These festive holiday donuts are a must-have if you love eggnog! Topped with eggnog frosting and warm spices, these are sure to put you in the holiday spirit!
Eggnog – to me – is synonymous with the Christmas season. I usually start checking the stores for my favorite brand of eggnog at the end of October. You might even call me an “eggnog snob.” I won’t just purchase any brand of eggnog, but I scrutinize the ingredients very carefully. I want “real” eggnog without high fructose corn syrup, artificial thickeners, and flavors. Sometimes that means leaving the store without buying any because so many of them are just full of bad things. I know you can always make homemade eggnog – and it’s something that is on my list to try – but for now, I buy it.
This year I figured, why not eggnog donuts? After several rounds of tweaking the recipe, I was finally happy with the results. Below I’ve listed some tips and tricks for making the perfect donuts.
Check out my other donut recipes:
Tips and Tricks:
Tools: You’ll need to be able to cut out your donuts. You can buy a donut cutter that will cut out the donut and donut hole simultaneously. These tend to measure from 3 inches to 3 1/2 inches. Or you can use pastry cutters. I have a set of pastry cutters that have 12 different sizes of circular cutters. For these donuts, I use the 3-inch cutter and the smallest 1-inch cutter to make the perfect size donuts and donut holes. They will be smaller than the large bakery donuts, but then I can eat two and not feel too guilty about it! You can always make larger donuts, but keep in mind the recipe will yield fewer donuts than the recipe indicates. You can always whip up another batch if you need a few more donuts, too, as this recipe is so quick and easy to make.
Dough: Donut dough should be sticky but not so sticky that you find it hard to work with. The key is flour. If the dough seems a bit sticky, add a little flour, no more than a tablespoon at a time. Also, it is important that you lightly flour the surface you plan on rolling the dough out on – including the top of the dough and the rolling pin. Before you use the cutters, dip them in flour. After cutting one or two donuts, dip the cutters in flour again to keep the dough from sticking. Once you cut the donuts, place them on a cutting board or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The dough will not stick to the parchment paper.
*Honest moment* Frying things in oil used to intimidate me. But I’ve done it enough times to be pretty comfortable with it now. Just use common sense and be careful. So here are a couple of tips on frying:
- First, the temperature is so important! When frying anything in oil, you need a frying thermometer or candy thermometer. You have to know your oil temperature to cook the food correctly. If your oil is not hot enough, your food will be under-cooked. If the oil is too hot, you will burn your food. For frying donuts, you want your oil to be between 355°F and 365°F. The hardest part of making donuts is keeping your oil between those two temperatures. You will discover that your temperature will drop as soon as you put the donuts in the oil. That is why you should never fry more than three donuts at a time because your temperature will drop too low. Just keep a close eye on your thermometer, and take the time to adjust the oil temperature. If you need to, wait a few minutes in between batches to allow your oil to get back to 365°F. But you also don’t want to put your donuts in oil that is over 365°F, because they will be overcooked on the outside and most likely undercooked on the inside. If your oil is getting too hot, you can carefully remove it from the burner for a few minutes to let the oil cool down.
- Never drop the donuts into the hot oil! You will get splashed and burned. Most people, myself included, assume that the oil will sizzle and pop when you add the donuts, kind of like the trials of frying bacon. However, if the temperature is correct (not too hot), when you put the donuts in the hot oil, they will sizzle, but they will do that under the surface, not splattering or spitting at you. The technique I use is to lay the donuts gently in the oil. They will initially sink to the bottom, but they will float to the top after a few seconds.
- Flip the donuts after about a minute or when they are golden-brown. You will need something to flip and remove the donuts from the oil when they are done. A pair of forks will work, or a large meat fork. They even make a tool called a spider strainer for frying food. The strainer looks like a spider web, hence the name.
- When you are done frying your donuts, don’t throw the oil out! You can reuse it. Once you’ve finished frying, let the oil cool. When it’s reached a safe temperature, place a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth (even better if you use both!) over the container you plan to store it in and strain the oil. Label the oil with the date and what you fried in the oil; you don’t want to fry donuts in oil that previously was used for frying fish…Gross! Store the oil in a cool, dry place for no longer than three months. Always check your oil before reusing it. If it is cloudy or rancid-smelling, throw it out!
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon rum extract
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4-5 cups vegetable oil, for frying, (see notes)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons eggnog
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pour enough oil into a large pot to give you about an inch to two inches of oil. Heat oil to 365°F, over medium-high heat. Use a frying thermometer or a candy thermometer to ensure proper temperature. While oil is heating prepare donuts, (keep an eye on the oil temperature).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla, rum extract, and melted butter.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, and using a fork, mix just until combined. Do not over mix.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to ½-inch thickness with a floured rolling pin. Then use a 3-inch pastry cutter and a 1-inch pastry cutter, cut out donuts and donut holes, placing cut-donuts on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or cutting board. Re-roll as needed to use all the dough.
- Once your oil has reached 365°F, place no more than 3 donuts in the oil at a time (or you run the risk of cooling your oil too much). Fry for about 2 minutes, flipping once. Donuts are done when they are golden-brown on both sides. Move to a paper towel-lined cooling rack to cool. **Keep an eye on your oil temperature and adjust the heat up or down to maintain a temperature of 355°F to 365°F.**
- Allow fried donuts to cool to room temperature before dipping them in frosting.
To make the glaze:
- Add all the glaze ingredients to a small bowl. Stir with a small whisk or a fork until the frosting is smooth.
- The glaze should be thick enough to cling well to the cooled donut without running off the donut. If the glaze is too thick, add a teaspoon of eggnog and stir, adding more, one teaspoon at a time, until you've reached the desired consistency. To thicken the glaze, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar, stir.
- Dip the tops of the donuts in the glaze twice, gently shaking off the excess.
- Allow the donuts to sit for a couple of minutes to allow the glaze to set slightly.