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Friday, April 11, 2014

Vanilla Cinnamon Donut Holes


No seriously, mmm...

I know I know, I'm supposed to be grain free, but since I am addicted to a daily sandwich, I decided that I'd try my hand at sourdough bread. Thus, I bought a couple pounds of organic whole wheat (plus a pound or so of organic rye, but I didn't use any of that). Concurrently, I've been craving donuts. Like REAL cinnamon donuts, mmm...

So, the other day when I was at my mom's house, I decided to use her supplies to make mini cupcakes. I tossed 2 cups flour (she has regular white, flour :-( but even so, better than nothing, right?), 1 cup cinnamon sugar mix that I found in a packet in her cupboard - probably left over from a box of something she planned to bake - 1 stick of melted butter, 1 cup of cream (she was out of milk, or maybe she only had skim, which I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole), 2 eggs, baking powder, dash of salt, and a splash or two of Almond Extract in a bowl, mixed it with a fork until it was well blended, and then doled it out into her mini cupcake pan and baked it at 350 for probably 8-10 minutes. I didn't really time it, just waited until it was golden brown :-)

Well, that was a success, despite my husband calling them walnuts because the second batch went longer, got darker, and had a nice hardish shell around a soft inside. I liked that, BTW :-) SO, I decided to try again, only this time, I wanted actual donuts.

Start out by making sure you have an oil to fry this in. I just so happened to have some absolutely wonderful Lard in the freezer, so I cleaned the tallow out my deep fat fryer and regretfully had to throw it away. I WAS planning to make the left over tallow (rendered beef fat) into candles, but I never did get around to buying some beeswax to stabilize it, and at the moment, I wasn't in the mood to strain all the black grit out of it from our last batch of eggrolls.

I set my lard - which had been in the freezer since I bought it - in my newly clean fryer on low to melt while I mixed up the ingredients.

Donut Holes

 - 2 cups flour - I used said organic whole wheat, which had some coarse bits that made the texture interesting.
 - 3/4 cup sugar - I used organic, and only 3/4 cups because a whole cup just seems like too much to me, lol
 - probably about an 1/8 cup of cinnamon powder. I didn't really measure it, but I WAS going to go for a whole 1/4 cup, until I realized that my hubby doesn't really like cinnamon and restrained myself, lol!
 - Dash or two or three of salt - I used Redmond Real Salt, because it's my favorite :-)
 - Baking Powder - Aluminum free because I don't like the bitter taste of regular
 - 3 eggs
 - 1 cup of cream - because I liked how moist and lush this made the test cupcakes
 - 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil - because I was (EEK GASP) OUT of butter!!!
 - Splash or two of vanilla - locally made organic. I don't have Almond extract, but should, lol.

I tossed all of the dry ingredients into a bowl, whisked them together until decently blended, then added all the wet ingredients. I used a whisk because it was clean and I would have had to wash a fork, AND because I didn't feel like unplugging the rice maker so I could plug in the mixer, but feel free to use your favorite method of mixing :-)

Once blended, I turned the heat up on my fully melted Lard to 300. I decided to go low and slow because I absolutely did not want to burn my precious Lard. It's REAL lard after all, not the partially hydrogenated and chemical filled crap they sell in the grocery store. It's additive free, pure rendered lard from the local food coop, and now that they have started selling it, I am SO going to buy up everything they got! (In the real foodie world, lard is practically more precious than gold, lol!) I know it may sound strange to worry about burning a high heat stable oil, but it can happen, and I didn't want it to, plus, this way, I was less likely to burn my donuts, lol!

Using a spoon - quickly dipped in the hot oil to prevent sticking - I dropped dollops of batter into the oil. My batter turned out sort of like thick pancake batter or sort of thick and slightly lumpy cake batter. So it stuck together well enough, but was still runny enough that it spread fairly easily. THUS, my donut holes were actually more like mini Saturns, lol!

Each donut fried for a couple of minutes before I turned them over to fry a few more minutes. I gauged readiness based on color. If you have ever made pancakes, you know what I mean by the color changing. It gets sort of cooked looking when it's ready to turn. I used a pair of metal tongs and flipped each one carefully since I didn't want the rings of Saturn to break off :-)

When each one was done - I cooked them in batches of 5 and each one probably took an average of 4-5 minutes to cook - I pulled them out and set them on some paper towels to drain and cool. I just so happened to have a couple of the approximately foot squared egg carton carrier thingies, so I put the paper towels over them and used them to help the cooling/draining process.

The total was about 30-35 donuts. Mine varied in size, some being smallish - kind of like actual donut holes - and some were largish - looking a bit more like Saturn shaped donuts (in size). By this, I mean that they were more or less ovular, with bulges in the middle rather than holes. The final color was a lot like a dark golden to a crispy brown. I would think that if you have ever seen fried food with a crispy/crunchy texture, then you probably know the color I am talking about :-)

I barely managed to wait for the first one to cool enough to NOT burn my tongue before I ate it, and Wow! Ironically, no one flavor was pronounced. They all came through delicately. Phoenix ate one and said: "Mmm, better than I thought it would be. Can I have another?" Lol! Love him :-)

If you make these, let me know how they turn out :-)
Have a happy day!

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