chocolate doughnut holes

I was sure that I’d blinked and a whole month had passed since we last spoke, but apparently I dropped in on Friday to discuss peas. It was my birthday and I was double-fisting tissues and hoping the DayQuil would kick in soon. Fortunately, it got better from there, with my awesome husband stealthily making plans to send the baby to his grandparents while he plotted what has to have been the most fun party since our wedding. There’s been a new dress, a new camera, new measuring cups and a new tooth, countless formats of cheese, innumerable sinks of dishes and full nights of sleep, plural. Is it any wonder that I hardly remember five days ago?

it all started with cherries

There were also some cherries. I had great plans for them, the possibilities for kitchen craftiness seemed endless. But then, I ate them all. Look at them. Can you blame me? Sometimes it’s just wrong to meddle with something that arrives needing no intervention.

wet ingredients, dry ingredientssticky soft doughnut batterpat pat pat the doughdoughnut hole negativesfrom the fryerdrippy buttermilk glaze

Due to the aforementioned tissues and DayQuil (a condition that magically evaporated over vodka; I think the Russians would be proud), I couldn’t summon the energy to make a birthday cake this year, which was a shame as in years past it has been a fun excuse to try something wild for me, and me alone. (Okay, fine. I share, but only because Alex peer pressures me.) I was pretty okay with this until I read an email that arrived last week in which someone (hi, Carolyn!) asked me if I’d ever made a chocolate cake doughnut. The prospect of chocolate doughnuts seeped into my brain and I’m pretty sure I spent the next four days thinking about nothing else.

doughnut polka-dots

By Monday, I’d had enough taunting and got to work. I scoured my books and searched the internet for leads and was surprised to find very few. Don’t other people enjoy a little crackly translucent glaze on a cocoa-laden cake? Did nobody else reach first for the chocolate cake doughnuts when someone brought Dunkin’ Donuts in to the office? Apparently, there are very few of us out there but one key one, the awesome Jenny from Use Real Butter. I took her lead and made doughnut holes instead of full doughnuts because really, what more do you need? They’re easier to make, absolutely adorable and so tiny, surely if you throw back some salad first, they make a healthy dinner. Don’t argue with me or I’ll pull the birthday card!

draining the glaze

One last thing: The last time I made doughnuts on this site — apple cider doughnuts — I’d fried them in Crisco after reading that many doughnut makers prefer using solid fats, as that which is solid at room temperature feels less greasy as the doughnut cools (and concluded that I agreed). Really, it gave me an excuse to buy a giant tub of Crisco and pose our poor, unsuspecting 1-month old with it for our delight. It was almost as big as him. I know some parents take photos of their babies with a large stuffed animal each month of their first year of life, to show how they’ve grown, but I thought it would be more fun if we revisited the same shot, 8 months later. Last time, the little lump of baby was so sleepy, he rested his cheek on it and looked like he was about to take a nap. This time he grabbed it with both hands and played it like a bongo drum.

mama, why am I up here?you look familiarbang bang bangwhoops

One year ago: Neapolitan Cake
Two years ago: 10 Paths to Painless Pizza-Making
Three years ago: Fideos with Favas and Red Peppers

Chocolate Doughnut Holes
Adapted from Use Real Butter who adapted it from Diana’s Desserts

The most important thing to know about this recipe is that like most cake doughnuts, it makes a very sticky, soft dough. This one was so sticky I actually added a couple extra tablespoons of flour, and still felt panicky as it wanted to stick to the counter. Don’t do that, panic, I mean. Flour your counter very well. Plop the dough down on top. Flour it well and gently pat-pat-pat the dough until it is flat. The less you disturb it and the more generously you flour your counter, hand and cutter, the less sticking you’ll have. If it gets disturbingly soft, put the shapes (and/or dough) on a parchment or waxed-lined sheet and pop them in the freezer for a few minutes until they’re easy to pick up again.

My changes were to adjust the flour a bit, tweak a couple ingredients, add additional instructions, weights and I used a different glaze.

Yield: 4 dozen 1.5-inch holes. I halved the recipe and used a 1.25-inch cutter so I had a little over 2 dozen.

2 3/4 cups (12 3/8 ounces or 352 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (3 ounces or 90 grams) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons (about 3/8 ounce or 10 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (about 1/8 ounces or 4 grams) salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 (10 5/8 ounces or 300 grams) cups sugar
1/3 cup (2 7/8 ounce or 84 grams) sour cream (what I used) or buttermilk or you can make your own
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams) butter, melted and cooled a bit
Your fat of choice for frying (solid vegetable shortening or canola, peanut or vegetable oil are popular choices)

Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium one, whisk eggs, sugar, sour cream or buttermilk and butter. Stir wet ingredients into dry until well blended. Chill batter until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 3.

Flour your counter generously (see Note up top) and scrape dough onto it. Flour dough. Flour your hands. Gently pat dough out until it is 1/2-inch thick. Dip a 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch round cutter into a dish of flour and cut rounds from dough. Pat scraps of dough together and cut them again. If your dough or doughnut holes have gotten too soft to easily pick up, put them on a floured or parchment or waxed paper-lined tray and put them in the freezer for a few minutes, until they’re firm enough to gently handle again.

Prepare your fryer or fill a 5 to 6-quart with 4 inches of oil. Heat to 375°F (190°C). You can fry 6 to 12 doughnut holes at a time, about one full minute on each side. The trickiest parts will be visualizing when the doughnuts are done — since they’re chocolate, the color change will be subtle; I suggest practicing with scraps of extra dough first — and keeping your oil at an even temperature, if you’re not using a deep-fryer. Make sure you bring the oil back to 375°F after each batch.

Drain doughnut holes on a stack of paper towels. Once cool, roll in glaze (below) and let drain and dry on cooling racks.

I understand that these should keep for a day or two. We’ll probably never find out.

