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just in time to make the doughnuts

Recipe: doughnuts

How many of you woke up one recent morning and said, “Time to make the doughnuts”? Because if you haven’t yet, it is most certainly time to make the bleeping doughnuts! Peabody and Tartelette are hosting the Time to Make the Doughnuts event due to them by tomorrow (Feb 12). Well, to be honest, I didn’t actually sit bolt upright in bed Saturday morning and declare I was going to make doughnuts. First I looked at the ski conditions and when I realized the mountain was a ground blizzard I opted for doughnut baking :)

I’ve never made doughnuts before. Sure, I’ve fried dough, but I’m talking about making doughnuts as in going after it with the intention of producing something on par with my white trash youth memories of Dunkin Donuts runs with my best buds. Never eat doughnuts alone. Here was my dilemma: I wanted to make chocolate cake doughnut holes – essentially the munchkins from DD. My dear man is never so rude as to demand anything of me, but I know that his all time favorite doughnut is the yeast-variety, filled with chocolate creme. It is not cream or anything so sophisticated as crème, the creme is the kind of frosting that makes you blind because it’s so bloody sweet. Rather than choose between my curiosity and his favorite doughnut, I endeavored to do both. Someone please smack me if I ever try to do that again.

dry ingredients for the chocolate doughnut holes

wet ingredients for chocolate doughnuts

chocolaty dough

Confession time. I don’t own round cookie cutters. I have squirrels, cats, bats, hearts, brooms, dogs, flowers, stars, and even moons – but nothing round. [Recalls Raising Arizona where one of the brothers asks if the old man has any funny shaped balloons and the elderly fellow replies, “Not unless round’s funny.”] Okay, I do have fluted biscuit cutters which are round. I used those for the filled doughnuts, but the smallest cutter was too big for a doughnut hole. I wound up using a little 1-inch decorative cutter.

expansion during frying should render a somewhat round shape

more or less

The frying was the hardest part for me. I consider myself competent enough in the ways of deep frying. I set up a large pot and filled it with canola oil, slapped the candy thermometer on the side, and got it to the right temperature (375F for the chocolate doughnuts). I dropped a dozen of the little dudes into the oil and they began to bubble and bobble. Good. Here was where I ran into problems… I would flip one and it looked just like all of the others. After a point I couldn’t tell who had flipped and who hadn’t and they just kept bobbing about and there was no way to see if they were too brown since they’re ALL dark brown to begin with. *sigh* Only a few were a tad overly browned (read: burnt).


sugar-coated nibble

The sugar-glazed doughnut holes didn’t elicit memories of Dunkin Donuts munchkins. Rather, it reminded me more of this cake-like cookie dipped in a marshmallowy white coating… like those SnackWells devil’s food thingies. I goofed on the glaze and used a whole packet of gelatin instead of half. So it got a little goopey as the glaze cooled, but I only dipped half of the doughnut holes in the sugar glaze. The rest were destined for a mocha glaze.

it’s not oil, but chocolate and espresso that drive civilization

shiny, rich, smooth

For the filled doughnuts, I used a copycat Dunkin Doughnuts recipe. In the frying frenzy, I didn’t read through the recipe as carefully as I ought to have and failed to notice that this one doesn’t have a kneading step after mixing the dough. What that meant was my doughnuts had a short strand instead of the lovely long bready filaments. Dang. Be ye warned and give that dough a few minutes of good kneading before the first rise.

start with yeast

let the dough rise

I used my fluted, round biscuit cutter (3-inch) to eek out a baker’s dozen. After the second rise, you could barely tell they were fluted. But one day, I’ll procure myself some decent round cutters. These doughnuts were far easier to fry up (at 350F) since I could watch them turn a lovely golden color within one or two minutes.

second rise

mmmm… fry

While the doughnuts were cooling/draining on paper towels, I attempted the frosting filling. I had suggested a nice buttercream, which while still gross to me, was lighter and smoother. But no, Jeremy said the shortening-based frosting was more on par with the original. Okay. I mixed it up and took a taste and it made my jaw ache – that’s how sweet it was. Blegh. I asked Jeremy to check the frosting and his eyes fluttered with joy as he nodded approval. Whatev.

