Never mind the doughnut—this recipe is an easy way to make only the holes, crunchy little nuggets perfect for dipping into maple syrup. There’s no finicky rolling or rising involved. Instead, simply stir up a stiff pancake-like batter and drop it by spoonfuls into a shallow (3/4") bath of hot oil. Four minutes later—golden brown, ultra-crisp doughnut holes, golden and tender inside, ready to sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or confectioners’ sugar, or dunk in maple syrup or honey.
4 1/2 cups (30 ounces) vegetable oil (peanut oil is a good choice for frying)
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) melted butter
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, or a combination
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (4 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Pour the oil into a 10" skillet that’s about 2 ½" deep; an electric frying pan is a good choice here, especially since its adjustable dial makes it really easy to heat the oil to the correct temperature. If you don’t have this size skillet, use whatever similar-size pan you have, using enough oil to fill it ¾" deep. Start to heat the oil to 350°F while you’re preparing the doughnut batter.
Whisk together the milk, egg, and melted butter in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a thick batter/soft dough.
When the oil has come up to temperature, use a cookie scoop (or a spoon) to drop balls of batter into the hot oil. This recipe will make 2" doughnut holes using a tablespoon cookie scoop and dropping in balls of dough about as big as an undersized ping pong ball; or 1 ½" holes, using a teaspoon cookie scoop and dropping in balls of dough about as big as a chestnut.
Fry the doughnut holes for 2 minutes on the first side, or till they’re deep brown. Some of them may turn themselves over; that’s OK, just use a pair of tongs to turn them back. After 2 minutes, turn the holes over, and fry for an additional 2 minutes (for the larger doughnut holes), or 1 1/2 minutes (for the smaller ones). Transfer the doughnut holes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain and cool.
Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with sugar and/or dipped in maple syrup or honey.
Yield: about 2 dozen larger doughnut holes, or 4 dozen smaller ones.
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