Full-Sized Chocolate Doughnuts: You can use this same dough to make 3-inch round doughnuts (with a 1-inch hole removed from the center). Because the dough is fragile, I definitely recommend popping the shapes in the freezer to firm up a little before you drop them in the fryer. You will want to fry them for 2 minutes on each side. It should yield about 16 3-inch doughnuts.

Chocolate-Stuffed Doughnut Holes: Why didn’t I think of this before? I bet awesome things would happen if you pressed a tiny piece of chocolate into the center of your unfried doughnut hole. Let us know if you try it in the comments.

Doughnut Glaze

8 ounces powdered sugar
3 tablespoons water, milk or buttermilk (what I used, highly recommended)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together until smooth. If you need it thinner, add more water, milk or buttermilk, a few drops at a time.

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251 comments on chocolate doughnut holes

  1. Oh so cute. Doughnuts, baby belly – it’s all good. (Hope you don’t have the cold that I [still] have – the cough lasts for weeks.) Crisco tubs also double wonderfully as drums.

  2. Krista

    Mmmm, these look like they beat Dunkin Munchkins any day. Will give them a try this weekend. Do you think the batter could sit overnight? Or is 3 hrs its max.
    BTW: have blueberry crumb bars in the oven :)

  3. Looks beautiful, Deb! I am always left wondering why I didn’t think of it before you posted. Do you think it would work to make a vanilla version by substituting more all-purpose flour for the cocoa?

  4. Stephanie

    I love cake doughnuts so much better than the other kind; what are the differences between the two in terms of ingredients and preparation?

  5. Liz

    Deb, these look amazing! And regarding the cherries…I purchases a pint of local strawberries (I live in RI) after all your strawberry posts and ended up eating all of them before I got home! And per usual, the Jacob pic is adorbs!

  6. Are we really all that rare, the people who sneak the first doughnut from the box just to make sure we get the chocolate cake doughnut? I guess I don’t need to pounce on the box anymore…that’ll save me some embarrassment. Well, that and the fact that I’m probably going to end up making these on a semi-regular basis. I’ve never made doughnuts before, but these are drawing me out of my shell. Thanks, Deb, I really can’t wait to try these.

  7. Maureen

    Oh my gosh. Glazed Chocolate Cake donuts are my favorite! We would go to blows over them in the office breakroom :) mmmm….donut…your son is adorable, old pics and new ones. I LOVE his hair!

  8. Bad, smitten kitchen. Bad! :) But oh…soo good. And I like the transfer photo op with Crisco. Very…uh, innovative. Yeah. That’s the word I was lookn’ for. :) Love this!

  9. I am so with you on the Dunkin box – I never make it to the box in time to get the Boston Kreme (ugh, I hate the spelling) but the chocolate cake comes in a close second.

  10. Happy birthday! And, oh my God. I normally get too intimidated to do a lot of baking, but I LOVE the chocolate Munchkins, and I may just need to try this.

  11. Happy Birthday! I actually like the yellow cake donuts not the chocolate ones but these look too amazing and I really wish there was a dunkin donuts in Colorado! Good think I’m too scared to actually fry anything or else I might eat my weight in these!

  12. Elissa

    Thank you! This is my favorite kind of doughnut – so much so, that it was our wedding “cake” (I didn’t want to have a bleh cake, so we had Krispy Kremes instead – big hit!), and we split one each year on our anniversary. I’ll have to try these out to be ready for next year!

  13. Esme

    I’d imagine a Herculean 2-year old Jacob next year holding the tub of Crisco triumphantly above his head. Donut holes look cute and tasty; but kinda cruel to showcase a tempting snack dessert like this just weeks before summer 6-pack season.

  14. ap

    Your son is absolutely delicious. And he looks so much like the pics of you on your site! PS – I’m not a kid person, don’t have them, don’t want them, but he’s lovely.

  15. Gorgeous doughnut holes. I’m all about the mini-versions that allow you to eat more without feeling guilty (for me, at least). Happy belated birthday! Jacob is adorable as always!!

  16. I really think I need to make doughnuts now. I have been craving them for a month and now seeing these make me want to make them even more! Teehee your son is so cute, too. :)

  17. Happy birthday (My birthday was also this weekend, and in fine tradition, I made cake!).

    My husband didn’t think I would have the time to make cake, proving that he doesn’t understand the power of a baker.

  18. Kathy in St. Louis

    Cake doughnuts — specifically, the style known as “old fashioned” — have it all over yeast doughnuts. Brava, Deb, and belated happy birthday!

  19. Indygirl

    Ok, please don’t laugh, but have you ever heard of a Baked Donut? These sound incredible, but my tummy doesn’t like fried food so well. ; )

  20. WOW. And wow. (that second wow is for your adorable child.)

    I wish I could have these now to satisfy my afternoon chocolate craving…! Happy happy birthday! :)

  21. Oh man, I really thought you were going to stick a cherry into those bad boys. It’s like guessing the twist in an M. Night Shamalan movie. And getting it wrong. (Hangs head in shame).

  22. I’ve always reached for the chocolate cake donuts! Oh…and the plain glaze, the chocolate glaze and the cream-filled long johns. Why can’t I ever decide? Maybe I should make them all into donut holes and then my jeans won’t be so tight.

    These look amazing. Perfect for the other Tart who is in labor as we speak!!!

    Happy belated Birthday!

  23. Krista

    I have the same B’day, don’t you love it when your birthday falls on a friday? You have the whole weekend to play the b’day card :o) I didn’t make myself cake either, but a good friend got me cupcakes on Saturday, and I made strawberry pie yesterday.

    The doughnut holes look heavenly!!! I will have to try them, and I may have to buy the vat of Crisco too. Happy Tuesday!!

  24. It’s so funny you mention cherries, my husband brought home a whole bag last week when he only needed a cup of them to make sangria, so I took the rest and tried the cherry upside down cake you made awhile ago! Worked pretty well except part of the top ripped off, which I blame mostly on my pan flipping technique. Maybe next time, a cherry glaze for chocolate doughnut holes!

