Saturday 2 June 2018

Grandmother's Glazed Donuts

When my children were growing up, I always tried to have something tasty waiting for them when they got home from school.  Sometimes it was cookies (most of the time) and others it would be cake, or cupcakes.  On rare occasions I would have made them donuts. They really felt special when I made them those!

I remember one particular occasion when I happened to be watching my next door neighbours little girl after school. I decided to really pull the stops out on that day and make jelly donuts.  My next door neighbour was a really good cook, and I wanted to do something really special for her little girl.

As I was making them, I felt really good about it and I was picturing in my mind how very much she was going to enjoy these jelly filled donuts.  I was practically beaming when they all got in from school and sat down at the kitchen table to enjoy them with ice cold glasses of milk.

I was practically hovering over them in anticipation of all the kudos I was going to receive.  Imagine my chagrin when the little girl piped up. "Your donuts are very good, but when my mother makes them, they are cooked inside!"   

DOH!!  They were still raw inside.  How could I not have noticed.  I felt like a real dope. Mind you this was some 35 or so years ago, and I have learnt an awful LOT since then!!

Plain yeast donuts are not all that hard to make really.  They aren't even really time consuming.  What takes the time is leaving the dough overnight, that's all.  The actual hands on time isn't very long at all. 

The hardest part is making sure your oil for frying is the right temperature. I cannot underestimate the importance of having a candy/frying thermometer!  This takes away all of the uncertainty and worry. You can be assured that your oil is the correct temperature for frying.  The reason my donuts were raw in the middle?  My oil was probably far too hot and the outside cooked too quickly for the insides to catch up.  Use a thermometer if you can. Its worth it.

 Failing that, without a thermometer, how do you know when your oil is ready to go?  I have several solutions that I have learnt to use over time. One way is to drop a kernel of popcorn into the oil. If the popcorn pops, it tells you the oil is between 160*C/325*F and 180*C/350*F, in the right temperature range for frying.

Another way, and the easiest and safest method IMO,  is to stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If you see many bubbles form around the wood and they start to float up, your oil is ready for frying. If it is bubbling hard, the oil is too hot. Let it cool a bit and then check the temperature again.

When oil is too hot, the outside cooks before the inside does, and in fact you will burn the outsides waiting for the centre to cook, so the temperature is really an important thing to take note of.  If the oil is too cold, then the food you are frying will absorb too much of the oil, which is also a no no, resulting in greasy fried food.  If your donuts/fish/etc. are greasy, chances are the oil that they were fried in was not hot enough.  

So you see  . . .  a fine balance is needed.

No need for fear though . . . just follow those few tips and your donuts will be perfect.  I like to glaze my donuts with a simple sugar glaze. You could also make a thin icing to frost them with.  I find the glaze works best.

I wish the glaze up in a bowl large enough for me to dip the donuts into, top side down.  Just a quick in and out, letting any excess drip off back into the bowl before putting them top side up onto a wire rack to set the icing. Doing this while they are still a bit warm, works really well.

Today I sprinkled them with candy sprinkles just for show purposes. In reality I don't like sprinkles on my donuts . . .  its a texture thing. I feel like I am eating sand, but they sure do look pretty.

*Grandmother's Glazed Donuts*
Makes 1 dozen

These take a bit of time and effort, but as a once in a blue moon treat, they are well worth both! You will need to start them either the night before or early in the morning.

135ml whole milk, warmed (1/2 cup + 1 TBS)
2 TBS sugar
1 heaped tsp of active or instant dry yeast
1 large free range egg, beaten
5 TBS butter, melted
280g strong flour (2 cups)
1/4 tsp salt
oil or white vegetable fat for frying

For the glaze:
2 TBS butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
195g icing sugar, sifted (1 1/2 cups)
just enough milk to make a thin glaze (maybe 60ml/1/4 cup) 

Warm your milk to blood temperature. (It should feel nice and warm, but not hot, when you dip your finger in.) Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer (if you have one) or a bowl if you don't. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve.  Stir in the years and then leave to prove for 5 minutes.  Add the beaten egg and melted butter to the bowl stirring to combine.  With the mixer running slowly, add the flour and salt,  mixing until the dough comes together. Let the mixer run on medium low for about 5 minutes.  Alternately if you are doing this by hand, knead the dough for about five minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Let sit for 10 minutes, then turn into a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with plastic cling film and chill in the refrigerator  for at least 8 hours or overnight. 

Remove from the refrigerator.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a 3 inch donut cutter to cut out the donuts.  Alternately use a 3 inch round cutter to cut out rounds, and then a small cutter to cut out centres. (An icing decorating nozzle is about the right size.)  Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. (Don't forget the holes!)  Cover and leave to rise for about an hour until double in size.  

To make the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until smooth, only adding enough milk to give you a thin glaze.  Have ready for when you start frying the donuts.  Also have a rack ready to hold the glazed donuts on after you have glazed them. (I stand mine on top of another baking sheet to catch all the drips.  Less mess to clean up.) 

To fry, heat a few inches of oil or at in a large skillet over medium heat. ( The oil should be 180*C/350*F in temperature.)  Line a baking sheet with paper towels, and set aside. 

Carefully add the donuts to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, on both sides, flipping them halfway through the cook time, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. (The holes will take considerably less time.)  Remove to the paper lined baking sheet to drain.  Let them cool slightly and then dip them into the glaze while they are still quite warm, placing them on the rack to let the icing set.  I sometimes like to sprinkle them with candy sprinkles.  Do this before the icing sets.

There was always something special about coming home to a hand-fried donut and a glass of cold milk. When you are a child, you never worry about the waistline do you?  Those were the days  . . .  Bon Appetit! 


  1. they look so pretty! I have only made doughnuts once and they were the cake type ones with nutmeg,, a flop, lol, but lesson learned, I'll leave it to Tim Hortons lol , yours sound wonderful Marie!

    1. Tim Horton's Sour Cream Donuts are my favourite Laurie! xo

  2. Jacques used to love his mom's:)♥How sweet you made for the neighbors:)LOL I have made many bloopers.

    1. Sometimes I think if it weren't for making bloopers Monique, I would learn nothing at all! xo

  3. My grandmother used to make donuts too but I've never had the nerve with the oil. These look scrumptious!

    1. Thanks Jeanie! My Aunt Orabel always had burnt fingers from making donuts and burning them in the oil. I don't think she even felt it after a time! xo

  4. So much thanks to marie, this post has been sooo helpful i made amazing doughnuts today be blessed i widh i could send a picture but i dont know how but thank you again so much love from Africa

    1. Thanks very much Elizabeth! I am so pleased you enjoyed these and you are very welcome as well! xoxo


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