In the grand scheme of things, making donuts is not rocket science. These weren't even yeast donuts, they were little ole cake donuts...and actually they were basically just donut holes. But 'I' made them. Little ole me. Whose first deep frying experience was only three days ago when I made some Nutella Ravioli. I made DONUTS. And the sun rose and the angels sang. And I was on such a high (couldn't have been all the sugar could it?) after making these I felt like I could have gone ten round with Rocky. Just because I made me some donuts.
I have to thank Peabody for giving me a kick in the butt to make these. See...she and Tartelette came up with a donut posting challenge. I've never participated in one of these online food challenges before (what if I messed up? What if I made something someone else did and their photo was food porn and my photo was, well, Cloverdaleish?) but being that Peabody is my Adopt A Blogger, I figured I better get going and join the challenge. To see the recipes of all the other blogs that participated in the challenge check out Peabodys and Tartelettes blogs on the 15th when they do the roundup for the challenge.
I think I was lucky to have remembered this recipe when the challenge came out. It comes from the Americas Best Lost Recipes cookbook and I saw it when I was looking for something to make out of the cookbook (I chose the Deviled Egg recipe). The donut recipe looked pretty simple but I honestly kind of locked it away in the part of my brain with those "someday" recipes (the same part of my brain where I keep yeast bread recipes, souffles and anything that needs to be made with a candy thermometer that are a bit scary for me yet).
This was super easy to make and they tasted wonderful! We didn't even bother getting out the deep fat fryer as Peabody said to just use my cast iron skillet. Mr. L has a wonderful new gadget, one of those heat temperature guns (you just aim the laser at whatever you want to take the temperature of) so it was fun to get him involved as "temperature guide". I would make sure everything is in place before you start but these came together pretty fast once the oil came to temperature.
My first thought when I dropped the dough into the oil as required was that these were going to be a mess...you aren't making balls you're just dropping dough which kind of goes all over, but they do end up making roundish balls (who knew!). I made the first batch of donuts to large, it's better to put smaller drops of dough in. I also figured after a few batches that the 3-5 minute frying time was to long...mine were done probably around the two minute mark.
If you look at the photo in the book the donuts are really covered with the sugar mix...they said to wait 5 minutes before coating with sugar and with that time the sugar didn't stick. I changed the time to 3-4 minutes and the sugar stuck better.
These are cake like donuts and the orange flavor really makes them pop. They tasted yummy warm and weren't to bad a couple hours later after they cooled either.
ORANGE DROP DONUTS
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 quarts vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Pulse 1/2 cup of the sugar and 1 teaspoon orange zest in a food processor until blended. Transfer to a bowl. (If making by hand, toss the zest and sugar in a bowl using a fork until evenly blended.)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven until the temperature reaches 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon orange zest in a large bowl. Whisk in the orange juice, then the butter, until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture until evenly moistened.
Use two dinner teaspoons to carefully drop heaping spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. (You should be able to fit about six spoonfuls in the pot at one time. Do not overcrowd). Fry, maintaining a temperature between 325 and 350 degrees, until the doughnuts are crisp and deeply browned on all sides, 3 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to a plate lined with paper towels and let drain for 5 minutes. Toss the doughnuts in the bowl with the orange sugar until well coated and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, sugaring the doughnuts as directed and regulating the oil temperature as necessary. Serve. Makes 24 to 30 doughnuts.
Test Kitchen notes say you'll need about three oranges for the zest and juice.
Note: I just put about two inches of oil in my fry pan, I didn't measure it. I came up a tad bit short of fresh squeezed orange juice so I made up for it with a bit of orange juice from a carton (maybe a tablespoon).
Note: I didn't want to get out my food processor for this small of a task so I just mixed the sugar and zest in a bowl. It took a couple of minutes of mixing to really incorporate it together. I'd watch the frying time as mine took much less than the three minutes. And you might experiment with the time to wait to roll in the sugar mixture.
Note: Recipe spells this "doughnuts" so I kept it that way instead of "donuts".
Did I mention how yummy these were and easy to make?