The original recipe for these doughnuts comes from “an old neighbor lady” of my grandmother’s in Aberdeen, South Dakota, circa 1945. The measurements were not exact, and the directions brief, so I’ve given a bit more information to help out the modern-day cook. —Adrienne Kane
about 30 doughnuts
For the doughnuts
sour milk (buttermilk)
sweet milk (regular whole milk)
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 1/2 cups
flour, enough to make a soft dough
vegetable or canola oil, for frying
For finishing: powdered sugar, chocolate glaze (recipe following)
unsweetened chocolate, chopped
light corn syrup
In This Recipe
For the doughnuts
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients, except the flour, until they are thoroughly combined. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed, and it is no longer clinging to the side of the bowl. (This usually takes about 4 1/2 cups of flour, but will be altered according to weather, humidity, etc.) At this point the dough can be worked into a 1-inch disc, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated for an hour or so, or it can be directly rolled out.
Divide the dough in half, reserving the unused half in the refrigerator. On a well-floured work surface, with the top of the dough floured as well, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. With a floured doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts and holes. The dough does not re-roll well, so scraps can be sliced into fritters. Roll and cut the second portion of dough. The doughnuts can be held on a lightly floured baking sheet until frying. Prepare the oil for frying.
In a Dutch oven, heat oil, at least 2-3 inches deep, to 360°F. Fry the doughnuts, no more than 4 at a time, until they are golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. With a spider, or wooden spoon, flip the doughnuts over, and complete the frying. When the doughnuts are crispy, and golden brown, drain them on a cooling rack set over thick paper. It is important that you let the oil return to 360° before frying again. Having hot enough oil helps the doughnuts absorb a minimal amount of fat.
When the doughnuts have cooled some, roll in powdered sugar, the traditional finishing, or dip in chocolate glaze (recipe following.)
Put the chopped chocolate into a medium-size bowl. Pour in the boiling water, and add the corn syrup. (The corn syrup is only for shine; feel free to omit it if you don’t have any on hand.) Stir to melt the chocolate. Once melted sift the powdered sugar over the chocolate mixture, and then stir until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add additional boiling water, by the teaspoonful, in order to achieve the proper consistency.
Dip the doughnuts into the glaze, then turn over onto a rack, letting the glaze drip down.
The glaze can be made a day ahead; simply store in the refrigerator until ready to use. In order to make the glaze fluid once again, warm it slowly in the microwave, and stir until smooth. This recipe make plenty of chocolate glaze; but it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, and used in making other desserts.