chocolate frosting that will make you blind

When the doughnuts were cool, I poked a little hole in the side with a chopstick and then carefully swept out a little cavern for the filling inside. Using a pastry bag, I inserted the tip and squoze as much filling as I dared. With two left, I decided to indulge myself and fill the pair with some lovely homemade mulberry jelly that Joyce had made and shipped to me.

i don’t skimp on the filling – this is my kitchen, not corporate america

I didn’t dust the chocolate doughnuts with powdered sugar as Jeremy informed me that there was plenty of sweet in that doughnut already. Overall, the holes weren’t as moist as I would have liked (I blame the frying conundrum), but they are quite good. I think the filled doughnuts were pretty good, but I would have been much happier with a better developed structure in the dough. Jeremy says the sugary-chocolate-frosting-monstrosity doughnuts are really nice warmed up with a cup of dark roast coffee. Our neighbors gave them the thumbs up too. Big thanks to Peabody and Tartelette for getting me off my arse and doing something that’s been on my long list of things to try. Love you guys!

happy family of doughnuts

Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
[print recipe]
from Diana’s Desserts

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
2 tsps baking powder (I reduced to 1 1/2 tsps for elevation)
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 tbsps butter, melted
6 to 8 cups vegetable oil for frying

In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, and melted butter to blend. Stir into dry ingredients until well blended. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Scrape dough onto a generously floured surface. With floured hands, pat dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. With a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts. Pat together scraps of dough and cut again. (Alternately, shape dough into ropes about 5 inches long and 1/2 inch thick; join rope ends to form doughnuts.) Place doughnuts on a well-floured baking sheet. Meanwhile, fill an electric deep-fryer to the fill line or pour about 4 inches of oil into a 5- to 6-quart pan; heat to 375°F (190°C). Place one doughnut at a time onto a wide spatula and gently slide into oil, frying up to three at a time. [Jen’s Note: I dumped 12 of the little “holes” in at a time.] Cook, turning once, until puffy and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total (to check timing, cut first one to test). With a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Repeat to fry remaining doughnuts. When cool enough to handle, dip the top half of each doughnut in warm mocha glaze or dip completely in sugar glaze. Cool on cookie rack. Let stand until glaze is set, about 5 minutes [Jen’s Notes: it takes more than 5 minutes to set well enough for transport – more like a few hours]. Makes approximately 4 dozen 1.5 inch diameter doughnut holes.

Sugar Glaze
from Recipezaar

1/2 envelope unflavored gelatin (oops, I used a whole packet)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tbsps cold water
1 lb. powdered sugar

Soften the gelatin with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Add boiling water and stir. Stir in the powdered sugar until smooth.

Mocha Glaze
from Diana’s Desserts

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Guittard chips)
4 oz. cup whipping cream
1 tbsp butter
2 tsps corn syrup
1 tsp instant espresso powder

In a heatproof bowl, combine all ingredients. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pan. Reduce to simmer and set bowl over pan. Stir until all ingredients are smooth and combined.

Filled Doughnuts

1 pkg (or 2 1/4 tsps) regular or quick-acting yeast
1/8 cup warm water (105-115°F)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk, scalded then cooled
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/6 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixing bowl. Add milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening and 1 cup of flour. Beat on low speed scraping bowl constantly, 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 2 minutes. Stir in remaining flour until smooth. [Jen’s Notes: this recipe says nothing about kneading the dough, but after I was unsatisfied with the crumb I looked at several other similar recipes that have a “knead the dough” step. So knead the dough until smooth for a few minutes before placing in a greased bowl to rise.] Cover and let rise in warm place until double, approximately 50-60 minutes. Turn dough onto floured surface. Roll dough 1/2-inch thick. Cut with round cookie cutter. Cover and let rise on floured baking sheets until double, 30-40 minutes. Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer or Dutch oven to 350°F. Slide doughnuts into hot oil. Turn doughnuts as they turn golden brown, about one minute on each side. Remove carefully from oil taking care not to puncture the doughnuts and drain. When cool, make small hole to insert vanilla frosting . Take a sharp narrow knife and carefully make a large cavity inside of the doughnut to hold the frosting. Fill the doughnuts generously with frosting, jelly or custard and dust heavily with powdered sugar. Makes a dozen doughnuts.

Chocolate Frosting
adapted from

1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsps Dutch process cocoa powder

Cream butter and shortening. Gradually add sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Add milk and vanilla, beat until light and fluffy. Beat in cocoa powder. Will keep for 2 weeks in airtight, refrigerated container.

