I must confess that I was not particularly enthused about Jessica Segarra's Mini Donuts: 100 Bite-Sized Donut Recipes to Sweeten Your "Hole" Day when I ordered it. While I love donuts, the idea of baked donuts instead of the traditional fried version hasn't been something that particularly attracted me. And then it arrived on my doorstep just about 3 hours before I was to leave for a couple of weeks visiting my daughter and granddaughter in the UK. Having nothing much better to do, I spent a good hour reading through all of the recipes instead of twiddling my thumbs while waiting to leave and I must say, I changed my mind in a hurry. In fact, I came this close to hauling the book and my Norpro 3980 12-Count Nonstick Mini Donut Pan along with me, thinking making these tiny treats might be a fun thing to do with my granddaughter. Weight won out and Mini Donuts: 100 Bite-Sized Donut Recipes to Sweeten Your "Hole" Day stayed behind, patiently waiting.
So, I crawled in the door just about 48 hours ago after 22 hours in a car, a bus, a plane and then a car again (NOT as young as I used to be!) and I've finally gotten up enough gumption to want something to eat other than whatever the pizza delivery guy can bring to my door, so out came the book and the pan.
I could have easily made about 90 of the 100 recipes in the book without so much as a trip to the store (that is saying something since the only "fresh" things in my fridge are milk and the buttermilk/sour cream/yogurt that was still in date when I left) but chocolate struck my fancy, so the remains of 2 1/2 dozen tiny Chocolate-Buttermilk Mini Donuts (page 44) sit proudly on the counter in my kitchen. They look just exactly like the pictures in the book and were an absolute breeze to make. (I would take a picture but I haven't unpacked enough to find the cable for the camera.) I didn't even bother to drag out the hand mixer!
All of these recipes are small, most requiring only a single cup of flour and one egg, so they are also pretty economical. Mixing is extremely straight forward, using only a 2 quart bowl and a whisk. I found that a scant 3 teaspoons of batter was the perfect amount for each little depression in the Norpro 3980 12-Count Nonstick Mini Donut Pan. (Three teaspoons is the same as a tablespoon, but distributing the batter in the smaller amounts made for a more even product. You could also use a piping bag with a medium tip, but that makes for more washing up.) As each dozen takes only about 7 or 8 minutes to bake, the recipe took well under an hour start to finish, including glazing the baked donuts. If I had had two of the mini-donut pans it would have taken under a half-hour. Surprisingly, I got exactly 30 donuts from the recipe, precisely the number that Jessica says I should get. (Since when does that happen?)
You'll find more flavors of donuts than you can shake sticks at here. Just 11 of them are the deep-fried sort. (You'll need a mini-donut cutter for those. This Ateco 2-1/2-Inch Stainless Steel Doughnut Cutter is the one I've had in my kitchen for many years.) For each of the remaining 89 donut recipes Jessica gives directions for both baking in a mini-donut pan like I did or using one of these electric donut makers - Babycakes DN-6 Mini Doughnut Maker, Yellow, 6 Donut, Sunbeam FPSBDMM921 Mini Donut Maker, Blue. Either way, lower calories and far more economical since neither method requires any great amount of expensive oil.
Grandma's $0.02: The donuts are scrumptious and dead easy with almost no learning curve. (Shake the pan and bang it a bit on the counter to distribute the batter evenly and you'll get perfect donuts every time.) Inexpensive and quick as a wink to make, turning out a variety is a simple but fun project that older children and teens will also enjoy. Perfect for tea parties too!
This is a book I'm going to use many, many times. Hmmm - maybe I'll make those Cranberry Orange Mini Donuts tomorrow . . .
Two thumbs up! Highly recommended.