Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Homemade Donuts for Cheaters

I was going to do two posts this week and post this recipe on Thursday, but one is all I think I can muster. Sorry dudes. But since I'm cheating you out of a second post this week, at least it's a fun one!

Let's proceed.

There's this donut shop not far from my house called "Every Day's a Donut Day". I think I've taken the sentiment to heart, because every time I see their sign I feel this strong urge to pull in and get something delicious. But I refrain, even though they make good ones. Because every day is not a donut day.

Years ago, I saw a piece in Real Simple magazine about making donuts out of canned biscuit dough. I tried it once when we were newlyweds, but I didn't love it because I hate Pillsbury biscuits. They have this nasty aftertaste. Yuck. But once I discovered Trader Joe's had some decent biscuit dough, I've been anxious to give it another go. For those days that are donut days after all.

And it is awesome. If you don't mind Pillsbury biscuits or have another brand that you like, by all means, use that, but I'll stick with TJ's. If, like me, you don't fry much, it's a great way to get your feet wet. I fry mine one at a time in a small cast iron pan -- that way I don't have to use an entire quart of oil just for frying a small batch of donuts. Only a cup or two is needed this way.

It couldn't be more simple. Just cut a hole in the middle and fry them up! Then you have to decide how to top them, and that's where things get tough -- decisions, decisions. I love just dunking them in some cinnamon sugar, but I couldn't resist this chocolate glaze from Crunchy Creamy Sweet. It's simple as can be, and a great complement to these easy donuts. (Not to mention, an excellent vehicle for rainbow sprinkles.)

And, my favorite part, the donut holes.

Homemade Donuts for Cheaters

1 can prepared biscuits, brought to room temperature
desired glaze or cinnamon sugar

It is important to let the biscuits come to room temp. If you use them straight from the refrigerator, they will not cook evenly, resulting in a nicely cooked outer layer and raw dough in the middle. I know from experience. Just pop them out of the can, place them on a cookie sheet and let them warm up for a while. Cover with plastic wrap to they don't dry out.
In a small pan, heat one to two inches of oil over medium-high heat -- the amount of oil needed will depend upon the size of your pan. While it's heating, cut holes from the middle of the biscuits. If desired, shape a bit with your hands to round off the square edges of the biscuits so they are smooth and circular. After a few minutes, test the oil with a small piece of dough (one of the donut holes will do). If the oil is ready, you will hear a sizzle, see bubbles around the dough, and the dough will float on the surface. If the oil is too cold, the dough will sink, in which case, let your oil heat for another minute or two.
Once your oil is ready, carefully place a donut in the hot oil. Let cook on first side until golden, then flip and cook for another minute or two until the other side is also golden. Remove to paper-towel-lined plate or baking sheet (or wire rack, etc.) and repeat with remaining dough. Only do one donut and up to a couple donut holes at once so the oil temperature doesn't drop, resulting in oily donuts.
If you are planning to coat in cinnamon sugar, do it almost immediately after cooking so the sugar will stick. If you are planning to glaze, let cool before doing so.
These are best enjoyed immediately.

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