Last post, I talked about one of what is, IMHO, one of the most loveable food trends out there now—miniature food—and even went out like a brave little Baby June to provide you with my own example of such food. That was a lot of work, a lot of exertion there. I am ready to bitch.
|No, not you. source|
If you’ve been around the food blogosphere a few times, you’ve likely seen so-called baked doughnuts—cake-like treats baked in a doughnut mold pan and oftentimes frosted to look like their traditional fried counterparts. And I’ll admit, most of them look delicious and even adorable, especially the miniature ones. It even looks like the trend may have given us the glorious dogenut.
|*Cries with irrepressible joy* source|
But, well, you know. You probably know what I’m going to say. I’m going to sound like a dumbass pretentious foodie with her nose stuck in the air and chubby fists shoved in a bag of artisanal cheese puffs. So fuck that shit, let me explain why these doughnut holes—these delicious, chocolaty, greasy balls of fried dough, which also happen to be vegan—are better than baked doughnuts.
First and foremost, they are fried. Fried things are good. This is a basic tenant of Murican culture, and I expect that every fellow Murican who is reading this blog knows has taken this to be a fact. If you are not Murican consider yourself exempted.
Secondly, they are fried. Did I say that already? Well, my point now is that every person should have a least one experience deep-frying a piece of dough. Last fall, I made apple cider doughnuts for the first time and it was a revelation—a painful, oil-splashed revelation, but a revelation nonetheless. It will humble you. It will make you think twice the next time you buy into the systemic oppression of fry cooks across the country.
|STOP! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GETTING INTO! THIS IS DANGEROUS! source|
Third, know that gaining experience into the beauty of deep frying will broaden your culinary horizons. Not until you plunge raw food into a vat of oil as hot as an oven and, a few minutes later, rescue it with tongs and fling it onto a few inches of paper towels will you understand how magical this technique truly is. You will discover that it takes only a brief trip into hell for an ordinary, uncooked food to transform into the pinnacle of addictive deliciousness. Doughnuts are only the gateway drug. You can fry everything and everything, from yams to green tomatoes to lasagna (?) to cheesecake (!) to butter (?!?!).
|I wasn't kidding. source|
By now, you must be head-over-heels in love with the culinary art that is deep-frying. So where to begin? Well, I’m no expert, but I have made regular old doughnuts not once, but twice in my lifetime, not to mention I once fried zucchini because, #YOLO—and as a result of this experience, I have acquired some tidbits of wisdom you ought to know before you delve into this new and exciting form of cooking. A few tips:
1. Keep baking soda nearby. Hopefully you will not need to use this, but in case of a grease fire, it is helpful to have some of the stuff close at hand. I have not had to use it. Yet.
|See my little box of the stuff next to the pile of turdballs.|
2. Wear some sort of protection on your arms when putting dough into oil. The first time I made doughnuts, I got a nice little burn across my forearm after accidentally pressing it against the edge of the pot. Which was hot. That pot was very hot. Not to mention, you run the risk of splashing oil all over your bare hands if you get a little clumsy and drop something in the oil. When making these doughnut holes, I wore an oven mitt. Worked quite well, if I do say so myself.
3. Don’t rush. One of the worst things you can do is drop something in the pot and have hot oil splash everywhere. Basically, don’t be a dumbass; use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully lift items in and out of the fryer. It’s better to go slowly and steadily than rush and end up injured. I would know.
4. Keep your eye on the temperature. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot or too cold, and adjust the heat accordingly. You wouldn’t want half the batch to cook perfectly and the other half to be burnt to a crisp. Unless you like crispy, burnt things.
5. Remember that things cook faster than you think. It will take like thirty seconds for these doughnut holes to cook. If you let the sit in there for a minute or so after they are done, they will be blackened and burnt and soaked with grease and not appetizing overall. Just because the oil is 375 degrees, doesn’t mean it will take the same time for the dough to cook as it would in a 375 degree oven. Chemistry, bitches.
So those are my tips for today. If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment! I’m far, far, far, far from an expert—these are just some things I think would have been helpful for me to know the first time around, and they would probably be helpful for any deep-frying newbies out there too.
But even if your doughnuts are not perfect, they’re still pretty delicious.
Here is the recipe.
