Our paternal grandmother Clara was the creative partner in an enterprise known as The Telephone Store. It was a general store with a lunch counter running the length of one large room where livestock vaccines, straw hats, bandannas, greeting cards, magazines, comic books, ice cream cones, soft drinks, face powder, perfume, candy, cigarettes, lotions and potions were sold six days a week, 7:00 a.m. to whenever they pulled the roller shade on the door that indicated they were closed for the day.
Clara was up at 4:00 a.m. to start the spudnuts and pies–apple, cherry, coconut cream, banana cream, chocolate cream and egg custard–baked every morning for the early arrival of the local ranchers and townies, as well as a stream of truck drivers who traveled U.S. Highway 87 which ran through town. Salt Creek Freight also ran a bus service that arrived mid morning and again on a return trip mid afternoon, so the pies and doughnuts were always gone at the end of the day.
Scrounging through old family recipes with the sisty-uglers turned up one for Granny’s spudnuts and a recipe testing event was finally organized on a recent Saturday, after much hemming and hawing and re-scheduling. Only one of us had actually tried to make her spudnuts, and we were doubtful we could match our childhood memories of how wonderful we thought they tasted.
We made two batches from two slightly different versions of the recipe, and we came pretty close. With a little practice we can make Granny proud.
Granny Clara’s Spudnuts
1 Cup mashed potatoes
1 Cup potato water
1 Cup (two sticks) butter
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1 Cup scalded milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 package yeast
6-7 Cups flour
Glaze: 1/2 Cup flour; 1 lb. bag powdered sugar; 1 tsp vanilla; water to make a syrupy glaze
1. Bring butter to room temp; mix with sugar, salt, mashed potatoes. Dissolve yeast in warm potato water; add water, milk and eggs to potato mixture. Stir in enough flour to make dough easy to handle.
2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise until double, 1 to 2 hrs.
3. Pat out dough on lightly floured surface to 3/4 inch thickness. Cut doughnuts with floured 2-1/2 inch cutter; let rise until double, about one hour.
4. Heat oil (peanut or canola) to 375 degrees in deep, heavy pan. Fry doughnuts until golden, 2-3 min. each side. Drain on paper toweling. Glaze doughnuts while warm; store at room temp. covered with wax paper. Best eaten same day–makes 3 dozen.
Don’t even think about the calories!