Updated Monday, August 13th, 2007
Total Time: 40
Yield: 36 doughnuts
Potato doughnuts reached the status of food fad in the 1940s, when Al and Bob Pelton of Salt Lake City, Utah, launched the "Spudnut" bakery craze, across more than 30 states. Meanwhile, in Maine potato country, home cooks had developed their own doughnuts, a popular way to serve potatoes for breakfast. A few Spudnut shops remain in Southern and Western states, but it's worth making your own to see how light and fluffy they can be.
Note: For best results, pass the potatoes through a ricer or food mill. It makes the texture fluffier.
In the bowl of a standing mixer or, if using a hand mixer, in a large bowl, beat potatoes with milk. Add sugar and beat well, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add butter and beat.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir with a spatula, just until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Dough should be moist but workable. If it doesn't come together, add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead two or three times. Press out to a 3/4 -inch thickness. Dust with flour, cover with a towel, and let sit for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or another large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil to 370°.
Using a well-floured 21/2-inch doughnut cutter or two concentric biscuit cutters, cut out 36 doughnuts, gathering and rerolling dough as needed. Fry, 4 to 6 at a time to avoid crowding, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes each.
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