Sunday, February 10, 2008

Time to Make the Doughnuts!

When I saw that Peabody and Helen were hosting "Time to Make the Doughnuts," I was interested in participating, but several things were holding me back: (1) I had no idea what I would make, (2) I don't have a deep fryer, and hot oil on the stove could be dangerous, and (3) I had never made doughnuts before.

I love ginger. If you look at the various recipes I've blogged about, you can definitely tell. Whether it's fresh ginger chopped up and added to a stir fry or chicken satay, candied ginger in a delicious pear cake, or ground ginger in an apple cake, I always know that ginger will enhance the flavor of any recipe. So when I saw this particular recipe for Candied Ginger-Orange Cake Doughnuts, I knew it would be good. There goes excuse #1!

Then Peabody assured me that I could make doughnuts without the deep fryer, so that excuse went down the drain quickly. I was still a little worried some horrible accident/injury could occur with the hot oil, but knew that if I was extra careful, I wasn't likely to hurt myself.

So, after realizing that my first two reasons for not participating weren't really valid, I decided that excuse #3 was also a poor excuse and I needed to just challenge myself (and a challenge it was!).

The recipe was simple enough. I knew by choosing a spice cake doughnut instead of a raised doughnut, I would not have to worry about working with yeast. The doughnut batter came together quickly and easily. I knew I was in a little bit of trouble, however, when I went to knead the dough and found it was a big goopy mess. Although I had definitely floured my silpat really well beforehand, the dough was sticking to it like there was no tomorrow. I got most of it off of my silpat with my spatula and into some plastic wrap to refrigerate it. I thought to myself that perhaps all this needed was some time to chill in the fridge and then all would be well.

Unfortunately, this was not the case. Knowing that I wanted it to be well chilled, I even let the dough sit in my refrigerator for about 6 hours. When I turned it out onto my silpat, I was able to easily roll the dough out without having it stick to my rolling pin too badly. Maybe I was still able to salvage this, I thought to myself. Alas, when I went to remove the dough in order to drop it in the oil, it began to stick to the silpat again. It was sticking to everything - my silpat, my spatula, my fingers! I was so frustrated with it! So, instead of beautiful looking doughnuts, I ended up with what looked more like fried dough balls. I'm not sure what I did wrong; perhaps I needed to add more flour?

One thing to note - it's important that you watch the temperature of your oil. Too low and your doughnuts will end up soaking up excess oil and become soggy. Too high and your doughnuts will brown too quickly on the outside and the batter will remain uncooked in the center (or they'll be burned on the outside by the time the doughnut is cooked throughout).

These were really tasty (though I have to admit that pretty much anything fried is good). Although I quite enjoyed these, I try not to eat too many fried foods so I probably won't be attempting this again. It was an interesting experience. While it was not a complete success, I'm glad I challenged myself. The good thing about most kitchen experiments is that while they don't always turn out so pretty, they usually end up tasting pretty darn good ;) I can't wait to see the round up on February 15th.

Candied Ginger-Orange Cake Doughnuts
from Caprial's Desserts

3-1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp + 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sguar
2 eggs
finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp finely minced candied ginger
1 tsp salt
vegetable oil, for deep frying
2 cups granulated sugar or powdered sugar, for dredging

To prepare the dough, sift together the flour, baking powder; set aside. Add the vanilla extract to the milk; set aside.

Place the butter and the 1 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing well after each addition. Add the orange zest and candied ginger and mix until incorporated. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk, then mix on low speed until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour mixture followed by the milk and the salt, and mix well. Transfer the dough to a well-floured board and knead until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Roll the chilled dough out onto a well-floured board to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Cut with a doughnut cutter or a round cookie cutter (if you use a cookie cutter, use a smaller cutter to cut the centers out). Save the donut holes, or add them back to the scrap dough before you reroll it.

