Confession time: I am addicted to doughnuts. As far as addictions go, this one’s pretty minor, but it’s haunted me all my life. Rightly or wrongly, I blame my parents.
Every Saturday morning, before I headed off to hours of dance lessons, my dad would run out to get two boxes of doughy delight, and my family would indulge in what can only be called a doughnut-palooza. French doughnuts. Long Johns. Crullers. Jelly. You name it, it was in the boxes.
While those dance classes failed to have an effect (sorry, Mom), the doughnuts left a lasting impression.
Now I’m a sucker for every doughnut craze that comes along. When crescent doughnuts started making the news this summer, and Pillsbury came out with a DIY salted caramel recipe, I knew I had to try them. But I wasn’t content with the “serves three” version. I wanted bigger, better. And I had the perfect excuse to experiment: a friend’s housewarming party.
I followed the salted caramel recipe as a guide but used Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheets instead, layering the dough from three containers. With a 2 1/2-inch cutter – I used the canning band from a Mason jar, but a cookie or biscuit cutter works just as well – I cut out 15 doughnuts. To make the holes in the center, I used an apple corer. (Don’t even think about tossing the leftover scraps of dough; they make perfect doughnut holes.)
Next step was cooking. I pulled out my deep fryer and followed the directions in the recipe (heat 2 cups vegetable oil to 350 degrees, fry on each side for 1 1/2 minutes), draining the cooked doughnuts on paper towels. (The holes take less time to cook, so keep an eye on them.)
Then came the really fun part – decorating. In lieu of the pudding filling called for in the recipe, I used a mascarpone cream that I had left over from trying this amazing Bake-Off Contest recipe. Honestly, with how rich these doughnuts are, a filling isn’t even necessary.
I also whipped up two toppings, melted dark chocolate and a white glaze (powdered sugar thinned with a bit of milk). The garnishes were all things I pulled from my cupboards: colored sprinkles, jimmies and chopped nuts. I mixed and matched, loving how much variety I could get from just a few ingredients.
When I walked into the party, I felt like the Pied Piper. People oohed and ahhed and followed me into the kitchen, where I barely had time to remove the plastic wrap before hands starting pulling doughnuts off the tray.
The next time I wandered into the kitchen, the doughnuts were gone – except for a lonely half left on the tray. I was happy to call it mine.