I eat donuts maybe once a year. And even then, the donuts must be yeasted donuts -- no cake donuts for me, thank you very much. I figure if I'm going to inject myself with wasteful calories, I want something more interesting than rainbow sprinkles, bad icing and crumbly, dried-out cake. I found this recipe a few years ago in an issue of Real Simple and was intrigued. Could this recipe satisfy my kids' desire for donuts? I finally tried it several weeks ago. It hit the spot for all of us and I've actually had two donuts this year ... so far. The middles were perfectly doughy without being undercooked. The outsides had the perfect amount of crispness and flake (thanks to all the butter in the canned biscuits that I used). It's a two-thumbs up recipe for a last-minute dessert.
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 8-count package large refrigerated biscuits (such as Pillsbury Grands)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Place the biscuits on a cutting board. Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter or shot glass, cut a hole in the center of each biscuit, reserving the extra dough for "holes."
3. Test the heat of the oil by dipping the edge of a doughnut in the pan. When the oil is hot enough, the edge will bubble. Place 4 of the doughnuts and holes in the skillet and cook until golden brown, 1 to 1½ minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel–lined plate to drain. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, reheat, and cook the remaining doughnuts and holes.
4. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Gently toss the warm doughnuts in the mixture a few at a time. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Substitution Suggestions: Honestly, this recipe is as straight forward as they come. I've only used Pillsbury Flaky Grands and been happy with the results. If you want donut holes instead of the larger donuts, just press down on the biscuit slightly, then use your cookie cutter to cut lots of holes. The holes cook much faster than the full biscuits.
Lessons Learned: I've made this recipe twice now. The trick is to keep the oil hot enough to fry the donuts, but not so hot that the outsides burn before the insides are thoroughly cooked. (Yes, I made that mistake the first time around.) And, they do burn easily. I flipped the donuts several times each and that seemed to help.
I didn't have a cookie cutter small enough, but the plastic storage tube that came with my Pampered Chef grapefruit slicer is the perfect size for punching out the center hole.