I shouldn’t tell you about these donuts. My grandmother doesn’t approve. Although she died about 15 years ago, I heard from her last week. She reached out from the afterlife to let me know I’m making these donuts all wrong.
It happened when I went to see a medium a few days ago. It was a group event, and when the medium came around the room to talk with me, she asked if I had a donut recipe. It was kind of spooky because I had made donuts just a few days prior.
Although I am the Scully in the Mulder and Scully duo, I do want to believe this was true. How could the medium know I had just made donuts? I didn’t sign up for the event in my name or RSVP on a Facebook event page, so she had no way of even knowing to stalk me on social media ahead of time. Though if she did, she certainly would have seen the donut photo.
After the event, I called my mom. I had a vague recollection of my grandmother making donuts at some point in my childhood, though as Scully would rationalize, it could have been a memory subconsciously implanted by the mere suggestion from the medium and my desire to believe. But then my mom confirmed that my grandmother did, in fact, make donuts.
I have no doubt my grandmother would tell me I was making these donuts all wrong, which only adds to the credibility of my experience. The difference was that my grandmother fried her donuts, while the donuts I had just made were baked.
Baked and fried donuts are so different in nature that they’re hardly comparable. And yet, the specific suggestion that my grandmother wanted to send me via the medium, was that I need to use lard to fry my donuts. In other words, I needed to be less healthy. Not something I often tell myself.
I suppose if I did have the opportunity to communicate with my grandmother, which in theory is what I did when I skeptically agreed to go to this event with my sister, I would want to have some feedback on my cooking. My grandmother was a great cook and baker, and she passed before I got into food. Donuts probably wouldn’t have been the first question I would ask about, but then again, I didn’t have anything specific I wanted to know anyway. And maybe she figured that picking something so timely could help me believe that she is out there, keeping tabs on my cooking.
Well, I think my grandmother is right. Fried donuts are the way to go. I don’t know about using lard for frying, but I get her point. Baked donuts are pretty much cake. They’re dense and crumbly, while fried donuts are more light and airy. I shared a fried donut recipe a couple of years ago when I threw my “Twin Peaks” party, and the more I talk about them, the more I want to make those again too.
Nevertheless, cake donuts do have their following, and I can appreciate that. So this recipe is for all of you cake donut fans. You do need donut molds to make these work, but they’re cheap enough and worth the purchase if you prefer these kind of donuts. I’m pretty sure I only headed down this cake donut path because I saw the molds in an online ad. Which makes me wonder, how many outside forces want to interfere with how I make donuts?
Makes 1 dozen donuts
1 ¾ cup flour
¼ cup corn starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray or coat donut baking trays with oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, baking powder and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.
Transfer the batter into a plastic bag with the corner cut off or a piping bag. Doing this makes it much easier to get the batter into the molds. Fill the molds evenly with the batter.
Bake for about 10 minutes, or until firm, then remove and cool on a rack before icing.
For icing: Whisk together ½ cup of powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Add more milk if too thick. Dunk the donuts in the icing to coat and top with sprinkles, toasted coconut, nuts or whatever else you can think of. For chocolate icing, add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and a little more milk, as needed.
For chocolate donut variation: Add ¼ cup of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and add a splash more milk to the wet.