Two weeks ago we escaped to the land of country music, southern hospitality, and...the NRA Convention. But we didn't find out about that last one until we read in the paper that there would be 70,000+ extra bodies in the city at the same time as we were. That's right, we were in Nashville. And I never thought I would enjoy 80 degree weather so much. I was basking in the warmth of a Southern sun, sweating from the humidity, sneezing because of blasted allergies that never give me peace, and loving every second of it. It's shocking what a torturous winter will do to a person who typically detests hot, humid weather. Truly amazing.
We went down to spend Easter with The Grands and of course, while I was there, I had to see my Nashvillian bestie, Hailey. This go-round, after collecting some supplies from Trader Joe's, we decided to venture into the kitchen and make something sweet: vanilla sugar doughnuts.
MAN, do I love doughnuts. Not many other things can lift my spirits if I'm having a bad morning like a well-made doughnut. I love them so much that I even splurged once on a special Nordic doughnut pan that can't be used for anything else (I hardly ever buy new bakeware unless it can be used multiple ways). But as much as I love doughnuts of all kinds, up until last week, I'd only made loads and loads of baked ones. Frying doughnuts was an entirely different adventure, and I'm glad Hails was by my side to experience it.
There were so many things I had to learn about doughnut-making. For instance, the name of the game is "patience." We needed a LOT of it. Doughnut dough is very special, and needs much rest in order to become beautiful, and also achieve its full potential. It's like a little baby that must always be warm, cool, and covered. It took forever. We were constantly peeking under the dish towel, then going "IS IT RISING? IT IS. IT IS RISING BECAUSE IT WAS AN INCH SHORTER BEFORE." But a good baker must have patience if said baker wants doughnuts. So we waited. And waited. And peeked under dish towels. And waited.
FINALLY, after literal hours, it was time to ever-so-gently roll out our dough, cut it, and then send circles of it swimming into the 350 degree F oil. I'm glad that Hailey and I both had our reservations about that super hot oil; that way, when I screamed each time in preparation for splash-back, I had someone to scream with me. She's a good friend.
In the end, we walked away from Hailey's beautiful kitchen with two bags' worth of fun-sized vanilla sugar doughnuts, and plans to bake something new, ambitious, and exciting the next time I'm in town. In the meantime, I'm going into recipe-testing mode to come up with some real winners for you.
P.S. Not only is Hailey beautiful and talented, she's also a wonderful potter! Check out her etsy page, Clay Off 8th! Word on the street is she's got a housewares line in the works!!