1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup for coating
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbs orange zest
vegetable oil for frying
1 tsp cinnamon
in a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, salt and 1/2 cup water. bring to a boil over medium heat. take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. return to low heat and cook, stirring vigorously until the mixture forms a ball. transfer the dough to a medium bowl and using an electric mixer, beat in eggs one at a time. add orange zest and set aside. in a small bowl, combine cinnamon with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and set aside.
pour enough oil into a frying pan to reach a depth of 2-inches. heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
using a small ice cream scoop, carefully drop small tablespoons of dough into the hot oil. fry several at a time but be careful not to crowd the pan. turn zeppole with a wooden skewer to evenly brown both sides and cook until golden and puffed, about 5 minutes. roll cooked zeppole in cinnamon sugar and serve immediately plain or with melted chocolate for dipping. enjoy!