Time to make the doughnuts. Or is it donuts?

by Patricia on March 25, 2009 · 16 comments

Chocolate glazed doughnuts

Do you like doughnuts?  How about donuts?  Why are there 2 spellings?  Personally, I prefer doughnuts.  I don’t have a good reason, but I think the Southern part of my brain likes the extra letters.  Donuts is just so short and curt whereas doughnuts you can kind of linger over… just slow down and take your time letting the word roll off your tongue.  Well, like I said I don’t have a good reason, but I still prefer doughnuts to donuts.

I have been craving doughnuts for weeks.  And not just doughnuts.  Homemade doughnuts.  Even though I have never made doughnuts before.  Even though it has been years (more years than I care to count) since I’ve had a homemade doughnut and that one was made by my mom and was not a raised doughnut but rather a cakey donut hole (still delicious and fried).  But frying takes effort.  Frying requires time.  And so I put it off.  And the craving beckoned and then it beseeched.  And still I put it off.  But that sneaky craving, oh it finally got me… it nudged me toward a packet of yeast and convinced me that frying would be simple… and wavy-hand-gestured me into forgetting that I only had my cast iron skillet and no dutch oven in which to fry.

Naked doughnuts

Well, it worked.  I caved.  I made doughnuts.  They were delicious.  I had to call up a friend to remove half of them from the premises lest they all would end up in my belly.  But — and this bugs me — it was not an efficient doughnut production.  I have a standard 12-inch cast iron skillet and I love it.  But it is not meant for deep frying.  A thermometer does not reach the oil if it is stood on its end properly, so I had to tilt it and lay it on its side to get the temperature of the oil and so the thermometer became a little bridge under which an occasional doughnut would float and sometimes get stuck.  It was not horrible, but it was not fluid and easy.  And I like my cooking to be fluid and easy.  The right tool for the job would have been a dutch oven which I do have but at some point migrated to Dan’s house and has not returned. So on the doughnut-obsessed day I could have driven to Dan’s to pick it up.  But that isn’t how obsessions work… at least not in my world.
Doughnut holes

But even with all my whining, I do not regret the end results.  In fact, the doughnut holes were… well, let’s just say if I had eaten just a few more no one would have ever known I made doughnut holes.  Yes, that good.  (I also love the process of coating the holes with powdered sugar… putting them in a paper bag and shaking vigorously.  What? So I’m easily amused).

For the doughnuts, I used Alton Brown’s yeast doughnut recipe.  I don’t have a kitchen scale so this was really the first “not having the right tool” in my doughnut adventure.  The recipe Mr. Brown supplies gives the weight of the flour.  I could not find a straight conversion from weight to cups (which makes sense since flour can compact and compress and you could measure 2 cups out with differing weights).  So I approximated as best I could… I put a big bowl onto my bathroom scale (yes, it looked ridiculous to have a bowl on my bathroom scale.  and no, I did not do the measuring in the bathroom).  I measured the weight of the bowl by itself and then I scooped flour into the bowl until I got close to 23 ounces.  It was fuzzy math for sure.  I think I wound up using about 3.5 cups of flour… give or take 1/2 cup.  I don’t recommend this method of weighing flour.  Maybe its time to invest in a kitchen scale?

The doughnut holes got 2 treatments: the first simply powdered sugar.  With only powdered sugar you can really taste the nutmeg in the dough.  The 2nd batch of holes were shaken up in cinnamon-sugar.  Also very tasty.  As for the doughnuts themselves, I used a bit of leftover chocolate ganache for a chocolate glaze (ganache really does go with everything) and made a simple maple glaze.  My favorite was the doughnut holes… both kinds.  Dan’s favorite was the chocolate glazed.  The maple was good too even if it wasn’t as mapley as I’d like.

Maple glazed doughnuts


Doughnuts: see Alton Brown’s recipe here.

Chocolate glaze: any chocolate ganache will do.

Maple glaze (adapted from Food Network Canada’s Maple doughnut glaze)

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons milk

* Whisk together until smooth.


1 Lynnet March 5, 2010 at 7:12 pm


The doughnuts turned out pretty good. Kids were not complaining one bit at my experimenting. I tried three different types: Bisquick, homemade biscuit dough, and Yeast Rising Doughnuts. Our family voted the winner as the Yeast Rising Doughnuts. Yummy! Thank you so much for your encouragement!

2 Lynnet March 3, 2010 at 9:16 am

Oh, I’m making some this morning! You’ve persuaded me! The glaze looks great and I can’t wait to share them (okay, some of them) with the family.

3 Dr. Razzak Khattat March 29, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Wow, reading this reminded me of a trip I made from Montreal to Cape Cod some thirty years ago. After driving all night, I arrived in Plymoth in the morning. I discovered a doughnut shop just when I took a right turn to where the souvenir shops were. I parked my car at the nearest parking lot and hurried back to the doughnut shop and had the most delicious variety of doughnuts. I live in Baghdad, Iraq now , I had home-made doughnuts a few times, but they never tasted like the ones which I had in Plymoth……We do not have any doughnut shops in Iraq.

