The truth is, no one really “needs” donuts, before or after the apocalypse. But if the world is falling down around you, a fresh donut is going to taste pretty darn good and let’s face it, you’ll want the calories too. With a little practice, it’s easy enough to make homemade donuts with shelf-stable food storage essentials. And if the world’s going down in flames, you might as well pile on a little pink frosting too.
We’ve been playing around lately with cooking from our food storage ingredients, and developing our own just add water mixes. Homemade just add water pancake mix works out wonderfully on busy mornings, and just add water biscuit mix is a lifesaver on busy weeknights.
The truth is, the world doesn’t have to end for pantry meals to be a good idea. There’s plenty of times I find myself trying to cook and realize I’m out of something perishable. You cant store an indefinite supply of milk or butter, and short of having a cow in the backyard, it’s a good idea to know how to substitute dry goods for perishables in a pinch.
Beyond the convenience of using dry goods when you can’t get to the store, there are other reasons to cook with your food storage. If you have long term food storage, it makes sense to practice cooking with it before you need it. It’s absurd to think that you’ll be able to pull a survival seed bank from the closet and grow all your own food, having never planted a seed. It’s also absurd to think you’ll be able to pull out a stockpile of freeze dried food and cook a meal…having never worked with these ingredients before.
Cooking with our food storage on a regular basis is a part of our preparedness plan, and I’m always looking for new ways to use my long term food storage ingredients. I just got some free samples from Valley Food Storage, including freeze-dried strawberries that were out of this world. Seriously, get yourself some free samples, they’re epic. My little ones gobbled them up quick, but I squirreled away a tiny bit for this special project.
Apocalyptically speaking, there are a couple of different ways to make treats even without modern grocery store staples. We’re avid foragers, and we just did a project where we made post-apocalyptic cookies from all wildcrafted ingredients…including rendered squirrel lard.
For this donut project, I wanted to take a different track and make another comfort food treat, but with all long term food storage ingredients. Everything in these has a shelf life of 25+ years, which makes these simple just add water donuts perfect for today, tomorrow or a few decades from now.
There’s a couple of ways to make simple cake donuts. The traditional method is to fry them, and if you want to really get old school, they’re fried in freshly rendered leaf lard. I have a killer recipe for leaf lard fried donuts that one of my old Vermonter neighbors gave me, and it’d adapt easily to pantry ingredients. Since they’re fried in lard, there’s no fat in the donut so all I’d need to replace is the milk and eggs in the recipe. That’s simple enough with freeze-dried eggs and powdered milk, plus a bit of water.
The problem is, it takes a lot of lard to fry these babies because it needs to be deep enough that they don’t touch the bottom of the pan. No matter how you do it, there’s quite a bit of lard left over, full of crispy flour bits and other donut matter. It can be reused, but in a true apocalypse, I’d be conserving my oil sources and deep fat frying just seems out of the question.
Baked donuts cooked in a donut pan don’t require fat for frying, and a baked donut batter can easily be converted to use all long term food storage ingredients in place of perishables. I started with a basic baked donut recipe and substituted in butter powder and freeze-dried egg granules. Then I added in whole freeze-dried strawberries in the batter, and crushed freeze-dried strawberries into the frosting.
Turing a plastic bag into a piping bag by cutting off a corner makes it much easier to get the donut batter into the pan, but you can also just spoon it in.
The first attempt went pretty well, but anyone who has ever cooked with butter powder knows that it doesn’t behave like an actual fat. It doesn’t melt, and while it adds butter flavor to recipes, it doesn’t add the fat necessary for browning.
Without actual fat in the batter, while the bottoms of these donuts browned nicely on a greased pan, the tops didn’t. The flavor is impeccable, but the presentation is a bit lacking. For nice evenly browned donuts, add in 2 tablespoons of either melted lard (which is shelf stable) or crisco (which I won’t use, but to each his own).
No browning on the top isn’t a big deal though, the bottoms browned perfectly and the tops are getting covered in frosting. Problem solved!
With two toddlers in the house, a slathering of pink frosting is a must. The frosting/donut glaze is made from crushed freeze-dried strawberries, powdered sugar, and water. Lacking powdered sugar, regular sugar dissolved in a tiny bit of water and thickened with a tiny bit of starch (corn, tapioca or potato) would work just as well. The strawberries help this frosting gel beautifully, and it sets up nicely if you give it about 10 minutes to rest before eating the donuts.
Good luck with that though, I have kids in the house. These were just barely dipped before my 3-year-old was nipping at my heels, her donut intuition tingling from across the room. Gooey post-apocalyptic donuts definitely met with 3-year-old approval, and honestly, they were pretty spectacular to an adult palate too.
The insides came out perfectly soft and pillowy, full of flavor. The frosting was pretty spot on for donut frosting, wicked sweet, bright pink and full of bright fruit flavor that played well against the cakey donut. I’m usually all for low sugar recipes, but this is a donut for goodness sake, and it’s a recipe for after the apocalypse.
Bring on the frosting, for tomorrow may never come!
This simple recipe for strawberry donuts uses shelf-stable food storage ingredients to create a just add water donut mix.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup dried milk powder
- 2 tbsp butter powder
- 2 tbsp egg granules
- 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries, chopped (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 2 tbsp melted lard, coconut oil or crisco (optional- see note)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp freeze-dried strawberries, crushed into powder
- 2-3 Tbsp water
- Mix the powdered ingredients and add in water.
- Place the donut batter in a greased donut pan, using either a spoon or a piping bag.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
- While the donuts are cooking, mix up the frosting in a small bowl. It should be stiff, but smooth.
- When the donuts are done, remove them from the pan and allow to cool before dipping in the frosting.
- The frosting will setup in about 10 minutes, but they can be eaten immediately for a gooey treat.
To make a just add water mix for later use, mix up the dry ingredients (without water or oil) and store until needed. To prepare, simply add 1 cup of water to the dry mix. For better browning, adding 2 tablespoons of oil when preparing the mix, but this is optional. Adding vanilla when preparing is a nice touch too, but completely optional.
More Post Apocalyptic Treats
- Pemmican Lollipops
- Pine Bark Bread
- Pine Bark Cookies
- Baking Banana Bread Over a Camp Fire
- How to Make Coffee Over an Open Fire