Spiced Orange Doughnuts
Sweet, sugary doughnuts are truly a Hanukkah dessert, since the holiday is all about the gift of oil. Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a candle every night for eight consecutive nights to
celebrate the miracle that occurred when the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem from the Greeks and lit an oil lamp to rededicate the temple. There was only enough oil to burn for one night, yet the light burnt for eight nights until more oil was procured. To celebrate this, traditional Hanukkah foods are fried in oil, like potato latkes or these doughnuts.
But really, doughnuts are welcome any time of year, breakfast, lunch, dessert – truly, there’s never an inappropriate time to serve them.
These doughnuts are surprisingly light and delicately perfumed with orange zest and juice and spices, then rolled in cinnamon sugar for a slight crunch. To fry them, you can use any oil, such as vegetable, peanut, or sunflower, but I recommend pure olive oil for the most fabulous taste.
Makes about 12 dozen (4-inch) doughnuts to serve 18
- Electric mixer
- 11-by-17-inch baking sheet
- 3-quart saucepan
- Candy thermometer
For the Cinnamon Sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar (3.5 ounces, 99 grams)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (10 grams)
For the Doughnuts
- 1/3 cup warm whole milk (2.8 ounces, 80.67 grams)
- 1 envelope (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast (about .25 ounce, 7 grams)
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (12.4 ounces, 357.5 grams), plus additional for dusting, if necessary
- Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 2 oranges
- 1 large egg (1.7 ounces, 50 grams), at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sugar (.87 ounce, 25 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (2.5 grams)
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground mace
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted (1 ounce, 28.4 grams
- 2 quarts pure olive or vegetable oil, for frying
For the Cinnamon Sugar:
In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
For the Doughnuts:
Place the milk and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cover the mixture with the flour and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the orange zest and juice, egg, sugar, salt, and spices, and mix on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Pour in the melted butter and continue to mix until completely incorporated, about 5 minutes more. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours. It will be denser than bread dough, yet slightly springy.
Cut the dough into 1-ounce cubes (about 2 inches across in size) and roll the cubes into balls, dusting the dough with flour if it is too sticky to handle. Place them on an 11-by-17-inch cookie sheet 3 inches apart. Cover the tray with a damp kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place, about 85°F to 95°F, until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
To Fry and Serve:
Have ready a paper towel-lined plate and the bowl of cinnamon sugar. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil to 350°F (use a clip-on thermometer to measure the heat). Carefully lower 4 doughnuts at a time into the oil with a spoon, turning frequently until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Skim the broken pieces of dough off the surface of the oil periodically. Before adding the next 4 doughnuts, wait for the temperature to return to 350°F. Transfer the doughnuts with a slotted spoon to the towel-lined plate. Roll the doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Serve immediately.
Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark, copyright © 2010. Published by W.W. Norton and Company
Photography by Marcus Nilsson copyright © 2010