[From my Cooking from Scratch column.]
Here's the thing—homemade donuts are basically love transubstantiated into pastry. They can be as basic as a bit of leftover pizza dough that's been fried and rolled in sugar, but there's not much that's more cozy than settling in for a long, chilly Sunday morning with a hot cup of coffee and a plate piled high.
You need something better, you say? Fancier? More razzle-dazzle?
Fine. Spice them up for fall and drizzle whiskey sauce over the top.
For the fall spices, I recommend trying cardamon and cinnamon. The cinnamon is obvious, but cardamon adds a little mystery, a little “this isn't quite 'pumpkin spice' but it still makes me want a thick sweater and a walk in the leaves.”
For the whiskey drizzling sauce, see the recipe below.
But before you start getting ferschnickered at just the thought of whiskey drizzling sauce—we're speaking metaphorically, here, don't worry the actual alcohol cooks out—one final suggestion.
This recipe makes at least 2 dozen donuts, so why not walk a plate over to a neighbor while they're still hot? Don't even change out of your pj's, I promise they won't even notice in the face of all that sugar-coated, whiskey-drizzled love.
Fall Spiced Donuts with Whiskey Drizzle Sauce (Makes 24-30 donuts)
For the donuts:
- 1 packet of yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 ¼ cup tepid water
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cardamon
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra
- frying oil (like vegetable, canola, or peanut)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
For the sauce:
- ¾ cup whiskey
- ½ cup brown sugar
Pour the packet of yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar into the tepid water and stir. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, cardamon, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
Add the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the flour, mix with a spoon until the dough becomes too thick, then knead with your clean hands for at least 5 minutes. You're looking for a smooth, stretchy dough, so you may have to add a little more flour or water depending on the day.
Coat the dough in just a little more olive oil, put it in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for a few hours or overnight.
When you're about ready to make the donuts, beat the dough down and allow it to rise a second time. As that's happening, fill a deep, heavy skillet or dutch oven with frying oil. You need about 2 inches of oil in the bottom of the pan and—for safety's sake—you should also have at least 2 inches clearance between the top of the oil and the top of the pan. Using a thermometer, heat the oil to about 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oil heats, mix the 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and the ½ cup of sugar together in a small bowl, and prepare a bake sheet with a cooling rack over the top as a place to rest your finished donuts. Additionally, make the whiskey drizzle sauce.
To do so, whisk the whiskey and brown sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer until its reduced by half, which should take 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, when the oil is hot, roll the dough into 2 inch balls. Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to gently lower several of the balls into the hot oil. Let them fry on one side for 2-3 minutes, then gently flip them to cook on the other side for the same amount of time.
When the donuts are golden brown on all sides, remove them from the oil with the slotted spoon and place them on your prepared cooling rack. As you fry the remaining donuts, dredge the cooked donuts in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Once all of the donuts are done, pile them up on a plate and drizzle the whiskey sauce all over the top. Eat them while they're hot.