Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spiced Kenyan Donuts (Mandazis)

My daughter was doing a report on Kenya and had to make a food to bring to class to share.  She looked up a few recipes and decided on donuts, and they seemed to be the most portable (and didn't have to keep warm, etc).  Since donuts are best the day they're made, we made the dough the night before, put it in the fridge, and fried it early the next morning before school.  (I removed the dough from the fridge for about 30 minutes before frying.)  My daughter formed the dough into rough balls while I fried some of them, removed them from the oil, and rolled them in the spiced sugar mixture.  
The morning we were going to fry these, we woke up to a few inches of snow that fell in just a few hours overnight.  Since it rarely snows here, we thought school would be cancelled, but it wasn't.  So the kids got to see snow outside and eat the extra donuts for breakfast before school- it was great. Later, after they left and everything was quiet (before my 3-year old woke up), I enjoyed some of these donuts with some hot chocolate and enjoyed the views of snow outside.  When my son did wake up, he was SO excited to see donuts on the table, lol, AND the snow- what a great morning for him!

Spiced Kenyan Donuts (Mandazis)
adapted from Zested

2 cups warm water (start with 1 cup first and add more if needed)
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 cups, plus 4 tablespoons, all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided 
1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cardamom
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup warm milk
1 egg, lightly beaten (room temp)
pinch of salt
canola oil for deep frying

1.  In a small bowl, mix cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cardamom.

2.  In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp of the spice mixture. Mix the water (start with 1 cup), oil, milk, and egg together.

3.  Gradually add the wet ingredients (add more water if needed) to the flour and stir with a spoon, adding remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary, until it comes together in a sticky dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead about five minutes, until a smooth and elastic dough is formed. Let dough rest for several minutes.

4.  Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar with remaining spice mixture. Set aside. Divide the dough into several hand-sized pieces. Roll or press the pieces into circles about 1/4 inch thick. Cut circles into halves or quarters if you like. (We made them quite small; like small donut holes.  They do puff up a little.)

5.  Heat a few cups of vegetable oil in a skillet or deep pot. Fry the dough in the hot oil, turning once or twice, until they are golden brown all over. Oil should be hot enough that the dough rises immediately to the surface with bubbles, and browns quickly (60-90 seconds). Fry only as many together as can float in the oil without touching one another. Place on paper towels to drain. Roll in sugar-spice mixture (while still warm), and serve.
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