Banana Doughnuts: Mid-Century Recipe Test

Posted on Apr 20 2011 - 5:59am by RetroRuth

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This week we have a fun Mid-Century Menu for you!

We are cooking out of Better Living Thru Good Cooking with Prudential Wares, published in 1953. For those of you who are in the dark about Prudential Wares (like I was), it was a cookware company that made mostly pots and pans. Prudential Wares was eventually purchased by ECKO, which went out of business in 2000. Prudential Wares cookware was good quality and sturdy, and came with a 50-year guarantee. 

I wonder if any of these recipes came with a 50-year guarantee as well?

As far as mid-century cookbooks go, this one was fun. The pictures are huge and colorized to an unnatural degree. But I must say the pictures do make my little heart sing, and I pretty much want to make everything in this book.

And don’t you love how everything is covered with bananas? The pie? The cake? If you take a peek in the book, there is some banana covered chicken as well. But we are going to save that for another post.

And speaking of bananas…

After seeing about three mouth-watering doughnuts in almost every vintage cookbook I open, I finally, finally cracked under pressure and decided I had to make some. But, since this is Better Living Thru Good Cooking and everything is covered with bananas, I couldn’t just pick boring plain, doughnuts.

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Ta-Da!!! Banana Doughnuts!!!!


No, Book. We are making doughnuts. Dough-nuts.


Worst…looking…bananas…ever!  Freezing overripe bananas to save for later works extremely well, but thawing them is so disgusting.


So, I think I mentioned in a previous post that I have never made donuts before. 

Technically, that is a lie.


The truth is, I have never successfully made doughnuts before.


Since Tom loves pretty much every kind of Polish food, I tried once to make him paczki.


It ended horribly. I am not sure if I didn’t have the oil hot enough, or I wasn’t patient enough or what, but every single one turned out raw in the middle.  Sadly, I didn’t find this out until after I was finished cooking all of them and I was trying to fill them.


Needless to day, I was really, really careful to follow the recipe and do everything correctly. I also found a couple of tricks that helped to ensure your doughnut-making success so you don’t end up with a plateful of raw, lumpy pazcki. Or, banana doughnut, as the case may be.

First, the dough for these doughnuts doesn’t actually need to be rolled out. You can just flour your hands and pat it down to the right thickness. Handling the dough too much makes it tough.


Secondly, make sure the doughnuts are the proper thickness. I was afraid they would be raw like the last disaster, and so I didn’t cut the first batch as thickly as I should have. The doughnuts do need to be thick, though, because otherwise they just taste like funnel cake and not a delicious doughnut.


Also, make sure you heat up enough oil in the beginning. I didn’t think I would need as much oil as I ended up needing. Because of that, I ended up frying the last batch in a tiny bit of grungy, dark brown oil that wasn’t even deep enough to let the doughnuts float. The last couple didn’t end up so great, and I think they would have been much better if I had used enough oil in the pan.

Hopefully this will help you in your doughnut adventures.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled recipe test.


Holy cow!!! All kinds of deliciousness! We covered the doughnuts with cinnamon-sugar and powdered sugar as the recipe suggested. But if I could do it again, I would have slathered them with chocolate icing.


But these cinnamon-sugar ones were nothing to sneeze at. Look at the sugar-covered deliciousness!

What??? You can’t see it??? Well, how about an extreme close-up???



But let’s not just go on looks. Let’s taste these babies.

And I have just the man for the job.




“So, how are they?”

“Good!  They taste like deep-fried banana bread.”

I grabbed one, and sunk my teeth in. Mmmm-mmm-mmmm!

The Verdict: Yummy. The doughnuts tasted just like deep fried banana bread, except not as sweet. However, the cinnamon-sugar coating made up for any lack of sweetness. The powdered sugar version wasn’t as good, so I would recommend against using that one. If I were to make these again, I would leave out a cup of flour in the recipe (some of the doughnuts ended up a bit dry) and be sure to pat, not roll, out the dough to the proper thickness. I have to say I liked the doughnut holes better than the actual doughnuts themselves, so maybe I would just go with all holes. And I would definitely ice them with a nice, chocolatey icing!!!


“You should try these. Seriously.”

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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13 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sara In AZ April 20, 2011 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Looks like whoever put this cookbook together was bananas for bananas! YAY you, you made doughnuts!!!! 🙂 The doughnuts look fantastic, and I imagine with chocolate icing they would be sublime!

  2. Erica April 20, 2011 at 10:35 am - Reply


    The disgusting recipes are funnier, but the successful ones are so satisfying. (And how else would you keep poor Tom coming back week after week?)

  3. Toni April 20, 2011 at 11:11 am - Reply

    My dad used to make donuts using canned biscuit dough. not the flaky ones, but the regular like Grands. I always liked them. It’s hard to not like fried dough covered with sugar.

  4. Garnet Scarabin April 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Oh my word, those look so good!

    And the cookbook gets bonus points for having not one but TWO recipe photos on the cover w/ maraschino cherries. That speaks volumes, I think!

  5. Andrea April 20, 2011 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    Oh those look sooooooo good! I might have to try this one!

  6. Maria April 21, 2011 at 2:12 am - Reply

    Mmmmm! Those look better than anything at Dunkin’ Donuts! If I could cook, I would definitely try these!

  7. RetroRuth April 21, 2011 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Sara – Finally, success!!! And yes, I must totally try chocolate icing next time! 🙂

    Erica – You know it! Tom needs treats once in a while.

    Toni – I have had those too! The used to be served at “music recitals” at my high school, where they would be glazed with a mixture of 7-up and powdered sugar. They were really, really good!!

    Garnet – I must confess that I LOVE this cookbook. The pictures in it go way, way over the top with accessories and garnishes. It is the greatest thing ever.

    Andrea – Go for it!!! They are really good.

    Maria – Welcome! I have to say that I love your blog! Thanks! I think they were better than some I’ve tried at Dunkin’ Donuts. 🙂

  8. Eartha Kitsch April 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    Those look amazing! Even though I’m Southern, I am absolutely petrified to deep fry things. These might just make it worth an attempt though.

    I also love the cookbooks that have the over-saturated photos. They make everything look so technicolor yummy.

  9. Dawn June 18, 2011 at 12:52 am - Reply

    First off, I must say, I love your blog and you’re my daily dose of vintage mantra!

    Secondly, those look amazing! I MUST make these this weekend! I’m already making the Tunnel of Fudge cake! My husband stopped by Walmart on the way home and gave me a call to ask if I needed anything… and having just read your post I described the cake and asked if he could look and see if they had the Jiffy Mix. “How many boxes do you need to make a cake?” “Just one.” He brought home four boxes! Woot, you have a convert! 😀


    • RetroRuth June 20, 2011 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Glad you love the blog, Dawn!!! I hope the doughnuts and cake turn out awesome for you! And remember, Jiffy mixes only make enought frosting for one layer, so you will need two boxes! 🙂

  10. Cyn Finnegan March 31, 2016 at 5:29 am - Reply

    My mother used to make these. She’d roll them in cinnamon sugar and serve them with a big pitcher of hot cocoa.

    • RetroRuth March 31, 2016 at 12:17 pm - Reply


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