Best Ever Doughnuts

April 17, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by Adrienne Kane
  • Makes about 30 doughnuts
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • For the doughnuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening, melted
  • 1 cup sour milk (buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup sweet milk (regular whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 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)
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  1. For the doughnuts
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. When the doughnuts have cooled some, roll in powdered sugar, the traditional finishing, or dip in chocolate glaze (recipe following.)
  1. Chocolate Glaze
  2. 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.
  3. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze, then turn over onto a rack, letting the glaze drip down.
  4. 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.

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Author of cookbooks United States of Pie and upcoming United States of Bread.

1 Review

weshook June 22, 2014
ooh! I have to try this, I love old family recipes. I have a doughnut recipe from my mother-in-law that came from her aunt who used to make them for the diner that she own. I haven't mastered it yet :( I have a heavy hand and they come out a bit on the heavy side. I need to have a one on one lesson with my mother-in-law.