Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Mike is now working from 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., meaning that he gets up ridiculously early. Last night, after he went to bed (at about 8 p.m., not that I blame him) I baked him these cinnamon sugar donuts to take to work. I left them next to our stove, along with his travel mug, a bag of extra bold Earl Gray tea, and a kettle full of water waiting to be boiled. I figure since he’s leaving before the crack of dawn, I can help make his mornings a bit easier.

Truth be told, baked donuts are much better eaten immediately, but I doubt the early morning crew at Pittsburgh’s VA hospital cared about that. Adapted from a recipe at Sally’s Baking Addiction, these treats are quite tasty, and I can imagine making them in the future with different spice combinations. I chose to make about three dozen mini donuts and three regular-sized donuts, but you could do all regular or all mini depending on what you choose.


  • 2 cups flour (use the spoon and sweep method for this)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • About 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar, for topping*

*Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray donut pans with baking spray.

Place cinnamon sugar in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large glass measuring cup, combine eggs, brown sugar, milk, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and stir together until just moistened and no dry streaks remain; be careful not to over-mix. Your batter should be lumpy and kind of fluffy.

Transfer batter to a large piping bag and pipe batter into the donut wells, filling about 2/3 full. Bake full-sized donuts for 9-10 minutes and mini donuts for 7-8 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool for another minute. Toss in cinnamon sugar while still warm; this will coat the tops of the donuts. Alternatively, you can dip the donuts into melted butter, then coat them in the cinnamon sugar, but I skipped this step since I didn’t want them to be too gooey by the morning.

Baked donuts are best served immediately, but they can be kept for about a day in an airtight container at room temperature. The cinnamon sugar will start to soften the donuts, but they’re still delicious.

Makes about 4 dozen mini donuts or 16-18 full-sized donuts.


Chocolate Nutmeg Donuts

chocolatenutmegdonutsA donut for dessert? Why not?

I wonder who decided which treats went with, or after, which meals. What makes a donut, croissant, or coffee cake more appropriate for breakfast than dessert, and a cupcake, or a slice of pie, more appropriate for dessert than breakfast? Not that I’m advocating eating cupcakes for breakfast…although if the truth be told, I did have more than one breakfast of Little Debbie’s Swiss Cake Rolls in college.

Tonight, I wanted a chocolate donut for dessert, and not the kind you get at a chain. I wanted a cakey, tender, lightly glazed creation of chocolate and the slightest hint of spice. Nutmeg is a key ingredient in achieving that bakery donut flavor; without nutmeg, these donuts would taste more like chocolate cake than chocolate donuts.

The serving of Cool Whip in the photo here is optional, of course…but this was my dessert tonight. And it was delicious.


For the donuts:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour milk (see note below)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 6-well donut pan with baking spray.

Make sour milk; place 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal 1/2 cup, then stir and let stand for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, sour milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla; stir until smooth, then add all at once to flour mixture. Stir until just combined and no dry streaks or large lumps remain.

Fill a piping bag or large zip-top bag with batter; pipe into wells, filling about 3/4 full.

Bake for 13-15 minutes; remove from oven and immediately remove donuts from wells. Cool on a wire rack before glazing.

To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing until completely smooth. Add vanilla and stir well; you want a very thin glaze. Dip tops of donuts in glaze and allow to set before serving.

If you like, top donuts with a spoonful of whipped cream or other whipped topping just before serving.





Sundae Donuts

sundaedonutVanilla, chocolate, and sprinkles make me think of ice cream sundaes, so I’ve decided to call these sundae donuts. Their original recipe comes from Sally’s Baking Addiction, but I’ve included some extra vanilla in the donut batter.

And, now, for a bit of food history…several American towns claim to have invented the sundae, and each story centers around a local pharmacy with a soda fountain. Blue laws, which prohibited the sale of soda on Sundays (and people think Pennsylvania’s liquor laws are strange), apparently gave way to the serving of ice cream with syrup and other toppings like fruit and whipped cream. I’m not sure where sprinkles came on the scene, but they add a fun, crunchy texture to an otherwise smooth dish.

These donuts remind me a bit of a hot fudge sundae, and you could leave them sprinkle-free if you like, or add sprinkles of other shapes and colors for holidays. Whatever you do, don’t skip the nutmeg in the donut batter – while it might seem like a strong spice, it’s necessary to achieve that classic, donut-from-the-bakery taste. Just a few notes about some of the ingredients: I used whole milk, but skim, 1%, 2%, or almond milk would be fine; I used vanilla Greek yogurt, but any plain or vanilla yogurt – regular or Greek – that you have on hand would work. Also, my sprinkles are the Betty Crocker Parlor Perfect ice cream topping variety, which can be found with the ice cream toppings at your local store.


For the donuts

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the glaze

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • rainbow sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 6-count donut pans with cooking spray; this recipe yielded 8 donuts for me.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg; set asite.

In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together brown sugar, egg, milk, and yogurt until smooth. Add melted butter and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture and mix until just combined; you don’t want to over-mix your batter.

