By now I should know better than to ask my husband to help me find a name for a new recipe; his sense of humor never evolved past fourth grade. But I have to admit, his suggestion made me laugh, and if you’ve ever wandered through the woods looking for huckleberries, you have probably seen lots of proof that bears found them first, and ate a ton of them!
To continue the bear theme with these delightful little cake doughnut drops, I made mine with honey instead of sugar. Buttermilk and a little fresh lemon are added for a touch of tang, but the huckleberries are really the star of the show.
Use fresh or frozen wild huckleberries, or small blueberries if you must. Expect to have a few escapees, as some will leap to their destruction in the hot oil. That’s a little distressing, since I know exactly how long and hard I have to pick to get a cup of berries, but the end result is worth the sacrifice. (Hint: Scoop those stray berries out of the oil between batches of Bear Farts. You don’t want them to cook into little black chunks that will stick to your lovely creations.)
These are very easy to make. Messing with the hot oil is the only time-consuming part of the recipe, but I’m just not crazy about baked doughnuts, so…I indulge in the real thing once in a while.
Oil is expensive. I use peanut oil (about $13.00 a gallon), and if I’m using my big stock pot it takes almost a gallon to get the oil deep enough. That’s a pricey batch of doughnuts! But you can use a smaller pan and just cook fewer doughnut drops at a time. You can also filter the used oil (cooled down, of course) through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer and keep it in the refrigerator until you need it again.
Keep an eye on your thermometer and try to keep the oil at 350 F. If it gets hotter, the drops will get brown before the inside is done – not a good thing. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the doughnut drops, and layer them between paper towels to remove excess oil.
Remember, these aren’t light and airy like yeast doughnuts. They’re moist and dense, like…well…cake. Cake doughnuts are really best when they’re eaten fresh; they lose a little of their appeal by the next day. Eat ’em up!
|Bear Farts! (Huckleberry Doughnut Drops)|| |
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons oil (I use peanut oil)
- ¾ cup honey
- zest and juice from one medium lemon
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 3½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup huckleberries, divided (If using frozen berries, keep frozen until needed.)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- oil for frying (peanut or canola work well)
- In a small bowl, combine, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, oil, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat until frothy.
- In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large pan or a deep fat fryer, add at least 2 inches of oil and a candy thermometer. Heat to 350 degrees.
- While oil is heating, gently stir ⅔ cup of berries into the dry ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients and stir JUST until combined.
- Once oil is the proper temperature, use a small cookie scoop (or two spoons - one to push the dough off the other) to drop small amounts of dough - about a rounded teaspoon full - into hot oil. They won't be perfectly round; shapes will vary wildly!
- BE VERY CAREFUL! Wear oven mitts and watch the temperature of your oil constantly. Try to keep it between 350 and (at the most) 375 F.
- Use a slotted spoon or spider to roll the doughnut drops over. When they are a rich brown, remove and layer between paper towels to drain.
- Place remaining ⅓ cup of huckleberries in a small pan on low heat with 1 teaspoon water. Cook, stirring (and mashing) occasionally, until berries are soft and have released their juice. Strain the juice into a small cup. Reserve the mashed berries for another use, like a smoothie or ice cream topping.
- Place powdered sugar in a small bowl and add huckleberry juice while stirring, until it creates a thin glaze. Roll warm doughnut drops in glaze and place on waxed paper or a cooling rack to dry.
Summer is waning, but I think I have a few more recipes in me before we all embrace the pumpkin and pecan frenzy. Peaches and plums, then pears and apples…lots of fun seasonal foods are still calling to me, and I’ll share!