Sugar & Spice Doughnut Holes
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
If you want to taste the best donut holes of your life, make this recipe!
Doughnuts are either made from cake dough or yeast dough. The former require no rising and very little rest time. It's so easy to make them, in fact, that they are often called dropped doughnuts because that's all you need to do: "drop" spoonfuls of dough in the hot oil! You can scoop them into perfectly shaped orbs, but they are equally alluring as craggy and crisp misshapen fritters. Frying the donuts in Crisco (shortening) yields the very best results, even better than vegetable oils like canola or corn, which are also good options. The result will be a tender and fluffy interior with a richly golden exterior. As each batch comes out of the oil and drains, the doughnuts get tossed in a sugar-filled brown paper bag for that simple-yet-satisfying dusted finish.
Equipment: brown paper bag; mixing bowls; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; hand mixer or standing mixer; rubber spatula; wooden spoon; deep fryer or Dutch oven and thermometer; dough scoop or spoon; tongs or slotted spoon/spider; rimmed sheet pan lined with paper towels
1½ cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
¾ cup whole milk or buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3½ cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
shortening or vegetable oil for deep-frying
1. Fill a brown paper bag with ½ cup sugar and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs with 1 cup of sugar on a medium speed until light yellow in color, thickened and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
ILOC tip: beating the eggs and sugar until the mixture lightens and becomes thick and creamy - called "blanchir" in French, meaning to whiten, often referred to as "the ribbon stage" in English - is an important step to incorporating air into the batter to make a light, fluffy, and tender cake. It's all about technique, not torture, so be sure not to skip the vital step!
3. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add the milk and melted butter. Set aside.
4. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
ILOC tip: mix the batter just to combine, but do not overbeat it. You don't want to develop the gluten in the flour, which will render them chewy and dense. The goal is a tender and light cake.
5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
6. Fill a deep-fryer per the manufacturer's instructions with shortening or oil (or a Dutch oven with at least 3-4 inches of fat). Heat to 375°F.
ILOC tip: always use fresh shortening or oil to make doughnuts. In other words, do not reuse fat from prior use for doughnuts.
7. Using a small dough scoop or a spoon, slide 2-tablespoon portions of dough into the hot fat, half a dozen or so per batch.
ILOC tip: dip the implement into the hot fat before scooping the dough for easy release into the vessel.
8. Fry the doughnut holes for approximately 3 minutes, or until the doughnut exterior is crisped and a dark golden brown. Remove the doughnut holes from the fat and drain on a paper towel-lined sheet pan or plate for a few minutes.
9. While still warm, toss the doughnuts in the sugar-filled paper bag. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 48 hours at room temperature.
"The doughnuts really must be made fresh and enjoyed within a day, as they will become somewhat dry and dense after 48 hours."
Makes approximately 3 dozen doughnut holes.