If you have been following my blog you may have noticed that I tend to pay tribute or remembrance to people with food. I guess I owe that to my Grandma O. pictured above. Some of the fondest memories I have of her are connected with food, perhaps because she always seemed to be cooking up some tasty food for us to eat. She had a magic hand in the kitchen that could make something as lowly as a boiled wiener for our hotdogs taste like no other. I know now that the magic wasn’t so much her talent in the kitchen (though she had plenty of that), it was her presence in our lives.
Grandma O. was my mother’s mother, and Granny K. was my husbands father’s mother. As it turned out, both Grand Dames were born on February 11th, though 13 years apart in age. Had my Grandmother not passed away, she would have been 100 years old this year. Granny K. did live to see her 100th birthday, put passed on just 3 months after that.
Granny K. was not known for her cooking skills, but her talent for knitting rivaled all. Even in the latter years of her life when her eyesight diminished to where she could barely see, her fingers became her eyes and she continued to knit up a storm. When my son was born she was my inspiration to pick up the needles and teach myself to knit. There is barely a day that passes when I am knitting that I don’t think of her just as I think of my Grandma every time I sew or cook.
To celebrate their birthdays this year I decided to dig out the deep fryer and make doughnuts. As a child my Grandma would on occasion make doughnuts. Grandma’s doughnuts were light airy things like deep fried clouds. She never picked up the pieces and rerolled her dough but fried up all the bits and pieces and they were after being cut. Sometimes the pieces looked liked animals or people, our imaginations were fueled by those yummy morsels and made them all the more fun to eat.
Grandma also made the best percolated coffee ever. I would plead and beg her for a cup to have with my treat until she gave in a would pour me a half a cup of coffee generously milked down and sweetened.
“Coffee stunts your growth.” she would tell me as she put the fragrant cup of brew in front of me. As a child and already small, what did height matter? At times I considered her words when in high school at 5’3″ and it looked as though I would always be one of the shortest kids. Even to this day if I close my eyes I can still imagine the taste and smell of the coffee and doughnuts there in Grandmas kitchen, and you know what? I have absolutely no regrets drinking her coffee!
So, this past February 11th, I pulled out the deep fryer and found a quick recipe for raised doughnuts to whip up. The doughnuts were tasty, but I was disappointed that they didn’t match the doughnut memories of my childhood. Oh, how I wish I had Grandma’s recipe for those, but until then, this recipe will definitely do.
I think this is a good uncomplicated recipe for yeast raised doughnuts, especially if this is your first time making them.
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking Oil for deep frying
In the bowl of your mixer combine 1 1/2 cups of flour and the yeast. In a saucepan heat the milk, sugar, shortening and salt and heat until just warm (115 to 120F). Pour this into the mixer bowl with the flour and the yeast. Stir to mix. Add the eggs and beat at low speed of your mixer for about a minute and then beat at high speed for about 3 more minutes. Turn the mixer back down to low speed and gradually add as much of the remaining flour as you can to make a soft dough that is smooth and elastic, about another 3 to 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double. (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).
Punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let the dough rest about 10 to 15 minutes. Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut out your doughnuts. Cover and let your doughnuts rise for about another 45 to 60 minutes.
This recipe makes 16 to 20 round doughnuts.
February 11, 2012 was a memorable day. A good cup of coffee, more than a couple of homemade doughnuts, relaxing with my knitting and remembering two Grand Dames was what it was all about.
Good Day and Good Eats!