Doughnuts (or donuts) are one of the most popular fried snacks that unites cultures around the world. Doughnuts come in all sizes and shapes: rings, holes, spheres, twists, and balls. It’s hard to argue that everyone enjoys fried dough no matter what shape or form it is served in. As long as it’s hot, fresh, and fried crisp!
Most doughnut recipes include flour, water, sugar, oil, eggs, milk, and shortening. Jellies, chocolate, cream, powdered sugar, and many other flavorings are used as toppings and fillings. To make doughnuts at home you only need some basic equipment: a large saucepan or Dutch oven for frying, a wooden spoon or spider, a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and perhaps a piping bag.
Wilton Non-Stick 6-Cavity Donut Baking Pans, 2 for $20.59 from Amazon
You can also make baked doughnuts with special pans.
The doughnuts we see in stores across the United States today are said to have been brought by the Dutch settlers in the early 18th century. They were called olykoeks. Yet most cuisines have their own form of this sweet popular delicacy.
Here are some other doughnut creations from around the world that you can trying cooking at home:
Similar to a cruller, this light, spongy ring of dough is deep fried in oil, and eaten either plain, or with sugar or honey. You can find street vendors selling fresh sfenj in many parts of Moroco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Sfenj is typically eaten for breakfast and in the afternoon, accompanied by mint tea or Arabic coffee. To make sfenj, dissolve yeast with water, combine with flour and salt to make a sticky batter, shape into rings, and fry in hot vegetable oil. Try this Sfenj recipe.
Balushahi or Badusha is a traditional Indian dessert that is served at weddings and festivals. It is very sweet and crisp on the outside, and has a soft interior. Making balushahi at home requires a bit of patience, but the effort is well worth the result. Make a soft dough by kneading flour, ghee (clarified butter), yogurt, salt, baking soda, and ice cold water. Make small balls and fry in ghee on low heat. Soak in sugar syrup, let sit for few hours, and top with chopped pistachios, cardamom powder, and saffron threads. Try this Balushahi recipe.
Indonesian Donat Kentang
These disc shaped doughnuts look exactly like the mainstream American ones, but are made out of potatoes. Instead of only flour, mashed potatoes or potato starch is mixed into the batter for donat kentang (a.k.a., spudnut). In East Asia, ube (purple sweet yam) and sweet potato are also used in the batter. Fun fact: The Golden Cristal Ube, filled with champagne and topped with 24-karat gold is the priciest doughnut in the world, at $100 per doughnut! Try this far more affordable Potato Donut recipe at home.
These jelly doughnuts have clear resemblance to the Polish ponchik and German Berliner. Known as sufganiyah (plural sufganiyot) in Israel, these fluffy spongy balls are eaten on Hanukkah. The tradition of eating fried food on the festival is in memory of the miracle of the Jewish Temple oil that lasted for eight days.
Traditional sufganiyah is filled with red strawberry or raspberry jelly, and topped with powdered sugar, though variations may include a filling of dulce de leche, cream, chocolate, lemon curd and other fruit preserves. Try these Sufganiyot recipe ideas.
Buñuelos (also spelled bunwelos) are sweet fried dough balls that originate from Spain and are found throughout Latin America in slightly different forms. They are made with wheat-based dough, with and without yeast, and often contain anise flavoring. Shaped as balls, rounds, flat discs, or cylinders, the individual pieces are deep-fried in refined coconut oil and sprinkled with granulated sugar. Variations may include glutinous rice flour or mashed bananas mixed with all-purpose flour.
This long, crunchy dessert is often found at cafes and street stalls in Spain, Mexico, and Latin America. But you can also easily make it at home. The sweet pastry dough is a combination of water, sugar, butter, salt, and egg. Pipe the churro batter into 6-inch long cylinders and deep fry. Churros are best served freshly fried when they are still hot and crisp, dusted in sugar and cinnamon, with a cup of melted hot chocolate. They are a perfect treat on a frosty winter evening! Try our Churro recipe.
Lokma is a traditional Turkish dessert, but you will find versions of it in the Middle East, Greece, and the Balkans. Golden and crispy on the outside and almost juicy on the inside, lokma is not as doughy as a traditional doughnut. It is relatively easy to make as you don’t need to leave the batter out for long or worry about the shape. Fry the rounded balls in hot oil and soak in a heavy syrup of sugar and lemon juice. Sprinkled ground walnuts, pistachios, or sesame seeds, and serve warm. Try this Lokma recipe at home.
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