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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Brigham Young's Buttermilk Donuts

Yesterday was Pioneer Day. It was, you ask?

It's a state holiday in Utah, commemorating the arrival of the first pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, led by Brigham Young. It's celebrated with parades, picnics, plays and parties in the west, and sometimes in Mormon communities throughout the country and world. Click here to learn more.As a Mormon growing up in the east, I was always a little ambivalent about Pioneer Day. It's part of the history and cultural heritage of my Church, but not really my family or home. I do have one grandmother descended from pioneers but the rest of my family are from other places, and I always considered Scandinavia and historical Virginia bigger players in my personal heritage.

However, I can always appreciate a reason to party, and the pioneer trek is full of incredible stories of sacrifice and miracles. Worth knowing, worth commemorating. My friend Shanna from Idaho always celebrated it with her family growing up. They would invite some other families over, dress up in pioneer clothes, and have a true Pioneer Day. Stations for the kids included shaking cream into butter, sawing a log, sewing a button, hammering nails, and going on a mini pioneer trek through the "wilderness" (their farm.) She said it gave her an appreciation and love for her pioneer ancestors. And they always finished the day with "Brigham Young's Buttermilk Donuts" from a pioneer cookbook her mom had.
But now Shanna lives in Arlington, so for Pioneer Day this year she and our friend Genevieve (from Utah) invited some friends to play in the back yard and have the homemade donuts. I'd been really looking forward to it, but Ginger was sick so we had to stay home. Darn delicate 2-year-old. Luckily, Shanna dropped by later with a plate of sweet-smelling pioneer puffs for us, so we wouldn't totally miss out.

Little circles of love, that's what these are. I almost cried when I smelled the maple icing, wondering how fast I could eat dinner so I could have one for dessert. I have almost no donut-making experience myself - why try when Krispy Kreme is already perfect? But these have made me reconsider, and I just may be trying my hand at it sooner than expected.

After all, it's never too late to become a pioneer.
Brigham Young's Buttermilk Donuts
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. sugar
5 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. melted butter

1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot or deep skillet so that it's deep enough for the donuts to not touch the bottom. Use a candy thermometer to monitor heat - you want to get to 375.

2. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs and sugar. Blend well. Stir in melted butter.

3. Sift together dry ingredients and beat into buttermilk mixture.

4. Roll or pat out dough onto floured surface to about 1/4 inch. Cut with 2 1/2 in. cutter (make sure to flour the cutter so it doesn't stick). A donut cutter is ideal, but if you don't have one, use a biscuit cutter or glass and whatever you can figure out to cut out the hole (like a lid or tiny jar.)

5. Fry donuts and holes in vegetable oil that is 375 degrees - monitor heat between batches. If it is too cool the donuts will get too greasey while cooking; if it's too hot they won't cook all the way through. Add oil as needed so donuts don't touch bottom of pan. Flip when golden brown to cook other side. Lay cooked donuts on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Cool slightly. Dip in glaze, then lay glaze side up on wax-paper-lined cookie sheet.

1/2 c. boiling water
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 tsp. either vanilla or maple flavoring

Mix a little of the water into the powdered sugar to make a paste. Add the rest of the water. This should be a glaze, not a thick frosting. Add 2 tsp. of either vanilla or maple flavoring. Glaze only 1 size of the donut.


The Finck Five said...

These look delicious!! How much buttermilk do you add?

Disco Mom said...

Sorry! Technical difficulty. 2 cups - I fixed the recipe now.

Maren said...

I will now proceed to eat my computer screen. Mmmmmmmm! I'm not much on buying donuts. (I say it's because I don't like them, but it's really because I don't have any control.) Anyway, homemade are the best, best, best. I remember making them at home a few times as a kid and boy were they good. These look even better.

Kelsey Carreon said...

I knew I could come here to be inspired Kari!! I am teaching lesson 9 in the Gospel Principles book and I like to bring something for the ladies from time to time and since this will be my last lesson as a teacher I am brining these!! Once again you ROCK!!

Pricklypear said...

Just made these this week, they were DELICIOUS, but impossible to cut out into donut shapes, or any shape for that matter. Maybe I messed up on the recipe (forgot some flour, perhaps?), but the dough was just too soft for rolling and cutting and keeping the shape, so I ended up scooping smallish blobs into the hot oil. Maybe the dough would also bake well into something biscuit-like, I'll probably try that soon. :)

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