54 nibbles at “just in time to make the doughnuts”

  1. Bridget says:

    Always an adventure…

  2. linda says:

    They look delicious, I would like to have one with mulberry jelly please :)
    Had the same problem with round cutters, ended up using a fluted scone cutter.

  3. Joy the Baker says:

    Wow. Seriously… wow! Those look amazing! Brilliant work!

  4. peabody says:

    LOL- I think I would have problems with the chocolate doughnuts too. I mean…how do you know when they brown. They look just like DD though, so that was a success!
    You were too kind to make the chocolate filled ones for you honey.

  5. Deborah says:

    I had a donut all picked out, and then my husband wanted something different. I ended up just making his donuts. (But they were still good!) Both of your versions look amazing! You look like a professional donut maker :)

  6. Susan at StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    Hail, Jen, the goddess of Doughnuts! They look awesome! How do you keep your camera from getting all sticky taking all those photos?

    I made my doughnuts today. First time ever. Let’s just say I’m not quitting my day job anytime soon. Thank God for Krispy Kreme!

    Take care. :)

  7. brilynn says:

    Those look absolutely amazing! I wish I had fried my donuts!

  8. Kaykat says:

    Wow! This is the most elaborate and insanely delicious doughnut post *ever* :)

  9. DianaBanana says:

    ha ha ha ha….”squoze”…giggle giggle giggle!

    the filled ones look fantastic. i must give you props for home deep-frying. that scares the bejeebus out of me!

  10. Kevin says:

    Those doughnuts look amazing. Those small sugar coated chocolate balls look really good.

  11. manggy says:

    Oh. My. G. I’m notorious for bogarting the box of munchkins and eating 2/3 of it even around everyone else, so I’m sure I’ll finish all those luscious holes (even lightly “browned”) in a minute. I’ll have my doughnuts with mulberry jam ;)
    I didn’t join this event so I’ll just say this here: I FLOVE Dunkin Donuts. I don’t care if people think it’s corny, trashy, or attached to Rachael Ray (redundant on all counts?), I’d rather have one than a Krispy Kreme any day.

  12. Tina says:

    Wow those look wonderful!! Will have to try your recipe next time I attempt Doughnuts teehee~

  13. keith says:

    The day I fell in love with cooking was the day my mom decided to make home made doughnuts. We spent all morning making the dough and we used peanut oil to fry them. We came from a small town and the peanut oil from the store was rancid, so the doughnuts turned out awfull. At this point I would have given up, but my mom marched back to the store and bought fresh vegetable oil and we started the recipe all over again. By this time it was late afternoon, but we had perfect doughnuts. I lover her for that.

  14. Steph F. says:

    ohh. I’m not a big fan of donuts, but that chocolate and espresso glaze made me slack jawed with desire. I think I could eat that glaze on its own! And I am as curious as other commenters: how DID you take these lovely pictures while up to your elbows in oil, dough, sugar and glaze?

    P.S. You inspired me to start my own food blog. May it one day be 1/1000000 as beautiful as yours! :)

  15. Danielle says:

    Ha! I always love reading about your adventures in the kitchen and in life. I’d say for not having the circle cutters, you did a bang-up job. They look absolutely delish.

  16. Astrid says:

    What a beautiful, rich post! Your writing and photos are labors of love, thank you so much for sharing.

  17. Maja says:

    Hi, Jen. Your dougnhnuts look pretty, and hats off for making more than one type! It was carnival time a week ago here and it’s traditional to have doughnuts filled with jam (and usually coated with icing sugar, but my bf doesn’t like that, so i dunked upper halves in chocolate&butter glaze). I don’t know how big you wanted your doughnuts to be, but i just wanted to telly you that you don’t necessarily need a special circular cutter, upper parts of glasses and cups work perfectly. :) Can’t wait for your next post!

  18. Ashley says:

    Wow that was quite the undertaking! Everything looks so good. Now I know not to do chocolate doughnuts the first time I try and fry doughnuts!q

  19. Tartelette says:

    I have the same problem with chocolate doughnuts. I end up counting in my head to 50, flip, count to 50 again and hope for the best! Scientific eh?!!!
    Thanks for taking part in the event! As always you make me hungry!

