We make Fastnachts because it's a fun tradition and a good connection to our German heritage, but also because it's a good symbolic reminder of the coming of Lent. Most of the adults that the kids know will give up sugar and other unhealthy habits for the next 40 days.
I make the dough and fry the fastnachtkuchen, and the kids are in charge of shaking them in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar. The house smells heavenly. You could make these for breakfast, but typically we have them for dinner with sausage, eggs and fried apples. Delish!
One Bowl Fast Night Cakes (Fastnachtkuchen) from Fleishman's New Treasury of Yeast BakingMix together 1 1/4 c. bread flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 T yeast
Add 1/4 c. softened butter, margerine, shortening or lard
1 c. very hot tap water
Knead until soft and elastic
Rise for one hour, covered in a warm place
Roll out into an 8 x16 rectangle. Cut into 2 inch squares and make a 1/4 inch slit in each square.
Transfer to greased trays to rise. Let rise 45 min. in a warm place.
Fry in peanut oil, shortening, or lard. Don't have your fat too high or they'll burn. Flip with a slotted spoon, and remove to a paper towel lined plate when they are golden brown.
While still hot tip them into a paper bag with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar. Kids can then shake the fastnachts until they are coated. Remove to a plate to cool, and then repeat until you are finished.