I cook things, photograph them, and put them on this blog so you can make them too, if you want. I have a master's in food studies, hate the word "authentic," and love pierogis. I also run Chicago Food Bloggers.


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vanilla bean mini donuts

I rarely eat donuts. Don't worry, this isn't one of those, "I don't watch television," statements. It's just, donuts are breakfast food, I guess? But it seems wrong eating a fried hunk of dough that is covered in sugar at 9am. "I'll have the tiramisu and a butterscotch milkshake for breakfast, please. Thank you, IHOP waitress."

If I went into Dunkin' Donuts before work and got a donut, I'd be afraid the person behind the counter would think, "If he's ordering a donut for breakfast, what does he eat for dinner? Or dessert?" That's probably what they think about every single customer.

But I'm alone, apparently, because Americans eat 10 billion donuts a year. I tried to do the math on my calculator but my calculator can't count to 10 billion. Americans eat more donuts a year than my calculator can count to. "Let's move." -Michelle Obama.

Anyway, did you know one mini donut is worth 27 big donuts? I'm pretty sure that's definitely accurate. Maybe they are counting mini donuts and that's why Americans eat 10 billion donuts a year. That's probably it. "That's not it." -Michelle Obama.

I made these donuts (I spell it donuts. So do a lot of people, including Dunkin', though I'm pretty sure doughnuts is "correct." But donuts looks better to me for some reason. And that's how language works.) using buttermilk I had left over from some truffle butter I made (haha, that's me alright, "I'm just not eating donuts while I don't watch television and eat homemade truffle butter"). The only thing was, I tripled the recipe and I only have one pan. So it only took, what is that, 18 batches or so? I don't even need that dumb calculator.

That 10 billion comes to like 30 donuts a person or so. So, 30 donuts a person, 27 mini donuts equals one big one, 30 times 27, carry the one, add the sprinkles = everyone can eat 402,811 mini donuts a year. That's definitely correct.


vanilla bean mini donuts

adapated from sprinkle bakes/sur la table

for the donuts:
+ 2 cups all purpose flour
+ 3/4 cup granulated sugar
+ 2 teaspoons baking powder
+ 1 teaspoon kosher salt
+ 3/4 cup buttermilk
+ 2 eggs, lightly beaten
+ 2 tablespoons butter, melted
+ seeds scraped from one vanilla bean

for the glaze/decoration:
1 cup powdered sugar
+ 1-2 tablespoons milk
+ 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ sprinkles for decorating

special equipment
+ mini donut pan

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray your mini donut pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl/the bowl of your stand mixer, add the 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and stir until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the 3/4 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter and vanilla seeds. Mix until well combined and the vanilla seeds are evenly disbursed.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined - don't overmix.

You can use a small spoon to fill the donut pan, but filling a pastry bag fitted with a small tip or a plastic bag with a small portion of the tip cut off works best. Fill each cavity only half full - filling them any higher won't give you the rounded, donut look.

Bake the donuts for 5 to 8 minutes - watch them because they bake fast. They will be slightly browned at the edges and will spring back when touched. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to completely cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the cup of powdered sugar, tablespoon of milk (to start) and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. You may need to add more milk to get it to a thick, liquidy consistency suitable for dipping - add a tiny bit at a time until you reach the consistency you want.

When the donuts have completely cooled, dip the tops of each one into the glaze (you may need to blow out the hole in the middle to clear it of glaze). Sprinkle the sprinkles over the top. Let the glaze harden slightly and serve immediately.

makes 60-70 mini donuts

Reader Comments (13)

These look/sound so good. I've been searching for a good place to start making donuts and I think this might be it. Somehow I've avoided working with vanilla bean in the past. Do you have any tips for working with them? Things I should consider when buying them? Also, is your kosher salt the large grain type? Thanks.
p.s. that IS a lot of donuts.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Elizabeth

Hi Sarah,

They were great! The batter is almost like a really light pancake batter. I wonder if you could even use pancake batter if you had a bit leftover from breakfast one day. Now I want to find a recipe that tastes like a cake donut.

Vanilla beans are awesome - once you put a real vanilla bean in your creme brulee you'll never want it without. To get a good one just make sure they are still moist, oily and pliable, with a strong vanilla scent. If they are hard, dry or brittle they are old. They aren't cheap, but if you search you can find high-quality ones for far less than Whole Foods or Williams-Sonoma or one of those types of stores. I buy mine from a shop called Polcari's in the North End of Boston, but if you have a Cost Plus World Market store nearby I always used to buy a bag of one or two of them inexpensively (they also had dried morels for a good price).

To cook with them all you have to do is split them lengthwise and run your knife along the inside to scrape the seeds out. And don't throw the pods out! They have tons of vanilla flavor - add them to sugar, vodka or milk to add vanilla flavor to them.

And this is the kosher salt I used.

Thanks for reading!

June 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Kostyo

I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog despite being a raw vegan... Love the commentary and photography!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Thanks for the information! It looks like your salt has the Alton Brown stamp of approval, and that's always a good thing. I've been on a salt kick lately, reading all about the stuff.
I will definitely follow your advice when I go to pick up some vanilla bean. We don't have a Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma, OR a Cost Plus World Market nearby, but I think they might sell them in the bulk food section of my local health food store.
Also, cake donuts are awesome. I think my favorites are glazed chocolate cake and old fashioned sour cream donuts. Yum.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Elizabeth

Hi Emily,

That's one of the nicest comments yet on my blog. It makes it worth it. I really appreciate it.


June 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Kostyo

Hi Sara,

I'm not big on salt - pepper is my favorite - except with sweet things. Salted caramel, salted chocolate - I love it.

We have a restaurant called Cafe Mirror in our neighborhood, and the people who own it also own a place called Twin Donuts, and their donuts are amazing, especially the buttercrumb donut I think it's called?

Let me know about your vanilla hunt and what you end up doing with your vanilla!


June 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Kostyo

Buttercrumb sounds real good. I will keep that in mind if I'm ever in the area. Little one-of-a-kind donut shops are the best.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Elizabeth

You should! I agree about little donut places. Here is a picture of Twin Donuts - http://dinerhotline.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/twin-donuts-2.gif

June 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Kostyo

Wow, that's awesome. You should write a feature on them sometime!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Elizabeth

I feel the same way! I just posted about cinnamon rolls I made but never ate. Too sugary of a way to start the day. I looove the mini idea though! I'm going to have to give these a try. I have some buttermilk in the fridge begging to be used.

Hey Melissa!

Those cinnamon rolls look great, though! Very classy. Your blog is fantastic. So clean and well-designed.

June 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Kostyo

I have been looking for a vanilla mini donut recipe, so thanks! I prefer donuts to doughnuts too. Just purchased a mini donut pan and I wished I bought two. Can't wait to try this!

June 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulieD

No problem, JulieD! I'm hoping when fall rolls around I can find a recipe for mini apple cider donuts.

June 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Kostyo

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