  25. Donna Sue

    Glazed chocolate cake doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts are my favorite – unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose), the closest DD is a good 30 minute drive away from me here in Dallas. These look even more delicious. Happy Belated Birthday!

  26. MY-MOUTH-IS-WATERING-FOR-A-CHOCOLATE-DONUT-RIGHT-NOW! Wow this is the BEST BLOG POST! Your birthday party looked like so so much fun too! Happy Belated! Can’t wait for your new cookbook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. m

    Ahh!! He is so cute!! :]

    I love doughnuts. Doughnut holes are even better, because you can eat more of them and feel less guilty! Kind of…

    And I totally understand about the cherries. :]

  28. Happy birthday Deb! I’m so glad the past few days were wonderful for you, that’s how birthdays should be after all. Thanks for the recipe, you’ve got me drooling and I haven’t even found time for the asparagus pizza yet. Btw, what was the new camera you were given?

  29. My favorite! I love donut holes more than donuts – I feel less guilty eating a million when they are small. I just bought the cutest mini donut pan though… I wonder if this dough would work baked instead of fried… if I try I will let you know!

  30. Ha-ha! Age does funny things to my eyes. When I read Carolyn’s question asking if you had ever made a chocolate cake doughnut, I read it as “chocolate doughnut CAKE”. Now I’m thinking about the possibility of this mis-read.

    Feliz navidad!


  31. I have been known to go to Krispy Kreme and order only chocolate-cake doughnuts for dinner. (Nope, not to Dunkin’ Donuts. I live in Winston – the headquarters of KK!) I’ve never attempted to make them myself. Great idea. (And I didn’t think that kid could get any cuter. I was so wrong!)

  32. I have been looking for a recipe that is similar to Dunkin Donut’s chocolate munchkins. I actually got a computer virus in my search for the perfect chocolate munchkin recipe. I also read Jenny’s, but she had said that though delicious, they were not quite the same as the DD version. Can’t wait to try yours to see if it does the trick!
    Thank you!
    A DD deprived gal in a DD free Utah
    And if not, I’m vacationing in Maine soon and will be sure to get my fix!

  33. JanetP

    1. Happy belated birthday! Yesterday was the birthday of the writer of my other go-to blog, Yarn Harlot. It must be going around.

    2. I love donut holes, especially the chocolate ones. You get more per bite of the frosting-to-soft-insides ratio. Great idea.

    3. OMG!!!!!!! Look how much he’s grown!! He positively dwarfs the Crisco container now. I had to look back at the first photo to see how tiny lil’ Jacob once was. Funny, I was just thinking about that photo the other day.

  34. 1. We have the same birthday!! Happy belated, birthday twin. :)
    2. These are happening, omg. Although I find it strange that I don’t like chocolate cake, but I love chocolate cake donuts. What’s with that??

  35. This are adorable! Thanks for posting this recipe. I’m not a big chocolate fan (gasp) so I’d love to find a vanilla version of this. Wait, is strawberry even a possibility? Maybe adding flavors? Hmm that sure would be interesting!

  36. Anna

    I was afraid to say what I’m about to say but then I saw the first comment and laughed because we had the same sentiment! So here I go:


    :D These look toooo good. Thanks Deb!

  37. becky

    Do you think any part of these could be made in advance? I have a bridal shower on late Saturday morning that I’d love to make these for. Unfortunately, I just don’t know if I’ll be able to do every step that morning. Could I make the dough the night before and know that it’ll keep pretty well?

    1. deb

      becky — They’ve definitely kept until the end of day two. I will not be able to report back on day three. :)

      For vanilla cake doughnut holes — I’d start with this recipe from Joe Pastry. I haven’t tried it but I have confidence that he knows his stuff. His dough is even softer (a batter, really) but you can drop it in spoonfuls and they still cook up almost perfectly round.

      Stephanie — Yes, thank you. Now fixed!

      A — This is the recipe for the full amount.

      Stephanie — Cake doughnuts are raised with baking powder, usually; the other major kind are yeast-raised. I always thought I preferred yeast ones but I might be shifting a little. Basically, I don’t think cake doughnuts keep as well at doughnut shops (cough, DD, cough) so I never buy them. But homemade, they’re awesome.

      Krista — I bet it could sit overnight without trouble.

      SoupAddict — You should try vodka. :) It cured me!

  38. Wow, they look amazing! I laughed out loud when I read the bit about the cherries, you’re hilarious.

    Happy birthday, and love the Crisco idea, it’ll be all old fashioned when he’s 21!

  39. I made ginger donuts and donut holes a few weeks back in culinary school and loved them! I will have to try out the chocolate. Yum!! Donuts are heavenly.

  40. Deb–sounds like you got the perfect birthday gift (sleep). Cherries like strawberries here are so hard to transform, because I’ve been waiting forever to eat them as is–so no desserts either.

    Doughnut holes definitely are less calories–right?! :) Cute baby boy & those curls–I’m lucky to have a girl with curls and not cut it. But if I had a boy with curls, I think I would grow it as long as I could.

  41. Melissa

    Katie @ Cozydelicious, if you do try to bake these, please do report back! I’d love to try it myself, as I hate frying in my tiny apartment. As tasty as the results are, the place inevitably smells like a deep fryer for days afterward.

  42. Serena

    I’ve never been much for donuts, but these look like they might just make the cut. Also, next time you’re under the weather, you should double up on Russian remedies: accompany your vodka regimen with a good old fashioned gorchichnik.

  43. Erica

    these look so good! also, a little off topic, but could you please make chicken shawarma??? I’ve been looking all over for a good recipe, but I really have no frame of reference for the cuisine, so it’s hard to pick one.

  44. Nicole

    Your Jacob is gorgeous! My little guy’s a wee bit older and I’m betting he’d LUV these doughnuts – so maybe for snack tomorrow. I’m wondering if I couldn’t just skip the whole flour on the counter thing and just plop the dough in oil straight from a small cookie scoop . . . . it’s how I make my other doughnut holes and fritters. Gotta be quick with three little people!

