My grandmother, Ardena Currier, made these for special occasions. You may need to use a slotted spoon to remove chocolate chips from the fat as you cook the doughnuts, to prevent a messy situation. This is less of a problem if you use good-quality chocolate chips.
Heat the shortening in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven until it registers 350°F on a candy/frying thermometer (the shortening should be about 1-1⁄2 inches deep). Meanwhile, beat the eggs until light. Add the sugar, butter, and vanilla. Mix well. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the egg mixture alternately with the milk. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop by well-rounded teaspoons into the pot. Fry until golden brown, flipping once about halfway through. Remove carefully and place on paper towels. –Donna Sprague, The Huntoon Farm, Danbury, New Hampshire