When I was a kid, Spudnuts brand doughnuts made their way to the little town in south-eastern Utah where we lived. The Spudnut shop was on Main Street, just a few blocks from the church and between church and home. You could smell the aroma of those doughnuts from blocks away! On rare occasions, I was given a nickel to buy one of my own. What a treasure!
Spudnuts originated when two brothers opened a shop to sell doughnuts made with dehydrated potatoes, hence the name, Spudnuts. Their unique business plan of sending young boys and girls door-to-door selling the fresh pastries was a wild success in the 1950s. The brothers, Al and Bob Pelton eventually franchised the idea and their “secret” recipe.
Grandma Lottie’s Spudnuts Recipe
This recipe, a version passed down from my Grandma, Lottie Sybil Seeley Jones, while a good one, doesn’t quite compare with my memory of the “commercial” Spudnuts but it comes close. My uncle found it more than satisfactory and mortified one guest who was visiting Grandma’s house on Spudnut-frying day by walking out of the kitchen with a raft of Spudnuts strung on the long handle of a wooden spoon. He ate every one of them.
How Spudnuts Became a Halloween Tradition
I created my own tradition with Grandma’s Spudnuts recipe when I was a young mother. When Halloween rolled around in our suburban neighborhood, I wanted to find something a little out-of-the-ordinary to serve to trick-or-treaters who visited our home. In those days, you could get away with providing homemade treats.
Within a year or two, the word got out, and trick-or-treaters would come from well outside of our little neighborhood to get their fresh doughnut. To this day, I still have a contingent of family neighbors and friends who come to my kitchen on Halloween for a Spudnut or a fresh caramel apple because they know I’ll have a few on hand just because it’s tradition. It wouldn’t be Halloween without them.
- 3 Tablespoons yeast
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups scalded milk, cooled to lukewarm
- ⅞ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons shortening, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup mashed potatoes
- ½ teaspoon mace
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 9 cups flour (or enough to make a soft dough)
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup warm water
- Using a stand or bread mixer with a bread hook attachment, mix the cooled milk, sugar, salt, melted shortening, eggs, and mashed potatoes.
- Add the mace, nutmeg, vanilla, and enough flour to make a soft dough.
- Knead in the mixer for 6 minutes, or if kneading by hand, knead until smooth and elastic and blisters appear just under the skin.
- Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the top of the dough, and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel to keep dough warm.
- Put dough in a warm place and let rise until double in bulk. Knead down and let rise again.
- Roll dough to ⅜ inch thick. Cut into doughnut shapes with a doughnut cutter and place on a lightly floured parchment-lined pan to rise. By the time the last doughnuts are rolled and cut, the first should be lightly puffed up and ready to fry.
- Heat oil for deep frying (a small piece of dough dropped in the oil should sizzle) and fry 2 or 3 at a time, turning when the underside is golden brown.
- Remove from the oil and drain on paper toweling or on a brown paper sack.
- Prepare glaze and dip doughnuts into the glaze while the doughnuts are still warm.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- For chocolate glaze add
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- Mix ingredients together well so there are no lumps.