Killer Pumpkin Doughnuts

Now that Autumn is here, it’s all about the pumpkin. For our traditional Halloween dinner I made chili dogs, tater tots, and baked a Pumpkin Pie for dessert. The next day, I made these Pumpkin Doughnuts. I found the recipe over at Pinch My Salt. It was my first time to make doughnuts.

Mr. Wii called these doughnuts “killer”. They were soft and cakelike. Not greasy. The pumpkin was very subtle. I think the pumpkin in this recipe was a spice delivery system. Sugar and spice, what’s not to like.
Once you get the dough all mixed together, it will be real sticky. Just cover it with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours. It will still be sticky, but workable with generous amounts of flour.

Flour up all your surfaces: counter, hands, cutters, baking sheet to hold the cut out doughnuts, spatula. Don’t be put off by the stickiness…just flour your hands and go for it.

Scrape the dough out onto the well floured counter. Did I tell you to use quite a bit of flour in the process? Oh good, you were paying attention.

Work with dough divided into thirds. Trust me. It really is easier to do this and you will be less inclined to be discouraged with the stickiness of the dough.

I used my old biscuit cutter for the first cut. You could use a glass too. Dip your cutting device into a little bowl of flour before each cut. You will thank me for that little hint.

For the center cut (doughnut holes), I ended up using a bottle. It was the right circumference. If the doughnuts are getting you down a bit, just make doughnut holes out of all of the dough. Truth be known, the doughnut holes are the best. Little bites of spicy goodness.

It’s a bit messy, but it was all good. Some of the doughnuts were not quite perfect before they were cooked. No matter. When they cooked in the oil they magically turned into round doughnuts.

Use your hands to form the dough. This time, a rolling pin will not do. Messy, but a good outcome.

When deep frying, ALWAYS use a thermometer. When the oil gets below the intended cooking temperature, the food will absorb the oil. By keeping the temp up, it insures the oil actually cooks the food. The temp will always drop when you add the doughnuts. For this reason, do not add too many at a time. My rule is to deep fry at 360-370 degrees and to never let the temp go below 350 degrees after you have added the food. Works for me. Also, NEVER leave the hot oil unattended. If you have to leave, even for a minute….turn off the burner and slide the pan over to a cool burner. The oil will be okay and so will you and your house.

Tasty gems of spice. Transfer from the hot oil to layers of paper toweling. After they have cooled a bit, roll in the sugar and spice mixture.

I added just a tish of grated nutmeg to the cinnamon and sugar mixture. It gave a spicy fragrance and a very slight taste to the mixture. Kind of like when you take a bite and you just can’t quite seem to guess what that great flavor is that is dancing on your tongue. Not enough to know it is nutmeg, but just enough to awaken the flavors.

I had some cinnamon roll icing in the fridge, so I did a thick drizzle over a few doughnuts. It was Mr. Wii’s idea. Personally, I liked the cinnamon/sugar/nutmeg mixture on the doughnuts the best. This recipe made a little over two dozen doughnuts and holes. They are best eaten the day they are made. The next day they are still good, but not near as good.
Pumpkin Doughnuts

A big thank you to Bon Appetit, October 2004 and Nicole over at Pinch My Salt. I adapted the recipes they used for these wonderful doughnuts. Therefore, this recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation. That’s how we roll in the foodie world.

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
Canola or Peanut Oil for deep frying
Topping Choices:
Cinnamon/Sugar mixture with a dash of ground nutmeg
Granulated Sugar
Powdered Sugar
1. Whisk the first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend well; set aside.
2. Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until well blended (mixture will be a bit grainy). Beat in egg, then yolks, then vanilla. Gradually beat buttermilk and molasses. After all that is blended, then incorporate the pumpkin.
3. Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours. It really must be refrigerated due to the stickiness of the dough.
4. Generously flour two baking sheets. When dough is well chilled, generously flour the work surface. Scrape the dough onto the work surface and divide into thirds. It’s just easier to work with the dough in those amounts. Gently press the dough (flour your hands well) into a round that is 1/2 to 2/3 inch thick. Use a 2 1/2 inch diameter round cutter and cut out the doughnut rounds. Use a 1 inch diameter round cutter to cut out the centers to make the doughnut holes. Arrange the doughnuts and holes on the floured baking sheets as you go. Gather the scraps, pat and press into shape and cut more doughnuts/doughnut holes until all the dough is used. Dip the cutters into flour before each cut.
5. Line two baking sheets with several layers of paper toweling. Pour oil into a deep skillet, dutch oven, or deep fryer. You will need a depth of about 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches. Attach a deep fry thermometer to the side of your pot and heat oil to 365 to 370 degrees. Fry until golden brown turning occasionally. This does not take very long. Maybe one minute on each side. Just watch the color. It happens quick. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper toweling to drain. Cool. Roll doughnuts and holes in the sugar and spice mixture. If you dust with powdered sugar or use icing, make sure the doughnuts are cooled completely. They can be somewhat warm for the sugar mixture. Recipe makes about two dozen doughnuts and two dozen holes. Enjoy.
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