I've never deep-fried anything before. But in the spirit of the third day of Chanukah, let me share with you my first attempt. I made doughnuts!
One of the most important things you need when deep frying is the right pot. (You can also get a deep fryer for relatively cheap if you think you'll be doing this a lot). It needs to be both wide and deep - wide because you can only fry one layer at a time, and deep because you need enough room for a few inches of oil and a couple inches headspace at the top to allow for splashing.
You also need a deep-fry/candy thermometer - I got a new one after the demise of my first.
The one I got had conveniently labeled temperatures for stages of candy and deep frying.
My recipe said 365 F for the drop doughnut, which made them slightly hotter than the 350F that was labeled fries. Doughnuts are way hotter than fries. I knew it.
This recipe is really simple. No yeast, no waiting around to rise, no kneading. So with laziness, also comes some sacrifice. This isn't a traditional doughnut, it's more of a cake doughnut. But rolled in glaze, it's just as delicious!
Once I dropped them in by teaspoonful (they will expand), the frying began. At first I was worried I would splash hot oil on myself, and even went to change in to long sleeves before beginning, but my fears were unfounded. I just used a spoon to lower the doughnuts into the oil instead of dropping them in. I also had help from my trusty assistants Mom and Shira. [Hi!]
And I watched as they turned a beautiful golden brown. Some of them needed a little help staying below the surface, and I was happy to assist.
I probably did about ten at a time, plopping them in one by one and waiting for them to get just the right shade of golden brown. Then I pulled them out and let them cool on a paper towel. My assistants and I tried one. Just right.
Next, of course, I wanted a glaze. I could have just rolled them (still warm) in powdered or granulated sugar, but that just wasn't going to cut it for me. So I mixed up a glaze of confectioner's sugar and milk, adding more liquid or more sugar until I got the consistency I wanted. Then I rolled the cooled doughnuts around, and let them set.
Doughnuts! But, the deep-fried treats aren't exactly recommended for snacking eight days a week, so if you're looking for a (slightly) healthier alternative, come back on Wednesday for another Chanukah treat.
Tip of the Day: If you're buying a new thermometer, make sure you get one that clips on to the edge of the pot so you don't have to worry about holding it up. And invest in a good slotted spoon to remove the doughnuts from the pot when they're done!
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
3 tbsps oil
Fill a large pot with oil, leaving about a two inch headspace at the top. Oils that are good for deep-frying include canola, sunflower, peanut and safflower. Heat over a medium flame.
Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center and add in the egg, milk and oil, mixing until smooth.
Before beginning frying, the oil should reach about 365 F. If it is too cold, the doughnuts will absorb a lot of the oil, and if it is too hot, they will burn on the outside while still being raw on the inside.
Carefully lower by teaspoonful the batter into the oil. You can do several at a time as long as they are not crowded. Leave them to brown on each side, turning if necessary. (They may bob around by themselves). When golden brown all around, remove from oil and place on paper towel to drain.
If rolling in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar, do when hot.
If coating in a glaze, then wait til cool, and cover.