    1. deb

      Nicole — I was just thinking the same, and wish I’d tried it. I bet it would work wonderfully. You could probably also drop the last 1/4 cup of flour I added (2 tablespoons in my half-batch) and end up with a lighter treat.

  45. Rhonda

    My son walked in just as I hit your link. Think I need your cold tonic now. We made baked chocolate donuts a few weeks ago…put in my jello molds for ring-likeness. It worked. The vanilla ones didn’t taste that great so may try Joe Pastry’s. The end of May I visited my sister, and really, I can’t believe all the Dunkin Donut shops in Massachusetts. And yes with the iced coffee I had the chocolate donut.

    Many, many years ago Dunkin Donuts (when they had a huge variety) had a buttermilk donut that looked like a crackly ball-baseball size. Miss those.

    Happy belated birthday.

  46. The Craft of Baking has a lovely cake doughnut recipe! Cake doughnuts are my absolute favorite, but a lot of times refrain from making them because they’re so much of a task. Perhaps if I just did doughnut holes (like you) , I’d make them more often! Which would be awesome….and also seriously dangerous.

  47. Jil

    just wanted to say that i made both the blueberry crumb bars AND the peanut sesame noodles yesterday and they rocked! i am totally smitten with your blog – you have a new adoring fan!!

  48. Britt

    Yummmmmmmy! I was on the hunt for a cake donut this week. My local coffee shop just started selling brioche ones (though they are yeast) that are made to order and sprinkled with powdered sugar, table side & to your liking.

    These look even better (imma sucker for all things chocolate) but unfortunately I’m also afraid of deep frying anything!

    PS I’ve made something from your site for about a week straight now. All received with the same “more please” response (:

  49. Rogo

    Now that we know that saturated fats aren’t actually related to heart disease, I bet frying these in lard would be fantastic.

  50. Jennifer

    When my brother was little (probably three or four) my mom caught him just after he’d stuck his whole hand deep into a container of Crisco. So your photo makes me smile thinking of that and how I remember her trying to wrangle him away from everything until she could clean his hand. Happy birthday!

  51. Jess

    DEB! EVERYONE! In canada: Timbits. Our favourite national coffee-shop Tim Horton (a HOCKEY PLAYER who opened a coffee and donut shop) has these is SURPLUS! And about a dozen different kinds which barely resemble american donuts. They are not light and airy like Krispie Kremes, but they aren’t really heavy either. Also, chocolate glaze is everyone’s favourite kind. I’m sure if I make home-made timbits, heads will explode.

  52. These look amazing – I think I’ll make some over the weekend!

    But you’re missing some words in the first sentence of the paragraph about they frying… “Prepare your frying or fill a 5 to 6-quart with 4 inches of oil. …”

  53. My husband always laughs at me because I like to buy just one doughnut hole for a treat at DD. I’m super tempted to make this recipe, but know I wouldn’t be able to resist just one!

  54. Sue

    Love the growth comparison with the Crisco:) Look at those cheeks!

    Homemade doughnut holes….Yum! Way too easy to eat like popcorn-dangerous!

  55. Lea

    I’m with you, Deb– I brought home a bag of fresh bing cherries today, and half an hour later I’d eaten over half of them. They will definitely be gone by tomorrow. Much too good on their own to wait around for recipe inspiration to strike.

    PS- Jacob is too cute :-)

  56. -Amanda -_-*

    I made doughnuts as a teenager with my best friend. I don’t remember what exactly went wrong, I just remember it being a negative experience, and I’ve been afraid to try again. Might have had something to do with the house being too hot (it was summer), and the dough getting too sticky, and not knowing enough to put it in the freezer or use more flour. Maybe with all of the tips you’ve included, I’ll work up the courage to try them again. Those look DELICIOUS! (And chocolate doughnuts are my favorite, too!)

  57. I do love the fact that you made doughnut holes without making doughnuts. Chocolate donut holes = <3. The glaze looks delicious. (Your baby is SO cute!)


  58. Tara

    Oh my…how I adore that HAIR! (Jacob’s) :) Too cute!!!!
    Thanks for posting another yummy recipe, Deb!!! Can’t wait to try these!

  59. I’m going to try these with the chocolate inside them – I’ll let you know how they turn out. Thanks for inspiration. I’ve been meaning to make doughnuts for ages as I feel guilty when my children eat a shop bought one. The ingredients in KK and DD don’t bear thinking about.

  60. Beth

    Deb, I highly recommend Flying Pig Farm’s leaf lard (available, as I’m sure you know, at the Union Square greenmarket) in lieu of Crisco.

  61. I will have to make these when we are expecting company… or I will be gaining about 10 pounds in choco-doughnut-happiness. I LOVE chocolate cake doughnut holes! And the fact I could make them at home never entered my mind! Until now. No fear of deep frying here!

  62. carol

    I made these babies tonight. I made the batter at 7 pm, put it in the fridge, forgot about it until I couldn’t sleep at midnight, and got up and made ’em. I don’t have a donut hole cutter so I used a cannolli tube (which I bet I’ve had for 20 yrs and never used). It made small holes which made far more than 2 dozen using half a recipe. I shook them in regular sugar, and then experimented with super fine. Only a slight difference. I don’t have a thermometer so the oil got really hot which burned a batch. I used chocolate that wasn’t dutch processed so that may have not had enough chocolate kick. Otherwise things worked out fine.The cool thing was these holes flipped themselves when they were cooking! Ha!:) I’m going back to bed now. The holes are on the counter for the kids to devour before school.

  63. Rae

    Now I am seriously craving some these I wonder if I can convince the Boyfriend to hit the 24 grocery store to pick up the ingredients lol. I will have to try to make these sometime.

  64. joi

    the crisco size comparison is absolutely perfect. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: that kid is a dreamboat.

