Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chocolate Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

Doughnuts are so wonderfully diverse.  They can be made into any flavor imaginable.  They can be light and yeasty or moist and cakey, baked or fried - frosted, glazed, or sugar coated.  They can be filled with cream, fruit, caramel, or chocolate.  Doughnuts are little canvasses just waiting to be painted.
This is always my first thought about doughnuts - the excitement, the possibilities!  Then, I remember the chilling, the rolling, the cutting, and the doughnut pans.  And then I think about making something else instead.
But wait!  That's the beauty of doughnut holes!  No fuss, little muss.  You simply mix up the batter, scoop it up, and pop it straight into the fryer.  Easy!  Have your doughnuts and enjoy them, too.
This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit on Epicurious.  Of course, you can chill to batter/dough for few hours, roll it, and cut traditional doughnut shapes.  Holes taste just just as good, though, and require a lot less time and effort.  And really, the holes almost look like little pumpkins - perfect!

Chocolate Pumpkin Doughnut Holes
Adapted from Epicurious

Canola Oil (for frying)

Sugar Coating -
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Doughnuts -
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder, measured then sifted
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp buttermilk
1 cup canned pumpkin

1.  Line two baking sheets with paper towels.  Get ready a skimmer or slotted spoon.  Set aside.

2.  Heat the oil in a fryer or large Dutch oven (oil must be 2" deep).  The oil will need to come to between 365° and 370°.  The temperature is very important to ensure proper texture and flavor. Allow the oil to begin heating while you prepare the batter/dough.

3.  For the Sugar Coating: in a pie or 8" X 8" baking dish, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.  Set aside.

4.  For the Doughnuts: in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda.

5.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and butter.  Beat until blended (it will not be creamy).  Add the yolks, the egg, and the vanilla.  Beat until blended.

6.  With the mixer on low, slowly mix in the buttermilk.  Gradually mix in the pumpkin.  Beat until well blended.

7.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in three batches.  Mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.  Do not over-mix.

8.  When the oil is 365°-370°, drop tablespoonfuls of the batter/dough into the oil.  Work in small batches (about 6 at a time works well) so as to not overcrowd the pan.  Keep the balls moving to ensure even cooking (I use the handle of a wooden spoon).

9.  When the doughnuts are deep golden brown, remove them from the oil with the skimmer/slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.  Right away, while they're still hot, transfer the doughnuts to the sugar coating dish.  Evenly coat each doughnut and then transfer them to the second prepared baking sheet.

10.  Repeat with the remaining batter/dough.  Serve!

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