Loukoumades, aka Greek doughnuts, drenched with cinnamon-sugar-and-honey syrup.
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (80 degrees F)
3/4 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon iodized salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for frying
For Honey Sauce: 2 cups water
1 1/8 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cinnamon stick
1/4 lemon, juiced
1 ½ tablespoons honey
For Topping: 1 1/8 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, add one cup of warm water and stir in the active dry yeast until a creamy foam forms. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and remaining warm water. Add the yeast mixture and vanilla extract to this mixture and mix well. Gently work in the flour until the mixture forms a smooth, soft dough. Transfer the dough to a larger, oiled mixing bowl, cover, and allow to rise at room temperature until it doubles in volume, which should take about 1 ½ hours.
Meanwhile, make the honey sauce. Bring the water to a boil in a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat. Add sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon stick, and lemon juice, then simmer for 45 minutes. Add the honey and simmer for another five minutes. Set the sauce aside until ready to use.
To make the topping, combine the sugar with ground cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. If you don’t want to make this topping, you can substitute powdered sugar for the cinnamon-sugar topping.
To make the Greek doughnuts, heat about two to three inches of oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough into balls about ½-inch in diameter. Try not to overhandle the soft, puffy dough. Drop the dough into the fryer and cook in batches, being careful not to overcrowd. Fry until golden brown.
Remove the fried doughnuts from the oil with a spider strainer and drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Transfer the warm doughnuts to a serving platter. Drizzle with honey syrup, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and serve immediately. Makes about 8 servings.