When I was about six or seven years old, we lived about a mile away from our town’s best (and possibly only) donut shop. On Saturday mornings, if my brother and I were well-behaved, we managed to convince one of our parents to walk us to the store for a tasty breakfast. They served a vast array of donuts, from classics and bars to old-fashioneds and bear claws. We were allowed to pick out a chocolate- or vanilla-frosted donut with festive sprinkles, and the owners were so kind—they handed us the exact donut we pointed to, even if there were five other donuts with the same kind of sprinkles. As I grew up, we moved across town, too far to walk on a Saturday morning, and I realized that donuts probably weren’t the breakfast of champions. But every once in a while, I still want one of those delicious donuts with their golden skin and dense cakey insides.
I must admit, the thought of making donuts was slightly intimidating. All that hot oil? It seemed like a disaster waiting to happen, so I did some investigating on different types of donuts. The ones I so fondly remember are cake donuts, as opposed to the classic fried variety. Unfortunately, almost every recipe for cake donuts that I found required a special donut pan. (I just found one that doesn’t, but it’s slightly too late for this time!) Instead, I faced my oil fears and took the first donut recipe that I found.
The process was pretty time-consuming, and I realized a little too late that I should have used an entire 5 pound sack of flour to prevent the dough from sticking to my countertop. (The next time, I’ll be sure to place the dough circles on parchment paper before laying them in the hot oil too!) I didn’t have a donut cutter, so instead I improvised with a small circular Tupperware container and used the wide side of an icing tip pipette for the hole in the center. I should have shaken off all of the excess flour before laying the dough in the hot oil (the flour hitting the oil made my eyes water for hours!), but I was completely giddy as I watched my first little donut puff up in the oil and turn a lovely golden brown. I was like, well, a little kid in a donut shop!
I tried baking the dough in the oven too, and it turned out nicely. These tasted bready, but next time, I’ll try spraying the outside with non-stick spray and sprinkling them with sugar to see if I can get them to have a more typical donut-like crust.
*Note: Using mashed potatoes in the recipe seemed really strange, but these tasted exactly like a donut should, I promise!