One of my favorite memories of my Mom was the time she made donuts. She only made them once or twice but the memory stood out for me as she would cut the little rings of dough and drop them in hot oil to fry. They would come out of the fryer just for a minute and then she would dunk them in icing. At that point they were up for grabs! As fast as she could make them, we would eat them. I remember her donuts as one of the best things I ever ate. They are made from ingredients that were commonly used in the 50’s and 60’s which is why I call them vintage. The recipe includes Pet Milk and Crisco which were staples in our kitchen when I was growing up. I doubt you would see them listed in a current recipe today. Half were made with glaze and the other half with cinnamon sugar. The best part is eating them as soon as they are dipped in the glaze or cinnamon sugar. They taste so light and airy and for that moment they are the best thing ever!
Add dry yeast to warm water and let sit out for 5 – 15 minutes. As you can see it is beginning to bubble. You always want your yeast to expand and bubble as much as possible so that your dough will rise.
Fill a small mixing bowl with the sugar, salt and crisco. I used the crisco sticks which are easy to measure and cut the exact amount needed for recipes. Warm the milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat until it begins to scald. Add the hot milk to the bowl and stir to combine and melt the crisco shortening.
Joe got me a deep fryer for Christmas and this is my first time using it. If you don’t have a deep fryer, fill a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven with about 2 – 3 inches of vegetable oil. You will need to heat the oil between 365 and 375 degrees. You can use a candy thermometer to gauge your temperature.
And for those who like cinnamon sugar, I made a mix of 4 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon. Drop the warm donut in the sugar and swirl it around to surround the entire donut. These were Joe’s favorite but I’m going to have to go with the glazed.
Mom’s Vintage Donuts
2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast
1/2 cup Warm Water
1 cup Evaporated Milk
1/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Crisco Shortening, I used the Crisco Sticks that are easy to measure
4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Boiling Water
2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
Splash of Vanilla, optional
Add boiling water to powdered sugar and whisk until a thin glaze forms. Add a splash of vanilla if desired. Set aside
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
Combine the sugar and cinnamon together in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
To make the donuts: Add dry yeast to warm water and let stand for 5 – 15 minutes. Scald milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and add to sugar, salt and crisco shortening. Stir together while the crisco shortening melts. Combine the milk and yeast mixture to a bowl of a hand or stand mixer. Begin adding the flour and mix on low with the dough hook until all the flour has been incorporated. The dough will be sticky. Flour your hands and lightly knead into a ball. Place in a large bowl in a warm place for approximately 1 hour or until the dough doubles in bulk. Remove the dough to a work space sprinkled with flour. Knead into a disk and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a round donut cutter to cut the dough into donuts. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set in a warm place to rise. Let rise 30 minutes or so to double in bulk. Heat 2 – 3 inches of vegetable or canola oil in a dutch oven or large stockpot or deep fryer. Use a candy thermometer to reach at temperature between 365 and 375 degrees. Gently place donuts into hot oil and fry until golden on one side then turn with chopsticks or a slotted spoon to fry the other side. Try to drain as much oil from the donuts as you remove them from the fryer and then set on a wire rack to cool.
While the donuts are still warm, place them one by one into the glaze or cinnamon sugar mixture on one or both sides, set back on wire rack. Makes 12 large donuts with holes or 24 small donuts with holes.
Note** If you would like information on the Deep Fryer I used, here is a link. It’s the easy clean T-Fal fryer with a unique oil filtration system and adjustable temperature gauge. You can use the oil many times over and everything can be taken apart easily and cleaned in the dishwasher with the exception of the heating element.