Doughnuts & Family Just Go Together: A Halloween Tradition!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 4:15pm
Tami L. Johnson

Ever since I was a kid we had one tradition that, without fail, was ALWAYS celebrated on Halloween: making doughnuts! Mom would start preparing the dough before lunch and by late afternoon we’d see it spilling over the top of our biggest metal pot in the kitchen. Our eyes were huge with excitement--It was ready!  And, of course, Mom would triple or quadruple the recipe so there was plenty to go around—especially for the neighbors who’d stop by expecting a few samples!

My 5 siblings and I were all Mom’s helpers—each having a “station” to work at where Mom assigned us our “job.” Now, we’ve all grown up!  And our own kids are now Grandma’s helpers.

My sister, Amy Wilde, said, “Mom stood at her usual post as the queen fryer, a job not to be taken lightly.  Some of us would move the risen doughnuts to the end of the table, others would take the hot golden doughnuts to the glazing bowl, and finally someone had to stack up the end product.”

Every year, Mom would always tell us, “This was the best batch we have ever made.” 

Making sure our glaze was just right was a balancing act.  Just three ingredients made up the glaze: Water, powdered sugar and vanilla. But, it was someone’s job to ensure it tasted perfect!

The kitchen soon smelled of deep fried oil and the sounds of cousins, Aunts and Uncles mingling together could be heard throughout the house.  Some of us are sitting at the table eating a hot bowl of chili, others are counting the doughnuts or cutting them out and still, others are eating them as fast as they’re made--that would be me!

It seems every year we make at least 100 doughnuts, if not more!  Some for us, some for the neighbors, some for the kids who used to live in the ‘hood but grew up and come back again! 

“Today the tradition continues. But instead of making the doughnuts on Halloween, we’ve picked a new day in October to once again gather as a family.  My sisters, brothers and our kids all join in the fun with Grandma at the helm—the little ones standing on the stools to see the action.  And so, we create more stations, find more aprons and quadruple the batch of dough,” Amy says.

As usual, when all is nearly done there’s a familiar knock on the back door and we know it’s our backyard neighbor, Steve Hadley, who is there to relieve us of our abundant doughnut supply and eat a tasty bite.  He says, “Do I smell doughnuts?” Yes, you do!  And you’ve come at just the right time!

We fill up a paper sack for him, along with a half a dozen other neighbors: Della Mae Miller, Earl and Carolyn Lee and Clara Sorenson to name a few.

Last year, I found myself making doughnuts in my own kitchen with my own kids with my own dough.  I had to know for myself if I could make “Grandma’s Doughnuts” too!  And you know what?  They were “The best batch ever!”

Mom’s Doughnut Recipe

Dissolve 2 Tb. Yeast in 1/3 cup warm water with 2 Tb. Sugar.

 In a large bowl combine:

2 cups scalded milk, cooled to lukewarm

4 Tb. Butter

1 cup mashed potatoes, packed

4 Tb. Sugar

1 ½ tsp. salt

2 eggs well beaten

¼ to ½ tsp lemon extract

Add: yeast mixture and 3 cups flour

Beat: until smooth

Add: Enough flour to make soft dough (about 3 cups)

Cover and let raise until double in bulk-about 45 min. to 1 hour. Punch dough down.  Divide dough in half, roll each portion on floured surface to ½ inch thickness.  Cut with doughnut cutter.  Fry doughnuts in 375 degrees on both sides until brown.

Glaze: 2 Cups powdered sugar, ½ cup boiling water and tsp. vanilla