Sunday began in cold and ended in cold. Soccer with the kid on the roof of Pier 40; bleak and gray, haunted by the storm, the place feeling even more rickety and about to drift off its moorings into the sea than it usually does. Even the vending machines, source of the traditional post-soccer breakfast of champions Kit-Kat, were beaten down by Sandy, wiring drenched, unable to dispense candy.
Step two-the warm part of the day-was a long postponed plan to sell donuts and hot cider on Broadway. It was a new effort, but with the Joy of Cooking as our guide, we already had a few batches of dough proofing in the fridge, ready to be rolled, cut, fried, and sugared.
The donuts tasted like real honest to goodness awesome donuts. You definitely need to pull out the candy thermometer and gauge the oil temperature, or they’ll brown too quickly before cooking on the inside. However, no one ever suffered at the hands of an underdone (or overdone) fresh donut.
And back to the cold. Downstairs on Broadway, where we tried to sell our piles of donuts with a cup of hot cider. We learned a few lessons: kid-run food stands are designed for the suburbs, and it’s best not to sell pastry and cider next door to a Starbucks. Still, despite the kid eating half the inventory, we made a few sales, enough to feel good about the effort, before heading upstairs and out of the cold.
(NOTE: get a thermometer if you don’t have-keeping the oil at 325-350 is important and the therm. will tell you when to adjust the heat. Adding donuts reduces the temp., which will soon rise.)
Yeast Donuts (straight from The Joy of Cooking)
Makes about 20
1 cup warm water
2 envelopes instant yeast
4 ½ cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
oil for frying
2 cups cinnamon sugar (about 2 cups sugar tossed with a tablespoon or so cinnamon)
- In standing mixer bowl (you can use a standard bowl), whisk yeast and water, cover and let stand 10 minutes.
- Whisk in 1 cup of the flour, cover with plastic and let stand at room temp till bubbly-about 30 minutes.
- Whisk in the remaining ingredients except flour (standing mixer or elbow grease). Using the paddle attachment on standing mixer, beat in the remaining flour. Cover with plastic and let rise for 2 hours.
- Punch down the dough, remove from bowl, wrap in plastic, insert into a large ziplock bag, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 16 hours.
- When ready, roll dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/3 inch thick. Cut the donuts with a 3 ½ inch cookie cutter and cut out holes with a smaller (1 inch or so) cutter. Roll scraps and repeat. Rest the donuts for at least an hour until they rise.
- Meanwhile, using a candy thermometer, heat several inches of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat to 350.
- Set up a frying station: line one baking sheet with paper towels to drain oil and set next to a second baking sheet spread with the cinnamon sugar.
- Carefully slide the donuts (about 6 at a time) into the oil without crowding. Using a fork or, ideally, a pair of chopsticks, cook until golden brown on each side – about 1 ½ minutes each. Remove, drain on towels, shift to second tray and roll in sugar. Eat.