  65. Judikins

    There is a recipe for chocolate cake doughnuts with a crackly chocolate glaze in the new Karen Demasco book, The Craft of Baking. I wonder if you are familiar with that one. I just got the book, haven’t tried that particular recipe, but the others I have tried have been excellent.

  66. Sarah

    Crawling out of seclusion for my first ever post – I am haunted by those measuring cups! Spotted them in a gift store, almost bought them, then the next day a flatmate came home with them (without any mention from me)! anyway, love your blog and these look delicious. Happy birthday.

  67. Deb,
    Would this recipe work if I wanted to BAKE the doughnut holes instead of deep frying them? If so, would you have any suggestions for time & temperature?

    Thanks and I love your blog!

  68. Kat

    Happy Birthday Deb! Wow, I thought I had a sweet birthday over the weekend, but your’s looks like it tops the Berriliciousness that was my celebration. A party, and cooking gadgets, and dresses and cheese, and doughnuts and cheese, and doughnuts, and a party and cheese and doughnuts…:) I am glad it was so wonderful!

  69. I’m so glad a reader asked you to make these. I’ve never thought about making my own cake donut! It’s always one of those things I buy. No more!

  70. i’m drooling, seriously. over the doughnut holes and the baby – he is so stinkin’ cute! ;) thanks for sharing this recipe, can’t wait to try it out!

  71. What a delicious birthday treat! It’s been forever since I’ve had a donut of any variety. I think I need to try my hand at gluten-free donuts. Yum.

  72. I used to love those kinds of doughnuts when I was a kid. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. Oh and I can tell, your baby is going to be a great Chef one day.

  73. Happy Birthday! I’m glad you are feeling better. I’d love to know more about the new dress and new camera–if you are willing to share!

    The donuts look amazing! They are one of my husbands all-time favorite things. I may have to surprise him for father’s day. This would rank higher in his mind than any present we buy him!

  74. Sounds wonderful…wondering if anyone reported back about baking these? I’m trying to eat a little healthier. Can I justify 4 eggs? Yes. Can I justify the deep fry? Not right now. :( I’d love to hear! Great photos!

  75. Jessica

    I stopped to get an iced coffee this morning and was eyeing the chocolate doughnut holes. Clearly, great minds think alike!

    1. deb

      Camera — I’m working on updating (really, overhauling) the approaches to food photos article because it’s so out-of-date. I’ll get into it there.

      Dress — Last month I asked people on Twitter where they shopped because I wear nothing but monotone cotton stuff from JCrew and needed an intervention. A lot of people suggested Anthropologie. I got two (in cream) dresses (in purple), actually, figuring I’d return one and the other would be a birthday present to myself but friends liked one while the husband liked the other. Now I have two. I cannot afford to make a habit of this!

  76. Carolyn

    You are officially my hero (as if you weren’t before, ha!). Thank you SO much!!! You know what I’m off to do :)

  77. Tracey

    Deb, between the apple-cider doughnuts and this recipe you are making it next to impossible for me to keep my resolution to *never* learn how to make homemade doughnuts. It’s a very, very bad idea for me to be able to acquire doughnuts without even having to put on shoes.


  78. Alli C.


    Delurking to answer IndyGirl’s question about baked donuts… This is not a link to my website, but here’s a baked donut recipe that I tried. I made a whole recipe (which make TONS) and brought them to work for a unit meeting… the entire nurses station loved them, and I had multiple doctors stealing some too (work at a hospital). I coated some of them in a cinnamon sugar mix, and the others got a chocolate frosting coating. Sorry, I don’t remember where I got that coating recipe though. I hope you try these and they work out for you, too!

  79. My breath catches each time I wait the millisecond for your site to load. It’s like I know what I’m about to see is going to delight me, even before I see it. Today, glazed chocolate doughnut holes. Annnnnnd you got me again.

  80. Annie

    Even before my first cup of coffee, I see these beauties and now all I can think of is chocolate doughnut holes, chocolate doughnut holes, choc…oh, dang, I’m cooked!

  81. Amanda :}

    Happy Belated Birthday Deb! i am also one of those chocolate munchkin lovers and this recipe looks like it would rock, or maybe you make it look that way :) i’m much lazier tho and i think i would use another commenter’s suggestion and use a cookie scoop…. btw Jacob is pretty much TWICE the size he was from that first crisco pic! i love his pouty little mouth, he looks like he’s concentrating lol.

  82. Laura Lou

    OK, so this has nothing to do with the recipe, but your child might seriously be the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. Ever.

  83. Dan

    My girlfriend swore off trying to make donuts after a disastrous attempt, but I think we could get success out of these. They look wonderfully tasty.

    What do you do with the Crisco after you’re done frying? Is there a way to filter out the excess flour and junk and reuse it? Or must you throw it all out?

    Keep up the good work, and yer baby is awesome.

  84. Sally

    Deb I would love to read this post but it disappears and it’s replaced by the comments (on the left of the page). The photos are in the middle but these are just lines (so you can’t see them). Below these lines you’ve go the rest of the comments. There’s no actual blog text. Hope this makes sense! Thanks.

  85. These look delicious. I have tried my hand at making a similar doughnut, which also had a very sticky dough. I coated them in powdered sugar and they were amazing. :) I will definitely try this recipe too.

  86. Wow! I’ve stayed away from making doughnuts in the past because of the “frying” thing… not because of the calorie/fat issue, but because of all of that oil needing to be discarded. Anyone have experience with trying to bake doughnuts?

  87. Delicious donuts, AND no yeast to proof?! Sign me up!
    Have you ever fried refrigerated biscuit dough? Roll it out slightly, cut a hole in the center and fry in oil. That makes the best donuts in my experience. But since there’s no chocolate biscuits on the market (yet), I have to try these! Thanks for sharing!
    And taking pictures of your little one next to a tub of Crisco makes my Southern soul smile :)

  88. Sandra

    This brought back fond memories of the doughnut holes my grandmother used to make, not chocolate doughnut holes, just plain doughnuts rolled in sugar. I loved them (and her) so much. I miss them both. For some reason I have been fearful of trying to make them on my own but your post may have given me the kick I need. Thanks! And a belated happy birthday to you!

