Monday, June 18, 2012

Doughnut Week! Spudnuts

I have found a new obsession: Doughnuts! While cupcakes still hold a special place in my heart, this baby growing in me seems to want one thing and one thing only, doughnuts. Who am I to disagree?

A few years ago my dad told me about this insanely delicious treat his mom used to make for him and his two sisters when they were little: Spudnuts.  They are amazing light and fluffy doughnuts that actually contain some mashed potatoes, and they were supposed to be the best doughnuts you could ever have.  I emailed my Auntie to get the recipe, and in no time at all I had the original recipe for the Spudnuts. 

Now these involved both a yeast dough and deep frying, both things that a couple of years ago wereextremely  terrifying to me as a new cook/baker, so my poor dad had to suffer and wait. And wait. And wait.  It even got to the point where he considered making them himself just to have them again!

It wasn’t until Easter weekend this year that I got up the courage to give these famed Spudnuts a shot! I’m pretty sure I originally received the recipe in 2010…what a wimp eh?  Part of my motivation may have been the fact that the only real craving I have experienced in my pregnancy so far is an irrational need for doughnuts. I used to think that doughnuts were alright, but I could take them or leave them.  But now?  I seem to crave fluffy warm home-made doughnuts all the time!  So it was a perfect time to get over my irrational fear of making doughnuts and make these Spudnuts happen.

Doughnuts in their second rise, as far as the eye can see!

I cannot tell you how excited my dad was when I showed up to Easter dinner with a massive (and I mean massive) bowl of just-risen dough ready to be shaped and fried!  As soon as we were done dinner he put me to work. We rolled and rolled and cut and cut and laid out a ton of doughnuts and doughnut holes onto tea towels to have their final rise.  That was the worst part, waiting until we were allowed to fry them to a golden perfection! We may have jumped the gun on a few of them, but they all turned out amazing, even those we rushed a bit.

My husband took all of these pictures for me, as I was frying up a storm!

After frying the doughnuts my sister was given the task that my dad used to be in charge of as a little boy, dropping the warm doughnut and doughnut holes into a paper bag filled with icing sugar and shake shake shaking them up!  The icing sugar melted a bit on these and man, they were amazing.

Don't be like me, don't crowd your doughnuts!

I can honestly say that these lived up to all of the hype! They were INSANELY good! A bonus is that since the batch makes a TON of Spudnuts, they actually freeze really well in a freezer-safe bag and then just need to be left at room temperature and they will thaw right back to an amazing treat.  Or you can take them out of the freezer, pop one in the microwave, and enjoy a warm and sticky doughnut in seconds!

This recipe is half of the original, and you will still end up with two FULL tea towels worth of doughnuts and doughnut holes.  So you might want to wait until you have a lot of company, or you can freeze them to enjoy them over the next few months (not that they will last nearly that long, trust me).

We coated ours in icing sugar, but if you want to mix it up you can dip the warm doughnuts in glaze, shake them up in a cinnamon-sugar mix, shake them up in regular sugar, add sprinkles, whatever you like!

Recipe from my Aunt, and originally from my Grandmother :)

  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup margarine, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Approx. 6 cups flour
  • Icing sugar
  1. Mix the yeast with warm water as per the package and let it proof
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the proofed yeast, salt, eggs, mashed potatoes, milk, margarine, sugar and vanilla
  3. Add the flour a couple of cups at a time and mix well until about 5 cups has been added
  4. Continue to add flour a bit at a time until a soft dough forms
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth
  6. Place the dough in a large bowl, and let rise until doubled (about 1 - 2 hours)
  7. Punch the dough down, and let it rise a second time (again about 1 - 2 hours)
  8. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1 inch thick (you may need to do this in batches)
  9. Cut out doughnuts and doughnut holes (using a doughnut cutter, glasses, biscuit cutters, etc), and place them on a clean tea towel or wax paper
  10. Cover with another clean tea towel(s) and let rise until doubled (about 30 min)
  11. While the doughnuts are rising, heat vegetable oil in a large heavy bottom pan to 365 - 375 F using a candy or oil thermometer
  12. When ready to fry, carefully drop a couple doughnuts into the hot oil and let fry until one side is golden brown.  Flip carefully with a heat-safe spatula or wooden spoon and fry the second side
  13. When done, remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and set onto paper towel to capture the extra grease
  14. While still warm, place some of the doughnuts in a paper bag with icing sugar and shake shake shake until covered
  15. Enjoy!
Note: After these cool they freeze really well!

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