Chocolate Donuts

chocolate donuts
Last week’s apple cider donuts left me with about a cup of buttermilk. And what does a baker do with leftover buttermilk, you ask? She makes more donuts. 

Buttermilk used to be the liquid that was left over after churning butter, but today, it’s the result of adding a lactic acid bacteria culture to pasteurized milk. I’m not sure if there is a chemical reason why one would use buttermilk in baking, but there’s a definite flavoring difference, much like when you employ sour cream in a cake or dough, that can’t be achieved with regular milk.

Some recipes call for buttermilk or “sour milk,” which is made by mixing regular milk with lemon juice or vinegar. For these donuts, I’d stick to the real thing if you can. Flavor-wise, they’re a rich chocolate, and could be glazed with a vanilla icing or simply dusted with powdered sugar. Full disclosure: last night, I ate one and a half donuts with whipped cream as dessert. Because sometimes, you just need to do things like that.

Also important to note: this recipe would be easy to double to make one dozen donuts; the recipe below yields 6.


For the donuts

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the chocolate glaze

  • About 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease one donut pan with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, brown sugar, melted butter, and vanilla.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.

Using two teaspoons from your tableware, drop batter into donut wells, divingind batter evenly and filling about 3/4 full; smooth the tops as best you can with wet fingers or the back of a spoon.

Bake for 13 minutes; remove from oven and allow to cool before dipping in glaze.

To make the glaze: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to a very smooth consistency. Add more powdered sugar if your icing is too thin; you want to be able to dip each donut into the glaze easily, but you don’t want it to be too runny.

Place waxed paper beneath the cooling rack to catch any drips. Dip each donut into the glaze, coating the top well, then place on the cooling rack to set. Store in a single layer.