The history of the donut in America begins with Dutch immigrants who brought their recipe for “oily cakes” to the new world, and, according to Smithsonian magazine, includes a series of cultural touchstones ranging from an 1800s New England ship captain to the film “It Happened One Night.” And while you may not be able to precisely recreate the top-secret recipes of your favorite bakeries or chains, you can mix up a light, sweet, and airy donut in your kitchen for an after-school treat, lazy Sunday brunch, or unexpected dessert.
1. Pioneer Woman\’s Glazed Donuts
Glazed donuts may sound almost too simple, but getting them as light and fluffy as the pros do requires careful attention to detail. The Pioneer Woman\’s recipe calls for letting the dough sit overnight, then rolling and cutting the circles and letting the dough rise again the next morning before frying and glazing. This is not a recipe to throw together at the last minute, but the end result is irresistible.
2. Strawberry Buttermilk Donuts with Strawberry Glaze
Is any breakfast prettier than a pink donut? Strawberry buttermilk donuts from A Happy Food Dance are perfect for a preschooler\’s princess party, a tween sleepover, or a Valentine\’s Day breakfast. Made with cake ingredients — flour, sugar, baking powder, buttermilk, eggs, honey (instead of yeast) — they don\’t need to rise, and baking them in a donut pan ensures perfect circles without rolling and cutting. Add diced berries to the dough for a shortcake vibe, and use the juice from fresh mashed berries to make a sweet glaze.
3. Birthday Donuts
Swap cupcakes (boring) or cake balls (overdone) for festive birthday donuts from If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen. These thick, rich donuts — made with white and brown sugar, Greek yogurt, and nutmeg — get their celebratory look from rainbow sprinkles which are added to the dough, and used on top of the homemade vanilla glaze. Serve them for breakfast on your child\’s birthday, send a batch in to the class party, or add a scoop of ice cream and a candle for the full effect.
4. Peanut Butter Glazed Chocolate Donuts
Peanut butter glazed chocolate donuts from Crunchy Creamy Sweet may be the easiest way to convince yourself to eat dessert for breakfast. The from-scratch buttermilk chocolate donuts are topped with a thick mixture of peanut butter, butter, confectioners sugar, and vanilla (the chocolate chips are an extra-sweet touch). The recipe calls for cooking the donuts in a donut pan for 8-10 minutes; for the same flavors without the donut shape, you can also use a muffin tin.
5. Chocolate Frosted Donuts
The basic recipe for donuts from Sally\’s Baking Addiction is one you can use in a variety of recipes — she points out that she\’s also used it for powdered sugar donuts and Funfetti donuts — and adding a chocolate glaze (and tons of sprinkles) makes them a guaranteed crowdpleaser. Rainbow sprinkles make for a bright, cheery dessert, but swapping them for seasonal colors — red, green, and white at Christmas; red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July; pastel pink and purple for Easter; blue and white for the first snowfall — turns this classic treat into a new holiday tradition.