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pumpkin donuts with pumpkin cream cheese frosting

i know you’re still in the mood for pumpkin, so let me give you a recipe that will satisfy your cravings but in no way make you feel healthier (take that, healthy pumpkin muffins that are all the rage right now). my recipe uses a deep fryer, so it has to be delicious. it’s a law of science.

did you know that i actually own a deep fryer? it was purchased in a moment of weakness when, in my college days, i set out to make the perfect monte cristo [1] sandwich. the model i have is called the “fry daddy.” the larger version of the same model is called the “granpappy” and smaller model is the “fry daddy junior.” it’s one big unhealthy deep fried carnival food family. like most people, i was terrified of deep frying at first, but the draw of frying experimentation spurred me to try just about everything from apples and bananas to candy bars – and for those wondering, yes, deep fried pies are coming soon.

it’s true: pete usually bakes, but occasionally, pete deep fries. initially i was embarrassed about purchasing a machine whose sole purpose was to make me fat(ter), but i quickly got over it after i realized the joy that comes from homemade tempura and corndogs. i’ve become a proud granpappy of my frydaddy, and the more i tell others about it, the more excitement i get from those people what could possibly be deep fried. let me tell you a secret: anything can be deep fried, and don’t let anyone tell you different.

if you don’t think you can handle all the hot oil, there are recipes for baked donuts out there. to be honest i didn’t try to bake with this particular batter so i couldn’t tell you how well they would come out. additionally, don’t worry about actually using a deep fryer – a pan on the stove works just as well. you just need to monitor the temperature with a deep-fry thermometer, and i’ve included the instructions for doing that below. these donuts taste best right after you make them, so you really have no excuse not to spend all morning filling the house with the wonderful smells of deep fried pumpkin and then all afternoon devouring them with generous dollops of some of the most decadent frosting you’ll ever whip up. what are you waiting for?

pumpkin donuts!
makes 24 donuts (and holes). adapted from epicurious.com [2].

3 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
canola oil for frying

pumpkin frosting
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1. make the donuts: whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves. beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (mixture will be grainy). beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. gradually beat in buttermilk; fold in pumpkin in 4 additions. cover with plastic and chill 3 hours.

2. sprinkle a baking sheet lightly with flour. press out part of the dough on floured surface to 1/2 to 2/3 inch thickness. using 2 1/2 inch diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds until all dough is used. using 1-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes. toward the end of making the donuts, i simply formed them into rough patties by hand and poked out the hole with my thumb.

3. place a cooling rack on a baking sheet (for draining the donuts). pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches (or fire up your deep fryer). attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365 F to 370 F. fry doughnut holes in batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. using a slotted spoon, transfer to the cooling rack to drain. fry doughnuts, 2 or 3 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to cooling rack. give the donuts and holes a pat with a paper towel to remove excess oil.

4. make the frosting: soften the cream cheese in the microwave for about 30 seconds. blend in the pumpkin, butter, orange juice, zest and vanilla in a mixer or by hand. add the sugar and beat until light and creamy. spread on donuts or just dip the donuts and holes right into the frosting as you eat.