Trial and Error

My kitchen is a mess, my clothes are covered in flour and my face is totally greasy but it was worth it because I successfully made a batch of apple cider doughnuts (donuts from here on out) this afternoon. This was way more challenging than I thought.

The recipe came from a dessert cookbook I received from Ellyn, my Secret Santa last year. This was an excellent gift and this is the second or third recipe I’ve made from it.

I read the recipe carefully before starting and one of the things that struck me as odd was that there was no mention of the donut hole. It said you should use either a biscuit cutter or mason jar to make the rounds and that the dough should be 3/4″ thick. This all seemed sensible – I opted for a juice glass for making my rounds. The picture of the donuts in the recipe clearly shows a hole so I’m thinking that maybe when you fry the donuts, the center somehow magically dissolves in the oil to create the hole. In retrospect, I realize this is ridiculous but this was my first time making donuts so what the hell do I know? The other challenging thing was keeping the temperature of the oil consistent at 350°.

Since I had a little leftover dough after making the rounds, I opted to make a few mini donuts (donettes!) as testers. I’m glad I did this because none of them came out fully cooked – they all had raw dough in the middle:

So then I tried a regular size round – no dice. Still raw in the middle. And to make matters worse, the oil had shot up to 380° so the outside was totally burned. Things were not going well but I was not to be deterred. I lowered the temperature of the oil and while it was cooling down, I got out a rolling pin and a bottle of vanilla. I used the rolling pin to flatten out the rounds a little bit – they were now more like 1/2″ tall, if that. As for the vanilla, I used the cap as a donut hole maker – it was the perfect diameter and height for the dough. You can see the gradual improvement here:

After that, it was like a donut assembly line. The recipe said to fry three donuts at a time but I opted to do each one separately so I could manage the oil temperature. I’d drop the dough into the pot trying not to get burned by the oil, set the timer for one minute, flip the donut, set the timer for one more minute. Remove donut with strainer and drain on paper towels. Then dredge in cinnamon sugar. And after the last donut was finished, I popped all the holes into the oil and made donut holes.

I am extremely proud of today’s baking/cooking accomplishment (see pictures below) but I do not think that donuts will be part of my regular rotation. Having a batch of donuts in my house is just a bad idea and while they are absolutely delicious, I’m already plotting how I can get rid of them. Of course I’ll eat a couple (the donut holes can stay) but the rest of them have to go. So if you wake up tomorrow morning and find some donuts on your front porch, you’re welcome.

I need to go clean up the kitchen now and take a shower but before I go, I’d like to give Roberta a quick shout-out as she figured out that the annoying bird that sits on my roof is the California Towhee. Here’s the link for those that are interested:

Be sure to click on “Call” to listen to what I hear every damn morning. This morning was particularly bad. He started around 4:30am and because I had my skylight open, I had no choice but to do earplugs and an abbreviated pillow sandwich.

P.s. I’ll be having a nice healthy salad for dinner tonight.

3 thoughts on “Trial and Error

  1. I’ve had a lot of trial and error as an amateur baker. It’s so annoying, but that learning curve is totally worth experiencing. Your last batch looks lovely! I just made donuts for the first time yesterday too :))


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