Great-Aunt Eva’s Doughnuts

Merry Christmas, Kaki!

I’m bummed I couldn’t give you your Christmas present last weekend; that oversleeping thing is whoa going to get me in trouble one of these days.  Hope breakfast was lovely, and the drive back quick and safe.

But you can get a digital version of your present today, anyway!  Click here to see the cookbook I made for Christmas!!!  I’m so excited about how it turned out!

I’ll be mailing you a hard copy, but if you want to view it, click the link above then click the red “Read Now” flag.  Or, if you set up a free account you can click “Add to Digital Library” and then “Download PDF” from the Digital Library page.  It’s full of tons of great things I cooked this year, mostly ones I made prior to starting the blog.  Might I suggest you start with the Chocolate-Bourbon No-Churn Ice Cream?


And now, on to my grandma’s present to me this year: she taught me to make doughnuts!

My Great-Aunt Eva is the legendary baker in our family.  I’m actually named after her, since my middle name is Eve.  If there’s a great family recipe, and you ask, “Where did this recipe come from?”, 9 out of 10 times it’ll be “Aunt Eva used to make this.”

And I have very fond memories of my grandma making these doughnuts, of coming home from school on a cold fall day to smell these nutmeg-y doughnuts frying away on the stove.  Kaki, freshly fried doughnuts.  Tell me I’m wrong.

Well, if there is one “wrong” part of this recipe, it’s that it calls for a three-pound can of Crisco.  As in, that’s your frying oil.  You melt an entire, large can of Crisco to fry them in.  These are certainly holiday fare.

Enough talk; it’s doughnut time!

Aunt Eva’s Doughnuts

(Recipe below will make about 15 doughnuts.  We quadrupled the recipe.  Yup, that’s 60 doughnuts we’ll have to consume over the next few days.  Darn.)


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Crisco, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg**
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3-pound can of Crisco, for frying


In a large mixing bowl, combine beaten egg, sugar, and melted Crisco.  Add in milk, stirring to combine.  Add baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and flour, and stir until just combined.  (The dough will be quite sticky still, but will gain enough flour as you roll it out to maintain good shape and texture.)

Heavily flour the counter and add a quarter of the dough.  Generously flour the top of the dough, and pat into a circle.  Flip the dough over to make sure it’s not sticking to the counter, and add more flour as needed.  Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thick, and cut with a doughnut cutter***.  Set the cut doughnuts aside, and combine the scraps and doughnut holes on the counter, re-rolling to cut more doughnuts.  Add more dough from the bowl as needed, adding more flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.


In a large Dutch oven or other cast iron pot, melt the whole three-pound can of Crisco on the stove over medium-high heat.  (The recipe said to get the oil up to 365*F, but we used my candy thermometer and when it got to that high Grandma said it was higher than she normally does, so, maybe 350*F?)  Once melted, turn heat down to medium.  Gently add doughnuts to the oil and fry for a minute or two on each side; if the oil is hot enough, the doughnuts will rise to the surface within the first ten seconds or so.  Grandma said she goes mostly by color to tell doneness; you want a really nice, golden brown color on both sides, without much if any cream-colored areas showing.

Once fried on each side, use tongs to remove from the oil, shaking lightly to drain excess oil.  Lay on a sheet pan covered in paper towels to drain and cool slightly.  Then eat them, oh my gosh, eat them while they are warm and amazing and have a cup of coffee and just swoon.


Merry Christmas, Kaki!


*Next time I might try to make those apple cider doughnuts that are so popular up north by substituting cider for the milk.  Not exactly sure, since the protein in the milk may be needed for the structure of the dough.  Further research is needed.  Maybe we’ll have to experiment next time you’re in town?

**This much nutmeg adds so much flavor, it’s incredible.  Especially since it’s such a simple dough otherwise.  I’m sure you could switch this up with other spices, but… try it with nutmeg first.  Oh, and do you grate your nutmeg?  I keep hearing how much better it is freshly grated.  Someday I’ll try it and let you know if there’s a difference.

***This thing was cool, it was obviously really old, and the center cutter you could rotate to remove so it was both a doughnut cutter and just a circle cutter.  How perfect would that be for linzer cookies or something like that?  Oh, and also, you have to make sure to dip your cutter in some flour occasionally so that the dough doesn’t stick to it as much.  Then, you just gently shake and the doughnuts and holes drop right out!  Or, mostly drop right out.  Either way, it shouldn’t be too hard.  If they stick a lot you need to add more flour to the dough and to the cutter.


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