Friday, June 22, 2012

Cake Doughnuts

This summer I am hosting two book clubs. The first one is with our friends Carter and Caden; we are reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The second is with our nieces AC and LB; we are reading Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace. Each week, I try to find a neat activity or craft to bring the books to life—my desire is for these four children to love reading! (In addition, our friend Parrish and I have an Alabama history club. He and I both love lists of facts!)

In our books this week, we read about Almanzo's mother and Betsy's mother making homemade doughnuts, so that became our activity. My helpers enjoyed cutting out the simple dough and then watching the doughnuts puff as they cooked in the hot oil. Another highlight was shaking the hot pastry in a paper bag with cinnamon and sugar. The boys declared these as "better than Krispy Kreme." That's high praise from the 7- and 8-year set.

Try making these with the little people in your life—you will have a great time!

Cake Doughnuts
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

1. Combine sugar, eggs, and egg yolk in the bowl of a mixer, and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients. In a large measuring cup, stir together buttermilk and butter.
3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until a soft and sticky dough is formed.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Using one large and one small circle cookie cutters, cut the dough into doughnuts. Collect the scraps, and roll out to form another batch of doughnuts. (Note: This batch may be a little tougher because it has been worked.)
5. Meanwhile, pour vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches in a Dutch oven, and heat to 350°. Gently place the doughnuts in the oil; fry, in batches, until doughnuts are puffed and golden on each side. Drain doughnuts on paper towels.
6. Combine 1 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a paper bag. Add doughnuts, 1 at a time, and shake 5 times or until coated. Serve warm.

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