Chocolate doughnut holes with espresso and orange curd
Chocolate doughnut holes
150 grams • granulated sugar • ¾ cup
62 grams • silken tofu, blended until smooth (or other substitute for one egg) • ¼ cup
27 grams • Earth Balance or vegan margarine • 2 tablespoons
57 grams • unsweetened baking chocolate • 2 ounces
3 grams • vanilla extract • ¾ teaspoon
122 grams • nondairy milk • ½ cup
2 grams • apple cider vinegar • ½ teaspoon
6 grams • espresso powder • 2 teaspoons
219 grams • all-purpose flour • 1 ¾ cups
6 grams • baking powder • 1 ½ teaspoons
2 grams • baking soda • ½ teaspoon
1 gram • salt • ¼ teaspoon
A shit ton of canola oil (not too much though)
In a small bowl, beat sugar and blended tofu (or other egg substitute) together until smooth. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt Earth Balance and chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in sugar mixture until combined. In yet another bowl, combine soy milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir this into the sugar / chocolate mixture too.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt. Stir this gently into liquid mixture until a dough is formed. Do not over-mix. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for a couple hours until it’s nice and hard and easy to work with. In this time you can make the orange curd, recipe below.
After two hours have passed, lightly flour a nice big surface and roll out the dough to ½ inch thick. Using a knife or a cookie cutter or doughnut cutter or whatever, make cute little circles of dough and set them aside. You are ready to fry. This is the best part, I swear.
Heat your shit ton of canola oil to 375 degrees F in a big pot. There is no exact amount of oil necessary for frying but just make sure the oil reaches several inches up the side of the pot. I’m really sorry.
Start out by putting one doughnut hole in the fryer (using tongs or a slotted spoon) and letting it cook for about thirty to forty-five seconds, flipping halfway through. That is if your doughnuts are about an inch in diameter; if they are larger or smaller, the cooking time will differ accordingly. It will puff up all magic-like and brown slightly. Once the first doughnut is cooked, put it on a platter lined with like a whole role of paper towels to soak up all the grease.
At this point, you can put a bunch of doughnuts in there and fry them all at once. The first was just a test. Don’t crowd the pot too much; make sure there is plenty of room for each doughnut to bob around and soak up oil. Let them cool for a few minutes before eating. Make sure they aren’t too hot if you want to top them with curd.
122 grams ● nondairy milk ● ½ cup
60 grams ● water ● ¼ cup
16 grams ● cornstarch ● 1 tablespoon
75 grams ● sugar ● ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
90 grams ● orange juice, fresh or bottled ● ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
2 grams ● lemon zest or orange zest ● 1 teaspoon
71 grams ● Earth Balance or other vegan buttery spread ● 5 tablespoons
Dash of orange liqueur, optional
Head on over to Healthy Happy Life to get instructions. But you should substitute orange juice for lemon juice if you want orange curd. Otherwise it is lemon curd. Just so you know. If you want, stir in orange liqueur at the end.
Once cooled and set and all that jazz, you can assemble the doughnuts as described below.
Chocolate doughnut holes
Dark chocolate bar
So the first thing you’ll want to do is shave the chocolate. There are multiple ways to do this, but I used a lemon zester to get little flake-like pieces. Simply place the chocolate bar underside-up on a cutting board and drag that zester across until little pieces of chocolate start to come off. Store shavings in the refrigerator until you need them.
Place doughnut holes in a muffin tin and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Dollop a little bit of orange curd on top, then add a pinch of chocolate shavings on top of that to make it all fancy-like. So perf! Now nosh. Eat within a few hours or the doughnuts will get soggy. If you don’t top the doughnuts, you can keep them at room temperature or chilled for a couple days.
As you can see, my doughnut holes are not exactly the most perfect of holes.
|What are those things down there? I don't even know.|
That is because, being a pitiful little peasant, I do not have a sufficient cookie cutter to make doughnut holes. I searched through the giant, ancient box of plastic cutters my family has festering in the basement, and there was not a single munchkin-sized shape in the entire thing. So I went commando and used a paring knife. Big deal. So what if they look like shit? They taste the same.
And I’d say the crispy edges the holes had a few minutes after frying were worth it.
|Look at the chocolate zest! So fancy.|
The flavors are even better—much cleaner and lacking that weird aftertaste that you get with the doughnuts from good old DD. Not overpoweringly sweet or one-dimensional. The chocolate-orange duo is flawless. Creamy curd and cakey cake in every bite, with a hint of espresso lurking in the background.
|Guess who went to Food Writing 101.|
Better than baked doughnuts? Maybe. Healthier? Maybe not. Worth all of the effort and grease?