It’s strange to reflect on what I was like as a child. Curious and happy, but also a completely unstable sack of emotions. Likely because I was on heavy steroids. Not for recreational fun, of course. That would be really fucked up for a 7-year-old. Or anyone, really. My feelings toward steroids are negative, if we are putting this on the record.
Anyway, this was all because I had chronic asthma. Which was also the main reason I was always picked last in laser tag and ended up getting beaten to death by green light beams while wheezing in the corner.
I got sick a lot, which I thought was totally normal. Like, partially collapsed lung kind of sick. And it seems odd, but when I was a kid, I kind of enjoyed it. In a way, being sick was almost comforting. I didn’t really fit in at school yet, so I loved staying home and letting my mom take care of me. It also didn’t hurt that I could secretly watched MTV Spring Break every time she left the room.
I think it’s safe to say I would have gotten fed up with Little Laura very quickly. She cried at absolutely everything, and had tons of excess energy that couldn’t be released. So she really just sat there crying and shaking and talking about rabbits all the time. Really – all rabbits, all the time. And I wonder why I didn’t fit in.
But my sainted mother never tired of me. And God bless her for it, because I don’t know if I could have done the same. One of my favorite memories was waking up on a Sunday morning to hear her in the kitchen. It almost never happened (she was much more of a Chicken Voila than a Julia Child kind of mom) so when it did, it was special.
She always made the same thing – donuts from canned biscuit dough. And it was incredible. I would stand there and glaze them for her as she took them out of the pot, then burn my tongue eating them so quickly. Looking back, giving me sugar was probably a mistake she soon regretted. But boy, did I love it.
So when I decided I wanted to make donut holes, I reflected back on the morning I spent making Maple-Apple-Bacon donuts and knew I needed to take a shortcut and use biscuit dough instead. And I am so glad that I did. Next time you want to make someone feel extremely special, without waiting for dough to rise and hell to freeze over, try these out. They are totally worth it.
For the donuts:
Store-bought buttermilk biscuit dough [I used 3 of the small cans that contain 5 regular-sized (not jumbo) biscuits]
Peanut oil [You need enough to fill 2 inches of the pot you’re using, which is usually about 2 of the smaller containers]
For the coating:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the chocolate pastry filling (adapted from Joy the Baker):
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
First, make the chocolate cream, since this will need time to chill.To do so, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium saute pan. The mixture will be fairly thick. Slowly whisk in the milk. Place pan over medium low heat and slowly heat. Stir near constantly so that the milk does not burn and the eggs do not cook. When mixture just comes to a boil it will quickly begin to thicken. Remove from heat and continue whisking until thick and smooth. The mixture will be the consistency of cold pudding. Add chocolate chunks, butter, and vanilla extract to the warm chocolate mixture and stir until all is melted and well incorporated. Transfer hot pastry cream to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap so the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cream. Chill for about 2 hours.
Next, while filling chills, make the donuts. Use a small biscuit cutter (3/4 in is what I used) to cut out donut holes from biscuit dough. Roll scraps into balls. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow plate, and place next to the stove. Heat peanut oil in a pot until it reaches 350 degrees. Try to keep it right at this temperature as you go through each batch. Working in batches of 4-5, fry the donut holes. Flip them halfway through until both sides are golden brown. Remove immediately onto the cinnamon sugar mixture, and roll around.
When donuts and cream are cooled, use the end of a spoon, a toothpick, or whatever you have to poke a hole in the donut hole. Wiggle around a little so that you create a sort of cavity. Using a pastry bag or ziplock with the corner cut off (which will be messier), fill each donut hole with the chocolate pastry cream. Serve & enjoy!