Nutrition is like fashion. One week we’re drinking kale and coconut water smoothies and the next…
Our deep-fryer has really come into its own of late.
And surprisingly, hasn’t met with the same fate as another impulsive purchase I made a while back. I’d been off work sick for a week. Terminally bored and incredibly vulnerable (the tv remote was on the other side of the room). What happened next was something I thought only happened to other people. I never imagined it could happen to me.
Why the hell do they call it a ‘system’ anyway? Probably because on its own it does diddly squat. And you only find out once you’ve bought it that you have to live on nothing but kale and coconut water for the next six months to see any results.
Still perplexed (and now also hangry cause I’d spent all my money on an Ab-Circle Pro and couldn’t afford the rabbit food to make it work), I set about trying to figure out exactly what to do with it.
I must admit, I was skeptical at first. But it did end up being an excellent clothes drying rack.
A word of caution if you’re thinking of buying exercise equipment from an infomercial: do not attempt to operate it after a few wines and a bucket of fried chicken while wearing a skirt. Because just as I always suspected, exercise is dangerous and bad for you.
Anyhoo, back to the present and all the deliciousness. The deep-fryer may well have been an impulse buy but it certainly hasn’t led to injury, embarrassment or buyer’s remorse. Because once you’ve convinced yourself it’s normal to eat doughnuts for breakfast, the sky’s the limit baby. And it’s ok, because they’re SMALL. Everyone knows that small food doesn’t contain calories*.
These cute little gooey salted caramel macaron doughnuts were actually a (delicious) accident. I was going about my usual Sunday morning. Pottering around. Drinking coffee. Making delicious doughnuts. As you do. And I decided to make them smaller than the recipe called for but forgot to reduce the frying time, so they came out with a crispy shell. Arrrrgh! Disaster!!!…. or was it?
Golden and crunchy outside. Soft and fluffy inside. Hmmm… So I did what any sane, self-respecting person would do. I stuffed them full of salted caramel sauce and turned them into gooey salted caramel macaron doughnuts. Macaronuts. Obvs.
They’re a little bit sweet, a little bit salty and a lot delicious. With a hint of crispy crunch before you get to the oozy caramel centre. But I know you want more… that’s why they’re also light and fluffy (I mentioned they’re small, right?). Sure, you won’t be ready to jump on the Ab-Circle, but you can definitely enjoy more than a couple and not feel the overwhelming urge to lie down and undo your pants (no judgement).
So please, learn from my mistakes people. Forget the expensive (and quite frankly, dangerous) exercise fads, and give your tastebuds a workout this weekend instead.
*may contain traces of calories.
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Prep time: 15 mins (plus 1 hr 15 mins for dough to rise)
Cook time: 20 mins
Serves: Makes approx. 25
110g unsalted butter
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 packet instant yeast
2½ cups bread flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup full cream milk (warmed)
1½ tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
Peanut oil for deep frying
1 tsp icing sugar for dusting
Salted caramel sauce
200g caster sugar
125ml cold water
100g unsalted butter, cubed
50ml thickened cream
50ml creme fraiche
1 tsp flaked sea salt
For the doughnuts (adapted from Chowhound’s basic yeast doughnut recipe)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together two cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the warm milk, vanilla, and egg yolks.
Mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour and the butter and mix until incorporated. Continue to mix on medium speed until the dough is soft and smooth (it should be slightly sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour.
Lightly flour two baking sheets. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with a 6cm floured doughnut or biscuit cutter. Re-roll the dough scraps to cut out more doughnuts.
Place the doughnuts about 2cm apart on the baking sheets and cover loosely with cling film. Set in a warm place to rise until they are nearly double in size (15-30 minutes). The dough is ready when it springs back slowly after being touched.
For the salted caramel sauce
While you’re dough is proving, place the sugar into a large saucepan and pour in the water, making sure all the sugar is covered.
Cook over medium heat for around 7-10 minutes or until the mixture starts to brown. It’s important that you DO NOT stir the mixture while it’s cooking at all. You will want to stir, believe me. But whatever you do, resist the urge, or the mixture will crystallise and solidify.
Once the mixture turns a dark amber colour (just amber not dark brown – you’ll be able to tell by the smell when it’s ready to come off, if it gets too dark it will start to smell too burnt), take it off the heat and whisk in the butter until it’s melted. Stir in the cream and creme fraiche mixture and the salt. Taste (be careful not to burn your tongue!) and add more salt to your taste if needed.
Once the dough has risen, fill a deep-fryer to its recommended level with the peanut oil. If you’re using the stove-top, make sure you use a large, heavy-bottomed pot and fill with between 5-8cm of oil. Heat the oil to 170C. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the donuts into the oil (don’t overcrowd the fryer, just enough to fit comfortably).
Fry for around 2 minutes each side until they are a light golden brown and cooked through (they should have a slightly crispy shell). Remove, place on paper towel and repeat until all doughnuts are cooked.
When doughnuts have cooled for about 5 minutes, carefully make an incision with a very sharp, small knife, length-wise and about 1/2 of the way through. Use a small teaspoon or a piping bag to fill with salted caramel sauce. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.
I became the proud (and slightly confused) owner of the Ab-Circle Pro System.