The title of this cookbook spoke to me. I love to read and I love to cook. So, when I saw The Book Lover’s Cookbook by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen, I was excited. One thing I love about this cookbook is that it includes the sections of the book that inspired the recipe. There were so many tempting recipes in here, but I had to do Homer’s Applesauce Doughnuts because my son was reading Homer Price by Robert McCloskey the same week I was looking through this book. He wanted to help me with a recipe so we made these doughnuts together to celebrate the reading he was doing. If you’ve never read Homer Price before, Homer’s uncle and aunt own a doughnut machine for their store and someone sets down an expensive bracelet that accidentally gets mixed into the dough for the doughnuts. It’s quite a funny situation as they determine how they’re going to get the bracelet back. Anyway, onto the recipe!
Homer’s Applesauce Doughnuts
3 tablespoons dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup scalded milk (stirring constantly, bring milk just to a boil over medium heat and remove from heat)
¾ cup sugar
8 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ cup butter or margarine (room temperature)
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mace
1 cup applesauce
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 pound powdered sugar
Approximately ¼ cup hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon maple flavoring or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a small bowl, combine yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar, and warm water. In a large bowl combine scalded milk and ¾ cup sugar and set aside to cool. When milk mixture is cooled add yeast mixture to it. Using a mixer, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add half the flour (4 cups). Add butter or margarine, salt, mace, and applesauce and mix well. Mix in remaining flour (4 cups).
Knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Flip the dough over in the bowl so its top surface is also greased. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in a warm place until it is doubled in size.
Line baking sheets with lightly floured paper towels. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a ¾-inch thickness and cut out doughnuts with a doughnut cutter (doughnut holes can also be fried). Place the doughnuts on the baking sheets, at least one inch apart. Heat oil in a deep-fryer (between 275* and 300*). Use enough oil so the doughnuts will float. Line shallow baking pans with 3 layers of paper towels and place cooling racks over them.
Turn the doughnuts upside down, so that the flat side is upward when frying begins. Transfer the doughnuts to the hot oil. Fry the doughnuts until they are light brown on each side, turning them once. Place fried doughnuts on the cooling racks, allowing drippings to drain onto paper towels. While still warm, drizzle the doughnuts generously with glaze. To prepare glaze, whisk ingredients together until glaze attains desired smooth consistency.
Alternatively, roll hot doughnuts in a cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating several times, or roll warm doughnuts in powdered sugar, coating several times.
Makes approximately 3 dozen large doughnuts. These freeze well and can be wrapped in foil and reheated in the oven.
When I made these, I did not have mace so I substituted nutmeg and I used maple flavoring in the glaze. These were relatively easy to make. After allowing them to rise, they rolled out nicely on a lightly floured surface. I didn’t have a doughnut cutter so I just cut the dough into rectangles to fry. This recipe made enough for me to share them with all my neighbors and to have plenty for my family. We double-dipped the tops in the glaze on most of them and double-rolled the ones we rolled in powdered sugar. My favorite ones were the ones with the maple glaze on top, but next time I think I would add more maple flavoring so that the maple flavoring was stronger. The texture of the doughnuts was similar to a cake doughnut (which happen to be my favorite) and the flavor was fabulous! My 9 year old son had fun dipping the doughnuts in the glaze so I’m sure you could make a family activity out of it!