  89. Jeni

    AGH! Is there any way to separate the “these look great, can’t wait to make it” and “you’ve got the cutest baby” (and you do, no denying that) comments from the ones where people have real questions about the recipe or have actually made it?

    Okay, don’t mind me, I’m probably just low on chocolate and maybe these donuts would do the trick.

    My question: Did it take the entire tub of Crisco to get to the 4 inch line?

  90. Kate

    Can I just say that you’re the best? I feel like every time I come to your site, it’s with something specific in mind that I want to make, and when I arrive, there it is, always the first post…it’s like you can read my mind!
    I really wanted to make my dad doughnuts for father’s day (actually, I just really wanted to make doughnuts and father’s day was a great excuse), and these look absolutely perfect, thank you :)

  91. Carrie

    Ditto on the baked doughnuts. I’d like to try baking them. If I get to do this this weekend, I’ll try frying & baking and let ya’ll know how it turned out. I saw Alli C’s comment, but there was no link for the baked recipe.

  92. Natasha

    Mmmm, these look delicious!

    So, I’ve been avoiding vegetable shortening like the plague for ages, because even though it makes baking sooooo much easier (no trying to keep tiny cubes of butter constantly chilled!) it’s just so disgustingly processed….UNTIL I have discovered that Earth Balance is making ‘natural shortening’ which is non-hydrogenated, and expeller-pressed, AND comes in cute little sticks. Not to be confused with their ‘buttery sticks’, but comes in a similar package. Most health food stores have it and even our regular supermarket carries it in the butter/milk section.

    I will definitely be attempting your doughnut holes this weekend! Thanks :-]

  93. Eva

    I gasped. I read the whole thing, even the comments. I LOVE chocolate cake doughnuts. LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Want them badly now. And I was going to make some tasty soup.. these might take precedence..

  94. M

    Your birthday was Friday? Mine too! I made your yellow cake recipe and a chocolate buttercream from this site, too. It was yummy! :)

  95. perilli

    Growing up in Italy and England, I loved chocolate donuts filled with chocolate. But I could never decide if I liked the warm melted chocolate or the hard refrigerated middle best! So glad to see a recipe for them here.

  96. Lyndsay

    Yes, timbits! As someone mentioned, that’s what they are called in Canada. And there are a bunch of different kinds. I love chocolate timbits. Sometimes you don’t want a want a whole donut, just a timbit.

  97. Yummy! I love chocolate doughnuts, always have. There is this bakery by my parents house that I always go to and they have these enormous, face-sized chocolate doughnuts but I think these are a much more manageable size. I bet these would be good with Nutella!

  98. I have faith that if anyone can improve upon and perfect a recipe, it is you. They look gorgeous and the little one is growing so much! Adorable (the baby, but yes, the doughnut holes too). xo

  99. Deirdre

    Ok, the donut holes look scrumptious and all, but what I really want is the recipe to make SUCH A FREAKIN’ CUTE BABY!!

  100. Whatever dude. I just bought a doughnut cutter like three days ago and have been saying… I need to find a good cake doughnut recipe and then sha-zam! Here you go. What kind of doughnut voodoo is this anyway? This is probably the most times I have or ever will type out the word doughnut in one sitting. Doughnut. I am totally making these this weekend.

  101. Liz F

    Hi Deb. Thanks so much for this recipe. We can’t get a good doughnut in Guangzhou, China to save our lives, and doughnuts are one of my husbands all time favorite foods, esp cake versions. Can you give a few bit of advice? How do you suggest to adjust your delicious recipe to make plain cake, too? Using the same fat won’t change plain cake’s flavor while cooking right? Last, help me out with this one… you suggest buttermilk with many recipes. What can I do to sub or make something that tastes close to buttermilk? Geez, can I make my own? Thanks and happy birthday.

  102. First: Happy Belated Birthday!
    Second: I’m sorry you were ill.
    I was also ill on my birthday (ironically only a day before yours), and nearly burnt down the kitchen… twice… in my attempt to make a birthday dinner. We ended up ordering out.
    Third: I cannot decide which baby pictures with the Crisco are cuter. That’s one adorable kid you have. I can’t wait to see HIS first birthday cake.

  103. It looks as though you had a wonderful birthday party – you couldn’t look any happier in that photo! These doughnut holes are positively sinful (and I mean that in a really good way). My kids are going to be begging me to make these.

  104. Kathy in St. Louis

    Liz F: make your own buttermilk (well, sour milk) by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a one-cup measuring cup, then filling it with milk. Let it sit to curdle, then proceed as usual. Easy!

  105. Melissa

    To those interested in baking these, I tried it the other night and
    the results were positive, but I didn’t get the baking time and temp quite right. I scooped batter directly from the bowl into mini muffin tins. I bakes
    the first batch at 400F for 9 minutes and they came out a touch dry. The second batch went in at 375F for 7 minutes and were a touch doughy. I’m guessing another minute or two at 375 would have worked nicely.

  106. Liz F

    Kathy in St. Louis, thanks. I’ll try it.

    Melissa (182), thanks for sharing the baking tip. Doughnuts are great but so time consuming (after the feast… yep I’m gonna say it – exercise! ugh). ;-)

  107. Lauren

    has anyone attempted this recipe baked instead of fried? They look oh-so-delicious and I’d love to try them baked, mostly because a huge pot of oil scares me (what do you do with it all afterwards?), and if they’re baked I can let myself eat more ; )

  108. Melissa

    Lauren, yes, see my note just above. Neither baking time and temp was perfect, but something in the middle should work. And if you get the time and temp just right, please let us know!

  109. jen

    The doughnuts look deadly good, but the cherries… oh cherries. Most of mine never make it home because they get munched in transit. And rainier cherries, don’t even get me started.
    Your chocolicious glazed doughnut holes have been printed and added to my “to try” recipe folder. The folder is nearly bursting. I shall gain 200 pounds. But the cause is just.

