3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground mace
Pinch of ground cardamom
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. lemon extract
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
In a large bowl, sift the 3 1/2 cups flour. Then sift the flour again with the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, mace, cardamom and salt.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the eggs until frothy. Gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until light and lemon colored, about 4 minutes. Add the buttermilk, melted butter and lemon extract and mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the flour mixture and mix thoroughly. The dough will be very soft; add an additional sprinkle of flour if necessary to form a soft dough. (For light doughnuts, do not add any more flour than necessary.)
Dust a marble pastry board or other work surface generously with flour. Scrape the dough onto the surface and dust the top with flour. Roll out the dough to about 1/3-inch thickness. Dip the center removable part of a doughnut cutter into a side dish of extra flour and cut out holes. Using an icing spatula, lift the holes onto an ungreased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 1 day.
To fry the doughnuts, in a deep-fat fryer or a deep saucepan, pour in oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat to 380°F on a deep-frying thermometer, or until a doughnut hole dropped into the oil turns golden within about 2 minutes. Working in small batches, slip the doughnut holes into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Sift 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar into a paper bag. Sift together the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with the cocoa into another bag. Just before serving, shake half of the doughnut holes in the bag with the plain sugar and the other half with the cocoa-sugar mixture. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Makes 9 dozen doughnut holes.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series,Brunch Entertaining,by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1999).
Date: October 14, 2002