Disappointing Donut Debacle

By on November 23, 2013

Lard.  Maybe it was the lard I couldn’t find.  Or the recipe from 1971, perhaps mis-transcribed.  The memory isn’t incorrect, of this I’m sure.  Those donuts were so good. Cake donuts, like you get at the orchard. Firm and browned on the outside, tender fall flavor in the middle.  Fried in a cast iron skillet, drained on paper grocery bags.   An autumn treat, circa middle-school years.  

Well, these weren’t those donuts:  


I was optimistic when rolling them out…


And they looked right when frying…


But ultimately — a big fail.  Super dense and hard, not at all like I remembered my dad’s.  There’s a lot of theories on this — not enough baking powder/soda, the peanut oil I used instead of the lard I couldn’t find (! in NYC, no lard!). Maybe cooked too long or rolled too thin.  Whatever the problem, it just didn’t happen for me here. 

It ain’t all gourmet and smiles in my kitchen, and here’s an example of a fail I’ll have to try again.  Or not.  Maybe the memory is better.

p.s. I don’t want to talk about the gingerbread I tried to make last week.   


  1. Liz Parenzan

    November 23, 2013

    Hi Nate!
    I loved this post and your optimism.
    Have you written a cook book yet?
    I would buy it for my kitchen, and buy it to give as gifts to people.
    Happy Natesgiving!

    • GHT

      November 28, 2013

      thanks Liz!! hope you all have a great T-Day too!!

  2. Toni Ouellette-Dupuis

    November 25, 2013

    Patient once told me his untouched homemade donuts his daughter made for him were greasy because she did not use peanut oil. But my childhood memories are better than any donut I have attempted.

    • GHT

      November 28, 2013

      hi Toni – if too greasy the oil probs wasn’t hot enough. agree re: memories. There’s a certain “Shepherd’s Pie” circa 1981 that i’ve been threatening to try again that may fall under that heading as well

  3. Carol

    November 25, 2013

    I tried frying doughnuts in Crisco once and they came out pretty good.

    • GHT

      November 28, 2013

      Crisco seems more lard-like to me. maybe there’s something to that. see you at T-Day Carol?

  4. Gina

    November 25, 2013

    Love that you share your “fails”…”Lard” knows, we’ve all had many.

    • GHT

      November 28, 2013

      hey Gina – i’ve got a list of fails as long as my arm

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