Wednesday, August 25, 2010

25 August 1956 “Awww, nutz…NO, Doughnuts!”

donutgirl This morning I made doughnuts for hubby and my breakfast. I made the cake doughnut as opposed to the yeast-raised doughnut. Both are very good ( I am partial to a hot plate of fresh yeast-raised dredged in sugar!) but the cake is an easier and quicker doughnut to make, as there is no waiting for the dough to rise.
doughnuts This is the good advice from my Betty Crocker Cook Book and here is their recipe for Cake Doughnuts.
bestcakedonutrecipe(Click to enlarge) It is a very good recipe. Today I used this version which makes less doughnuts overall.
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3/8 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting
  1. Stir the vinegar into the milk, and let stand for a few minutes until thick.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture alternating with the vinegar and milk. Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/3 inch thickness. Cut into doughnuts using a donut cutter. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fry doughnuts in the hot oil until golden, turning over once. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners' sugar while they are still warm, and serve immediately.
However, in both recipes I use either Butter or Lard never shortening. I have stopped using it awhile ago and prefer butter and lard, as they are both more natural and I think taste SO much better.
donuts1 Here they are being rolled out.donuts2 Here is a lovely close up showing the softness of the dough as it waits it’s 15 minutes before it is popped into its hot oil bath:donuts3 I thought this shot of our demolished plate of doughnuts was rather cute, as you can see the fun starburst pattern on my platter.donuts4 donuts5 And here are two close-ups showing the texture and color of these delicious little deadlies.donuts6 I use my mother’s vintage 1950’s donut cutter (which has the little removable center for the hole so I also use it for my biscuits and scones.) Not only does this give me an authentic vintage doughnut size, it is wonderful for your appetite, because two of these doughnuts are propably not as big as a modern doughnut, but you feel as if you are eating more. These are also good in the glaze made of melted butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract. As well as just confectioners sugar or cinnamon and sugar or even plain.
I think a cake doughnut, such as these, have a longer shelf life/taste ratio. These will be fine tomorrow and the next day kept under my cake plate, while a yeast raised tends to not taste as good the next day. The chickens love these, when there are ever any left for them (which is not often!)
This movie from the 1950’s about doughnuts is a riot. It  is funny and fun to watch, so take some time to do so. I love the tongue in cheek approach of the narrator as he discusses the ‘streamline looks and various exteriors’ available for this mass produced product. Saying such things in a great booming voice as “ A Free Man in a Free World, Free to Dunk!” And discussing the Dunking addict the “Dunkomaniac” who ‘can’t take one dunk and quit”. And of course, the Donut of Tomorrow, The “Super Absorbent Atomic Donut”! It is all quite funny, so do watch.
There are also some great images of 50’s Diners indoors and good shots of vintage dishes and vacuum pots of coffee and some cute hats.
In all seriousness, though, the chain donut shop was born, among many of our modern things, in the 1950’s. The local bakery was soon to see the stiff competition of the ‘chain restaurant’ and this included that Pure American Food: The Donut.
firstdunkindonuts In my neck of the woods, there is Dunkin Donuts: that behemoth of a donut chain that has seem to swallow up every corner in various towns here on the Cape, unfortunately. The very first Dunkin Donuts, shown in the image above, was created in 1950 in Quincy Massachusetts, by William Rosenberg.
misterdonut This year, in 1956, Mister Donut was started. It was meant to be competition for Dunkin Donuts. It later was bought out by the company and today its now owned and run in Japan and the Philippines.krispykreme50s Krispy Kreme (Which I have to admit I love much more than Dunkin Donuts but sadly have been all but run out of MA) was mainly in the south and south-eastern US. I would not have access to them in 1956 unless I were to travel that direction.
kanesdonuts Some of the small mom and pop places did survive. Here in my home state of Massachusetts, Kane’s Donuts, which was started in 1955 in Saugus, is still going today.
No matter how you eat it, dunk it, or prefer it :Plain or Coated in everything, The doughnut is definitely an American Institution.
Try making some of your own, because a hot doughnut in the morning is wonderful. And the look on faces as they head to the kitchen and get a wonderful scent of those cooking delights is worth the work.


  1. I heart Krispy Kreme! I love them even more than DD, too. I don't like plain donuts much, but I'll never pass up a glazed donut from Krispy Kreme.

  2. What type of oil/fat did you use? Could a deep fryer be just as well as it in the pan?
    I will def have to look for a doughnut cutter.