To fry the doughnuts, heat about 4 inches of vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F. (You can check the temperature with a candy thermometer or place a piece of bread in the oil; if it turns brown in about 40 seconds, the oil should be at about 350.) Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with paper towels, and have it ready by the fryer. When the oil is hot, add as many doughnuts as will fit without overcrowding, and cook on one side until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the doughnuts over and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to the paper towels to drain, and let cool for about 5 minutes. Continue cooking the remaining doughnuts and doughnut holes. The holes will cook a bit faster, so cook them separately. When the doughnuts have cooled (they should still be warm but not hot), dredge them in powdered or granulated sugar. Serve immediately; they are best eaten warm!

Yield: 24 doughnuts


  1. These look wonderful! I love the addition of candied ginger in them! Glad you ran out of excuses:)

  2. Thanks for the comment in my blog.
    But you're really a DB. I'm quite scared by the February challenge.

  3. Oh, Mrs P. they certainly look the part!
    I chickened out doing doughnuts because I don't have a deep fat fryer. My electric hob isn't easy to control the temperature of either. So you were very brave in my book!
    I absolutely love ginger too, and my blog is testimony to that! I call it my catnip!
    I'd sit happily and eat a couple of those doughnuts with you!

  4. Oh my goodness, I love you because 1)doughnut holes are the best 2)cake doughnuts are my favorite and 3)the idea of ginger orange sounds absolutely divine. These are amazing!

  5. Those look absolutely delicious! Its not fair to see such yummy looking doughnuts first thing in the morning!

    PS. You've been tagged!

  6. Sorry about the dough sticking everywhere but I still think they look beautiful!

  7. Congratulations on trying something new! I was chicken ;-) (plus I don't like donuts and DH doesn't really eat anything deep fried) Your donuts look perfect!

  8. Fried food is really delicious, I agree! Too bad it's not good for our healthy nor for your waistline... :(

    Your doughnuts look delicious and I love the flavors you chose!

  9. I was in the same boat as you with the doughnut category. They look and sound delicious, and its always nice to do something new! Good for you!

  10. i've never deep fried anything at home either. the whole idea of a gigantic pot of hot oil stresses me out :-) good thing you challenged yourself tough... they look great!

  11. I love ginger, and I thought that the donut-hole part was fantastic. I'd have never known you didn't intend for them to be that way if you hadn't said something. They look great to me!

  12. I'm glad you challenged yourself too! Yes, the oil can be tricky since you really need it to be at 350F the whole time.

  13. I made doughnuts too!

    I think they're quite gorgeous! I love the addition of orange and ginger.
    These sound tricky, but I think you really came through.

  14. I think your doughnuts are beautiful! They look and sound absolutely scrumptious! Making doughnuts is tricky... You did a splendid job! I'm impressed!

  15. Great looking doughnuts! I like the sound of the ginger and orange in the doughnuts.

  16. These look yummy and I now think I need to make doughnuts!

  17. The doughnuts sound so flavourful;-- ginger and orange yuMMy! And they look really fluffy too :)

  18. Your doughnuts look fabulous! I just wanted to jump through the screen into your kitchen and eat them by the fistful. I'm so happy to have joined the Daring Bakers. This month is my first challenge, and I'm so excited!

  19. These look just amazing. What a TERRIFIC idea to add candied ginger, one of my favorite treats (I've even made candied ginger a few times).
    And I don't own a deep fryer either so I'm deligthed to see one is not required!!

  20. I think they look wonderful - and the flavors sound amazing!! I had a hard time with sticky dough, as well!

  21. I've been denying myself things like doughnuts for the past month or so, i may just have to get some tomorrow now!

    These sound delicious!

  22. These may not have turned out as you expected, but they look great! And ginger and orange is a killer combination.

  23. Candied ginger? In a donut? I'll take 2! These sound delicious!!!!

  24. Your Pictures say it all, DELICIOUS!

  25. So awesome that you challenged your fear of frying. They look delicious.