It’s National Donut Day! And for once, I’m not alone in my celebrations. Grocery stores, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme are all giving away free donuts today; so, if you live near a donut chain, go down and claim a donut for yourself.
I spent a fair amount of time at Dunkin Donuts in college, especially late at night with my boyfriend. We were dramatic theatre kids and the late night Dunkin Donut scene was rich in atmosphere with its sketchy grizzled customers and the exhausted looking Indian woman behind the counter. We’d order coffee with lots of milk and sugar, talk about “character studies” and act like we fresh-faced 19 year olds belonged in such a place at 2AM.
We couldn’t get Krispy Kremes in Illinois because the South still owned the franchise and you couldn’t get them anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line. I first tasted Krispy Kremes on a spring break road trip down to Florida and thought the cream filled donuts were magnificent. I’ve not eaten many of them or liked them as well since the KK franchise took over the US. Some things are more appealing when you can only get them under limited circumstances.
But having neither Dunkin nor Krispy here in Bellingham, we made our own donuts today using two different recipes. We could have used only one or we could have halved the recipes, especially knowing that we’ve got cupcakes on the agenda this weekend and 2 birthdays next week, but we aren’t quitters like that. What’s the fun of one recipe if you can’t compare it to a different one? And why have one donut when you can have two? And why gain half a pound when you can gain a whole pound? Besides, I’m really doing it for you so you’ll have something to read and pictures to drool over on a Friday afternoon. See how I sacrifice for you?
We used a Gourmet recipe called Turkish Doughnuts with Rose Hip Syrup that Bet really likes and has made several times. We didn’t make the rose hip syrup but instead dusted them in cinnamon sugar.
Aren’t they pretty?
This kind of dough is close to the choux pastry used for cream puffs, comprised largely of flour, eggs and water. It’s time intensive and an arm workout with all the whipping and stirring and whisking but the donuts are incredibly light with a crispy shell that shatters when you bite into it and a soft tender middle full of holes.
We made some donut holes and some tiny donut rings. The rings cooked the most quickly and evenly but weren’t as tender on the inside. However, either way you get a crispy light-as-air donut that you can take down in two bites, which gives you time to consider a second one while you’re still licking cinnamon sugar off your lips.
On the vastly other hand, the second recipe for lemon – yogurt fritters comes from the Orangette website, created and run by Molly Wizenberg. Her website is phenomenal, I’ve made a few of her recipes and loved them but I didn’t like this one.
The heavier dough took a long time to cook, making it difficult to regulate the oil temperature. I cooked several batches, varying the temperature up and down in an attempt to cook the insides before the outsides burnt. I also made them much smaller than she recommended so they would cook faster, but still found them greasy after they drained. The mild lemon flavor couldn’t compete with the greasy crunchiness; so, at the end I had a bunch of fritters tasting mainly of… oil.
When sprinkled with powdered sugar they tasted of sugar and oil.
I won’t make them again. If I did, I’d add lemon zest to the dough or drizzle them with lemon icing to give them some flavor. However, I’d rather eat the Turkish Donuts because they’re so much better.
But you? You should go make your own favorite recipe. Or go get a free one! Or come over here and sample one of each of ours and give us your opinion and then take some home with you. Get here quick, though; we’re giving them away as quickly as possible.
We’ve got cupcakes to think about.
Happy National Donut Day!