Old Fashion Donuts: Fried Clouds for your Pie Hole

There are some childhood memories that make you smile every time you think of it.  My mom

making these “birthday” donuts is one of my fondest food memories.

The recipe was hidden away in my mother’s favorite wooden box, which has literally traveled the world and has been around much longer than me.  The recipe card is actually older and came from a family friend who is no longer with us.

So. Invite a bunch of friends over.  Have these donuts.  Enjoy the decadence of yesteryear and make your own donut hole memories.

PS.  I hear a RUMOR, that it is possible to bake these. Like, in an oven. While we at grazing bears would never condone baking when frying is clearly the better tasting option (see: Venezuelan Arepas), feel free to experiment with that if you are so inclined.

“Special” Equipment you’ll need:

  • Donut cutter (or use a drinking glass and a coke bottle top OR two buiscut cutters in the right sizes from Sur La Table)
  • A VERY large bowl
  • Frying oil


1 ½ TABLEspoons dry yeast (about 1½ packets)
¾ cup warm (NOT hot) water

2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup mashed potatoes (either left over from dinner, or made fresh- ok, or cheat, and make instant mashed potatoes)

2 cups flour
1 beaten egg

5 ½ cups flour

Flour for sprinkling

Simple Glaze1/4 cup of milk
1-2 cups of powdered sugar

To start, make sure your kitchen is warm.  Sounds silly, but temp is important.  If it’s not warm, turn the oven on for the duration.

Combine yeast and water in a small cup or bowl, make sure the east is fully incorporated with no lumps, set aside in a WARM place.  In a small pan, bring to a NEAR boil the milk, sugar, butter, salt and mashed potatoes.  Do not allow it to actually boil, just to a simmer, and remove from heat.  Let cool until it’s warm enough to put your finger in it without scalding, but it should still be warm.

Add to mixer bowl and mix in 2 cups of flour and beaten egg and mix until very smooth.  The dough will be wet like a cake batter, but don’t be alarmed.  Add the yeast and water mixture (which should have already risen a bit) and STIR well.

Set aside for 20-30 min.   The dough will visibly rise during this time, but probably not dramatically.  Now, transfer to a very large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, and then your hands, incorporate the 5 ½ cups of flour.

The dough will be incredibly sticky.  Like, very very sticky.  Once it’s all nicely incorporated, cover with a towel and

let it rest in a warm place.

Let rise for 30 – 45 min. If you have other things to do, now is a good time.

Using a sharp knife, slice off about a third of the dough and cover the rest.Once you’re ready to get started (dough can sit for a long while if you need more time for whatever it is you’re doing), get your work surface ready by sprinkling a little flour.  Remember, that dough is sticky!

With a floured rolling pin (or whatever), GENTLY flatten/roll the dough out- to about a ½ inch or less thickness.

Dipping your biscut cutter in flour each time, cut out the donut shapes.  You will end up with many more holes than actual donuts, try to use as much of the dough as possible.

Set the cut donuts aside, or if you have help, have one person start frying while you repeat the rolling/cutting process.  Make sure you aside the scraps, these can be reformed into a ball and re-cut.

The donuts will fry very quickly. Make sure there is enough oil in the pan so that they do NOT TOUCH THE BOTTOM, otherwise that spot will burn.

While the donuts are still hot, glaze them in either a simple melted powdered sugar glaze, roll in sugar and cinnamon or try something chocolate or fruit.

The donuts by themselves are not very sweet- so feel free to embellish!

Eat your heart out Krispie Kreme.

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