I don't know how it is for the other new mamas out there, but I've had more cravings after Monica was born than while pregnant with her. My cravings of choice include ice cream, milkshakes, donuts, cookies, and a myriad of other sweets. I chalk it up to breastfeeding and running.
A few weeks back, I decided to indulge in my donut craving. The weather was starting to turn fall-ish and I associate fall with cinnamon and baking. OK, I fried the donuts, but you get my point.
The great thing about these donuts is that I already had everything I needed on hand. The original recipe called for sour cream and buttermilk, but there are easy substitutions for those. We usually have yogurt in the fridge, so I swapped out the sour cream for Chobani honey ginger Greek yogurt. And you can "make" buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk and letting sit until it curdles, about 10 minutes.
As for special tools, you really only need a candy thermometer since it's important to keep the oil between 165 - 170*. Nobody wants a burnt donut! I used a plastic cup and old spice jar to cut out the donuts and donut holes.
A bench scraper is helpful, but you can also use a spatula to lift the donuts off your counter. And a slotted spoon, as opposed to a spider strainer/skimmer, can be used to take the donuts out of the hot oil.
Since I didn't want to indulge too much, I only made half of the original recipe, which was plenty for John and I. The ingredients and measurements below are for the half batch and yielded about 6 big donuts and at least a dozen donut holes.
While these donuts are delicious dipped in cinnamon sugar, they're also pretty fantastic on their own because cinnamon and nutmeg is in the donut itself.
Cinnamon Sugar Buttermilk Donuts
Adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
Note: This recipe is for a half batch, which makes about 6 large donuts and a dozen-ish donut holes
For the Donuts:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/8 cup (or 6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I made this a heaping 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I made this a heaping 1/2 teaspoon)
1 large egg
3/8 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice and 3/8 cup milk, mixed together and let sit until curdled)
2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream or yogurt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Vegetable oil for frying
For the Cinnamon Sugar:
5/8 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and another with paper towels.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
In another bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, and sour cream/yogurt until combined. Add the melted butter and whisk again. The butter might harden once it hits the cold buttermilk mixture, so be sure to whisk the mixture well.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the egg mixture into the center. Gently fold the flour into the liquid until the mixture forms a sticky dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Pat the dough out until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
Use two round cutters (2 1/2 inch and 1 inch). Dip the larger cutter in flour and cut out the donuts. Dip the smaller cutter in flour and cut the donut holes. Arrange the donuts and donut holes onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Continue to pat together the remaining scraps and repeat cutting as many donuts as possible ( I got about 6 big donuts and a dozen donut holes). Chill the dough while you heat the oil.
Pour oil into a deep skillet or dutch oven until it is about 1 – 1 1/2 inch deep. Slowly heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 165-170 degrees.
Mix the cinnamon sugar while the oil heats.
To Fry the Doughnuts
Once the oil reaches the appropriate temperature, gently place the doughnuts into the hot oil. Be sure to only fry about three at time so you don’t over crowd the pot.
Be careful to keep the oil temperature even. Adjust the burner to keep temperature between 165-170 degrees!
Once they have browned on one side, carefully flip them over in the oil. These should take about 2-3 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon or spider strainer, transfer the donuts to the paper towel lined baking sheet.
Continue with the rest of the donuts and the donut holes. The donut holes will take less time, about 1 minute per side.
Once you have finished frying the doughnuts, quickly dip them in the cinnamon sugar. Or just enjoy them au naturel!