Sweet-Milk Doughnuts


I love old cookbooks because they are almost always a challenge. Over-run with teenage girls enjoying their last few weeks of summertime to play and eat and eat and EAT, I whipped out my great-grandmother’s 1927 Butterick Book of Recipes and Household Hints to make some quick doughnuts.

Because the girls couldn’t wait for doughnuts that need to rise.

The directions were suitably inadequate. Fun!

Let’s go.

How to make Sweet-Milk Doughnuts:

1 tablespoon butter or fat
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

How much flour? We have no idea. Yay!

Sweet milk, by the way, is the old-fashioned way of saying regular milk, not buttermilk.

Here are the directions as written (in italics):

Beat the eggs till very light, add the sugar and when foamy add the melted butter or fat.

Don’t you love it when the ingredients aren’t listed in order of use? And thanks for telling me the butter needed to be melted!

Sift the baking powder, salt and nutmeg with one cup of flour and stir into first mixture, alternating with milk so as to keep the mixture smooth.

What first mixture?

Add just enough flour to make a soft dough which can be handled.

How much flour? Can’t you even give me a hint?

Roll out three-fourths inch thick on a lightly floured board. A soft dough makes light, tender doughnuts when cooked. Fry in deep fat and drain on unglazed paper. Test the fat for temperature or by using a thermometer.

And what would that temperature be???

Fat should never smoke, as this produces harmful by-products.

Thank you for caring.

Roll the doughnuts in powdered sugar just before serving.

New directions!

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How to make Sweet-Milk Doughnuts:

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs till very light. Whisk in sugar then the melted butter. In another bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and one cup of the flour. Stir flour mixture into the egg-sugar mixture, alternating with the milk. Using a large spoon, stir in the remaining flour to make a dough you can handle.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut out doughnuts. (LOOK! I got a doughnut cutter. Finally.)

Fry in hot oil, about one minute per side (till golden). I set my burner close to High. (About 375-degrees.)

Don’t forget, fat should never smoke, as this produces harmful by-products! (You’re welcome.)

Drain doughnuts on paper towels. Sift powdered sugar over them or shake the doughnuts one at a time in a bag of powdered sugar (easiest method!).

I present the 1927 Butterick sweet-milk doughnut.

It fries up quite plump!

Call the girls!

*Makes 12 doughnuts.

P.S. You can make all sorts of variations. If you want chocolate doughnuts, add a couple of squares of melted unsweetened chocolate along with the eggs and sugar. Add some grated lemon or orange peel. Add some chopped fruit. Etc! You could also glaze the doughnuts rather than using powdered sugar. It’s all good.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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  1. Jennifer Robin says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. The pictures alone just added 5 pounds to my middle. Thank goodness my granddaughter likes me soft and cuddly, because I must make these!

  2. Flatlander says:

    Oh that looks yummie, I have to admit I have never ever (shame) made doughnuts in my life.
    But this recipe is going to be tested.

  3. CindyP says:

    :hungry: An old fashioned fried cake doughnut! :hungry: I want one! :hungry: Now! :hungry:

  4. Runningtrails says:

    Wow! I have to make those. I haven’t had homemade fried doughnuts since I was a teen myself! Those look delicious! My son would snap those up fast.

  5. SkippyMom says:

    Your directions [first set] crack me up “Can’t you just give me a HiNT?” LOL

    Nice deciphering. The look tasty! 🙂

  6. Johanna says:

    “It’s all good” she says. No kidding! They look amazing! I used to make beignets for Fat Tuesday every year. What a treat!

  7. NorthCountryGirl says:

    Those doughnuts look great! I want one of those doughnut cutters. Could use those for bagels, too!

  8. Patricia says:

    OMG! those are my mom’s doughnuts! She would make HUGE batches of them and they might last a day, if we were lucky!
    She always said she didn’t have a recipe, it was just stored away in her memory, and we never could get her to write it down.

    We NEVER rolled them in powered sugar. Slap some peanut butter on them for a change…
    I’m so tempted to keep the recipe, but good grief, I just spent the last year losing 100 freakin’ pounds!!!

  9. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Oh my! Bad! Bad! Bad! :hungry:

  10. Bev says:

    When our kids were little, after playing in the snow, I would make a batch of cake doughnuts. They, the kids, were always in a hurry so I would drop spoonfuls of dough into the hot fat. I used granulated sugar and served with hot chocolate. Quicker and they disappeared! Thanks Suzanne. Love it when you bring us a recipe from the past and you sleuth out the instructions. Your pictures are scrumptous, too!

  11. Wendy says:

    Oh My!! Morgan is spreading her “One-Eye Affliction” around!
    Should we call the CDC?!

  12. QuietStorm says:

    Holy cow!!!! Those look AMAZING!!!!!!
    Hoping they taste/smell like my great grandmother’s!!!!
    You are going to make my husband one happy guy…. he LOVES sugar donuts! to be made in the VERY near future….

  13. Patrice says:

    I’m guessing that you don’t weigh 300 lbs. because you have others around to help you eat the goodies. There are six in our family and we always have anywhere from one to four farm hands at the table as well. It’s nice to make a batch of something and have it leave soon after. Otherwise I snack too much. :sheepjump:

  14. princessvanessa says:

    My mom’s doughnuts, too. Boy, that does bring back memories. My mom would make a maple glaze because that is my dad’s favorite.
    And, Patricia, congratulations on losing 100 pounds!! It’s mighty hard to do. I know, I used to be about 90 pounds heavier but it’s taken me a lot longer than a year to get it off. And I still have more to loose, sigh.

  15. awonkeydonkey says:

    Those look like I would die for one, if only I could reach through the screen to get one.

  16. Michelle says:

    They looked wonderful, but I made them this morning and I have obviously done something wrong! They fell apart when I flipped them over, and the family wouldn’t even try them! I’m thinking maybe I made them too thick? or maybe not deep enough oil? The dog and I, however, enjoyed them :moo:

  17. sandy says:

    oh…..gotta try making these…cool photos too.

  18. Michelle says:

    Round two… I made them smaller (I don’t have a cooleo donut cutter thingy :no: )and thinner and then I also broke out the deep fryer, and they turned out totally amazing! The family wants them again tomorrow, and I’m thinking about making the chocolate kind. Thanks so much for this wonderful site! :moo:

  19. Sterling says:

    I hope you fried the holes, too. Doughnut holes are the best treat of all!

  20. MicheleMomof9 says:

    That IS a plump doughnut. Oh, I’m trying this one…

  21. sallyjane says:

    My mom had an old Betty Crockery cookbook that had a similar recipe only you dropped teaspoonfuls into the oil, “Golden Puffs ” love patting them out and making “donuts “

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