- Roll out the chilled dough on a floured surface until it's 1/2 inches thick.
- Cut into the desired shape using a doughnut cutter or a wide-mouthed glass and a shot glass for the holes. It's fun to make a whole bunch of small doughnuts using only a small glass.
- When the oil reaches 350 F, try out the temperature with a doughnut hole. If it bobs up to the surface after about 30 seconds, the oil is ready. Slide in 3 or 4 big doughnuts and turn them after 3 minutes. You can also go by colour: golden brown means they're done!
- Transfer the cooked doughnuts onto paper towels and let cool.
- Shake them around in a paper bag with some sugar and serve!

After you finish cooking and the oil has cooled, place some cheesecloth in a funnel and pour the oil back into the bottle. Keep it in the fridge for the next time you want to make doughnuts!