Belated Chanukkah Doughnuts

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In honor of Chanukkah, my roommate Megan and I decided to throw a fried-everything dinner party. Eating latkes and doughnuts is traditional for the festival of lights…but we went more than a little overboard. The thought process went something like this:

1. Homemade doughnuts? Of course! They’ll be delicious and so fresh! How hard can it be? Make dough, plop into hot oil.

2. Do it all in 1 day? Why not?

3. Hey, why don’t we fry a bunch of other stuff, too?!

We did pull it off somehow, but there were a few too many frantic phone calls to my mother, and everything took about 3 hours longer than it was supposed to.

Making doughnuts on a lazy Saturday, and then being able to relax and enjoy them, sounds wonderful. But making them for a party, when I had 10 other things on my to-do list for the day…let’s just say I was very happy with my decision to go with cake doughnuts instead of yeast, and to skip the jelly filling. Simpler can be better.

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After the doughnuts (and the monumental cleanup that followed), I made a huge batch of latkes and fried up some of those, before passing on the spatula to a friend and collapsing into a chair with a nice full glass of wine. (Actually, I passed off the spatula and raced into the shower, because people were getting here, oh, about, 10 minutes ago. Then came the much needed wine.)

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THEN, there were fried pickles, fried cheese curds, and a few fried oreos. I stayed far away from the frying pan after the latkes.

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I finally de-stressed from my day of frying and was able to enjoy our oily feast in honor of Chanukkah. It was frantic and over-the-top, but I guess that’s what made it memorable. Happy holidays everyone!

Buttermilk Doughnuts

Adapted from Saveur

Makes about 2 dozen

Note: I by simply rolled the doughnuts through a pile of cinnamon-sugar while they were still hot. If you’d like to use powdered sugar, let the doughnuts cool first, before sprinkling powdered sugar over them with a fine-mesh sieve.

3 1/2 cups flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Canola oil, for frying

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together egg and egg white until frothy. Whisk in buttermilk, butter, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients to form a dough.

2. Transfer dough to a floured surface; gently roll to 1/2″ thickness. (I would recommend laying out a sheet of wax or parchment paper, coating it generously with flour, and transferring the dough onto that. Then, sprinkle more flour over the surface of the dough, and roll it out between 2 sheets of wax paper.)

3. Using a floured 3 1/4″ round cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough and transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Gather dough scraps, knead briefly to form a ball; flatten and cut out more rounds. Repeat until all dough is used. Using a 1 3/8″ round cookie cutter, cut out center of each round. (I just used an approximately 2″ cup to make large doughnut holes.)

4. Chill doughnuts and holes for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining sugar with some cinnamon (to your liking) in a large paper bag; set aside.

5. Pour oil into a 6-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of 2″; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 325°. Working in small batches, fry doughnuts and holes, turning, until golden brown, 2–3 minutes for doughnuts and 1–2 minutes for holes. (Start by frying one doughnut, and check to make sure it gets thoroughly cooked, to make sure you have the temperature of the oil right. You may have to periodically adjust your heat to maintain the right temperature. Keep in mind that the oil will take a long time to respond to any heat adjustments.)

6. Using tongs, transfer doughnuts to a wire rack to drain. Shake doughnuts and holes in the paper bag to coat in the cinnamon-sugar.

Now, take a deep breath, have a seat (and maybe a glass of wine), and enjoy.

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