My house was without power for ten days following hurricane Sandy. We really were very lucky that everyone was safe and that power was all we lost. Still, learning to manage without heat and electricity was definitely a challenge with two little ones to care for given the low temperatures. I have to say we fared pretty well and luckily my gas stove-top was able to be used with the simple light of the pilot using a match.
Cooking meals with just a the stove top wasn’t at all difficult since there are many things you can prepare but dessert was another story. Sure you can prepared puddings and such but my family isn’t all that into pudding so I pretty much avoided homemade desserts altogether. That is, until I realized I could make homemade donuts on the stovetop. The funny thing is, I had only made donuts once in my life before this occasion, and out lack of electricity was the perfect excuse to whip up a batch with my 4 year old as sous chef. Activity+delicious dessert =’s WIN! WIN! in the mommy department. He loved helping me measure and mix the ingredients and managed to do all of the donut cutting all on his own. We even used the scraps from the center of the donuts to make donut holes which he went bananas for!
Homemade donuts really are very simple to make and seem like a lot more work than they really are. I chose to make a Pennsylvania Dutch style donut which are made using potato as one of the ingredients. Since Thanksgiving is fast approaching I decided to use sweet potato and while they were fresh from the oil and still piping hot, I rolled them in cinnamon sugar—heaven! I was all out of white flour so i decided to take a risk and make these using one hundred percent whole wheat flour. I have to admit, I never use all whole wheat flour in a baking recipe and often do a 50/50 split between white and whole wheat flour to keep things light. But this time I decided to give it a try and I was so happy that I did. The earthiness of the whole wheat flour was just the right compliment to the cinnamon sugar outer coating. This donut is the perfect fall breakfast treat alongside a steaming cup of coffee and it was anything but heavy thanks to the moistness imparted by the sweet potato.
Pennsylvania Dutch Sweet Potato Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts
Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potato (without any seasonings added)
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
5 cups whole-wheat flour
Canola oil for frying
1. Make cinnamon sugar coating: Whisk together cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, milk, eggs and butter. In another bowl, combine sugar, baking powder and 2 cups of flour, stir into potato mixture. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough that is not too stick. Note: gradually add the dough until the dough is manageable but not stiff. Avoid adding too much flour, only use what you need. I ended up only needing 4 cups of the flour. It depends on the weather as to how much you need. you just want to add enough flour so that the dough isn’t very sticky. Divide dough in half.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll each half to 1/2-inch in thickness. Cut with a 2-3 inch doughnut cutter or use the rim of a glass. Note: I used the rim of a glass dipped in flour to prevent sticking. I also used a seltzer bottle cap to cut out the center hole of the doughnut. It worked perfectly and made adorable little doughnut holes.
4. Heat oil in a dutch oven or any high sided heavy pan or a deep fat fryer until oil reaches 375 degrees. Fry donuts, a few at a time, until golden on both sides, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and toss in cinnamon sugar. Serve warm. Donuts are best eaten the day they are prepared.