December 8, 2009 1 Comment
I’m always looking for new recipes to test and make part of my go-to list, which in reality means that I’m always finding recipes and filing them away and then making myself feel really guilty for not trying them. This was bad enough years ago when Food Network only showed Emeril Live and Ming Tsai and when epicurious.com was just a glimmer in Al Gore’s eye and I had to clip recipes from magazines, but now with the explosion of all of these cooking shows (have you ever watched Cake Boss? I have a ridiculous crush on Buddy and his ability to make cakes in the shape of anything under the sun) and food websites, the countless recipes and ensuing guilt just about swallow me up. [insert deep dramatic sigh here] I have about 200 recipes I’ve been meaning to try (this does not include all of the cookbooks I’ve used one or two times).
I watched Giada De Laurentiis make doughnuts sometime last winter, and I never had any occasion to try them until this weekend when I needed something tasty to take to a brunch with friends. I’m not a huge doughnut fan, which is odd since fried dough + sugar = 20 kinds of happiness, but Giada just made them look so fun! and easy! and so super cute! She used pre-made pizza dough to make doughnuts and doughnut holes and really, nothing could be simpler.
I did a test run of the doughnut holes on Saturday and the hardest part was not eating the entire batch in one sitting. The fact that they are incredibly easy came in handy on Sunday morning when I made the real deal after spending a bit too much time gallivanting on Saturday night and got home oh, 5 hours before I needed to get up and start rolling out dough.
I ended up making powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar ones and they were soft and chewy hours after I made them (some reviews online said that they got hard after a few hours). No one believed that I’d actually made them, which I think is a sign of success. So yeah! for me… Only 199 recipes to go…
Italian Doughnuts (I’m not actually sure why they’re considered Italian, other than they were made by an Italian person) courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Olive oil, for frying (I didn’t use olive oil—maybe this is the Italian part?—and just used vegetable oil)
- 1 pound prepared pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1-½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pour equal parts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F (I thought 350 was a little more manageable. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat for about 10 minutes and then drop a little test piece of dough in the oil. If it sizzles, it’s hot enough).
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ½ inch thickness. Using a floured 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out doughnut rounds. Using a floured 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out a hole in the center of each doughnut. Gather the dough scraps and re-roll to cut out more doughnuts (Since I decided to just do doughnut holes, I rolled pieces of dough (about the size of my palm) into a log and then cut the log into equal pieces. I then rolled the pieces in the palm of my hand to make holes. This would likely have been easier if I had that 1 inch cookie cutter…).
Whisk the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl to blend. Set the cinnamon sugar aside.
When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the doughnuts until they puff but are still pale, about 45 seconds per side (the holes go a bit faster, but I did set the timer for 45 second for the first side. On the second side, I figured out that when they were done, they’d stop sizzling and just sort of sit there. Not an exact science, but better than trying to remember to set the timer each time or counting to 45 over and over).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly. While the doughnuts are still warm, add to the bowl with cinnamon sugar and generously coat each 2 times with the sugar (I just put the sugar in a brown paper bag and shook the doughnuts in the sugar until they were coated. I also did a batch using powdered sugar).