Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Kinkling Day!


'Kinklings' are special raised, deep-fried doughnuts, and are made practically as many different ways as there are different cooks. There seem to be different varieties of them all over Europe. I have experienced them as a German/Dutch tradition that has come across the Pond to Pennsylvania (Amish Country) and Maryland (Frederick), where I grew up.

I believe that the term Kinkling is actually a Frederickism and that the more recognized term is
Fasnacht (a.k.a. Fastnacht, Faschtnacht, or Fassenacht)

The story: Fastnacht means 'Night before the Fast' in German. These tasty treats are made the day before Lent starts; i.e., the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (a.k.a. Fastnacht Day, Kinkling Day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras). Lent is traditionally a time of fasting, and the idea is that the day before should be spent eating a rich feast before the coming fast. Thus Kinklings/Fasnachts.

I worked to make them for the first time, today, with my Dad (who hasn't made them for about 20 years). It was quite the experience.

Here is what I can share for any other aspiring bakers out there:
Read the Bread 101 site for information on how to make sure the dough rises and that you don't screw it up. Once you master this part of the baking process, everything else is proverbial cake.

15 comments:

Carmen B. S. said...

Hey!
I'm from Frederick too, and I've long looked for the word "kinkling" in print. This is the first I've found (when I first took them to share with co-workers nobody had heard of them, and they couldn't believe the name.)
I've wondered if it might be from the German "kuchen" (generally, "pastry").

Do you eat sauerkraut at Thanksgiving?

When did you live in Frederick?

Robert said...

I grew up in Buffalo, New York in the 1950s and our local bakery made fasnacht kinklings along with Schweinsöhrchen (pig ears), and brotchen.

The Nitpicky Consumer said...

Hey Carmen ... I grew up in Walkersville. I live in VA, now, but my folks are still in Walkersville so I visit approximately once a month.

And YES, I do eat sauerkraut at Thanksgiving ... I can't imagine NOT having it.

Kelly said...

I was just telling my co-worker about Kinklings so we looked them up on-line, every single reference comes from the Frederick County area..I never knew they were only local. I grew up in Middletown, but my dads family is from Woodsboro. Grew up eating sauerkraut,succotash, crabs and shad roe too. Best food in the world!

Mom4530 said...

I grew up in Frederick. My uncle was a baker at Garbers Bakery. He always made kinklings for the family. I remember going to his home on South St with my Father. The kitchen was so steamy with pots of lard he used to fry them. That was in the 1940's. I still have his recipe and have made them living in MI, NC, and GA...Hope to be in MD this year and can introduce my 3 yr old grandson to the tradition.

Frank said...

Yet another Frederick County expatriate now in Oregon that reminds me so much of the Maryland of my youth. Each year "Shrove Tuesday" brings memories of my mom who grew up in Philly, York and Woodsboro. She would make dozens of fasnachts and we kids would shake them in the brown bags of powdered sugar.
Originally from Lewistown my grandma lived with us and made sauerkraut in large crocks in the dirt cellar. It is always on our Thanksgiving table.

The Nitpicky Consumer said...

It's great to see all these comments!! Just made my 2011 batch this morning. Started at 3am. Did two batches. Tried two different types of yeast. RED STAR yeast is AMAZING!
@ Kelly ... you're Dad's family is from Woodsboro? Wow! My Mom's family is from Woodsboro: The Smiths, who own Rosebud Perfume Company on Main Street. Small World!!!!!

DavidandKathy73 said...

Nice to "listen" to home folk talking about our local traditions. We live in Florida but have kept our family traditions alive ... kinklings on shrove tuesday ... sauerkraut at Thanksgiving as well as, fried oysters ... and love my Maryland Crabcakes (have to purchase Phillips crabcakes in the freezer section of our local grocery store down here) but are keeping the old traditions alive for our grandchildren. We have family in the Middletown, Jefferson and Brunswick areas. Remember my grandmother and my aunt making batches of kinklings and delivering in the traditional paper bag with powdered sugar! Friends here in FL have never heard of any of our customs and think they are a bit odd ... we just smile and remember just how blessed we were to grow up in Frederick County!

Kat Holcomb said...

This is great! So many memories. I live in Oregon now and NO one understands kinkling, or blue crab or old bay seasoning.

Funny story: I was literally in my mid twenties before I realized that not everyone ate sauerkraut for Thanksgiving! I was shocked and disappointed. Still am. I always take the sauerkraut wherever we are for Thanksgiving and they laugh at me. :)

Fun memories. Love your blog!

Julie said...

I too am from Middletown & Frederick, now reside far away. I have searches for years for a kinklings recipe as I remembered buying solo many each year at the fair. Over the years I have asked folks for recipe & people just look at me like I am asking for a recipe for something kinky. Please if anyone has the recipe, please, please post it as o have wanted to make them for my family for fat Tuesday for years as we are catholic & attend Mardi Gras etc.
Thanks
Julie P.

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy said...

Happy Kinkling Day!

Here's the recipe for those who want to make them:

Copied from the Frederick Post, January 30, 1975

Recipe from Mrs. Catherine Gross

Grandmother's Kinklings
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup lard or shortening
1 cup cooked mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
2 yeast cakes, regular size (One (1/4-ounce) yeast packet of dry yeast OR 1 cake fresh, compressed yeast EQUALS 2- 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast (active dry or instant active dry)

Enough flour to make a stiff dough (about 10 cups)

Dissove yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. (A teaspoon of sugar in the yeast will activate it)

Cream sugar and shortening, add beaten eggs and remaining ingredients. Add part of flour and stir well. Add more flour to make a stiff dough.

In large bowl set in warm place to rise double in bulk. Roll out 1/2 inch thick and cut. Let rise again. Fry in deep fat. Yield: about 8 dozen

Alice-Frederick Town Realty said...

I own the building at 5th & N Market St Frederick, MD ..It is now The Griffin Art Center. We are tracking down the history of the building. One of the posts here commented that her uncle worked at Garber's Bakery which I think used to be in that building. The oven's are still in the basement and a sign on second floor says "keep hands away of mixer whilst in motion" If you can get this message to contact below and have them contact alice@griffinartcenter.com:
Blogger Mom4530 said...
I grew up in Frederick. My uncle was a baker at Garbers Bakery. He always made kinklings for the family. I remember going to his home on South St with my Father. The kitchen was so steamy with pots of lard he used to fry them. That was in the 1940's. I still have his recipe and have made them living in MI, NC, and GA...Hope to be in MD this year and can introduce my 3 yr old grandson to the tradition.

February 24, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Kathi Geisbert said...

I'm a life long Fredericktonian. I recently came across this thread while searching for Kinklings. I just wanted to say hi and comment it wouldn't be Thanksgiving in our house without Saurkraut!

Gigi21703 said...

Alice, are you still around? Would you be willing to share his recipe here? Thanks. Are you Alice M? I Think we know each other. Grace