When J and I lived in Arizona, we had a daily morning routine. It was pretty ordinary. He’d drive me to work, while I messily ate toast in the car. He’d cringe at the crumbs and urge me to cover my lap with a napkin and sometimes as a peace offering I’d pass him a slice of toast. We’d pull up to the school parking lot and into the student drop off behind parents leaving their middle school students from the day and have a conversation similar to what I imagine many of my students and parents were having at that moment.
J – “Do you have your water? Your lunch? Everything is in your bag?”
Me- “Yeess. Wait, yeah, no. I don’t see my…Oh here it is.”
J- “Money for a Diet Coke? Phone is in your purse?”
Me- “Um, No. I don’t have any change today. Phone in purse.”
J (As he hands me quarters for the vending machine) “Text me if it’s 3:45 or 4:30 today. Get yourself a snack if it’s 4:30.”
Me- “I looove you!
(What? You don’t get chauffeured to work and someone to give you lunch money everyday? Oh, those were the days…)
But on Fridays, Oh delicious, wonderful and magical Fridays! On Friday’s we’d leave early for work and stop for gas at the QT. And on Friday mornings instead of toast or oatmeal for breakfast we’d have doughnuts. Giant, delicious sugary breakfast AND sometimes I’d even go for the 44 oz Diet Coke to start my Friday. I know, super healthy, right?
But gas stations here don’t carry doughnuts. And there aren’t any doughnut shops conveniently open and on their way to school in the morning. So doughnut Fridays are sadly no more. Until this Friday, when J and I were sitting on the couch trying to decide what TV show to catch up on and he said “Do you know what would be really good right now? A small doughnut. Yeah, and a hot chocolate.”
I could not agree more! It was Friday after all. I suggested we head to one of the many malls and hit the Starbucks. He was reluctant. I sighed, I wanted a doughnut so badly!! And it was FRIDAY! But he was right, really were we going to go catch a taxi, go to the busy mall just for a hot chocolate and a doughnut, and then catch a taxi back? Then I jumped up from the couch overly animated and way too excited!
“I can make you doughnuts!!”
And before he could protest and amid his questions of “you know how to make doughnuts?” I had my apron tied on and set to mixing. The results were fairly easy and delicious! Make these easy yummy treats for your own doughnut Friday. Or Thursday. Or Saturday….
Hey! It was cold in the kitchen! Olivia knows I’m cooking something yummy!
Vanilla Cake Doughnut Holes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
A few notes before you begin! The dough takes just a few minutes to whip up but it has to be chilled for an hour before you get frying. Also this dough is can get super sticky! So either generously flour your counter top or put down some wax paper and flour that. And your fingers. And your cookie cutter. If the dough gets to sticky to work with, pause, don’t panic, and toss it back freezer briefly and it will firm back up.
Makes about 2 Dozen (with a 1 1/2 inch cutter)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or two…if you like vanilla like me)
1/4 cup buttermilk (I didn’t have buttermilk handy, but thanks to Deb at smitten kitchen I was able to make an easy substitute. Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, allow to sit about 10 minutes, until curdled and ta da!)
Vegetable oil or shortening for frying.
Powdered sugar for dusting.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk together (but don’t get to ambitious here or you’ll have the dread flour cloud to clean up).
In another smaller bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar, butter, vanilla, and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until it is completely incorporated. Cover and chill (at least 1 hour but up to 3).
Flour your workspace. REPEAT! This stuff gets sticky fast! Spread, drop or scrape that dough onto the floured surface and then flour your hands, fingers and cutter. Do not attempt to roll this out with your rolling pin! Pat it flat with your hands, working it out to about a 1/2 inch thick. Dip your cutter in flour, then cut rounds from the dough. Place the dough rounds on a sheet of wax paper, then rework the trimmings to cut additional rounds. Again if the dough gets to sticky to handle easily, just place the dough in the freezer for a few minutes until it is easy to pick up again.
Fill your sauce pan with about 3 to 4 inches of oil. If you have a candy thermometer (which I decided is another kitchen gadget that I need now!) heat to 375 F or medium heat. I used a mix of half vegetable shortening and half vegetable oil and the doughnuts were decidedly less greasy than when frying with only vegetable oil.
Gently transfer the doughnuts into the oil one at a time. Cook about 2 minutes on each side, until they are a nice golden brown and puffy. As always, it’s best to check your cooking time by cooking a test one! Remove from oil and cut in half to check if the center is doughy. Adjust cooking time as necessary and cook in batches of 5 or 6, allowing time for the oil temperature to recover between batches.
Transfer cooked doughnuts to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil and dust lightly with powdered sugar for your own delicious Doughnut Friday!