Have you ever heard the phrase, "Nothing good ever happens past midnight?"
Most of the time I try to study, I end up doing something else. On a similar note, most of the time I have to wake up earlier than usual, my body doesn't want to go to sleep. So when I had to get up early to go take an exam, my natural response would be to stay up late and make doughnuts.
I was hanging out with my friend Claire, avoiding responsibilities and pretending that finals aren't next week, when I had a craving for fluffy, delicious doughnuts. I'm sure the recent doughnut post from A Beautiful Mess also had something to do with it.
So I googled "doughnut recipe" and found one from the trusty Alton Brown - that man never fails to make foolproof recipes. I had to tweak it a little, since college = not a lot of options.
Nevertheless, these doughnuts turned out awesome. I was really surprised, since I've never made doughnuts before, and I didn't have a fry thermometer, and the dorm kitchens are just a mess. But yeah. Make. These. Doughnuts.
(p.s. I didn't really take any pictures, since this was a spur of the moment decision and it was like 2 in the morning by the time we were done. Pictures weren't gonna happen.)
Heat up 1 1/2 cups milk with 1/3 cup of shortening on the stovetop until the shortening is all melted. While that's heating up, take 2 packets of instant yeast and dump it into 1/3 cup warm water and wait 5 minutes. It'll foam, but you can put a tiny bit of sugar in there to speed things up. When the milk and shortening are melted and slightly cooled, mix that with the yeast, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and about 3 cups of flour. Mix it up until homogenous, then add an additional 2 1/2 cups of flour. The dough will be very sticky, but try to knead it in the bowl, and it'll be fine. Once you decide that things are too messy, you can rub a little oil on the top of the dough, cover it with a plastic bag, and wait for it to rise 1 hour. After the hour is up, scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and try to wrangle it into a ball-ish mass. Take the rolling pin out, and roll until a little less than 1/2 inch thick. Cut into rounds, and let it rise again for 20 minutes. Prepare to fry: put a good amount of oil in a pan (maybe 2 inches in a cast iron pan), and heat on medium high until a piece of dough sizzles in the oil (very scientific, I know). Then fry those babies for about 45 seconds per side (or until you get too nervous because that crust looks closer to burnt than golden brown and delicious). Remove from oil, place on paper towels, and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar. Liberally. Imagine sprinkling liberally. And then do more. So much powdered sugar. (I am still pretty tired while writing this. Sorry about the powdered sugar.)
And BOOM. You just made awesome delicious homemade doughnuts. You are a champion. Let me know if you've ever made doughnuts (or anything else) on a whim. Or don't. You have your own life decisions to make. :)