Deep-frying hardest part of quick doughnut holes

Baked goods calling for just a few ingredients and a few minutes of hands-on time have been this blog’s theme for the past week.

From cream biscuits to English muffins to classic scones, they’ve progressively gotten a bit more challenging and a bit more decadent. To that, I’ll introduce another level of difficulty, which adds another layer of enjoyment, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Frying a spiced quick-bread dough results in my preferred doughnut, rich and cakey, coated in cinnamon-sugar rather than raised and lacquered with icing. But everyone knows that a day-old cake doughnut becomes dense with a note of stale frying oil.

While I don’t look for reasons to deep-fry, I do acknowledge that anything freshly fried, straight from the draining rack, and still hot enough to singe one’s fingertips is worth the occasional indulgence. Consider decorating little paper bags or Chinese takeout containers for Valentine’s Day to convey these sweet bites to your sweethearts.

Tribune News Service photo

Quick Doughnuts

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 egg

1 cup apple cider

1 quart ghee (shelved near oil in supermarkets) or canola oil, for frying

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, mace and 1/4 cup of the sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg and cider. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix with a wooden spoon just until a thick dough comes together.

In a heavy pot at least 3 inches deep, heat 2 inches of the ghee (or oil) to 350 F. Using a 1 1/2-inch diameter ice-cream scoop, scoop up a generous ball of dough and drop it in. Cook, for 4 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Wait for 1 minute. Cut in half. If done, you’re good to go. If not, add 1 minute cooking time to your batch.

Scoop balls of dough into hot ghee (or oil), without crowding. Fry, rotating spheres now and then, until deep brown outside and cooked through inside (4 or 5 minutes, depending on your test doughnut). Repeat, frying all doughnuts.

In a paper sack, shake together the cinnamon and remaining 1 cup sugar for topping. Drop in doughnuts a few at a time and shake to coat. Munch while warm.

Makes 18 to 20 doughnut holes.

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