Mix warm water, yeast, and 1 pinch of sugar in a large bowl, and let stand until the yeast begins to foam and form a creamy layer, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, vanilla extract, eggs, and 1/3 cup vegetable oil until the sugar has dissolved. Mix in about half the whole-wheat flour, and stir until the dough is too stiff to add more flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, place into an oiled bowl, and cover. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough, knead a few times to reshape it, and pinch off a piece of dough about the size of an egg. Roll the dough ball out into an oval shape about 1/4 inch thick. Place finished fried dough on a cloth and cover while you finish rolling out the pastries.
Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large, deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Oil should be at least 4 inches deep. Combine 2 cups of sugar with cinnamon to taste in a shallow dish or pie plate, and set aside.
Gently lower the pastries, one at a time, into the hot oil, and fry 1 to 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Blot excess oil from fried pastries with paper towels; gently press each pastry into the cinnamon sugar while still warm. Shake off excess sugar.
A good trick to help the dough along is to place a hot tea towel on the top of the bowl while rising.
Don’t forget to try a little lemon, or try spreading some garlic butter and shredded sharp cheese on top — or if you can find it, get some maple spread and spread it on and then drizzle chocolate over the top!
The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of the sugar topping. The actual amount of the topping consumed will vary.
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