Missing his deep fat fried cinnamon doughnuts, an Exeter New Hampshire man took matters into his hands. On moving here, he spent weeks sleuthing the streets and alleys looking for a bakery that would fulfill his needs. Make no mistake, these are Needs. The answers were all the same: too much trouble, too messy, too demanding. Result? No fried cinnamon doughnuts in Exeter, NH. (Don't suggest Dunkin - they're not fried, greasy, crunchy fattening.)
So what's a distraught ninety-year old man to do? Improvise! First, buy a deep fat fryer. Walmart had them on sale. 'Good, look at the money we've saved.' Next, he needed one of those doughnut cutters - the round one with the inner circle for the doughnut holes. Ace Hardware (Arjay's on Lincoln Street in Exeter) could order one for him. Oh, boy! We're really moving along here.
Recipes? To use Fannie Farmer's Boston School of Cooking Cook Book (1945 version) or Joy Of Cooking (1952 edition) was the tough choice. The Joy (affectionately referred to in those days as the J of C) won out. The first batch a la Fannie was dismal: fat too cool, soaked up by dough, rock solid by dawn. Second batch by Joy had a chance except for a minor flaw. Batch one taught the chef, by trial and error, to assemble all the pre-measured ingredients, set them out alongside the tools, and turn off the cell phone.
The cook (no longer 'chef') had it all laid out: flour, milk, eggs, salad oil, nutmeg, baking soda. The mixture seemed awfully stiff, so he added a little milk. Now, pliable, it was spread on the wax paper-covered counter and cut with the flour-dipped cutter, then dropped into the 375 degree fat. Oh, Joy! The bubbles, the sizzling! The blob rose to the top, floated around for 2 1/2 minutes, was flipped, spent the same time on the other side, then removed to a mat of Bounty towels. When warm enough to touch, it was dropped into a paper lunch bag filled with a sugar and cinnamon mix, precision not necessary here.
What kind of rock is this? Or is it a hockey puck? Door stop? Just then, cook looked over at the microwave oven and saw, sitting atop it, an untouched cup of milk. The same milk that missed being added to the dough. 'Well, next time that won't happen,' said the ever-optimistic nonogenarian.
Most recent try, a few short hours ago, produced a pretty good replica of the great cinnamon doughnuts cook had loved in Burlington Vermont (Price Choppers,) Santa Fe, New Mexico (Kip's,) and Duck Donuts in Duck, North Carolina's Outer Banks, plus a local bakery in Underhill Vermont, whose name he can't remember (along with other stuff.)
'A picture is worth...' so without further ado, please go to the Slideshow and see for yourself why it might be necessary to make a trip to Burlington. The third and final batch so far, looks normal except for the odd shapes, and is actually quite tasty. The old guy might have something here! And I love him, regardless!
Recipe used but not necessarily followed in this instance: from The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker, Published by Bobbs Merrill, 1946 edition. These are the ingredients only, not what to do with them.
4 cups sifted all purpose flour; 1 cup sugar; 2 eggs; 1 cup milk; 5 tsp melted shortening; 1/2 t. cinnamon; 1/2 t salt;1/4 t nutmeg; 4 tsp double acting baking powder; Mix, then cool before shaping