Spoon the batter into a large zip-top bag or pastry bag and pipe into wells, filling about 2/3 full.

Bake for 9-10 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pans for about 1 minute, then gently lift each donut out (I use a small offset spatula) and transfer to a wire rack to cool before glazing.

For the glaze, place chocolate chips, corn syrup, butter, and water in a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 20-second intervals until chocolate and butter melt, stirring between each, until the mixture is completely smooth. My glaze took about 1 minute to reach the right consistency.

Place your rainbow sprinkles in a small bowl; dip tops of donuts into the chocolate glaze, then into the sprinkles, coating completely.

Donuts are best eaten the day they’re made. If you can resist, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

Vanilla Donuts

vanilla donutsDonuts (or doughnuts, if you prefer) are present in cultures throughout the world, on nearly every continent. Some are strongly associated with holidays, like the pre-Lenten Polish paczki or the Hanukkah sufganiyot, while others, like the beignet of New Orleans, are hallmarks of regional cuisine. Whether baked for fried, glazed or filled, these treats are incredibly popular.

This recipe is slightly adapted from one that I found on the Semisweet Sisters blog, and I incorporated more vanilla than the original and changed the glaze. If you’re curious about the incorporation of nutmeg, fear not: the recipe really does need it, as it adds interesting dimension to the vanilla flavor.

These treats could certainly be glazed with any variety of glaze or icing, but I chose to present two simple options, including a vanilla icing and a maple icing, which appear below. Next time, I’ll thin these out and make them very drizzly, as literal glazes, instead of putting them on thickly like I did here. The donuts themselves have a great flavor that really doesn’t need much enhancement!

Vanilla Donuts


  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 6-well donut pan with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, egg, canola oil, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk together with a fork, then add flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg and stir well until completely combined.

Fill a pastry bag with batter and pipe into prepared donut pan, filling about 3/4 full; you will have enough batter for 6 generously-portioned donuts.

Bake for 14 minutes, until tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove donuts from pan immediately and place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

Vanilla Icing


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • About 1 1/2 tablespoons milk


Combine powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl; slowly add milk, mixing well to achieve a thick glaze. Dip donuts in glaze and allow to set slightly before serving.

Maple Icing


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • About 1 tablespoon milk


Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup in a small bowl; slowly add milk, mixing well to achieve a thick glaze. Dip donuts in glaze and allow to set slightly before serving.


Pumpkin Donuts

pumpkin donutsPumpkin is my favorite vegetable. Yes…I have a favorite vegetable! Even if pumpkin is on the fringe of the vegetable world, being a squash and all, I still love it.

Pumpkin contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is very good for you and has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. Naturally, pumpkin is at its nutritional height when not consumed in donut form, but still…some of us have to sneak our veggies into food in any way we can.

These donuts are among the last treats I’ll have before beginning a two-month sugar fast, during which I’ll avoid baked goods and dessert-like foods and beverages. This is partially because of Lent, but more so because I’m working hard to transform my diet and sugar really is the final frontier. I like to think that my health coach, Kate, would be glad that I chose not just any donut today, but one with pumpkin in it.

This recipe is adapted slightly from the King Arthur Flour pumpkin donut recipe; I changed the spice ratios a bit because I’m a fan of nutmeg and I wanted it to have more of a role in the flavor profile here. There are three options listed below for topping these donuts, and the sugar & spice topping was my favorite.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray two regular (6-count) donut pans and one mini donut pan with baking spray. Alternatively, you can bake all of the donuts in the full-size pans; it’ll just take a bit longer.

In a mixing bowl, combine vegetable oil, eggs, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder. Beat on low speed until combined.

Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined; batter will be slightly lumpy but that is fine.

Fill wells in pans about 3/4 full; I used a teaspoon from my tableware to fill the large pans and put the rest of the batter into a pastry bag to fill the small pans, but you could very easily pipe all of the batter for these as it flows very well.

Bake full-size donuts for 18 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean; when finished, baked the mini donuts for 8-10 minutes.

Cool donuts in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Top as desired.

Topping Options

Sugar & Spice

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

In a small bowl, blend sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. While donuts are still warm, dip in the mixture, then brush tops with melted butter and dip again.

Alternatively, place sugar and spices in a brown paper bag and toss the donuts in the bag to coat. You don’t need the butter for this version, but I find that brushing the donuts with melted butter then dipping them in the sugar and spice mixture again creates a nice crunch.

Powdered Sugar

  • About 1 cup powdered sugar

Lightly dust donuts with powdered sugar using a fine sieve. The quantity you’ll need depends on how thick you’d like your coating to be.

Spicy Glaze

  • About 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • About 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • About 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoons vanilla

Note: all of the quantities for the dry ingredients are approximate; I experimented here and my measurements were really done by sight and smell, then by taste. Remember, you can always add more liquid, but you can’t take it out, so it’s best to start with a smaller quantity and increase from there.

In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add vanilla and water, stirring to combine until a glaze forms; you want the consistency to be honey-like, easy to dip but not too thick. Once you’ve reached your desired consistency and flavor, dip tops of donuts into the glaze, then allow to set.