May 22, 2012

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

Bright lights and screams of terror. Cotton-candy, hot dogs, ferris-wheels and haunted houses. I was taking a stroll down the waterfront this past weekend. Seldom do I stroll on the waterfront unless I am entertaining out-of-town guests. Just passed the aquarium but before the merry-go-round, we were excited to find that someone is assembling a giant ferris wheel. Counting down the days until it opens, I am flooded with memories from my childhood.  I started thinking about those tiny doughnuts covered in cinnamon sugar. A few blocks away, at the Pike Place Market, we stopped for a few dozen of those tiny doughnuts to quench our hunger. Just thinking about those cute little bundles of sugar makes me giddy and full of excitement. Mesmerized by the perfect cylindrical dough dropping technique, doughnuts flipping in sync, those machines could have kept me mesmerized for hours.

One late summer afternoon, the sun breaking through the window hitting my eyes in the most mesmerizing manner, I find myself rummaging through a shelf of mis-matched kitchen gadgets. Poking around, pushing a couple of tea kettles to the side, I stumble on to an unusual looking device. A shiny metal cylinder, a narrow bottom with a maroon plastic leaver/pulley. Intrigued by my find, I brought it home to add to my collection of seldom used kitchen gadgets. It was in fact a tiny doughnut dropper. With many failed attempts, I have yet to master the art of making perfectly round doughnuts with this apparatus. Instead, I find myself sprinkling tiny grains of yeast into warm water. Watching them bubble and roar with life. I mix and knead and let rise with the warmth and moisture in the air. I gently roll and cut tiny doughnut shapes, letting them puff up like a lions breast, before I carefully drop them in, one by one, to the hot bubbling cauldron. The smell of dough frying, cinnamon sugar in the air. It brings me back to the days, where I could shamelessly eat 2 dozen doughnuts without a care. 

makes 24 doughnuts
recipe adapted from The Family Kitchen via Babble

2 tsp dry active yeast
2 tbsp warm water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup milk, room temperature
4 tbsp butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 - 3 cups vegetable oil for frying

1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast and then the warm water, ensuring that all of the yeast has been covered by water. Let sit until the yeast starts to bubble and foam, approximately 5 - 10 minutes. It is important that the yeast foams. This is an indication that the yeast is still alive. If the yeast does not foam, throw away and buy some more.

Add the flour, nutmeg, milk, butter, egg, vanilla, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture.

With the paddle attachment, set to low, combine all the ingredients until you have a soft wet sticky dough. Remove the dough from the bowl, and place in a new clean, oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let sit for one hour in a warm area, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover both sides of the dough with flour, this will prevent it from sticking. Roll it out 1/2 inch thick. With a tiny doughnut cutter or a small circular cookie cutter, cut out the doughnut shapes. With your hands, roll the scraps into a ball, and then roll out 1/2 inch thick. Continue cutting out doughnut shapes. 

Place the doughnuts on a baking sheet and allow to rise for 15 minutes. If the doughnuts are not properly floured, they will stick to the sheet.

While the doughnuts are rising, heat the oil in a deep heavy saucepan on medium heat. Place the doughnuts in the oil and cook on each side until light brown 10 - 30 seconds. You can cook anywhere from 5 to 10 doughnuts at a time depending on the size of your pot. I like to flip the doughnuts with a wooden chop stick. If the doughnuts turn dark brown within seconds of dropping them into the oil, it is likely too hot. It should take around 10 - 15 to start to turn brown. If the oil is too hot, the outside will cook faster than the inside resulting in a burnt outer layer with a doughy middle. Make sure to test the first doughnut too make sure it has properly cooked. 

Once the doughnuts have fried, remove them from the oil with a chopstick, tongs, or a wire strainer. Place the doughnuts onto a paper towel.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon. When the doughnuts are cool enough to touch, place the doughnuts in the sugar to coat each side.

The doughnuts are best when eaten fresh. They do not keep well. So it's a good idea to make them for a party or small gathering where you're not inclined to eat them all. 


  1. Oh my stars! These look heavenly!! I adore doughnuts, especially hot from the pan. It's been so long since I've had a fresh doughnut - your photos are making me salivate! Yum!!

  2. I know exactly the place for these delicious little donuts in Pikes Market! I'm actually getting giddy just reading this post! I will definitely try these out soon. Who would have known the

    1. Best of luck. They are super fun to make.

  3. Divine!! These look amazing. I know the pike place donut shop very well. I've brought many a grease filled bag of them home :).

  4. I'm not even a big doughnut fan but these look so lovely. Your photographs are always so amazing that it makes me crave everything you make!

  5. Yup. I'll be making these.

  6. Oh my gosh, these look just amazing!!

  7. Oh man oh man how I LOVE mini doughnuts! I definitely get my grubby little hands on them whenever I spot on at the market. Making them at home would be so dangerous...

    1. It was extremely dangerous. I made my husband take to work.

  8. Anonymous12 June, 2012

    These look amazing! If I weren't so afraid of deep-frying, I'd be making them right now!

  9. i adore your flour tin! where did you get it?

  10. Sooo good. Im going straight to the kitchen now to create theese amazing things. Been looking around trying to find this recipe and here we go :)

  11. I can use my tongue to remove them from the hot oil?

  12. Thank's for sharing. I like this food. These foods are good for health. Thank's for tips.

  13. A very beautiful post my dear. I think you summed things up perfectly! You have to do what you’re good at, with no guilt associated with that! Good luck with moving. It’ll be fun!

  14. I just tried this yummy recipe from your blog and it has come out really yummy!! :)
    This is my first cake bake! and I am quite happy with the outcome...
    Thanks for sharing this easy recipe :)

  15. Clear, informative, simple. Love your post!

  16. Hi,
    This blog is very nice. Thank you for sharing this easy recipe. These look amazing. It's been so long since I've had a fresh doughnut - your photos are making me salivate! Yum!!

  17. Oh wow these doughnuts are amazing! Thank you for your sharing! I'll try this recipe!