  20. a. grace says:

    i’ve seen a lot of doughnut posts over the past few days, but this one takes the (fried) cake! awesome!

  21. Woolly says:

    I am sitting at work drooling over those pictures… and I just sent one of my employee’s to Tim Hortons to get some Doughnuts!
    I am gonna attempt making these this weekend

  22. Randi says:

    these are so great looking. i love the mini choc/jelly filled ones. i think with all this donut reading i’ve been doing i’ve got to go get some. great job, i can’t wait to make my own :)

  23. K says:

    I am completely and utterly in awe of you and your mad donut skills right now. Awesome.

  24. White On Rice Couple says:

    I’ve never seen doughnuts like these before. How much do you charge for a dozen?

  25. Abby says:

    I may be from the hometown of Krispy Kreme – and I do love original glazed the best – but I will ALWAYS have a soft spot in my heart for Dunkin Donuts chocolate munchkins! (KK does a chocolate-cake donut, too, but it’s just not as good. Or maybe that’s just nostalgia talking.)

    Great post!

  26. Sharona May says:

    That is Fantastic!!! Love your donuts. I am definately up early enough to make the donuts 5:10 but I can’t even imagine how to begin. I think I will just look at yours in amazement. Thanks !

    Sharona May

  27. Lynn says:

    They all look beautiful! Good job on the frying. I hadn’t even thought till you mentioned it that frying chocolate doughnuts would be a bugger.

  28. MrsPresley says:

    well, you did a lot better than i did with this event! my first attempt wasn’t so pretty :)

    you’ve been tagged! :)

  29. jenyu says:

    Bridget – some good some bad :)

    Linda – the jelly ones were my favorites!

    Joy – thanks!

    Peabody – I hadn’t thought of the chocolate issue until they were bobbing in the oil ;)

    Deborah – oh, you’re so sweet to him!

    Susan – I wash my hands a lot! It’s a complete pain in the butt when I shoot the cooking process, which is why I don’t shoot everything I make :) I love me some Krisy Kreme too *sigh*

    Brilynn – I want to try baked donuts next!

    Kaykat – insane is right :)

    DianaB – I too am scared of home deep frying, because I don’t do it often and I never know what to do with the oil afterward :(

    Kevin – thanks bud!

    Mark – you crack me up! DD has great donuts. I am also a huge fan of Krispy Kreme. I think I just love donuts. Good thing I don’t have any nearby to tempt me :)

    Tina – just be warned of the chocolate issue!

    Keith – oh, that is so sweet. What a great story – thanks for sharing! Your mom sounds amazing.

    Steph – ah ha ha! Tripod, delayed shutter release, and washing of hands over and over. That’s great you’re starting a food blog! I love that folks share so much of their love of food and sometimes a glimpse into their lives (well, the not scary people anyway!). The community, as you can see, is amazing. The folks are so great. Welcome!!

    Danielle – aw, thanks! You’re a doll!

    Astrid – thank you for reading and commenting! It wouldn’t be any fun to share if somebody didn’t get something out of it :)

    Maja – you’re so right about the circular cutters. After cutting them out, I realized anything would have worked (letting the dough rise helps to mask imperfections!). But… I’m also finding more justification to buy some nice circular cutters one day – tee hee!

    Ashley – actually, Tartelette has a terrific bit of advice on this: count to 50 and flip and count to 50 again! And *she* is a pro, so I trust anything she tells me :)

    Tartelette – woman, you are the best. I’ll try that next time. Thanks for the tip and thanks for hosting! xxoo

    a.grace – mmmmm, fried ;)

    Woolly – I think it would have been great if I could have sent an employee (hmmmm, closest qualifying individual is my dog who would never return) to get doughnuts! :)

    Randi – definitely post about your doughnuts too!!

    K – mad, more like crazy ;) thanks!

    WoRC – for you guys, FREE :) Oh, have a Krispy Kreme for me, will ya?

    Abby – You just nailed my two favorites: KK original glazed and DD chocolate munchkins!!! :)

    Sharona – thanks, I hope you get inspired some day to give it a try, it’s fun (if you don’t do two kinds at once!)

    Lynn – it was a bugger ;)

    MrsPresley – I’m sure it was. I will drop by when I get a chance. Thanks for the tag and I’ll get to that when I get another chance :)

  30. kate says:

    wish i could just take some of those divine chocolate ones. The doughnuts look irresistible. Love all the pictures … makes me crave some right now.

