HFF Challenge #4 and #5! A Two For One Deal!
So, sadly, I missed finding a recipe for the previous fortnight challenge. The whole family (at different times) was down with the cold from *beep*, which made me thankful for all the extra Mulligatawny soup I had in the fridge. But, by the time the last sniffles and coughing fit ceased, it was well past a week from the due date of the previous challenge.
But, not one to be thwarted easily, I thought to myself why not do something "indulgent" and something that we "love"! And, more particularly, why not do a recipe that the love of my life has been requesting for some time now...
And not just any donuts,more specifically, the donuts made by the Salvation Army Donut Girls during WWI. He's been on a real WWI/WWII research kick and has requested this for some months now. So, what better time to do them! And, honestly, who doesn't LOVE donuts!
So, after a little bit of research I found an original recipe from the Salvation Army dated for WWI and stated that it was used by "the Salvation Army Lassies in WWI".
The Salvation Army Original WWI Donut Recipe
4 Cups Plain Flour
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Butter
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk
1/4 tsp of Cinnamon
1/4 tsp of Nutmeg
Put flour in a shallow pan, add salt, baking powder, and sugar.
Rub in butter with fingertips.
Add the well beaten egg and milk and stir thoroughly.
Toss on floured board, roll to one-fourth inch in thickness, shape, fry, and drain.
Mix the cinnamon and nutmeg with fine granulated or icing sugar and
use to dust the donuts after cooking.
So, with recipe in hand, I got to work! First I gathered all the ingredients I needed...
...and then I put my shortening on a low heat to melt slowly. I could have used lard, but honestly I didn't want to open all the windows up in the house.
As I got ready to put the dough together, I suddenly got an enthusiastic helper! My 4-year-old son wanted to help make "hot cross buns!" (he's obsessed with the song). So, I told him to bring his stool over so he could help out.
So he helped add the sugar, baking powder and salt to the flour...
... and mixed it all together like a pro! And there was only a little spillage on the counter!
Then he "helped me" crack the egg. I was fairly hesitant to let him do this step, but he was so excited about it that I decided the worst case I just get another egg. And, by some miracle, the whole shell was crushed but NONE of it ended up in the bowl with the egg white and yolk! WIN!!
Then he mixed the batter till it was too tough to mix anymore. So Momma took over and mixed till most of the dough was together and could be dumped on the counter.
While he was mixing, I took the opportunity to add the nutmeg and cinnamon (which I put 1/2 tsp in because I LOVE cinnamon) to 1/2 a cup of granulated sugar. It doesn't say how much sugar is needed so I just guessed.
Once the dough was well mixed I dumped it onto our clean counter and, with a little flour, pressed all the extra bits and flour and pressed into a flat ball. I will admit, it was a bit drier in texture than I was expecting. I really didn't need much flour to keep it from sticking.
Then my strong four year old boy took on the arduous task of rolling out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. And about five minutes later Mommy took over, mainly because the press AND roll technique is a little advanced for a toddler.
Success! And I think it was around 1/4" thickness.
And now that it has the toddler finger print mark, it's perfect! Ready for cutting!
So the recipe says to shape them. But my donut shaping skills are not very good. So I thought I would use my largest and smallest biscuit cutters to make the donuts! And, with their easy grip, it was a great task for our little guy to do!
But I will admit, my tactic wasn't the best. Once I cut out the large ones I realized that even my smallest biscuit cutter was still too big to make the holes in the center. And, lacking a narrow bottle or something like that, I just decided to make some smaller donuts and leave the larger ones whole.
Now, because these were "Hot Cross Buns" (and yes we sang the song several times while we cooked), my son insisted that we put them in the oven, even after I explained that we didn't need to bake them. So he put on his mitts, and we put the tray of donuts waiting to be fried in the oven. We then sang the "Patty Cake" song while they "baked" and then we took them out to "cool".
Love this kid!
Once they were done "baking" the oil was ready for the test pieces to fry. Little guy was curious about the process so I put his stool on the far end of the counter and let him watch the test batch as they browned. This entertained him for about 30 seconds.
So I gave him the task of mixing the sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture and put them in a larger bowl. Again, there was minimal spillage with this process!
So my test donuts went from this...
... to this in a relatively short time once the shortening was hot enough.
And here's a shot of the larger donuts. I put three in at a time of them. The smaller ones I put in five. This way they didn't become overcrowded and stick together and the temperature of the shortening didn't plummet.
Once cooked I drained them on a drying rack over a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. I then took the sugar/nutmeg/cinnamon mixture and covered the donuts on all sides.
I was personally surprised at how crunchy the outside was and how soft and cake-like the inside was.
You can see here how light and airy it was.
And I think they would have been even lighter if I had covered the cut donuts with a damp cloth before frying. I found that the outside started to harden the longer it sat, which would make it harder for the dough to expand once it started to cook.
Would I make them again?
In fact I have to, because my husband LOVED them!