Neighbors are the most amazing people! Some of the best things I’ve ever learned I’ve learned from neighbors, those wonderful people I might never have known if they didn't live only a few houses from my own. Often, like those neighborly relationships, the things I learn are a surprise, a delight, a happy accident.
Last weekend I ended up with a family room full of teenage boys on Saturday morning. As I tried to think of what I might feed them for breakfast I remembered one of those sweets lesson I learned from a neighbor and my son many years ago.
When my son was younger there were quite a few children living in our neighborhood. For the most part the children played well together and traveled from house to house taking in the rules and customs of each as they made their way around the neighborhood.
As my son made the rounds he spent some time with a large family that lived in the house adjacent to ours. Their youngest son was close to my son's age. My son was intrigued by the variety and pace of such an active household and enjoyed being a part of the action whenever he could. From those experiences he learned a lot about the give and take of a large family. He also learned about some practical and fun family traditions.
One weekend morning he came home from our neighbor's house with wide eyes and a plate full of golden glazed donuts. He couldn’t wait to tell us what he had just discovered. Excitedly he gave us the donuts, urged us to try one, then told us the story of where they came from.
What we learned was that these impressive glazed donuts had actually come from a simple can of refrigerated biscuit dough. I’m not talking Grands here, but the small, simple, inexpensive biscuits that can be bought at Walmart for a little over a dollar for four cans. That is the kind of discovery that makes me smile! It was also the kind of happy discovery that drew my son into the world of cooking. He couldn’t wait to share what he had learned and he was equally eager to try what he had learned at home.
I talked to my neighbor, thanking her for the donuts and asking her about the details of the donut recipe. Could it really be that simple? She assured me, it was! This lesson has served us well a number of times over the years. With four cans of biscuits, half a bottle of canola oil and some powdered sugar you can make enough donuts at home to feed a room full of hungry boys. For another dollar or two you can double the output and give them all something sweet to take home and share.
Start by making the glaze. Pour the confectioners' sugar into a small wide bowl. Add 1/3 cup of hot water. Stir until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
To make the Donuts:
Start with several cans of refrigerated biscuit dough. Any style will do.
In a saucepan or deep fryer, pour oil deep enough to cover donuts. (I used a little more than half of a 48 ounce bottle of oil in an 8-inch diameter saucepan.) Heat the oil to between 375 and 400 degrees. (375 degrees is the optimal frying temperature but the oil will cool a little when the donuts are dropped into it.)
Pull a hole in the middle of each biscuit, to make it donut shaped, and drop it into the oil.
Cook three or four at a time for 1 to 1½ minutes, turning halfway through.
When golden, remove the donuts with a slotted spoon and drain on white paper towels.
When cool enough to handle dip the donut in the glaze letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Set on wire rack to cool or serve warm.
You may want to add sprinkles or a chocolate, maple or colorful icing to top your sugar glaze. Or you might want to skip the glaze and try shaking the warm donuts gently in a bag filled with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. Many variations are possible.