I have never met a variety of deep-fried dough I didn’t like. Yet, given that most doughy fried items out there are rather mediocre — say, the ones found at our local grocery stores — I don’t find myself indulging this habit as often as I’d like. The exception to this rule is pumpkin spice doughnuts, which I am absolutely weak in the face of. Despite the fact that even the loveliest looking ones at our local markets tend to disappoint, I eat them anyway. Because it’s fall and crunching through ochre-tinted leaves, wrapping your fingers around a paper cup of mulled cider, and eating even lackluster pumpkin spice doughnuts is the right and proper thing to do.
You’ll be pleased to know that despite requiring chilling and cutting and deep-frying — something I’m anything but skilled in (admittedly, this was the first time in my life I have EVER deep fried something), which I blame on my upbringing; seriously, my family did not deep fry things — these were not hard to make. The dough comes together quickly and the cooking takes less than 15 minutes, beginning to end. And the eating… well, faintly spiced, lightly pumpkin scented, perfectly light from the beer and crisped at the edges, these are so very worth it. All of it.
For this recipe, you will need:
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Michigan Brewing Co. Screaming Pumpkin Spiced Ale
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or equal parts cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk 6 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
1. Line baking sheet with parchment. Line a large plate with paper towels. In a paper bag, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon; shake to mix well. Set aside.
2. Bring beer to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beer has reduced to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
3. In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt, 1 cup flour and remaining sugar and cinnamon until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk butter, eggs, yolk and cooled beer until well combined. Add beer mixture to flour mixture; whisk until smooth. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour and mix until just combined. Dough will be slightly sticky. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
4. Pour oil into a large pot and attach a candy thermometer to side (thermometer should not touch bottom of pot). Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375ºF, watching and adjusting as needed to keep oil from overheating.
5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured countertop and coat fingertips with flour. Pat dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a doughnut cutter or 2 round cookie cutters (one large and one small), cut out doughnuts and holes. Transfer both to lined baking sheet. Gather scraps and re-pat dough, cutting as many doughnuts as possible.
6. Working in batches, carefully slide doughnuts into hot oil. After about 1 minute, doughnuts will rise to surface and begin to brown. At that point, turn over and fry 1 1/2 minutes longer. Transfer to lined plate to drain. Bring oil back to 375ºF before frying another batch. When doughnuts have cooled for 1 minute, add to bag with cinnamon sugar and toss to coat. Remove to a clean plate and serve.