  110. Nina

    Mmm, they’re just like the little munchkins that I used to get at Dunkin Donuts when I was little,…except always better because they’re homemade! Do you know how these would fair if they were baked instead of fried? I tried converting the apple cider doughnut recipe to a baked doughnut, and they were good, but extreeeemely dense. Any suggestions?

  111. glee

    i hope everybody clicked back to the old dougnut story to see that baby pic cause it is HILARIOUS! how’s the poor dude going to feel when he’s 14 and posing 2/ a crisco can mama?

  112. Anne

    I tried the cookie-scoop drop method and with a spray of oil on the scoop it worked just fine…after a while they start to develop crispy appendages, but looks aren’t everything. They tasted like a giant coco-pop only better. And if you underfry them like my first, they’re molten chocolate donut holes!

  113. Char

    The pictures of little Jacob next to the Crisco can are my absolute favorite. I’m glad to see you’ve repeated them here.

  114. Maia

    Oh man chocolate cherry doughnuts anyone? ‘Cause that’s what I’m feeling from this post. A few months ago I was somewhere that gave out samples of chocolate cake doughnuts and ever since then I’ve been totally obsessed with them. It’s weird since I never really thought about them before.

  115. I baked these and they turned out great, a little dry but I think that’s because our oven doesn’t have a temperature control (just a flame) so we have to estimate temperatures and such. I put them on the top rack for about 10 minutes. After glazing, I kept a third plain, rolled one third in cinnamon, and the final third in toasted coconut (I popped about two tablespoons of shredded coconut in the toaster for five minutes), recreating my favorite donut flavor! Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  116. Beth

    I love that you mention cherries, chocolate & vodka within justa few lines of each other (as I sit here popping lovely NJ sweet cherries that have steeped in vanilla vodka into my mouth every so often)

  117. I made your chocolate donut holes yesterday morning with my sons. They were a hit! and shared with a few family members and neighbors. There are FOUR holes left.I posted pictures on my own blog.

    pss. I mistakenly left out the melted butter. I thought the dough looked stiff and dry. I added a large silverware spoon “plop” of more sour cream and pressed on. I found the melted butter in the microwave hours later. No one noticed.

  118. I made a couple different versions of these: baked, fried in butter and fried in oil.

    I baked them at 400 for 10 minutes, and I found them a little too dry. My sister and husband loved them though :)

    I wanted to fry them this morning but I didn’t have any solid fats besides butter, so I clarified a couple of sticks and went to town. They were nice and crispy, but I hadn’t gotten all of the solids out, so the melted butter was getting a little too dark for my liking (still tasted good though).

    I poured out the rest of the butter, put some canola oil in the pan and heated it up to 400 degrees. I fried the donuts for 1 minute each side, then sprinkled half with powdered sugar and dipped the other half in the glaze. Pretty darn tasty!

    I don’t know how long they’ll hold at room temp – it’s really humid today, so I don’t know if it’s a fair test.

  119. Annie

    Thank you for the recipe. I was at a loss what to do for father’s day and you posted this. My almost 20mo old daughter LOVED rolling out and cutting the dough with me for her dad. (my daughter used even smaller cutter, so they became a perfect size for her to eat. She learned the word, “donut” real fast!) And my chocolate lover husband loved the donut holes! (Though I couldn’t glaze mine since I realized I had no powder sugar 20 min before he was to be home on Sun.)
    Can’t believe your Jacob is big enough to play with the Crisco container now. He was such a wee thing last time they met.

  120. Jan

    “Happy Fourth Birthday to You!”

    As a less frequent blogger I know what kind of commitment you have made. I was just recently turned on to your site. Looks like I have a lot of good reading ahead of me.


  121. Fantastic recipe! Had a great time with my three-year-old son making these for a “healthy” start to the day. I used coarse salt instead of regular salt b/c I’ve been on a salty kick, but other than that followed the recipe.

  122. Rae

    Rainy Saturday night so I thought I would try my hand at these. The dough is VERY sticky, hopefully it stiffens a bit after being in the fridge for an hour or so. Planning on frying some in vegetable oil and maybe baking a few.

  123. Jess

    Would these come out as well if they were baked instead of fried? love your site by the way…thanks for all the great inspiration :)

  124. It’s funny, 99% of the time when I think of something I want to make I come here first. But today I Googled chocolate doughnuts and lo and behold I came here with the first result. Ironic, or just a sign of my devotion to the SK?

  125. Kira

    Thank you! These were lovely. My roommate is studying for her comprehensive exams right now and said she wanted donuts. We didn’t want to trek to the store in the rain, and when I searched and got your recipe, I had to try.

    I ran out of sugar half-way through so I had to use 1/4 cup brown sugar to finish the recipe. I was worried it would make the dough too sticky, but it came out fine. I just rolled mine into small balls with my hands and then fried them. They aren’t as cute and uniform as yours, but it did the job.

    The glaze makes these. Mmm.

    Thanks again!

  126. alexandra

    Quik question do the donut holse rise before Frying? Or am I going to be frying a flat piece of choclate Dough?

  127. Minidez

    Mmm just made these and they are DELICIOUS!!! It was really hard to tell when they were done because they are chocolatey but they were still good (if not better) a bit underdone cos they were gooey nom nom nom =D

  128. How do you think these would turn out if you used cake flour? Or even half of each? I personally prefer yeast doughnuts and recently made yeast doughnut holes, but these are for a group and I don’t have time to make those or a test batch.

  129. I made the dough for these last night but was too tired to fry them. I made them tonight and they turned out great! These are intense and not for wimps! Hearty doughnuts that demand to be eaten with milk. Deep-frying them was scary…I almost turned back when I thought I might maim myself however, I was bold and determined to complete the task! Thank you:)

  130. Kat

    I just made these tonight. So good! I baked them (at 350 for 9 minutes) and they turned out a tiny bit doughy, but that’s the way I like em.

