Colombian-style Donut Bites (a/k/a buñelos, bumelos, birmuelos, fritas)

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  4 dozen donuts
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour

Colombian-style Donut Bites (a/k/a buñelos, bumelos, birmuelos, fritas)

Small donut bites have been a traditional sweet throughout Latin America, and these Colombian-style treats are delicious and perfect for Chanukah or any donut occasion. Not an orange fan? Try any citrus fruit.

Ingredients

3 cups (390 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon (14 grams) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda

⅓ cup (68 grams) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt

½ teaspoon (2 grams) ground anise seed

3 eggs

1 cup orange juice (see Kitchen Tip)

Zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)

1 cup (200 grams) demerara sugar, for coating

6 cups oil for frying (mild olive oil or canola or a mixture of both; see Kitchen Tips)

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and anise in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, orange juice, and zest and stir gently until all of the ingredients are combined and form a thick batter. Do not over mix. Set aside. (The batter will be  scoopable, but not pourable; any small lumps will work themselves out.)
  2. Grind the demerara sugar in the food processor for 30 to 45 seconds, until powdery. Pour it into a rimmed baking sheet or a large platter, spread it evenly, and set aside. Place a cooling rack on another baking sheet. Position both near the stove.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep pan (it should be at least 2 inches deep) set over high heat. Affix a kitchen thermometer to it (or use an instant-read thermometer) and heat until the temperature reaches 365°F (see Kitchen Tip).
  4. When you are ready to fry, with an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop 1 tablespoon of the batter and gently drop it into the hot oil. Repeat with 2 or 3 more tablespoons, being careful not to crowd the pan and making sure the bumelos do not touch one another. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are a light golden brown. Check one after 3 minutes to make sure it is cooked through; if it isn’t, continue to fry for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. With a kitchen spider or slotted spoon, transfer to the tray of sugar and roll gently (with a fresh spoon) to coat. With the kitchen spider or slotted spoon, transfer to the prepared cooling rack.  Repeat with the remaining donut batter, allowing the oil to return to 365° in between batches if necessary.

Kitchen Tips

  1. These will keep for up to 1 day, but they are best the day they are made .
  2. You can use the juice from the orange that you zest, but you will have to add some bottled juice.
  3. You can use mild olive oil, canola oil, or a mixture of both, but don’t use extra-virgin olive oil, as its smoking point is too low for deep-frying.
  4. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can heat the oil over medium heat and carefully drop in a small piece (about an inch square) of bread. If it turns brown all over and floats to the surface in 60 seconds, the oil is about 350°F to 365°. If it browns sooner, the temp is higher: 20 seconds and it’s somewhere between 382°F and 390°F; 40 seconds and it’s between 365°F and 382°F.

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