Because there are some mornings that call for donut holes.

Like a morning when friends come over to learn more about coffee knowing that we, or more accurately, my husband, knows a thing or two about it and that we have eight, or so, brewing methods.

Or when the sun appears for the first time since the calendar declared, “it’s SPRING!” And although it feels more like Winter than Spring, deep down you sense it’s coming and begin to arrange the rhubarb baking schedule and direct your thoughts towards asparagus and away from earthy root vegetables.

A morning when the kids play contentedly around you and the google calendar reminds you that you have an entire day with nothing to do but simply be present.

Or one that finds you urging your slow moving 5 year old to hurry up as the clock ticks on seemingly mocking your tardiness and you glance to the counter spying a few leftover donut holes from the day before.

Then there is a morning when you sit alone with your feet perched on a tattered grizzly bear foot rest and the silence is interrupted from the crackling of a fireplace and the soft crashing of rolling waves. When you write at a leisurely pace and linger over cookbooks, dreaming of recipe ideas and menus, realizing that you are doing exactly what you were created for and taking that in as the incredible gift that it is.

These are the mornings for donut holes.



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Brown Butter Donut Holes


5 Tablespoons butter

1 cup (8 1/2 oz) milk (I use whole)

1 egg

1 1/2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (3 oz) whole wheat flour

2 Tablespoons (1 oz) brown sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

oil for frying


For dipping:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


In a small saucepan add the butter. Bring to a boil and cook until the milk solids present in the butter turn a nutty brown color. Carefully swirl the pan so you can periodically check the color of the butter. Immediately take it off the heat when you smell a fragrant nuttiness and the butter is golden.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Combine the milk and the egg in a small bowl and whisk to break up the egg. Stir the milk, egg and browned butter into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix.

Heat 2-3″ of oil in a deep sauce pan. Once the oil has reached 360* carefully drop a tablespoon size mounds of dough into the oil. Fry a few at a time watching the oil temperature making sure it stays around 360*. Fry until deep golden, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully move the donuts around in the oil for even frying.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the warm donuts to the cinnamon and sugar and roll around until well coated. Serve immediately.

59 Responses to “Brown Butter Donut Holes”

  1. Isabelle @ Crumb

    Donut holes are a thing of beauty, and I’m pretty sure adding browned butter elevates them to the level of freakin’ masterpiece.
    The half-cup of whole wheat flour makes them kinda healthy, right? (Just say yes… I need to justify making these somehow.)

  2. brandi

    oh man, these sound like trouble. i love brown butter, regardless, but in donuts? there goes my skinny jeans 🙂

  3. Lauren

    A gluten-free version will be made ASAP 🙂 Lovely post, as always… I love the comment about realizing that thinking/loving/creating food is exactly what you were put on this earth to do. I could not agree with you more because I feel the same way about myself.

  4. la domestique

    Love this post, especially the writing. The doughnut holes look delicious. This morning I made pancakes even though there was no time for pancakes. As I pulled out the mixing bowl and whisk I was sure my husband would say not to, but instead we sat down to a pile of flapjacks and time slowed, making the whole morning (and day) better. These are the mornings for special treats like your doughnut holes.

  5. allilau

    Yum! I look at these gorgeous beauties and start to imagine my kitchen filled with the smells and sounds when making this fantastic recipe! Coming up to the cooler months of Autumn and winter, it’d be a sure fire winner here, thanks for sharing!

  6. Stephanie

    This recipe looks amazing! Will try it soon. My two year old will think he has died and gone to heaven. We only have sweets on special occasions. What kind of oil do you usually fry it in?

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