It is long since past Chanukah, but I’m not even close to being over frying. Last night I fried some brussels sprouts with bacon, sriracha, and lime, a la David Chang. And before that, I subjected my poor book club–which barely survived the heavily spiked cider—to these enormous spiced buttermilk donut holes.
They’re this huge because I was lazy and used a giant scoop rather than tediously hand-shaping more reasonably sized donuts. But I don’t think anyone minded. I certainly didn’t—I love donuts of all kinds, and these slightly tangy spiced ones are among the best I’ve had in ages. Until these, I’d only ever before made apple cider donuts, with Kitchenplay, but now I resolve to make more donuts in 2011.
Incidentally, why doesn’t DC have any decent donut joints? I miss the Doughnut Plant in New York terribly. Or maybe a donut truck? We have a lobster roll truck, a grilled cheese truck, a mac and cheese truck, an Ethiopian truck, and about seventeen cupcake trucks, but no donuts. This travesty must be remedied in 2011.
4 cups canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. divided
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pour the oil into a 3- or 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan. Insert a candy or instant-read thermometer into the oil and heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 375°F. [I actually recommend not doing this until you’re ready to fry. The batter can also be made in advance and kept in the fridge.] Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
Place one cup of sugar in a small bowl or plastic bag and add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. Stir or shake together until well blended. Set this spiced sugar aside while making the doughnut holes.
Over a medium-size bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of ginger. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and the salt and toss to blend.
Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, melted butter, lemon zest, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture in two stages, folding together gently with a rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed.
Using a 1-inch round ice cream scoop, place 5 or 6 scoops of the batter into the hot oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, turing once.
Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove the doughnut holes from the oil and place them on the lined baking sheet. Let them cool slightly, then roll them in the spiced sugar. If the spiced sugar is in a plastic bag, shake 2 or 3 doughnut holes at a time in the spiced sugar to coat. Place the doughnut holes back on the baking sheet and cool them slightly. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve doughnut holes warm or at room temperature.