The annual Halloween doughnuts were, to me, especially lovely this year. The recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking. Apparently Mom's copy of The Joy (but not mine) has a variation with orange juice and zest that she has never made. That sounds delicious to me! This year, she added some orange powder, and for that or another reason, I found these exceptional. They did not taste at all orange-flavored, but had a nice complexity of flavor. I usually have orange oil on hand, but not orange powder, so I'm saying to add a bit of orange oil instead.
Whisk together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed:
4 c AP flour
4 t baking powder
3/4 t ground cinnamon or 1 t grated lemon zest (Mom uses cinnamon)
3/4 t grated or ground nutmeg
3/4 t salt
"cake doughnut flavor" from King Arthur -- internet says this is no longer sold
In a large bowl, beat well with an electric mixer:
Add slowly and beat until thick and creamy:
3/4 c plus 2 T sugar
On low speed, add and beat until blended:
3/4 c buttermilk (or milk in a pinch)
a small splash of orange oil
5 T butter, melted
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix with a large spoon just until blended. The dough will be soft and sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours (I think you can skip this in a pinch, but the dough will be harder to work with).
Roll the dough 1/2 inch thick (a little thicker is ok) on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out doughnuts with a well-floured cutter. Transfer cut donuts to a sheet of wax paper generously floured. Re-roll scraps.
Allow doughnuts to rest at room temperature 20 minutes to 1 hour before frying. This helps the dough to form a light crust so that it absorbs less oil.
Heat about 3 inches oil to 375 F. Never crowd the fryer. Each donut will take 11/2 - 2 minutes per side to cook, depending on the size. They should be a deep golden brown. It is a good idea to test the first doughnut.
Drain the doughnuts on paper bags. When they are cool enough, coat with: