Before the holidays become a distant memory, I want to quickly share these cocoa fritters (donut holes) I tested for a family Hannukah meal. Fried foods, especially donuts, are traditional during Hannukah to commemorate the miracle of a small amount of oil lasting eight days, but these fritters would be a crowd pleaser any time of year.
I found this recipe on the Kitchn blog; a guest post from Cheryl Sternman Rule. Follow along here.
My experience with making donuts is almost zero, so I was a little terrified of messing something up, as my parents invited friends for dinner as well, but the pictures looked so delicious I had to try, plus I love an excuse to try something new (plus my mom was buying the ingredients - thanks Mom!).
As always, I made a few ingredient swaps. First, finding instant espresso powder proved difficult, so I decided to use Special Dark Hershey's Cocoa Powder instead. I also needed to make the recipe non-dairy, as we were eating meat for dinner. After a little bit of thinking and help from Google, I landed on coconut milk as the best alternative to whole milk; anything else would not have replicated the creaminess. I can fully attest that both of these swaps worked out perfectly!
Unlike cooking where a little more of this or a little less of that does not have serious consequences, baking requires precise attention to detail. The recipe says to sift the dry ingredients...please do this. At first, I just threw everything into a bowl, but quickly realized sifting was the key to keeping lumps out of the dough.
After the wet ingredients were whisked together, they are poured into the dry ingredients. The recipe instructs using the whisk again, but I found it to be too difficult of a tool; a fork may work better.
Unlike donuts, fritters are more like batter than dough, so don't be frustrated when you are staring into a bowl of what could be delicious pancakes. Just make sure to spend a little extra time mixing in order to get all of the lumps out.
Next, frying time! In a perfect world, I would have had a candy thermometer, as keeping the oil at the right and consistent temperature is key for deep frying. You want to make sure to cook the entire fritter through before burning the outside.
The fritters were meant to be golfball sized, so I opted for a sauce pan, with about 4 inches of oil, and two round spoons to help me plop the mix into the pan. The dough initially sunk to the bottom, but after a nudge popped to the surface of the oil. After a few minutes, I made sure to flip the fritters in order to ensure complete frying. The fritters move around the pan, so I recommend cooking in batches so you don't have to remember which one landed in the pan first.
The key to these fritters is keeping a close eye on them to prevent burning. A few times during the process I even adjusted the temperature because I felt the oil was becoming too hot. To remove the fritters from the pan, I simply scooped them up with a small sifter, but a slotted spoon would also work. Just be careful: hot oil + skin = not great.
And tada! You now have homemade fritters. The recipe calls for sprinkling powdered sugar and cocoa powder on top, but I decided to make a quick cinnamon frosting to drizzle instead. Homemade frosting is simple: powdered sugar, milk/milk alternative, any additional flavoring, and your powerful arms or favorite hand mixer.
We also served my dad's amazing gingersnaps for dessert, so the frosting paired well with both.
Cocoa Fritters by Cheryl Sternman Rule
Clarity of Instructions: ✭✭✭
Met Expectations: ✭✭✭✭
Each category is ranked from 1-4 stars.
These fritters were amazing! Please try them for your next dinner party, I promise they will be a hit. They even made a great breakfast the next morning. Yes, they require extra attention to detail, and there's potential for things to go south fast, but they are totally worth the effort.
Walking enthusiast, kitchen experimenter, sports lover (watching, not playing), and future world traveler.
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