Need I say more? Today my friend Jess came over and we made donuts together. You are already jealous, I could stop here. But I won’t, because I’m sadistic like that. I can give you a little gluten free love, though, with what we made first for brunch, which was a sweet potato frittata. My real camera batteries were dead, so you will have to cope with the underwhelming iPod photos.
It was inspired by this recipe, but turned out to be vegetarian (no bacon y’all) and not nearly as thick. I think my eggs were small and I didn’t use a whole onion or that much spinach. Also, I used goat cheese instead of feta, which is tangier and not as salty. I threw a little nutmeg and cayenne on top, because those are my go to spices for sweet potato dishes. And I didn’t broil it in the oven, I just baked it for 10 minutes or so, to get the top a little brown and to make sure the egg was set.
This turned out amazing. There were only two of us, but we ate 3/4 of the whole thing and then I finished the rest for dinner. I decided the reason it was so delicious, besides liking each of the ingredients separately, is that it had all the flavors. So, the sweet potato was sweet, the egg was a little salty, the crunchy almost burned bottom was a little bitter, the goat cheese added a little sour, and the onion/spinach combo was pretty savory. In every bite, you were able to experience all the flavors. Did I forget any? It also had an excellent density, with the egg staying fluffy and the sweet potato reaching that stage of creaminess that only sweet potatoes can find.
It turned out so well that I’m kind of excited about making other frittatas and soon. It was really easy, and while it required a lot of eggs, it was a good way to get a lot of delightful tastes into one mouthful.
You might be like me and be a little nervous about heating up a quart of oil to 375 degrees on your stove top, but rest assured, making the frittata was the most dangerous thing we did all day. Jess cut her hand on the mandolin, slicing perfect sweet potato rounds, and I burned my fingers taking the frying pan out of the oven. It’s really a wonder that we persevered on to making doughnuts, but let’s be honest, what better way to sooth our wounded selves than with some sweet puffed sugar coated goodness?
For the donuts (please note that I am using donuts instead of doughnuts because I don’t want to keep typing doughnuts all the time; this is likely the same reason the shorter version was developed in the first place), we used this recipe for the most part. It was most aggravatingly sticky at first, even though I put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, but with a little more flour and some coaxing, we were able to get it to calm down and we made it into donut shapes. Turned out that the holes were more satisfying, but if you are going to make donuts and talk about it, you have at least make a few that look like the traditional donut.
The oil was a little tricky, mostly in maintaining the correct temperature. We put the burner on high to get the oil heating, and when it got into the range we needed, we turned it down to low, but it kept rising well over 400. So, we had to take a little hiatus while waiting for the oil to cool down again. It ended up sticking right around 365, but that seemed to do the trick, because it was definitely cooking our doughnuts into the most wonderful little bundles of joy. We had the dough about 1/2 inch thick, and it looks really flat, like you are going to have flat donuts, but they definitely plump up. The coolest part is when you first put them in and they sink to the bottom and then within a few seconds, they rise to the top and sometimes they even flip themselves for you.
The donuts were awesome even without anything on them. I love cake donuts, so this type of recipe was a natural choice. However, yeast donuts seem a little bit tricky, more difficult to get right; it makes me want to try them. Jess was talking about potato donuts, make partially with mashed potatoes, which I am still trying to wrap my head around. So there may be more donut posts in the future.
For the ones which we didn’t eat immediately, we dumped some in cinnamon sugar. They tasted just like the fresh donuts you get at the fair or outdoor markets. For the others, Jess whipped up a lovely maple glaze. I couldn’t decide which way I liked best. I think some chocolate icing with coconut would have been amazing, but really I was just pleased to have made donuts at all.
The real question, at the end, was what to do with the oil. You can’t dump it down the drain, you can’t pour it into your trash can. My thought was to put it back in the bottle, which we did, but Jess suggested straining it so that we could use the same oil for donuts again in the future. I feel good about this proposition, and now I have a bottle of donutty oil sitting in my cupboard.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed this brief detour from the detox fast. I can assure those of you who are tending towards a diet that is gluten free that at your request, we would be glad to try our hands at gluten-free donuts. We may have to do that anyway, because my roommate has been sentenced to a gluten-free diet for basically the rest of her life. I would love to hear other folks’ stories about making donuts at home and whether you have any hints that would add to our approach to donut making in the future!