4 ovenhaven March 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I’d never peg myself a doughnut fan now that I’m an adult, but after seeing the doughnuts here, I think I’m back on the doughnut bandwagon! Gorgeous doughnuts. I wish I could just lick that chocolate ganache off the screen :P

5 Patricia March 30, 2009 at 6:40 am

@ovenhaven, if my pictures have reunited you with doughnuts, then I feel I’ve done my job. haha. Seriously though, if I could share the ganache through a computer screen I would.

@Dr. Razzak Khattat – I love your story, thanks for sharing it. I would offer to send you some doughnuts but I don’t think they’d make it that far.

6 Johnnie McCorkel March 26, 2009 at 10:56 pm

This reminds of the time my aunt made 5 recipes of sweet yeast dough at one time! She called me at nearly midnight to come help. We had doughnuts, bearclaws, twists, holes, you name it, scattered all over the kitchen and den! That dough was like the energizer bunny, just kept going and going! Now that was good eatin’ for quite sometime!

7 Patricia March 27, 2009 at 5:34 am

Hi Johnnie, that sounds awesome! I’ve never made bearclaws. I’d be happy to help your aunt next time she has a doughnut festival. haha :)

8 Joie de vivre March 26, 2009 at 2:50 am

I only wish they could be ready in time for bfast! Last time I made doughnuts, yes, they are made out of dough, not do, they took ALL DAY. Aren’t you glad you made them though?

9 Amanda March 26, 2009 at 12:42 am

Definitely doughnuts :)

these look really wonderful, thanks for sharing the recipe! I have yet to try making doughnuts myself, so thanks for the push :)

10 Rick March 25, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Wonderful looking doughnuts (or donuts depending on your preference)!

Remember, you can always make glazed doughnut bread pudding with the stale ones.

Oh wait… you have to have uneaten ones to have stale ones. Ok, never mind…

Definitely get a scale. It makes it so much easier!

11 Maggie March 25, 2009 at 9:53 pm

These look fantastic, especially the maple glazed ones! I always spell it the short way because when I was a kid my great-grandmother worked for Dunkin Donuts.

12 Sara: Our Best Bites March 25, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Oh man, I should not be looking at posts like this when I’m on a diet! They look sooo yummy!

13 Bread and Jam March 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Wow, this brings back so many good memories of my grandmother. She would make donuts every time we would visit and always send us home with a bag of the donut holes. I’m going to give your recipe a try. This is one of my fav food items I have never attempted to make before.

14 Sophie March 25, 2009 at 3:38 pm

I really do not know how a donut should taste like,… because I am Belgian!! But I really want to try & making this beauties & tasting them,…..one by one,…..

15 Patricia March 26, 2009 at 6:55 am

@Sophie: I’ve never had one,but according to wikipedia the closest thing to a doughnut in Belgium is a smoutebollen. From the pictures and description it certainly sounds very similar to the doughnut holes I made :) Let me know if you do end up making doughnuts though, I would love to hear about your first doughnut experience!

@Bread and Jam: this was my first doughnut escapade. It wasn’t *hard* but it was time consuming. From the time I opened the packet of yeast to the time I ate my first doughnut hole took over 2 hours (with the rising and all that) and I still had 24 doughnuts to fry (I cooked the holes first so I could snack on them before worrying about glazes and all that). But if you accept that it is not a quick process (not hard either though), I promise the reward is worth it.

@Sara: I ate all the doughnuts so you wouldn’t have to… good luck with the diet! :)

@Maggie: I grew up with Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Maybe that’s why I spell it that way? When I go to a doughnut/donut shop by far my favorite is anything with maple glaze so I had to give it a shot – next time I think I’ll use a little more maple.

@Rick: Doughnut bread pudding sounds wickedly delicious. I may have to try that sometime (care to share your recipe?). If I had not given away half of this batch, I could have made bread pudding. I will keep that in mind for next time (and next time I will use a real kitchen scale).

@Amanda: I’m happy to be a pusher… well, a doughnut pusher anyway. Haha. Good luck and let me know if you make them!

@Joie de vivre: I was wondering how these could possibly be a breakfast food since they did take so long to make. I mean you’d have to get up at like 4am to have them fresh ready (though I wonder if you could do one of the rises in the refrigerator overnight? I might have to try that). For a quicker doughnut, my mom used to take the canned biscuit dough and fry that up… tossed in powdered sugar they make a good doughnut substitute. I also saw Giada De Laurentiis on Food Network use store bought pizza dough to make doughnuts. I haven’t done either of these myself (though I have sampled the fried biscuit), but they seem like reasonable shortcuts for the times you just don’t want to wait 3 hours for your doughnut process to complete ;)

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