These cakey doughnuts deliver the perfect ratio of crisp outside to tender inside. The dough doesn’t require resting or rolling, so fresh, hot doughnuts can be yours in less than 30 minutes.
Fill a small saucepan with oil to a depth of 1 inch (about 1 ½ cups). If you have a deep-fry thermometer, clip it to the side. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees.
While the oil heats, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, egg and butter in a small bowl until well blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently fold until smooth. Place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl.
Using a small cookie scoop or measuring teaspoon, scoop a heaping teaspoon of dough, then carefully drop it into the hot oil. If using a teaspoon, push out the dough with another small spoon. Repeat to fit a single layer of doughnut holes in the oil without crowding; you can fit 3 to 4 at a time.
Fry, turning once to evenly brown, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain for a few seconds, then transfer to the bowl of sugar and toss gently to coat while hot so the sugar sticks to the dough. Transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough, adjusting the heat to maintain the oil’s temperature. Serve warm or room temperature.
Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes: Stir 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon into the granulated sugar for tossing.
Glazed Doughnut Holes: Omit the granulated sugar for tossing. Mix 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar with 2 teaspoons water to form a runny glaze. Dip the fried doughnut holes in the glaze, turning to coat. Let stand on a wire rack until the glaze sets.
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