Ever since I made my first batch of doughnuts from scratch, they’ve been a much-requested item at our house; the problem is, I don’t always have time to mix up a batch of yeast dough and wait for it to rise. Sure, there are cake doughnuts, but they don’t have the same chewy texture as a yeasted doughnut.
It turns out, tubes of cinnamon bun dough make for pretty fantastic doughnuts, sort of like a doughnut-meets-cinnamon bun, with crusty edges and soft, chewy insides, and they take under 15 minutes to make. The little tub of frosting that comes in each tube makes for a perfect glaze. Hey, when there’s a house full of boys having a sleepover, you gotta do what you gotta do. A 6-pack of doughnuts is always a hit - a batch of them served warm even more so.
Who doesn't love the idea of a batch of warm doughnuts with your coffee without waiting for dough to rise or getting out of your PJs?
Wait, it gets better: that same dough can also be turned into CHURROS. The long fried dough pastries that are common in Spain and Portugal are generally made with choux pastry, which I extrude through a piping bag fitted with a large star tip into hot oil, but if you want to streamline the process, unroll each cinnamon bun and cut the dough crosswise into thirds, and twist each piece before frying in a shallow pot of oil. You only need an inch or two - there’s no need to invest in a deep fryer.
Warm churros can be rolled in cinnamon-sugar while they’re served warm - a tube of dough will make a pile of churros, enough to feed a small crowd and perfect when you need a little something special, but you don’t have time to do it all from scratch. (It’s OK - time restraints happen.)
Whichever you make you can cool your oil, then keep it in a container to use in waffle or muffin batter - or anything that will benefit from a slightly cinnamony flavour. Oil is wonderful for baking with - or of course you could use it in your skillet when you cook a batch of pancakes.
Honestly - how easy are these? I imagine they'd come in handy when you have a sleepover happening at your house and are responsible for feeding hungry kids in the morning. Just make sure there are enough for seconds.
Easy Cinnamon Swirl Doughnuts or Churros
A warm batch of doughnuts or cinnamon-sugar churros is easier than you think. If you don’t need as many, the recipe is easily halved - just use a single tube of dough.
2 tubes Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls
canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Open the tubes of cinnamon rolls and separate the rolls, removing the container of frosting. If you’re making doughnuts, make a hole in each roll, shaping the dough into a doughnut shape, gently sealing the dough around the cinnamon filling - there’s no need to be perfect here. To make churros, unroll each cinnamon roll and cut each strip of dough crosswise into thirds. Twist each piece, containing any chunks of cinnamon filling inside the twisted dough where you can. (Again, no need to be perfect here.)
Set a heavy, shallow pot over medium-high heat and add about two inches of oil. Heat until the oil is hot, but not smoking - if you have a thermometer, it should read about 350˚F, or a scrap of bread should sizzle when you dip it in. Carefully lower 3-4 doughnuts or churros into the pot at a time, without crowding. Cook for about a minute on the first side, or until it’s golden, then carefully flip with tongs or a slotted spoon and cook for a minute on the other side. If the dough is browning too quickly, reduce the heat.
As they cook, transfer to a paper towel lined plate or cookie sheet. If you’re making doughnuts, scrape the containers of frosting into a shallow dish and microwave for 15 seconds, or until runny; dip the top of each doughnut in the frosting to coat the top half, then set aside for a few minutes to set. If you’re making churros, stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish (save the frosting for another use) and roll the churros around in the sugar to coat while they’re still warm.
Makes 10 doughnuts or 30 churros.
* Thanks to Life Made Delicious for sponsoring this post, and helping me spread the deliciousness!