  31. Culinary Concoctions by Peabody » Time to Make the Doughnuts…. says:

    […] Chocolate Cake Doughnuts and Filled Doughnuts […]

  32. Chris says:

    Wow! more than one? Fantastic! I was wiped after just one. These look great. Thanks for the step by steps!

  33. Stacie says:

    Love your site. Awesome pictures!

  34. Dana says:

    These look insaaaanely good. When I was little, chocolate glazed munchkins were my favorite. Your photos have me drooling!

  35. Mer says:

    These look absolutely fantastic! I am now wondering why I have never made homemade donuts. And I agree with Stacie, your pictures are high quality. :0)

  36. Donuts! « The Recipe Box says:

    […] Chocolate Cake and Filled Donuts […]

  37. jenyu says:

    kate – thanks :)

    Chris – oh, I was wiped alright, but once you get started frying, something takes over and you can’t stop! ;)

    Stacie – thank you!

    Dana – ditto – my favs too :)

    Mer – I know why I never made homemade donuts! What to do with all of the leftover oil?!!? :(

  38. April Jane says:

    they all look yummy!
    I wanna eat them all!
    tnx for sharing u’re recipe to all of us around the world:)
    God bless^__^

  39. Samantha says:

    Love the website! Mom is making these doughnuts for me today and I cant wait to try them! Thanks!!!


  40. jenyu says:

    April Jane – thanks

    Samantha – you’re welcome.

  41. zainab says:

    waaaaaaaaaaw amazing i well try this recipe
    thank you

  42. jenyu says:

    Zainab – thanks, I hope it works for you!

  43. muffles says:

    Hey, good job on the doughnuts! You sold me on them, and I went home and tried the chocolate holes (I can only handle one kind at a time!) Totally with you on not being able to tell when they’re “browned”, lol. One problem I had though was the outside was DEFINITELY done but when I cut it open, the middle was still really gooey. The oil was around 350 – 375 the whole time, and I think I made them the size you said. Any suggestions? I don’t want to reduce the temp or they’ll be greasy, but most of mine were overcooked in an attempt to get the middles done! (although in retrospect, gooey middles are far far better than burned outsides).

  44. jenyu says:

    Muffles – oh gosh. I’m far from an expert when it comes to frying. Mine were cooked through, but I think the outers were slightly overdone. Try making them smaller and see if that helps? Otherwise, not sure… Sorry!

  45. muffles says:

    Yeah, sounds like a good plan probably. Thanks. The donut recipe itself is delish! I can’t think of any way I’d improve it! It brings me back to the days I lived around a Tim Hortons.

  46. I Fried and Went to Heaven | Wild Yeast says:

    […] Chocolate Cake Doughnut Holes and Filled Doughnuts (use real butter) […]

  47. Yeast Doughnuts « Breads and Roses says:

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  48. Holly says:

    OK, so I feel totally crazy for commenting on a post from a few years ago, but wanted to tell you that I ran into the same problem with cooking the doughnuts. I got smart (after the fact) and found out that for those of us at higher elevations we should decrease the frying temperature by about 3 degrees F per 1,000 feet. The doughnuts are awesome, but all a bit crisp and slightly overdone on the outside to get them cooked through. Just FYI (though knowing how smart you are you have probably already since found this out and I’m just asleep at the wheel). Good doughnuts though and I was thrilled to find another source that tried the recipe when I spotted it last week on Diana’s site.

  49. Holly says:

    That was the source for the info. :) Hope that helps!

  50. Apple says:

    Um, why’s there a difference in the filled donuts dough if you knead it or not? If I knead it will it be chewy? If I don’t will it be crumbly? I don’t quite understand…

  51. jenyu says:

    Apple – Kneading the dough helps to develop the gluten and gives a more pillowy and I guess chewy doughnut (in my experience) which I prefer to the unkneaded texture.

  52. Sello Mathakhoe says:

    That was awesome doughnut recipe. Can I use electric frying pan for frying?

  53. jenyu says:

    Sello – I don’t see why not :)

  54. Sello Mathakhoe says:

    Thank you very much jenyu, I will try with it because I’m just a newbe to real cooking. My pleasure.

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