  3. I have a vintage deep fryer and have not yet used it. I think it would work even better than the pan.
    I have a donut cutter in the corner store for only around 5 dollars, if you want to check it out

  4. Waah! They don't have Dunkin Donuts out here, either. We really are deprived.

    You are VERY ambitious, btw!

  5. I don't think about it as ambitious, to me every day is a fun adventure and I love to see what I can whip up in the kitchen. What's funny is I am probably still not as busy as a 'real' 50's housewife. Though, tonight I am making my home-made fried chicken (my hubby adores it) and I just went out and picked a handful of my French Green beans and some little yellow teardrop tomatoes to have with dinner. This time of the year, when we can harvest our summer's hard work, is always a fun time to cook! And, of course, all the while I have Julie London and Rosemary Clooney singing me along to do my best!

  6. What type of oil/fat did you use?

  7. I used vegetable oil today. I usually use lard or coconut oil. I don't use shortening anymore. I used it at first in 1955, but really the more I thought about how processed it was the better I felt about using good old fashioned rendered animal fat, i.e. Lard. Let me know what you use and how it turns out.

  8. My mother used to make those! I haven't had one in many years. Look awful good.

  9. Oh, I wish I had time to make donuts in the morning, but I will definitely try your recipe, it’ll go straight to my vintage recipe collection. I’ve bought a small book with translations of US/UK terms and measurements to Danish, and I’ve had a collection of US measuring cups for long, so I should be able to use your recipes. :) In Denmark we use the metric system, both for weight and volume, it is much easier.

  10. Sanne-it is funny you should mention the metric system. I remember back in the late 70's early80's we had a program to teach children metric and to convert from english/us to metric. I don't know what happened to it, but it's gone.
    James-if you lived near by, I'd pop a batch over the fence!

  11. I have to say in Canada, the fav place to go for not only coffee but donuts is Tim Horton's......I can't drink their regular coffee anymore (heart condition), boy do I miss their regular coffee, but I love my double double decaf - double double is a Canuck term for double cream double sugar :)

    Their donuts and timbits are so good, there is a Timmie's on every corner in my city literally......

    I've tried Starbucks and there really is no comparison.

    But I have to say 50's Gal, your donuts look delicious, I might just pop on over there to have one :) Now wouldn't that be a hoot eh :)

    Mom in Canada

  12. It'd be lovely.
    Believe you me, I have thought of trying to find someplace where housing is SO cheap we really COULD make a new 1950's community. I even went so far as to research the low cost housing available in Detroit, because it is so cheap there, and actually thought, 'Hmmm, I wonder how many people would actually up and move to create, en masse, a new vintage neighborhood" Pipe dream, I know, but believe me I looked into it.
    Well, you can enjoy the doughnuts virtually I suppose, and of course whip up a batch yourself, they are really quite easy.

  13. My new subdivision is located in an existing neighborhood from the fifties, so any time I wish to go back in time all I have to do is go for a quick bike ride or stroll.


    As far as baking, uumm let's say it's not my forte LOL......I'll enjoy the virtual donuts, or Timmie's donuts anyday though :)

    Mom in Canada

  14. How nice it would be to make a special housing area just for that. It could be done :)

  15. Melissa-if we ever could get even 5-6 families who were game, I'd be in. I love where we live, but would really love a vintage community.

  16. I've never had a Dunkin' Donuts donut. They don't exist down here in Louisiana. We do have Krispy Kremes, but they're not my favorites. They're okay, but the best ones in town IMO are produced in the bakery at Super 1 Foods! It's a "local" grocery store, as in it only exists in central and northern Louisiana. They are SO GOOD!!!!!!

    They also have incredibly yummy chocolate buttercream frosting. A chocolate filled Super 1 donut is quite literally bursting at the seams with chocolate buttercream!

  17. Do you happen to have a recipe for glaze? I like powdered sugar but love glazed even more :)

  18. What I like to do to make my doughnut glaze is heat milk or cream with vanilla or almond extract until it is just about to simmer (warm and you can see a bit of heat rising) then I stir in confectioners sugar until it is the consistency I like. Then, simply dip in a doughnut and set on a rack to 'set'. This is very delicious. You can also make a glaze with water and sugar and butter, but I really like the milk or cream and, hey, it's doughnuts, it's not a time to scrimp on fat and calories. Just make them 50's size and eat less and you will be fine. I'd say the ratio of liquid to sugar would be about 1/4 cup of the milk/cream to 2 cups sugar. But, really I just eyeball it. You can always add more sugar or more cream. Hope this helps.


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