by Laura Onstot | Laura Onstot, registered nurse and mom of 2 young kids, rarely pees alone, only frequents restaurants with Kraft Mac N Cheese, and blogs at Nomad’s Land. In her spare time, she can be found sleeping on the couch while she lets her kids watch endless episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Her parenting advice is questionable, but at least she’s honest.
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When I was in my twenties, my mom gifted me a donut pan. It sat in my cabinets for about a year as I considered what I could use the pan to make. While most donuts are fried in hot oil, I didn’t want to risk an oil burn, nor did I want to set the house on fire.
It was then I recalled the “French Donuts” my dad would make on icy winter mornings. Instead of being fried, they were dunked in butter and then coated in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. The melty butter and crunchy cinnamon-sugar coating was addictive.
So with this inspiration, as the Minnesota air turned crisp and the leaves changed color, I concocted the first pumpkin donut that would change the history of every batch of donuts to come after that!
The recipe hasn’t changed much over the years, but I have learned some fantastic tips and tricks that make it easier.
My Tip & Tricks for Pumpkin Donuts
- Invest in a donut tin with more than six molds if you don’t want to be baking all day. I prefer silicone as it makes it easier to get the donuts out of the pan without breaking them. I like this one. However, this recipe works just as well if you use a mini muffin tin (or even a regular muffin tin). So if you don’t want a donut pan cluttering your cabinets, use your muffin tin.
- While I have tried spooning batter into the donut molds, I find it easiest to pipe the batter into the mold with a Ziploc bag full of batter.
- This recipe makes approximately 48 two-inch donuts. If you aren’t going to eat 48 donuts, you can use half the batter for a loaf of pumpkin bread- just put the batter in a greased pan and bake at 350 degrees F until the center of the loaf is springy.
- You can also freeze the donuts (before the butter and sugar steps). When you are ready to use them, pull them out of the freezer a couple of hours ahead of time, let them thaw, and then follow steps 4 and 5. Does this mean you could have fresh donuts each day without a whole lotta work? Yes, yes it does.
- As I like to remind my daughters, “Butter makes everything better.” Except maybe, your cholesterol.
Pumpkin Donut Batter
1 (15 ounces) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil or olive oil (I use half a cup of olive oil and half a cup of vegetable oil)
⅔ cup water
2 cups white sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 ½ cups melted butter (3 sticks)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your donut pan using PAM spray or butter.
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and sugar, mixing until well blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just blended.
Put a gallon-sized Ziploc bag inside of a small bowl, opening it and folding it over the edges of the bowl. Spoon in approximately half of your batter (or whatever will fit), leaving enough room to seal the bag. After the bag is sealed, cut off one of the bottom tips.
Squeeze the batter into the donut mold, filling each mold about half full. If you add too much batter to the mold, the donuts rise while baking and will look more like muffins.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until the donut tops are springy to the touch.
While the donuts cool, mix your cinnamon and sugar in a pie dish or bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Once donuts have cooled, remove them from the mold. Then, submerge in the melted butter, making sure to get the entire donut covered. Then, dunk the donuts in the sugar-cinnamon mixture, again, making sure each side gets covered. Set on parchment paper.