Saturday, December 22, 2012

Doughnuts for Christmas

This family Christmas tradition was born over 50 years ago.  I grew up outside Rexburg, Idaho on a dairy farm which had been in my father’s family since the late 1800’s.  It was not uncommon to get “snowed in” during cold Idaho winters,  but one year it happened on Christmas Day.  There would be no visits from grandparents or a trip to Rexburg to see what the cousins had received for Christmas.  My mother looked at our sad faces and declared, “Let’s make doughnuts!”  And so it all began.  When we moved to sunny Arizona for my father’s health in the mid 1960s, this became the treat we would make for our friends and neighbors at Christmas time.  Sometimes they were delivered as part of a caroling party, other times they were secretly delivered, and the year I became engaged to Glen, my mother hosted an “engagement party” and invited everyone over for doughnuts and hot cocoa and to meet Glen. Back when all of our children lived at home and helped with this project, we would make as many as seven batches of the following recipe.  It was a day long project (usually on Christmas Eve) and as our children’s world expanded, so did the doughnut deliveries.  Each of my sisters and their families also make doughnuts most years.  Now the tradition has moved on to the next generation.  Today was Doughnut Day 2012 and was held at my oldest son's home.

Grandpa Glen had his oldest grandson, TJ, help him with the frying.  My oldest granddaughter, Heather, helped me mix up the dough in the Bosch mixer.  She practiced cracking eggs, measuring, checking the temperature of the water, adding the right amount of flour, and rechecking the recipe for any missing ingredients.  Of the five batches of dough made today, she was solely responsible for one.  Then she moved on to mixing up the maple glaze and glazing doughnuts.  She will be a pro.  Little brother, Toby, and little sister, Julianna, rolled a few doughnuts out but really shined in counting out and placing the doughnuts in decorative bags for delivery. Here is the recipe that we have used for many years.

Raised Doughnuts
(makes about 8 dozen doughnuts)

2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
4 cups warm water (110 degree F)
2/3 cup powdered milk
2 cubes butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
12 – 14 cups white flour  (I add until dough pulls away from side of my Bosch mixer)

Add warm water to Bosch bowl.  Add yeast and ¼ cup of the sugar.  Let stand for five minutes.  Add powdered milk, butter, sugar, salt, and eggs.  Mix slightly.  Add three cups flour, mix. Then while Bosch is on slow speed, slowly add remaining flour until dough begins to leave the side of the mixer.  Let Bosch knead dough for 2 - 3 minutes.

Place in large bowl and let rise until a finger leaves an indention.  Punch down and take about ¼ of the dough and roll out until ½ inch thick.  Cut with doughnut cutter (in a pinch, we have used a glass and the top off of the salt shaker for the middle.)  Place on sheet pans and let rise until light.  Continue cutting doughnuts adding new dough to the left over scraps.

Fry the raised doughnuts in deep hot oil (375 degrees F) until browned, turning just once.  We use an electric fry pan for this part.  Test the oil with a doughnut hole to make sure temperature is right.  If you try to fry too many at one time, the oil cools down too quickly.  We usually fry outside to keep that fried oil smell out of the house.  Drain on paper towels.  While still warm, dip in glaze.

(we start with a 2 pound bag of powdered sugar)

Use 1 cup water to each pound of powdered sugar.  Place in a deep pan and heat until dissolved.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon Mapleline flavoring.  Glaze doughnuts on both sides and place on a cooling rack over sheet pans to drain.  ENJOY!


Heather said...

Thank you Grandma! Sorry I didn't get to say g'bye.

Heather said...

Also, send me Sally's email address?

Cire said...

Thank you for making donuts with us!

Susan said...

I love all the history behind this tradition. It's been fun being part of the doughnut-making over the years and I'm glad my kids are getting old enough to really be part of it. Thanks for helping us make ALL those doughnuts. Yum!