Friday, February 10, 2017

Fried Dough #2: "Faux-nuts"

Okay, I'll admit - I've been trying to figure out a good name for these all week. "Fauxnuts" seemed the most descriptive, so we're going with that.*

OH - Before we get all fauxnutty, a few comments from last week's Beignets post:
  • I've discovered that there are those who feel that beignets should always be made using a raised yeast dough. (Though the Cajun cookbook that gave us last week's recipe - and at least one online recipe from Emeril Lagasse - both used baking powder.) So we'll be revisiting this later in the month (after I replenish our yeast supply, since the jar we had expired in 2010).
  • I obviously didn't use enough powdered sugar. 
One thing that wasn't discussed at all was whether or not altitude might have played a factor in how much they puffed up here, as opposed to in Idaho. (So if anyone has info on that, please still let us know.)

Now on to today's much easier fried pastry: the fried donut-shaped canned biscuit Fauxnut.

Yep. You read that right. We're frying canned biscuit dough for a quick donut fix this week.

Somewhere back in the deep recesses of my brain, I remembered doing this when I was a kid - though I'm fairly certain my mom wouldn't have let us make them, so I'm not sure where/when it happened.

The hardest part of this recipe is probably the choosing of your canned biscuit flavor. I mean... Pillsbury, alone, has 9 different varieties of refrigerated (canned) biscuits. And there are a ton of other brands on the market. You can even go gluten free if you want. I opted for "Original," just because it seemed like it would probably have a nice, middle-of-the-road flavor (and I wasn't sure how the other flavors would be as donuts/fauxnuts).

Standard "here are all the ingredients" shot.
Seriously. Is there anything better than popping open a tube of refrigerated dough - whether biscuits or some other food? It's like culinary Pop Goes the Weasel!
With all of the ingredients (okay, except for toppings - we'll discuss those later) taken care of, it was on to shaping them.

Even though these were "Grands" (aka "bigger"), they were a little small when we took our smallest round cutter to them. (We don't actually have a donut cutter, because... well... I can't honestly remember the last time we've needed one.)

Nope. I didn't add flour to the cutting board. Didn't need to.
As I went along, I flattened out some of the disks, so that the hole-to-ring ratio seemed a little less skewed. 

On the far left, you see the first one I cut, without flattening out the disk.
Next step: Into our familiar pan of oil, which had waited all week on the stove for us.

Okay. A bit of a confession: Between the beignets and the fauxnuts, we'd used the oil one other time - which I'm planning to tell you about, but since I promised the donuts would be here this weekend I'll have to explain the "dirty" oil later on.
Frying these up - once again without using a thermometer - took almost no time. They required a quick flip about halfway through so that they would be nicely browned on both sides. (This also helps to make sure that the interior is cooked through.)

I did have a bit of a debate with myself about whether flattening them was such a smart idea (although it did help with the hole punching). If you look at the picture, below, you'll see that the ones on the left are pretty flat, while the one on the "upper right" is more... well... donut shaped. 

At this point, I was letting them dry for a moment on paper towel before deciding on what to use for a coating. Don't worry, you'll see the results, below.
 Of course, you can't make fauxnuts without also frying up the fauxnut holes.

Wow, the oil looks really gross in this picture.

Ohmigod. Don't you just want to reach in and grab one and pop it in your mouth? (And then go to the emergency room because you just put your fingers into 350-degree oil and then put that same oil into your mouth... So - no - don't do that. use a good slotted spatula or a kitchen spider.)
There was some debate as we went along regarding what toppings should be on the fauxnuts and the fauxnut holes. We're fairly traditional around here, so we tossed the first of the fauxnuts in sugar. With the fauxnut holes, we put together some cinnamon sugar and tossed them around in a covered bowl.
Now these you could reach in, grab, and pop in your mouth!
And, because I was thinking of you, I actually plated them all before devouring them.

This was almost foiled by Christopher, who was having to endure the smell of fried goodness from the other room. Luckily, because these only took me about 10 minutes from start to finish - basically I turned on the oil to heat, and by the time it was ready I had already shaped the fauxnuts, after which it went even faster - by the time he was ready to raid the kitchen, I was already walking out to the living room with the goods.

If you look closely, you'll notice that the two fauxnuts on the right have been glazed. How did I do that so quickly? I put about a quarter cup of ready-made frosting (yes, Pillsbury - in a tub - it was leftover in the fridge) into a small pan on the stove and melted it down. Once the fauxnuts had cooled a bit, I drizzled it over.
Are these fauxnuts the best breakfast pastry in the world? Umm... no. There's something innately "biscuit-y" about biscuit dough that even frying it and coating it in sugar can't hide.

But, if you're in a hurry and want a donut fix without all the fuss and mess - and you have a pan with about an inch of oil in it - they're definitely a good substitute, which you can keep in the fridge as a backup.

(And, if you really like them, you could start a group called Fauxnuts fo-ever!)

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Tune in next week when we explain how the oil got so dirty - and, later this month, don't forget that we'll be talking beignets one more time!



*Who knew that there were already a baker's dozen (multiple bakers' baker's dozens, in fact) items referred to as "fauxnuts" on line? Because they seem to be made with everything from apples to puff pastry sheets - and a whole lot of options in between - I'm choosing to keep the name and simply add this to the list in the same way that a million different recipes all share the name "cookie."
 

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