Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Mandatory.

Alright, so maybe that candy thermometer is not so much of a suggestion, but a necessity… It’s just that, well, I am a cook not a baker.  So I look at recipes more as‘suggestions’ than mandatory rules.  I don’t believe in mandatory anywhere.  Not in my kitchen, not in my house, and not in my life.  There is no mandatory, because how in the hell is there room to create something spectacular if you have to follow the rules all the time? 

So, when it came time to make doughnut holes, I was all “Let’s be adventurous”  “Let’s get wild!” Let’s say SCREW the candy thermometer because “pshhh hot oil is hot oil” whatevs!

Yea… Get a candy thermometer.

Follow the damn directions.

I mean, it’s not like I got this recipe from some joe shmo off the streets, this is MARTHA here! Why didn’t I just listen to her?  Why did I have to be all “I am a Leo, I don’t follow rules! I make the rules!” 

Swift kick in my cocky kitchen. To my gut. Because damnit, I wanted a doughnut hole.  And these, well. I sort of ruined them all. 

So here’s my suggestion.  There is nothing wrong with this recipe, but for eff’s sake will you just follow it? Don’t be all “ I’m Don Draper, I make miracles in this shit”   Just follow it.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for coating
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
28 to 30 store-bought soft caramel squares, unwrapped
5 to 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, butter, and eggs until thoroughly combined. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until a smooth dough forms. 

On a lightly floured work surface, pat dough flat and lightly flour. Roll out dough to a 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter (to lift rounds from work surface, use a thin spatula). Reroll and cut scraps. 

Place a caramel in the center of each round, pinch dough closed around it, and gently roll into a smooth ball. 

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fill a wide shallow bowl with 1 inch sugar ( I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU FORGET EVERYTHING I JUST TOLD YOU AND ADD CINNAMON TO THIS). In a large heavy pot, heat 4 inches oil until it registers 350 degrees on a candy thermometer. In batches of 4, fry doughnuts 5 minutes, turning once with a slotted spoon and adjusting heat as needed. 

Transfer doughnuts to prepared sheet; let rest 4 minutes. Roll in sugar to coat. Serve immediately.

So here is what happened.  I put the oil in my dutch and I turned the heat up. High.  I let it go until it rippled and sizzled when I dropped a piece of dough in there.  So I’m all “yeas this fat is ready to be fried”

Then it browned up. REAL QUICK. Like 30 seconds quick.  So they are supposed to cook for 4 minutes and I’m all, “Shiiit this is raw, I just know it.”  And it was. So I turned the heat down for the second batch. And I throw them in and it browns up, in about a minute. Damn! What if I finished these off in the oven.  YEAS great idea. I’ll go ahead and put these in the oven and they’ll finish in there. Yea. I mean it just doesn’t taste like a donut when you do that so much as like a fried rock. With a caramel square in the middle.

So, if you could just do yourself a solid, and buy a candy thermometer, that would be great.

Scratch that, it’s mandatory! You will use a candy thermometer or you are grounded for 1 week!




  1. I'm the same way! Rules Shmules... but thats also why I don't fry... to scared! LOL xo

  2. You little kitchen rebel ;)! I'm the same way...I tend not to bake b/c I don't like to measure so perfectly. I can get away with that in cooking, but not baking. I'm a Cancer on the Leo cusp, so maybe that's why...

  3. I actually made donuts without a thermometer using the old trick of my mom of putting in the pan a small piece of the dough and see its reaction to the temperature...but you need to have a trained eye...my donuts came out good...and then I still went to buy a thermometer :)

  4. I recommend a deep fryer for any deep frying tasks. My father in law burnt down his newly renovated kitchen with a hot pot of fat...It can happen very quickly! Not only that, but most have a temperature control - set it and forget it! :) A recommendation...the T-Fal easy clean. After you're done, you can drain/filter the oil into a sealed container, and put almost the whole unit in the dishwasher.

    BTW - We Canadians call donut holes 'Timbits' - because we get them at our most popular coffee chain, Tim Horton's. :-)

  5. You rebel! Yeah, I worked without a thermometer for a while. Then I nerded up and got one. Bet those still tasted good!

  6. I can totally relate as I'm also a Leo and I don't like to follow rules or recipes; hence I'm not a baker either. However I do own a candy thermometer as I love anything fried! This recipe sounds delicious, can't wait to try.

  7. That happens to me all the time. Than I wonder what happened.

  8. I'm the same way when it comes to rules in my kitchen, I make them and everyone has to follow ME : P annnd this is why i don't bake that much it's just so technical! but when I do I follow the recipe. I curse the whole time but I smile in the end when I'm eating all the sweet goodness!

  9. Yum. Nice use of caramel. Sidenote...down with rules!