Gingered Doughnuts

warm and sweet

I've had a scrambled week. I'm definitely entering a new season in my life, and a bit unprepared. Sort of like being caught in a downpour with a wool sweater on. I was going to say, "Caught in a downpour without an umbrella," but that wouldn't be bothersome for Seattleites. We never carry umbrellas. But wet wool sweaters? That happens to us all the time, and it stinks.

One necessary evil lately is having to work in the morning while the kids watch cartoons. (If you care about me, please don't send any links to stories about screen time.) And they've been getting toast and fruit for breakfast while I drink my coffee standing up. This morning, though--Sunday morning, kids coming down with colds, Yancey at the station--I put down my work to make doughnuts. I don't want them to feel entirely neglected. And nothing says, "Your mother loves you more than she loves her iPhone" like deep-frying. Deep-frying and rolling in sugar, no less.

ready for frying

One of our favorite rituals is getting the hot cinnamon-y doughnuts at Pike Place Market. These days, the secret is out, and there's often a line snaking down the center of the market. I don't think I can beat those, but you won't have to get on the train or pay for parking when you make these. And they don't have ginger ones.

I could really take up your day by stopping to talk about ginger--fresh, candied, dried. And its limitless, delicious uses in smoothies, cookies, cakes, curries, soups, tea. I always have a few big knobs in my produce drawer and a bag of crystallized ginger in the pantry. Unfortunately, my children aren't quite as keen on it. Sugar all over his face, Wyatt said, "Mom, thanks for the awesome breakfast. Minus the ginger." It didn't stop them, though.

Gingered Doughnuts
Adapted from my green Gourmet cookbook. This recipe makes about 40 small doughnuts. I halved it. I used my cast iron skillet for deep frying and a candy thermometer to make sure the oil was hot enough. When you test it, make the sure the tip doesn't rest on the bottom of the pan. It will melt (not that I've learned the hard way or anything). You can certainly make these doughnuts without the candied and dried ginger. Or roll them in sugar and cinnamon instead of sugar and dried ginger. This dough is easy to make and easy to work with. The hardest part about these is making sure the oil doesn't get too hot or too cool and making sure you don't eat the entire batch.

4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 oz crystalized ginger, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
10 cups vegetable oil

For dredging mixture, whisk together 1 cup sugar and  3/4 teaspoon ground ginger in a shallow bowl.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 3/4 c sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger in a large bowl.

Whisk buttermilk, butter, and eggs until smooth, then buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir until a dough forms (dough will be sticky).

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently just until it comes together, 10 to 12 times, then form into a ball. Lightly dust work surface and dough with flour, then roll out dough into a 13-inch round (about 1/3 inch thick) with a floured rolling pin. Cut out 3/4" rounds with floured cutter and transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet. Gather scraps and reroll, then cut out additional rounds. (Reroll only once.)

Heat oil in a wide 5-quart heavy pot until thermometer registers 375°F. Working in batches of 7 or 8 (or 4 or 5 if you're using a cast iron skillet), carefully add rounds, 1 at a time, to oil and fry, turning over once, until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total per batch. (Return oil to 375°F between batches.) Transfer to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly, then dredge in ginger sugar.