I woke up this morning to dreams of summer and Paul Bunyan doughnuts. Warm, dense, and delightfully spiced these buttermilk confections have been making mouths drool for decades in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The opportunity to enjoy a fresh made doughnut at the cook shanty may be months off, but my desire to attempt to recreate this classic was today.
Get out your cast iron skillet and throw healthy breakfast concerns out the window, today we make doughnuts!
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup sour cream (next time I am using greek yogurt!)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream until combined. Add the melted, cooled butter and whisk again.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. Using your best kitchen tool, your hands, slowly fold the flour into the liquid center until the mixture forms a sticky dough. For better results, chill dough 20 minutes in the refrigerator before working with it.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and pat it out until it is about ½-inch thick. Use two round cutters (3¼-inch and 1½-inch). Dip the large cutter in flour and press out the rounds. Dip the smaller cutter in the flour and cut out the center of each dough round. Arrange doughnuts and doughnut holes on the parchment-lined baking sheet, pat the dough scraps back together, and use them to make as many more doughnuts and doughnuts holes as possible. Chill the unformed dough while you heat the oil.
- Pour enough oil into a deep skillet to make a layer approximately 1 inch to 1½ inches deep. Slowly heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is 365 to 370 degrees F.
- Once the oil reaches temperature, lift the large doughnuts off the baking sheet with a fork or tongs and place them gently in the hot oil. Do not crowd the skillet – make no more than 3 doughnuts at a time. Once they have browned on one side (this takes 2 to 3 minutes), turn them over with fork or tongs and continue to cook for another minute or just until browned (the longer they rest in the pan, the more unwanted oil they will soak up).
- Using a fork, tongs or slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Continue to fry the rest of the dough until finished. The doughnut holes will cook faster (only about 1 minute on each side) and can be made in two or three batches after the doughnuts are done.
- Immediately after frying, quickly shake the doughnuts in a storage bag filled with cinnamon sugar mixture. If you like, you can also wait until donuts are cooled and glaze them with the flavors of your choice. Serve immediately.