Few foods scream "comfort" more than doughnuts. A warm, round, glazed slathered disk of fried dough. Yum, oh, yum. And Amish cooks are uniquely qualified to churn out these confections. Doughnuts really are just yeast, flour, sugar and a few other basic ingredients fried into a sweet treat and then topped with any number of decadent flavors. Of course there are filled doughnuts, iced doughnuts, yeast doughnuts, cake doughnuts, maple doughnuts, and on and on. I once saw an Amish woman making heart-shaped glazed doughnuts to celebrate Valentine's Day. Cute touch. But nothing matches what I saw at Keim Family Market, an Amish-owned bakery in Adams County. They christened this doughnut "The Big Daddy", which is an on-steroids version of their popular regular glazed doughnut. Look at the above photo, the doughnut is the same length as a butter knife and takes up a dinner plate. I should have measured the doughnut's depth, it has to be close to 4 inches thick.
BEHIND THE BIG DADDY
So how did this legendary doughnut get its start?
Owner Dan Miller explains that a customer had a nephew that was a huge fan of Keim's regular glazed doughnut. He'd sit down and consume six in a single sitting. As the nephew's birthday approached the customer persuaded Dan to try to make a "mega-doughnut" that could double as a cake. Dan was a little reluctant to try at first.
"It might be a total flop," he warned her.
"That's okay, I'll still buy it," she reassured Dan. So he got to work and made a couple huge doughnuts for the elated customer.
"And before she went out the door we could have sold 5 more, people saw those and wanted some for themselves. After that, it just took off," Dan recalls.
"One couple ordered 36 of them, I'm not sure what they were going to do with that many," Dan mused.
Since then there have been custom-ordered variations. Double-stacked doughnuts with "Happy Birthday" iced on top.
"They've been a big hit," Dan says.
Here are some other Amish-made doughnuts that I have been smitten with over the years...from top to bottom: assorted doughnuts from the Rise N Roll Bakery in northern Indiana; maple-dipped doughnuts from the Conewango Valley of New York, and Clara Yoder's doughnuts from Adams County, Ohio. And if you want to make your own, check out this earlier post for Emma Raber's "Light as a Feather Doughnuts."