I did something brave. Something I have been dreading for months… ever since all of my Facebook friends starting doing it and my husband began hinting (or outright begging) for me to jump on the bandwagon. So, finally, I did. I made donuts.
I’m no Betty Crocker, but I do make my own homemade bread, very rarely serve store-bought cookies, and I’ve mastered the art of concocting soup (otherwise known as throwing a zillion things into a pot of water and letting it simmer for 6 hours). But for some reason I’ve been terribly afraid to try these. It’s kind of akin to a right of passage in my mother’s family, so naturally I’m somewhat apprehensive.
My Grandma always made donuts; melt-in-your-mouth, always soft, you could eat them until your arteries explode kind of donuts. She made them for Papa. And her kids. And her grandkids and great-grandkids. And the old boy’s at the shop. And any lucky passerby that happened upon her house that morning. And they were amazing.
When I was little and saving money to go to the Fair, she would invite me up to spend the night. We would get up unbelievably early to make donuts that I would take across the street to sell to the poor suckers who worked at my Papa’s construction business. I’m sure they enjoyed having donuts and coffee at work… but whether or not they all wanted to buy a dozen of them from the boss’ granddaughter we’ll never know.
It’s one of my fondest memories, and yet, I’ve never had the courage to try it myself. So alas, I am proud to say, I finally did! I will warn you, this is not the kind of recipe you get perfect the first time. Even Grandma wrote under the instructions ‘these take practice…’ but they are worth it!
Let me know if you’re brave enough to try them! If I can do it, anyone can.
Grandma’s Old Fashioned Sugar Donut Recipe
What You’ll Need
- 2-3 blocks of Snowcaps Lard OR 1 large bottle of Canola Oil (always estimate more than you’ll need – you don’t want to run out!)
- Deep fryer/deep frying pan
- Slotted spoon (works better than tongs to flip donuts and take them out of oil)
- Plate with heavily layered paper towels for drying
- Bowl of sugar for coating
- Donut cutter or cup and bottle cap
- Rolling Pin
- Wooden board or surface
- 2-3 cups of flour for rolling
- Ziplocks for storing
- Hungry people!
- 2 cups of Sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 TBLS shortening (or softened butter)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 6 cups of flour
- 2 cups of sour milk
Heat fryer to 375-400 degrees and melt lard.
Combine Sugar, Eggs, Salt & Shortening in large mixing bowl. Mix until smooth. Sift together Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Nutmeg and Flour. Add slowly to sugar mixture. Alternate with sour milk until combined. Dough will be very sticky.
On a heavily floured wooden board, scoop out a portion of the dough. Sprinkle flour over the top then roll to 1/2 inch thick. Flour donut cutter and cut out donuts.
Before frying, test your oil with a little piece of dough. Oil should bubble around the dough immediately and dough should turn tan within 30 seconds or so on one side. If not, turn up the heat.
Fry donuts for 30 seconds (roughly) on each side. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towel plate to dry. While still warm, dip in sugar to coat, or leave plain (I don’t know why anyone would want a plain donut, but it’s always an option).
Serve warm; place in warm oven to reheat.
This recipe makes an enormous amount of donuts/donut holes. I did mostly donut holes so I only (only!) got about 3 dozen full donuts and probably 4 dozen donut holes, but it’s hard to tell because so many get eaten as soon as they hit the sugar! This recipe can be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator. I have never tried it, but Grandma used to say it made the dough easier to handle.
Grandma always said that no two donuts were alike and that these take practice, so if they don’t turn out perfectly don’t let that stop you from trying again! Happy Frying!