Making doughnuts at home is exciting and prepping the batter is actually a pretty mundane affair--just some measuring, sifting, whisking, and folding. But the real thrill comes in the second the batter hits the hot oil. The pale sticky mess instantly begins expanding, solidifying, and taking on a beautiful golden hue, not to mention the incomparable scent of freshly-made doughnuts that starts filling up your kitchen.
This isn't a recipe for doughnuts; it's a recipe for diminutive doughnut holes (hence, you can eat a lot more of them). Buttermilk adds a dairy richness and unique tang. And the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger? Just imagine the classic old-fashioned doughnut with a hint of spice. There you have it.
- 4 cups canola or safflower oil
- 1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) granulated sugar. divided
- 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
- 1 cup (4 1/2) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 (2 1/4 ounces) cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt
- 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pour the oil into a 3- or 4-quart heavy-duty saucepan. Insert a candy or instant-read thermometer into the oil and heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 375°F. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
Place one cup of sugar in a small bowl or plastic bag and add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. Stir or shake together until well blended. Set this spiced sugar aside while making the doughnut holes.
Over a medium-size bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of ginger. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and the salt and toss to blend.
Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, melted butter, lemon zest, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture in two stages, folding together gently with a rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed.
Using a 1-inch round ice cream scoop, place 5 or 6 scoops of the batter into the hot oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, turing once.
Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove the doughnut holes from the oil and place them on the lined baking sheet. Let them cool slightly, then roll them in the spiced sugar. If the spiced sugar is in a plastic bag, shake 2 or 3 doughnut holes at a time in the spiced sugar to coat. Place the doughnut holes back on the baking sheet and cool them slightly. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve doughnut holes warm or at room temperature.
Note on saving the doughnuts: Although the doughnut holes are best eaten the day they are made, they will keep for 3 days. Store them on a plate, tightly covered with aluminum foil. They can be rewarmed in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.