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recipe collector...civil engineer...cookbook devourer...looking to share cookbook & recipe reviews and my real-life kitchen dramas as I re-engineer recipes ...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Three Free Thursday Part III: Homemade Donuts

Happy Three Free Thursday, Blog Readers! This is the second entry of my new biweekly "Three Free Thursday" blog entries.  To recap the process, on the first Thursday, I select three free recipes from sources on Twitter.  On the following Thursday, I report back via blog entry the full results of my adventures in the kitchen and let you know if you should try these recipes at home. Enjoy!

Recipe: Homemade Donuts
Source: @SeriousEats
Link: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1epWL1/www.seriouseats.com/2011/01/how-to-make-the-easiest-doughnuts-donuts-from-pillsbury-biscuits-homemade.html

Girl walks into Grocery Store with five dollars.  Girl walks out of Grocery Store... with five dollars. Girl walks into Grocery Store #2... with five dollars.  Girl walks out of Grocery Store #2... with five dollars.  Girl walks into Grocery Store #3 with five dollars... Girl... well I think you see where this is going...

In the end, I tried four major grocery stores and four convenience stores/local markets and never found pre-made biscuit dough.  Amazed? So am I! Where has all the pre-made biscuit dough gone? I found tubes of cookie dough in chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, sugar, butter, oatmeal chip and more.  I found pre-made brownie dough, pre-made cookie pie dough, pre-made croissant dough and pre-made cinnamon roll dough.  I never found pre-made biscuit dough.  Throughout the week, my quest for pre-made biscuit dough began to grow as an urban kitchen legend.  Co-workers and friends inquired and joked about my epic quest.  Some even tried to help me find the elusive biscuit dough, but by Three Free Thursday, there was still no pre-made biscuit dough.

Feeling like a blogging failure, I struggled to figure out how to make these "simple" donuts without pre-made biscuit dough.  Ultimately, the RecipEngineer got back in her car and drove back to Grocery Store #8... and bought the pre-made cinnamon roll dough.  Below are my findings:


Well obviously, as carnivals world-wide know, you can fry any dough. Using pre-made cinnamon roll dough has its' pros and cons. 

Pros: No buttermilk taste - although I was never able to test the pre-made biscuit dough, I had serious reservations about donuts made with buttermilk dough. The cinnamon roll dough is nicely speckled with pockets of cinnamon. Cinnamon roll dough also comes with pre-made icing, which is a perfect glaze (if applied while donuts are hot) or frosting (if applied after donuts cool).

Cons: The cinnamon topping on each pre-made cinnamon roll immediately falls off in the hot oil and causes the oil and thus the donuts to darken significantly.  Donuts resembled cider donuts more than golden-colored old-fashioned donuts.  If you want golden-colored donuts, be sure to chip off cinnamon topping prior to adding donuts to the hot oil.

Overall, these donuts were tasty and ridiculously quick to prepare.  I tried out the recipes for plain and chocolate glaze, which were a little misleading.  You'll want to add the confectioner's sugar slowly to control thickness of the glaze - if you prepare the glaze per the recipe instructions, it is too intensely thick and overly sweet. The best topping for these donuts - a simple mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon.  I'd consider making these donuts for a quick, sweet breakfast treat for myself or a casual group of friends. However, if you were throwing a more organized brunch, I'd skip these recipe and just pick up donuts from your favorite bakery.  No one wants their kitchen smelling of leftover vegetable oil during an elegant brunch.

  • Don't agonize over finding the perfect 1" cookie cutter to cut donut holes. A sharp paring knife works just fine to cut donut holes.  Fix any irregularly-shaped holes by hand.
  • Be careful not to leave donuts in the hot oil for more than 2 minutes (or 1 minute for donut holes). They tend to overcook very quickly.

Rating: 3 out of 5  

Thanks for reading Part III of this week's Three Free Thursday! Feel free to send in recipe suggestions for Three Free Thursday on Twitter to @RecipEngineer or by e-mail RecipEngineer@gmail.com

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