Pumpkin Doughnuts

I love vegetables, fancy food, delicate dinners, and refined cuisine. But I also have a deep abiding weakness for Totinos pizza, burgers, and doughnuts. James and I are slowly trying out all of the burger dives in DC and I will eventually share the results of our most scientific research. Because he loves me and thus is trying to speak my foodie love language, he is also helping me compile a list of one of a kind doughnut shops for us to explore. I think my doughnut love began in high school when I worked in a coffee shop with my friend Sarah and I had this really odd obsession with selling out of doughnuts. It was my personal quest to blaze through all the doughnuts, so I all but forced them on customers, occasionally resorting to “inadvertently” smashing ones in the process so I could eat them.

Lately there have been lots of doughnuts on Pinterest. (Oh wait, you aren’t on Pinterest yet? Whatever are you doing with your time? How are you surviving without being bombarded by images of things to buy, eat, or do? How are you blissfully unaware of your inferiority because you have yet to be confronted with a world of DIY that can never be accomplished by mere mortals?)  And I, ever a slave of impulse, have been obsessed with trying to make them.  After several thwarted attempts, I finally got around to making them the other night, with the help of my roommates and James.  Contrary to what the website says, we found them even better the next day. We also preferred the glazed ones, although some made it in both glaze and sugar. Life is short.

Pumpkin Doughnuts (From Annie’s Eats)

Yield: about 16 doughnuts and doughnut holes


For the doughnuts:

3½ cups all-purpose flour

4 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground cloves

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup buttermilk

1 cup pumpkin puree

Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying

For the cinnamon-sugar:
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon, dashes of other spices used in doughnuts

For the spiced glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar,
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon,
dash of ground nutmeg,
dash of ground ginger,
dash of ground cloves,
2 tbsp. milk


1. To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl.  Whisk to blend, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter and beat until well blended.  Stir in the egg, then the egg yolks, and then the vanilla until incorporated.  Combine the buttermilk and pumpkin in a liquid measuring cup and whisk together.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the pumpkin mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Once the dough is mixed, cover and chill for at least 3 hours or until firm. You can put it in the freezer  briefly if it is too soft.

2. On a well-floured work surface, roll or pat out the dough to a ½-inch thick round.  Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour.  Using a 2½ to 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough.  Use a smaller cutter (or a wide pastry tip) to cut a hole out of the center.  Reroll and cut the dough scraps as necessary.

3. Add oil to a large saucepan or Dutch oven to a depth of about 2-3 inches.  Attach athermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil to 365-370˚ F.  Add the rings of dough to the hot oil so that they are in a single layer and not touching.  Fry, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and doughnuts are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes total.  Use a skimmer/strainer to remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined rack.  Bring the oil temperature back up to the target range before repeating with the next batch of doughnuts.  Use the same process for the doughnut holes, frying for a shorter time.

4. To make the cinnamon-sugar, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and whisk to blend.  When the doughnuts are just cool enough to handle, dip half of them in the cinnamon-sugar to coat completely, shaking off the excess.

5. To make the spiced glaze, combine the powdered sugar and spices in a small bowl.  Add the milk and whisk to combine, until a thick glaze is formed.  If necessary, add a bit more milk to thin the glaze out.  Dip the remaining half of the doughnuts in the glaze.  Allow the glaze to set before serving.

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8 Responses to Pumpkin Doughnuts

  1. themortiers says:

    Your food pictures are always so good and make me so hungry! I’m jealous of Liz and James that they got to be there to help eat them! 😉

  2. Kate says:

    If you ever get a chance to check out Z Burger, they are probably the best milkshake/ burger place in town next to Five Guys (which doesn’t do shakes). Truly worth the hike.

    • hs87 says:

      Ooohhhh — sounds delicious! I must add it to my list. Where is it?

      • Kate says:

        They have two locations.

        2414 Wisconsin Avenue NW
        Washington D.C.
        (202) 965-7777


        4321 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest
        (202) 966-1999

        Be warned, the one nearest to Georgetown does not have very many of the shake flavors, so I would recommend the one further north.

        Let me know if/ when you go. Maybe we can do a double date.

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