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See ya in Chicagoland!

September 2, 2009

Well, I’m taking a break this weekend for Labor Day – heading to Chicago to visit my bestest friend from growing up, Merideth! So here’s a quick post to completely undo any gourmet bonus points I garnered with the last post by showing you one of my true-to-my-roots redneck Texas girl shortcuts. I apologize in advance for the absolute and utter unhealthiness of this post.

And so, without further ado…

Fatty AND delicious!

Home-fried Doughnuts...Fatty AND delicious!

Tip of the Day – Guilty Pleasures: Can O’ Biscuit Doughnuts!

1 Can of Biscuits

1 cup or 2 of powdered sugar -OR- cinnamon sugar

1 gallon size zip-top baggie

1 sturdy pot or deep fryer with at least 3 inches of oil in it

1 cookie sheet

1 cake rack

Paper towels and/or brown paper sacks

Metal tongs

Yes. You read that correctly. Can of biscuit. Donuts. This is a recipe that my family has used for years. It’s particularly useful for things like the deer lease, when you’re not totally sure what kind of cooking utensils you’ll have, and when you need a quick, filling breakfast on a cold winter morning.

As the name says, to make these donuts, you’ll need one of those break open cans of biscuit.You can buy whatever kind of pop-open can you want, I just chose the buttermilk store-brand ones. I’ve never made these with drop biscuits, but who knows – perhaps it would end up like funnel cake.

Biscuits

Biscuits

The general principle is, you take the biscuits, cut them into small pieces (or use a doughnut cutter if you have one – I don’t) and fry them on the stove or in a deep fryer. Once they’re done, you toss them with whatever topping you’ve chosen (I am 100% supportive of powdered sugar…the cinnamon sugar is for people who aren’t as addicted to sweet things), and presto! Fast and delicious doughnuts.

So you have your biscuits in a can. Then you shall need a pot. Full of oil. No, not fancy olive oil – plain old vegetable oil.

Vat of oil.

Vat of oil.

You’ll also want a frying thermometer, because you don’t want that vat of oil to explode.

Thermometer

Thermometer

You’ll also want to set up your post-frying area before you get started.

Use the cake rack, cookie sheet, and paper towels or brown paper sack to set up the draining area, thusly:

Drying rack

Drying rack

Prep your ziploc bag by putting either 1-2 c. powdered sugar or 1-2 c. of cinnamon sugar in the baggie. No need to measure, just eyeball it. You can refill it later if you run out.

Bag of sugar

Bag of sugar

At this point you’re ready to turn on the heat. PAY ATTENTION!

HOT OIL IS A KILLER. It will BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE if you don’t watch what you’re doing. I always leave a good four inches between the top of the oil and the top of the pot I’m working with. NEVER, under ANY circumstances, pour oil into the pot or pan while the fire is on. It will burn, and you will die. Maybe not immediately…but it would be bad.

What to do in a grease fire: highlights.

– DO NOT POUR WATER ON IT. This will cause a giant fireball explosion. You think I’m joking? Watch this video.

– COVER the fire with a lid of some kind (keep a lid handy while you’re making these doughnuts)

– Call 911.

Scared enough? Sure? OK.
Now. If you’re still up for this, after reading all these scary worst-case-scenarios, I salute you! The bottom line is, cooking with superheated oil is dangerous, but if you know what you’re doing, you can minimize risk. The safest thing to do, I think, when you’re dealing with oil, is to watch the temperature. Doughnuts fry at around 375°, so if you’re getting up towards 400°, turn the heat down and let the oil cool. Don’t rush this process – you need a slow, steady heat (fast and hot = burnt doughnuts anyway).

Once your oil is to temperature, transfer the first small doughnut piece into the oil using your metal tongs (wearing oven mitts is acceptable at this point, since it is highly likely that the grease will splatter).

First doughnut

First doughnut

This is your guinea pig. He will tell you if the oil’s too hot, too cold, or juuust right. He will take a long time to cook. No matter, keep him going. Flip him when his tummy gets all brown, to make sure both sides are well-browned.

Browned doughnut

Browned doughnut

When he’s good and brown, take him out of the oil. Do not put the doughnut directly into the zip-top baggie. This will melt the baggie and you’ll have wasted a good half hour of prep. Transfer the doughnut directly to the drying rack, and put your next couple of doughnuts in the oil.

Let the freshly fried doughnut rest a little while, til it’s drained of all the oil, but still warm, and then toss it in the bag with the powdered sugar (yess!) or cinnamon sugar (lame) to coat well. Replace onto the drying rack (I do this so any excess sugar falls onto the paper towel instead of on me) and serve immediately.

Les doughnuts!

Les doughnuts!

You may need to do this a couple of times before you get the hang of it – sometimes the centers aren’t cooked through, sometimes they’re too tough.

One can of biscuits will yield around 20 doughnut holes (cut the way I do them), or 10 doughnuts and 10 doughnut holes if you’re using a doughnut cutter.

Enjoy! And look for some pictures of Chicago next week!

This site has some really good recommendations for doughnuts too – you should check it out.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    September 3, 2009 12:11 pm

    I did some of my shadowing with my uncle, a burn specialist and trauma surgeon. Probably 75% of the people in the burn unit at any given time are there from cooking accidents, usually with hot oil. So, yeah, everyone BE CAREFUL!

    I was scared to fry things for a while afterwards, though I’m braving it for coconut shrimp tonight.

    • lisam permalink
      September 3, 2009 12:36 pm

      Yeah…hot oil is no joking matter. But at the same time, just being afraid of it isn’t enough – you have to know what to do if someone else around you is using hot oil, because you don’t know how safe they are!

      Good for you for giving it a shot – I’m proud!

      One other thing I should mention is the disposal of the oil – you should NOT pour used oil down your drain. Put it in a sealed container (an old to-go or ice cream container that seals is perfect for this) and throw it in the trash.

  2. Kristin permalink
    September 3, 2009 7:44 pm

    I am terrified of frying in my house. I was craving fried okra the other day and I had to settle for pickled okra due to fear of hot oil.

    These look yummy.

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