  131. Hina

    I would like to start off by saying that I absolutely adore your blog and have made several of your recipes with spectacular results, the most recent being “everyday chocolate cake”. Man that was a long sentence =). I have a question about this recipe, is what you posted the half recipe you used or the full one?

  132. Hina

    I made these…and guess what… well I’ll start with the beginning….

    I was having a lot of trouble getting the dry ingredients incorporated into the wet and ended up having to add some more sourcream…so I fried them, dipped them in glaze and they looked gorgeous…. and then I bit into one……….and I forgot to add sugar to the wet ingredients!!! ahhh I was so sad cuz they looked so good but tasted so bad…im guessing the sugar makes the wet ingredients substantial enough to mix with the dry and make a successful enough dough…I will of course have to try again because I hate messing up in the kitchen!

  133. Susie

    After promising donuts to my three year old then belatedly reading the instructions to let the dough sit for an hour, I grabbed a small ice cream scoop and fried these like hush puppies. It worked great! No rolling , no waiting. I should also note that I dumped in too much buttermilk so I had more of a thick batter ( which looked like hush puppy batter, thus the inspiration!)

  134. BriBri

    Just made these using Thomas Keller’s Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour and WOW. Best donut I have eaten Gluten Free or not! Thanks for the great recipe Deb. I cant wait for your cookbook.

  135. Farrell

    Deb, these are great, and just the right size for a treat. Yes, the dough does sit well overnight. I made the batter yesterday afternoon, then plans changed and I couldn’t fry them until this morning. They were Great! Although I’m sure they’re best with real dairy, I’m nondairy so I used Oat milk soured with vinegar , and stick margarine. Oat milk is my go-to dairy substitute when baking. Hanukah’s coming up, and its latkes and sufganiyot for our once a year fryfest. These will be a great addition.

  136. John

    Hi! Thanks for this lovely recipe. I tried making it and it was a success! I gave it as nibbles for my god daughter’s birthday party.

  137. Eliza

    So simple! I cut them into squares and rolled them into balls. Next time, I might just scoop them out of the bowl and roll them into balls. It was tricky to get the temperature of the oil just right and I was impatient so some were slightly burnt. I used about a half cup of whole wheat flour. Perfect for Hanukkah or another special occasion not because of the effort but because of all that oil. Thanks!

  138. I made these today, and I found that the end result left me with a dry donut. I mixed the dough just until it was combined, chilled for a few hours, and used a professional dough sheeter to sheet to the required thickness. I fried the donuts in a fryer set to 350 and after glazing and cutting into them…we all thought they were dry and a little dense. The buttermilk glaze was heaven, the crunch on the outside was awesome, but the inside was dry. I have never been disappointed with the large amount of recipes I’ve tried on here, but maybe something went wrong?

  139. deb

    I’m sorry to hear this. On the plus side, er, for me, I was just thinking it had been way too long since I’d made these so I’ll be “retesting” them very soon. I’ll let you know if anything seems off to me again. I certainly didn’t find them dry the first time, but I also think I had a 9 month old at the time and probably wasn’t sleeping a whole lot.

  140. Rosanne

    i made these yesterday and thought I’d share my gluten free flour blend version:
    1 cup masarepa (pre-cooked corn flour)
    3/4 cup millet flour
    1/2 cup tapioca starch
    1/2 cup black bean flour
    1 tbsp psyllium husk powder

    I rolled mine into balls so they came out goofy shaped but delicious! Also I rolled them in white sugar instead of glaze which is a great step if you’re lazy ;)

  141. Nicole

    I made these today. Sadly I think I over or undercooked a lot of them. It is hard to say because my husband and I haven’t eaten our share yet. We are waiting for the girls to be in bed before we engorge ourselves. They looked like chocolate snowballs in the picture. Perfect for the crazy blizzard weather we are being hammered with today. I especially liked the bit about the cherries that you wrote. It reminded me of the William Carlos Williams poem “This is just to say.”
    I have eaten
    the plums
    that were in
    the icebox

    and which
    you were probably
    for breakfast

    Forgive me
    they were delicious
    so sweet
    and so cold

  142. Eliza

    I used King Arthur gluten free flour and they were just delicious! It might have made them a little extra sticky. I dont roll them out; I just scoop out a chunk and roll it in GF flour, then in my hand. I have to remember to half the recipe next time. Soooo many doughnuts!

  143. I wanted to like these way more than I did. Be prepared – because the dough is dark, they are really hard to get just right. You’ve got to be REALLY vigilant about the oil temperature. Other donuts I’ve made are fairly simple; I no longer track the oil temperature, I just eyeball it and they come out perfect. But that didn’t work for these, many out of the batch were either raw in the middle or overdone and dry. So sad, I wanted these to be a huge hit.

    1. Catherine

      That’s why you don’t eyeball it… especially with a dark dough. Have you tried again since? (I realize this post was from over a year ago as I write this…)

  144. Caitlin

    Is there any reason I can’t make mini donut squares? I don’t have a little cookie cutter and the circle shape leaves a that perfectly good dough behind anyway…

  145. Lynne Kirshon

    I made the chocolate stuffed doughnut holes with a Hazelnut Glaze ( a dairy-free coffee creamer I happened to have in the fridge)! What a tasty surprise! Will make more tomorrow!!!

  146. Hi Deb- this is the same recipe that was published at, except with buttermilk and no chilling. Don’t know if sour cream and chilling dough are your additions, but SO needed. The seriouseats dough was too, too soft, and the cooking time too long- otherwise great tasting doughnuts. Love your recipes. Thanks! Penny Eisenberg author of Passover Desserts, etc…

  147. Cher T

    OMG I could hug you for adding weights to your ingredients!!! I prefer to cook using weighted measurements because it is 1 – more consistent and 2 – so much easier than playing with measuring cups. I can not wait to try these. My son swoons over chocolate donut holes and this momma is gonna make his week.