Fresh and ground ginger account for the dual punch of these beignet-size puffs.
Make Ahead: The dough needs to rise in two 2-hour increments.
Servings: 3 dozen small doughnuts
- For the ginger sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- For the doughnuts
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 3/4 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated (1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying, plus more as needed for proofing
For the ginger sugar: Combine the sugar, ground ginger to taste and cinnamon, if using in a medium bowl.
For the doughnuts: Combine the yeast and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover with the flour and let sit for 10 minutes.
Add the egg, sugar, salt, freshly grated ginger, ground ginger and cinnamon; beat on medium-low speed for 5 to 10 minutes to mix well and to activate the glutens in the dough; stop to scrape down the dough from the paddle as needed. The dough should be springy and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Stop to scrape down the dough, then add the melted butter. Beat on medium-low speed for 2 to 5 minutes; the butter should be completely incorporated and the dough should be smooth and glossy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours. The dough should be slightly springy, and denser than bread dough.
Heat the oil in a 3-to-4-quart heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, to 350 degrees. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain the temperature. (It's best to use a candy thermometer that clips on to the pot to monitor the temperature.)
Use oil to generously grease 3 large rimmed baking sheets.
Lightly flour a work surface. Use your hands to flatten the dough into a rectangle about -inch thick. Cut the dough into 36 rectangles (each 1 1/2 to 2 inches across), then use your hands to roll each one into a ball, placing them 3 inches apart on the greased baking sheets as you work. Cover with clean kitchen towels and let sit in a warm spot for about 2 hours. The balls will spread and flatten somewhat, about doubling in size.
Line a plate with several layers of paper towels. Place the bowl of ginger sugar nearby.
Working in batches of no more than 3 at a time, use a Chinese skimmer or slotted spoon to lower the doughnuts into the hot oil. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes, turning them often until puffed and golden brown on both sides. Use the skimmer or spoon to transfer them to the paper-towel-lined plate to drain, then immediately into the ginger sugar and toss to coat.
Repeat to fry all the doughnuts and roll in the ginger sugar. Serve immediately.
From food writer and cookbook author Melissa Clark.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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