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Dough! It's not so hard

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I don't deep-fry many things, but when I do, it's usually a sweet snack food. And nothing says sweet snack food more to me than doughnuts.
From the snack food vendors, I can get delicious tapioca or banana fritters, and the local doughnuts they make are usually with sweet potato. Chain-store outlets have some nice doughnuts, and they look enticing with their chocolate-covered tops and sugar glazes, but they all have an after-taste that is unappealing.
I usually leave deep-frying to the experts. I never know how to gauge when the oil is at the right temperature, and when I tell people I use a clip-on thermometer, they laugh at me because to them deep-frying comes naturally.
But I go ahead with these doughnuts. I like the taste and texture and I think it has something to do with the cakey crumb, which I prefer, but the vanilla and allspice are definitely plus points.
Use a doughnut cutter for easy shaping
Buttermilk Cake Doughnuts
Makes 12 (7cm) doughnuts and 12 doughnut holes

90ml milk
2 tbsp white vinegar
270g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
90g caster sugar
1 medium egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Snow sugar (a non-melting powdered sugar; alternatively use regular icing sugar)

To make the buttermilk (actually, soured milk), combine the milk and vinegar and set aside for 10 minutes; it will curdle and thicken.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice together.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and sugar together. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Stir in the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in three batches, starting with the flour, and mix to a soft dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but no more than 6 hours.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1cm thick. Use a doughnut cutter to cut out 6cm rounds and the holes. Alternatively, use cookie cutters in two sizes.
Pour about 6cm of oil into a medium saucepan and heat until simmering (a deep-fry thermometer will show 190°C). Fry the doughnuts and holes until golden, 20-30 seconds on each side. Remove from oil onto a plate lined with kitchen paper. Dust with snow or icing sugar and serve.

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