To make Giada's zeppole, start by cutting open a vanilla bean the long way, and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Put the seeds in a small bowl, and combine them with 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon.
Next, combine 1 stick of butter, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then remove it from the burner. Add 1 cup of flour and stir. Replace the pan on the burner, and stir until the batter forms a ball. This takes three to five minutes.
Place the dough ball into a medium bowl, and add 4 eggs one at a time while beating the mixture with an electric hand mixer. Make sure each egg is mixed in fully before adding another. If you are not frying the dough immediately, cover it before placing it in the refrigerator.
Pour 2 inches of oil into a large frying pan, and heat it until it reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Scoop tablespoons of dough into the pan, and fry until they are golden and puffed up. Drain the finished batches on paper towels, and toss them with cinnamon and sugar.Learn more about Desserts