Dad’s day doughnuts – a little lovin’ from the oven
Article and photos by Lisa Crockett
National Doughnut Day is June 4, so doughnut shops and bakeries far and wide will be offering their best, tastiest treats in celebration. Doughnut Day is oddly nostalgic for me – when my children were small, June often meant that our preschool or playgroup hosted a “Doughnuts with Dad” celebration, one that we now sometimes re-create for Father’s Day. Not that we need a reason to have a doughnut, but it’s amazing how festive a little bit of fried dough and sugar can be. Until this year, I treated doughnuts in exactly the same way I treated all deep-fried food – eaten seldom and always made by someone else. This year, though, I discovered a technique that means I can make a little bit of doughnut-y goodness right in my own kitchen.
Frying food is, in a word, a disaster. Oil spatters everything, and in June, it can make the kitchen uncomfortably hot. Add to that the fact that the smell of fried food tends to linger. Also, what to do with all that leftover oil when the frying is complete? As mesmerized as I am by the Krispy Kreme conveyor belt of hot doughnuts bathed in frosting, I will leave that chore to someone else, thankyouverymuch.
One idle afternoon a few weeks ago when I was perusing the internet for something new to try out in the kitchen, I happened to stumble across the recipe I’m sharing here, demonstrated by one of my favorite food stars, Ina Garten. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of oven “fried” food simply because it’s usually a mere shadow of the real thing, but I knew if Ina was recommending it, it was likely to be either good or very good. Either way, the ingredients and the technique were so simple and easy, I figured it was a worthwhile investment of my time to give it a try. I did make a dash to a big-box store to purchase some inexpensive doughnut pans, but otherwise I had everything I needed on hand.
I stirred the batter and popped it in the oven, in exactly the same way I might for a batch of muffins. In fact, when they emerged from the heat after 17 minutes of baking, that’s what they were – simple, doughnut-shaped muffins. I gave one a nibble and while they were pleasantly spiced and sweet, they were nothing all that special, reminding me of a pancake baked in the oven. The next step, though, is where the magic happens. After five minutes to cool just a bit, the doughnuts are bathed in melted butter and rolled in a generous amount of cinnamon sugar, imparting a flavor, texture, and richness that pretty nearly mimics the real thing.
These babies are simply delicious and so easy to make, and it’s a good thing because once you make one batch, it’s highly likely you’ll be making another. My home taste-testers devoured my first batch, gobbling them while they were still warm and asking for more. A second batch was shared with friends who immediately asked for the recipe. A third batch lasted just a bit longer – some were eaten for dessert and the rest for breakfast the next morning, dunked in a glass of cold milk.
You’d think we might be tired of these treats after all that, but I doubt we’ll ever truly tire of them.
I think you’ll like them too, so bake up a few for National Doughnut Day. Then, make a batch for your favorite dad. After that, I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with plenty of reasons to make them – no deep fryer required.