When I was growing up I either had store bought donuts from the local bakery (a special treat once in a great while... but that is what made it special!) or I would eat my Grandmother or my Moms donuts which were actually the 'cheaters' version of using canned biscuits, fried in hot oil and sprinkled with sugar.
I haven't made (or even ate!) a donut in a few years, but I have a couple recipes in my file box and it's time I added one or two versions of them onto my website collection as well. Maybe, if my kids are lucky, it will prompt me to make them this weekend!
4 1/2 t dry yeast or 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes dry yeast
1/4 c warm water (110 degrees)
1 1/2 c lukewarm milk
scant 3/4 c sugar
1 t salt
1/3 c shortening
5 c all-purpose flour
If you are going to fry them, then clean, new vegetable oil for frying
1/2 stick real butter (1/4 cup)
2 c confectioners' (powdered) or icing sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
3-4 T hot water or as needed
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a small bowl or cup. Let stand for 5 minutes (it should look foamy after a few minutes, this is how you'll know your yeast is still good).
In a large mixing bowl (like a KitchenAid mixer if you have one), mix together the yeast and water with the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and about 2 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed until blended and then beat in the remaining flour gradually. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover and set in a warm place to rise until double in size. (This can take a few hours depending on the temperature in your home and where the dough is.)
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter or if you don't have one, 2 round cookie cutters - large and small, first with the big circle and then a smaller round 'hole' cut from the center. Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until double. Cover loosely with a cloth.
If frying: Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Although I've never baked these myself, you can bake them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (I'm told).
Melt butter a microwave safe bowl. Stir in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Dip warm donuts into the glaze and place on a cookie rack with a piece of foil, wax paper, brown paper or a cookie sheet under to catch the drips.