Friday, September 2, 2011

Harvest Spice Bites

I have been working at making donuts for awhile and I finally decided just to drop the dough in the oil instead of trying to make picture perfect donuts.  I am glad I did because these are now more of a bite size item than a big donut.

This particular recipe has some ingredients that you probably will not find in your kitchen.  The first is pureed butternut squash.  I found a bin of this in my freezer.  As we get further into the season you should be able to make your own fresh puree or purchase it canned.  Note that the puree used is a simple blend of cooled, cooked squash and a little water.  Do not use the puree that most people consider a side dish, it is a recipe that has additional ingredients such as butter. The other specialty ingredient is liquid pie spice extract.  That is a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger flavors.  You can use traditional powdered spices, which are a blend of 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 allspice and 1/4 nutmeg.

These donut bites turned out much like a cake donut, fluffy on the inside with a crispy outside.  Without the sugar coating, they do have the slightly sweet taste of the squash with light undertone of the spice flavors.   These are a special treat with morning coffee or tea. This recipe makes about 2 1/2 dozen donut bites.

Harvest Spice Bites
by flourtrader

1 1/2 cups pureed butternut squash
3 tbs melted butter
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 tsp pie spice extract (or mix of powdered spices noted above)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
Canola oil for frying

Sift together baking powder, salt, baking soda, flour and spice blend (if using powdered spices).  Set aside.

In another bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla extract, milk, butternut squash puree and pie spice extract (if using).  Beat for 30 seconds on medium speed or until evenly blended.

Fold the flour mixture into the bater with a wooden spoon and mix until no dry streaks remain.  Cover and place in the fridge.

Prepare a pan by filling with 1 1/2 inches of canola oil.   Layer 3 sheets of paper towels on top of 2 baking sheets for the donuts to drain on. Place a deep fry thermometer in the oil and heat the oil to 365-370 degrees Fahrenheit.

At this time, you will need to decide on a topping for the doughnuts.  Joy the baker has compiled several options from Bon Appetit, which you can find here.   I just opted to roll them in white sugar.  Prepare your topping and place in a bowl beside the baking sheets.  If you are using a glaze, place a cooling rack over a flat surface covered with wax paper.

Once the oil reaches the correct temperature, drop batter by round spoonfuls into the oil.  A soup spoon is a great size to use.   Only drop four at a time to cook at once.  Let cook for about 2 minutes on each side and then remove and place on paper towels to cool.  Let cool for 3 minutes and roll in sugar mixture or dip in glaze.  After coating the sugar ones, you can place on a plate.  If you dip them in glaze, place the donuts on a cooling rack to set.  Repeat process with the remaining batter.