Friday, June 7, 2013

Grandma's Secret Donut Recipe

Grandma’s Not-So-Secret Homemade Donuts

My paternal grandmother was an amazing woman, this post is in her memory. Not only did she raise 10 children when my grandfather died at an early age, but she was an awesome cook. We loved when she would come for visits (we lived on Oahu and she lived on Maui) as each family would get two bags of her deliciously time consuming sweets including: Grandma’s sesame seed donuts and kankanen made from mochi (glutinous) rice sweetened with coconut and brown sugar, wrapped in banana leaves.  

Whenever I saw my grandmother cooking, everything was home made. She lived a simple life coming from a remote island in the Philippines to the island of Maui (I’m guessing somewhere in the 1920s or earlier since my father was the seventh child born in 1931 on Maui) and she and my grandfather came to make a new life for themselves and work in the sugarcane plantations. But let’s get back to the food.

Grandma brings treats

I visited my grandmother at her home in Lahaina one day and she prepared some donuts. I saw her heat up a pan and preparing the dough, frying it in the oil and placing it on a paper towel – topping it with sugar. She served me and my siblings at the table, it was delicious. I don’t ever remember her making regular American donuts with holes in the middle and I asked her how she made it. She smiled at me and went into her refrigerator and brought out a blue roll of Pillsbury biscuit mix. I looked at her puzzled and said to her, “I don’t get it.” She said, “This is how I make those donuts.”

Grandma's Secret

She laughed and proceeded to tell me that she would shape each biscuit into the form of a hole and fry it – simple. I said, “But that can’t be?” She assured me that I could do it do when I went home and there was no secret. Well, I can tell you that I tried when I went home and I don’t know how my grandmother made them so perfect and also it didn’t taste the same. Maybe it was the mystique of anything that comes from grandma’s kitchen is made with love and experience that I won’t have until I’m a grandma, but I’m not ready for that just yet. I’ll keep trying as I have a lot to live up to in following my grandmother and my mother’s examples of putting love in the meals that they prepare. I guess that’s why I will always call myself a Foodie Forever.

Here’s the adapted recipe from Pillsbury that I’m sure is missing only one ingredient that can never be duplicated – Grandma’s love. Enjoy.

Homemade Doughnuts 
  • 1 - Can (7.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (any type except flaky)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Sugar
  • Optional Glaze
  • ½ container (16-oz size) chocolate creamy ready-to-spread frosting
  • Candy sprinkles
1.       Separate dough into 10 biscuits; flatten each biscuit lightly with palm of hand. With 1-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut hole in center of each biscuit. Grandma shaped the biscuit with her hand and made a hole with her fingers; if you do this you won’t have donut holes but bigger donuts.

2.       In 12-inch skillet or 4-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 inches oil over medium-high heat to about 350ºF. Carefully fry biscuits about 30 seconds on each side or until golden brown. With slotted spoon, remove from oil; place on paper towels to cool. Grandma sprinkled the donuts with granule white sugar while hot or powdered sugar and serve. (Or see optional steps 3 & 4.)

3.       In microwavable bowl, microwave frosting on High 15 to 30 seconds. Stir; if frosting is not completely melted, microwave and stir in 10-second increments until smooth.

4.       Dip one side of each doughnut into chocolate glaze; sprinkle with candy sprinkles.

Doughnuts can also be coated with cinnamon-sugar when they come out of the oil. Just give them a shake in a paper bag filled with a little cinnamon and sugar.

You can also fry up the doughnut holes for fun snacks.

This post was originally posted for Orlando Cooking Examiner.

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