Cookbook Crush, October 2016: 101 Things to do with Beer (+ pumpkin beer donut holes)

Pumpkin Beer Donut Holes. Big, puffy, billowy, powdered sugar dusted, beer-infused donuts. Is this real life? Yes, my friends, it certainly is.

101 Things to do with Beer by Eliza Cross...this is my new favorite cookbook. I love a cold beer, preferably a pumpkin, wheat, or Shiner on draft, please. If a recipe calls for beer, it immediately has my full attention.

Well. Let me name a few of the 101 recipes I want to try from this little gem of a cookbook: Soft Beer Pretzels, Ale Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip, Beer Butterscotch Sauce, Slow Cooker Beer French Dip, Cheesy Beer Hashbrowns, Vanilla Beer Cake, Beer-Battered Caramel Bananas...and the list goes on, and on. *sigh*

First, though, I had to make the Light-as-a-Feather Donut Holes. I made them with pumpkin beer because 'tis the season!

These are not tiny, one-bite donut holes. These are big-as-your-palm, billowy, pillowy donut holes. They're not overly sweet...and the beer taste is not overpowering. If you know it's there, you can taste it.

You'll actually FRY these donut holes. Don't be scared. It's not hard. Note: do not ease the dough into the hot oil by placing your fingers right on top of the oil. Please take that advice from someone who learned the hard way.

I used this frying oil which is a mix of peanut and soybean oils.

Not only will you have hot, fresh, donuts, you'll also have a house that smells like a county fair (in a good way, like fried dough). I really had the urge to set up some carnival games in my living room.

I'll be honest, this is a long process to go through for breakfast, complete with 2.5 hours of rising time. I think you could easily leave the dough in the refrigerator overnight for the second rise, then you'll only have a 30-minute rise in the morning.

I made the mistake (if you can call eating donuts for lunch a mistake) of STARTING the process at 9am.

Pumpkin Beer (giant) Donut Holes
{adapted from 101 Things to do with Beer, makes 15-20}

2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup pumpkin beer
3 egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
oil for frying
powdered sugar

Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and nutmeg. Pour the beer into another bowl and heat in the microwave at 10-second increments until it reaches 125 degrees. Add the beer to the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well. Add the cream, salt and vanilla. Beat until the dough comes together.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, and cover loosely with a piece of oiled plastic wrap.

Let rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead gently to remove air bubbles, then return to the oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in the refrigerator for another hour.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll to a thickness of 1". Cut with a 2" round cookie cutter; place on the prepared sheet. Reroll scraps.

Cover with a dishtowel and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1-2" of oil to 350 degrees.

Working a few at a time, fry the dough for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, then move to a wire rack set over a cookie sheet.

Sprinkle on a generous amount of sifted powdered sugar.

This is real life.

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