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Monday, November 3, 2008


In my family of origin, spudnuts were a Halloween tradition. Since there's not much not to like about deep-fried and glazed sweet, yeasty dough, I've continued the tradition with my own family (much to my neighbors' delight!).

You could also make these for Hanukkah.

(adapted from the Salem Fourth Ward cookbook, Garden of Eatin'; recipe submitted by Pat Youngberg)

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C unsalted butter (original recipe calls for Crisco)
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1/2 C leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 C potato water
1 C scalded milk
2 t salt
3 T yeast, dissolved in 1/4 C warm water
6 C flour

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Mix all ingredients in stand mixer. Before you add the flour, the mixture may look something like this, with unincorporated bits of butter:

Do not fear. After you've mixed in all the flour, you will have a smooth, albeit sticky, dough.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let stand for two hours. It will have about doubled in volume. Turn dough out onto a heavily-floured surface. Knead in just enough flour that the dough doesn't stick to everything (only a few turns), then roll 1/2" thick. If dough springs back too much to easily reach that thickness, do something else for five minutes and come back after it has relaxed a bit. Cut rolled dough with a donut cutter, and arrange on waxed-paper-lined cookie sheets, spaced as shown.

Let rise for 1 hour. I arrange my donut-filled cookie sheets in the oven with its light on. Do not let rise longer than an hour, or the dough will start to stick to the waxed paper. A half-hour before rising period will be over, start heating oil to 375 degrees in a deep-fryer or electric skillet. For my large electric skillet, I used almost a full gallon of canola oil. I suppose it's possible to do this without one of those appliances, but I think managing the oil temperature would be much more of a pain. And maintaining a consistently-hot temperature is the most important factor in turning out perfect (non-greasy) donuts.

Just before starting to fry the donuts, whisk together 1 1/4 lb powdered sugar and 1/2 C + 2 T boiling water in a flat-bottomed bowl (the original recipe calls for 1 lb and 1/2 C, but there's never quite enough glaze to finish the whole batch).

When the oil reaches temperature, add donuts to the pan and fry until golden, flipping mid-way with a fork. Do not fill the pan full, as it will lower the oil temperature too much (for my size pan, I don't put in more than 9 donuts at a time). When they're done, transfer them to paper towels or clean brown bags to absorb excess oil.

Then quickly dip the donuts in the glaze, turning with a fork or skewer. Let as much glaze as possible drip back into the bowl, and place on a rack over a sheet of waxed paper to cool.

With my 3" cutter (with a 1 3/8" center), this recipe makes four dozen plus a couple donuts (I also have a 3 1/2" cutter, and those donuts are just too big).

Don't forget to recycle your used oil! You can use it up to four times before you have to get rid of it, but you have to filter and refrigerate it in between, and you shouldn't keep it longer than a month or so. I made batches on Friday and Saturday and used the same oil, without filtering and refrigerating, because I was making the same thing only a day apart. Now I'm decanting it back into its original bottle to take to Metro's hazardous waste facility, and it will eventually make its way into biodiesel. Yay!

Edited to add: I forgot to say, beware of making this into an assembly-line operation. There was a time when I wished I had a sous-chef for the frying and glazing part of the process, BUT the time it takes to glaze each panful is just about the right amount of time for the oil to get back up to temperature for the next set.

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Blogger Tanner Family Blog said...

Do you have any extra?? they look delicious!!!!

November 3, 2008 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger The Laundry Queen said...

I still haven't gotten around to making them this year! It's awfully bad of me, since I even make them while pregnant. The only excuse I have for this year is taking the girls down to go fishing with Dad. Oh, and the fact that my donut cutter disappeared. Where did you get yours?

November 3, 2008 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Well, I wish I was your neighbor because these look DELISH and I would never go to all that work to make them. Bummer for me and my family (and neighbors).

November 3, 2008 at 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I can't remember where I bought the cutter. It took me a while to find the perfect one, and I looked around a lot. That's why I have the 3.5" one, which I bought when that was all I could find. I probably bought the right one at Kitchen Kaboodle, Freddy's or Pearl Hardware. Do you want me to keep my eyes peeled for one for you?

And Rach, sorry, there aren't any left. We took the Friday batch to the neighborhood garage potluck, and the Saturday batch to the Day of the Dead party, and did our darnedest to make sure all got eaten when they were still fresh. Homemade donuts go stale just like the store-bought ones, unfortunately.

November 3, 2008 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger The Laundry Queen said...

Yes, please keep your eyes peeled. I am in desperate need!

November 4, 2008 at 8:17 AM  

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