I came up with this recipe for Vanilla Mochi Donuts to enter the Spice Islands Vanilla Challenge and I was one of the three finalists!

Wanting to bring out the best of the ingredients, I used not only vanilla extract but vanilla sugar. Is there anything more satisfying than a piece of fried dough covered in sugar? I think not. Add mochiko AND vanilla into the mix and you’ve got the perfect combination!

2 cups mochiko (sweet rice flour)
2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups vanilla sugar**
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups whole milk
4 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons Spice Islands Vanilla Extract

oil (for frying)

1/2 cup vanilla sugar**

The only thing you will have to make ahead is the vanilla sugar. Scrape and bury a vanilla bean into two cups of sugar. Keep in an airtight container until you are ready to use.

In a large bowl mix together the mochiko, flour, vanilla sugar, eggs, milk, baking powder and vanilla. Set aside. (Mochiko is a Japanese rice flour that can be found in asian sections of the market or online. Mochiko gives a nice ‘chew’ perfect for these donuts.)

Heat the oil in a large skillet or a home fryer.

Drop by the Tablespoon into the hot oil. They will expand a lot. Also the mochiko makes the batter very pull-y and sticky, so try your best to keep it formed into nice round shapes.

Once the dough pops up and floats, fry until golden brown, a few minutes on each side. Drain them on a wire rack.

While still hot, roll the donuts in the vanilla sugar mixture.

(photo by Matt Armendariz)

My prize? A YEAR’S supply of vanilla! That’s a lot of vanilla.

For more info about the contest and the other winners, here.