Donut Holes Recipe

July 21, 2015
donut holes

Donut Holes Recipe

The time spent making donut holes (mostly waiting for the dough to rise) is inversely proportional to the time spent eating them.  This recipe made more than 70 donut holes and my family polished them off in about half an hour.  Just as well, really; donut holes are at their absolute best when they are still hot.  I made these once with a caramel bacon glaze, and one day I would like to try rolling the donut holes in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar, or dousing in chocolate, but I can’t imagine anything is better than this simple vanilla glaze…

Put on this playlist from Eric Whitacre when making the donut holes and read this rant about organic food while waiting for the dough to rise…

Donut Holes
You Have Been Served:
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant yeast*
  • 1 cup milk, heated to 110°F
  • 2 to 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar**
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 4 tablespoons room-temperature butter
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon (optional but recommended)
  • 1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice (optional but recommended)
  • 3 tbsp hot water, or as needed to make a thick, syrupy glaze
  1. combine 1 tablespoon of the yeast with ¾ cup of the warm milk in a medium-sized bowl and stir to dissolve the yeast
  2. add ¾ cup of the flour and stir until it forms a smooth paste
  3. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the starter rest in a warm place for about 15 minutes (photo 1)
  4. when the starter is risen and bubbly, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon yeast with the remaining ¼ cup milk in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment
  5. add the starter, vanilla and egg yolks and mix on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth, about 30 seconds (photo 2)
  6. turn off the mixer and add 1 cup of flour, along with the sugar and salt, and mix on medium until the dough starts to come together, about 30 seconds
  7. add the butter and mix on medium until it's incorporated, about 30 seconds
  8. remove the paddle attachment and insert the dough hook
  9. add remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time and knead the dough on medium until it pulls away from the side of the bowl and is smooth, about 1 minute (you may not require all the remaining flour)
  10. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for about 30 minutes
  11. when the dough has almost doubled in size, press gently on it to remove any large bubbles bubbles
  12. cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for one hour, or up to overnight (photo 3)
  13. line a baking sheet with a lightly-floured tea towel or waxed paper
  14. when you are ready to make your donuts, roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface to a thickness of ½ inch
  15. using a one inch cookie cutter (or a shot glass!), cut out the donut holes (photo 4)
  16. arrange the donut holes one inch apart on the prepared baking sheet (photo 5)
  17. cover the donuts loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes (the dough should spring back slowly when you poke it with your finger) (photo 6)
  18. while the donut holes are resting, make the glaze by whisking together melted butter, icing sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice and hot water, set aside (before icing the cooked donut holes, heat the glaze for a few seconds in the microwave if it stiffens up too much) (photo 7)
  19. line a baking sheet with paper towel, waxed paper or newspaper and put a wire cooling rack on top
  20. in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer***, heat at least 2 inches of oil 350F
  21. place donut holes in the hot oil without overcrowding them
  22. stir the donut holes gently so they cook evenly (photo 8)
  23. using a slotted metal spoon, transfer the cooked donut holes to the wire rack and continue cooking remaining donut holes
  24. when donut holes have cooled slightly, drizzle with glaze or toss in a large bowl with glaze (photo 9)
  25. place your donut holes on a pretty plate and take a photo really quickly before the hordes descend and gobble them all up (photo 10)
* if you don't use instant yeast, that's fine, it will just take a bit longer for your starter and the donut holes to rise

** just grind granulated sugar in a spice grinder for a few seconds to get superfine sugar

*** I use my Dutch oven




photo 1


photo 2


photo 3


photo 4


photo 5


photo 6


photo 7


photo 8


photo 9


photo 10


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Old Fat Guy
7 years ago

These donut holes look terrific. I will put them on my to do list!

The Old Fat Guy