One of the great pleasures of making your own donuts is eating them fresh out of the frying oil — a thing one rarely gets to experience when buying donuts from a storefront. (Unless you’re up in the wee hours).
These little beauties taste ah-mazing when they’re warm. We make the batter with buttermilk, so they have a dense, chewy crumb and a wonderful tang to them. They’re also full of nutmeg and cinnamon, a flavor combo that reminds us of the donuts you find at the county fair or the farmers market. You can eat them plain, but we dredge ours through a pile of cinnamon sugar — love that light crunch and sweet spice.
Could we eat a dozen of these buttermilk donuts all by ourselves? Yes, and their holes too, but they’re definitely meant to be shared — because the other great pleasure that comes with homemade donuts is watching the people you love devour them. They’re a natural at brunch, of course, but we’ve also whipped them up for fancy coffee dates and informal desserts. (Donuts and ice cream? Yaaaas.)
Our tip: As you’re frying, keep the thermometer in the oil. Your oil temperature will dip and rise when you add and remove donuts, and keeping the thermometer in will help you maintain a steady temperature.
Yield: 12 donuts and 12 donut holes
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
⅔ cup granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup for dusting finished donuts
1 large Gelson’s egg
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp iodized salt
1 ¼ tsp Gelson’s ground cinnamon, divided
⅛ tsp Gelson’s ground nutmeg
½ cup buttermilk
4 cups canola oil or other frying oil
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the unsalted butter, granulated sugar, and egg on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and iodized salt. Whisk in ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and the nutmeg.
Switch to the dough hook and set the mixer to medium-low speed. Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the wet ingredients in three additions, alternating between the two and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Increase the speed to medium and mix until a soft, tacky dough forms, scraping down the sides as needed. If sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom sauce pot, heat the canola oil to 375°.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball, dusting the dough with flour.
Roll the dough out into a ½”-thick circle and, using a donut cutter, cut as many donuts and holes as the circle allows. Reroll the leftover dough and use it to cut more donuts.
Using metal tongs or a slotted spoon, gently place 3 to 4 donuts and donut holes in the hot oil at a time. Fry them for 45 seconds, then use the tongs to gently turn them. Fry for 45 seconds more.
Carefully scoop the donuts out of the oil, let any excess oil drip off, then transfer them to a plate lined with 2 to 3 layers of paper towels.
Repeat steps 8 and 9 until all of the donuts have been fried. Note: if you prefer plain donuts, you can go ahead and eat them now.
In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup granulated sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon until incorporated. Add a warm donut to the mixture and gently toss until coated. Repeat until all of the donuts are dusted in cinnamon sugar. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.