What better time to share Virginia Campbell’s delicious recipe for homemade “Dough Nuts” and promo our upcoming publication of The Gilded Table Campbell cookbook and food history than on this most auspicious day of celebration – National Donut Day! Mrs. Campbell’s dough nuts look and taste a little different than the donuts you might pick up at the corner gas station (they look more like donut holes than donuts, actually), but they’re still a tasty way to start your day!
Here’s her updated recipe, pulled from her ca. 1840 handwritten recipe book and revamped for modern kitchens by our cookbook author and food historian extraordinaire, Suzanne Corbett.
Dough Nuts: Ingredients
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups whole milk, warmed to 125 degrees
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dry yeast
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
zest of an orange
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 tablespoon rosewater
1 quart oil or lard for frying
1: Combine butter, milk and sugar.
2: Sprinkle in yeast and 1 cup of the flour.
3: Stir in salt, spices, vanilla and orange zest.
4: Stir in enough of the remaining flour a stiff dough.
5: Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface.
6: Knead dough until smooth or about five minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent it from sticking to work surface.
7: Place dough in back into the mixing bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled.
8: Once dough has doubled punch the dough down and place back on a floured work surface.
9: Roll dough out to a about an inch thick; then cut into rounds.
10: Heat oil in a large saucepan to 400 degrees. Fry rounds in hot oil until golden brown on each side. Drain on paper towels.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen 3-inch donuts.
* Doughnuts, donuts or do nuts – as the spelling of these crisp fried pastries evolved so did their signature hole in the middle, which appeared in the mid-1800s. The hole was pinched in the center of the dough rounds to help eliminated the undercooked centers. Like most 19th century doughnuts/donuts receipts instructions weren’t given to deep fry. Instead, one was instructed to “boil them in oil”.
The beautiful photo you see above was taken by Mr. Jim Corbett. Jim did all of the photography for our upcoming publication and we can’t wait to show off some of the other incredible images he captured!