Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sometimes Only a Doughnut Will Do

I have an important question to ask.  Are you of the DOUGHnut,  or the DOnut  persuasion?  Me, I prefer the former.  I think Shakespeare would approve.

Anyway, this weekend I woke up with a craving for doughnuts, quite possibly brought on by O2’s dash south to pick some up at Voodoo with a friend of hers, almost causing me to be late for an appointment.  Anyway, while I appreciate the novelty of a good Voodoo Doughnut (and by the way, THEY happen to be of the DOUGHnut persuasion), my tastes tend to run to the basic and boring myself.
And, while I was motivated enough to make them myself, rather than driving across town to pick one (or two) up, I wasn’t patient enough to put together something with a long wait time.  So raised doughnuts were out.  Instead, I dug around and pieced together a couple of recipes and came up with these.

I’m not sure that using an actual vanilla bean made a whole lot of difference here.  It did make me feel better about my ‘quickie’ doughnuts, though, so we’ll call them integral to the success of the dish.  Seriously, though, you can get away with just amping up your vanilla extract if you don't want to mess with the vanilla bean.
I tried these two different ways (ok, three).  One in their pristine condition dunked into a little chocolate, and one sprinkled with a bit of vanilla sugar I had on hand.  I also ate several of them as is, and I think I liked those best.

For leftovers, I popped a few in the oven just to heat them through.  They didn’t have quite the same consistency as fresh (they lost that nice crunch to the outside), but they were still very tasty.

Vanilla Bean Quick Doughnuts

2 Tbs butter flavored shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 vanilla bean, split in half and seeds scraped
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup buttermilk

Oil for frying (I used canola)

In a mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar.  Beat in the egg.  Add the seeds from the vanilla bean, along with the vanilla extract and stir to combine.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Add to egg mixture.  Add buttermilk and stir until ingredients are combined.
Flour a surface and roll out dough to about 1/3” thick.  Cut with floured doughnut cutter, re-rolling scrap pieces and cutting until all the dough is cut out.  Allow to stand while oil is being heated.

In a large saucepan, add oil until it is about 2” deep.  Heat on medium to medium-high until oil reaches a temperature of about 365°.  Add dough a few pieces at a time (don’t overcrowd the pan) and allow to cook on each side until the doughnut is a golden brown, maybe a minute per side. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain.  While still warm, roll in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, if desired.

Or dunk in a glaze.

Or chocolate.

You get the idea.