Pumpkin doughnuts (Fern’s Spudnuts)

So today we’re going to talk about a favorite recipe of mine.  However, this one takes a little bit of backstory.

From the time I was very young there was always cooking and always recipes to discover and play with.  My mother had a lot of recipe collections, but my favorite was a small grey card holder.  Most of the recipes in this holder were handwritten or mimeographed copies of time honored fail proof recipes.  I never remember anything coming out of this box that wasn’t amazing.  These were recipes from grandmothers and great grandmothers and ward members who had perfected their cooking arts before I was even a sparkle in anyone’s eyes.

So this recipe comes from that card file.  It’s called Fern’s Spudnuts and I still have no idea who Fern even is.  It’s a doughnut recipe which includes an entire cup of mashed potatoes, giving it a rich decadent texture, but never makes it heavy.  Combine that with a hint of nutmeg and lemon and these are doughnuts that will give any bakery a run for their money. To me this recipe is all about fall and family and cold fall days when chili is bubbling on the stove and doughnuts made by the dozen.

When I married Bunneh and inherited my two wonderful boys we made fall doughnuts a part of our own family tradition.  I wanted something to make it even more unique for our family and that’s when I exchanged mashed potatoes for pumpkin in the recipe.  The switch was divine and my kids are pretty torn about which version is the family favorite.  Sometimes we just have to make them all.  This year we used peanut oil to fry the doughnuts in and I was very satisfied with the results as the peanut oil doesn’t pick up any fishy odor or flavor and crisps nicely.

pumpkin doughnutspumpkin doughnuts

Fern’s Spudnuts (Jana’s Pumpkin Doughnuts)

1 pint warm milk – 2 cups for those who don’t measure in pints

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

Lemon extract to taste

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tbl Ultra Gel

1 cup thin mashed potatoes (or one cup pureed pumpkin)

2 yeast cakes (2 Tbl yeast for the non cake sort)

1/2 cup luke warm water

5-6 cups bread flour

Proof yeast in warm water with 1/4 tsp sugar.  Mix milk, sugar, butter, salt, nutmeg, lemon extract and mashed potatoes (or pumpkin).  Cool to lukewarm; add eggs and yeast mixture and mix well.  Add flour to make a soft dough.  Let rise; push down and let rise again.  Roll out and cut with doughnut cutter.  Place on floured clotha nd let rise again.  Fry in deep fat at 400-425 degrees until brown and poofed on both sides.  Drain on brown paper bags and dip into icing while hot or shake in cinnamon or powdered sugar.  Eat.  Yield 36-40 large doughnuts and holes.

Easy Doughnuts Icing

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 Tbl butter softened

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbl Ultra Gel

1-2 pounds powdered sugar

milk as needed

Combine first five ingredients and beat until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and milk alternately until desired flavor and consistency is reached.  Pour over warm doughnuts or dip cooled doughnuts.  For chocolate glaze melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips and mix into glaze.


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