Okay, peeps, so I’ve been going on and on about how I am not a huge fan of pumpkin (sorry haters) and then am simultaneously finding it necessary to do a lot of posting of pumpkin content. I’m a total hypocrite, obvs, and so apologies in advance. But ’tis the season and all that (the pumpkin season), and I have developed a few pumpkin recipes over the last few months that need sharing and so there you have it. First up, are these pumpkin donut holes, which are drenched in melted butter when still warm from the oven — yes, my friends, these babies are baked — and then rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture until thickly coated — you’re welcome. Usually, I am only on board with pumpkin if chocolate is involved, like when I made pumpkin whoopie pies with chocolate cream cheese filling for Food52. Or, when I made pumpkin sheet cake with chocolate bourbon buttercream for Main Street Magazine. Or, pumpkin snacking cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting for Chowhound. But in this instance, my lovely pals at the Spruce Eats invited me to film a video with them, and asked that I choose the particular sweet that I wanted to prepare — and because I was trying to think outside of my not-crazy-about-pumpkin box, I thought of pumpkin.Moreover, I had just developed a baked pumpkin donut for The Spruce Eats, at their request (as I would not have chosen to develop a recipe for a pumpkin donut on my own volition, as mentioned above), and so I thought I’d riff on that in the video. Moreover, I am obsessed and awfully proud of my dirt bomb donut holes, and thought the technique I use for assembling those would be great to share with the Spruce Eats audience via video. And so that is how this recipe came to be . . . My dirt bombs are a slightly spicy, nutmeg-flavored donut hole (drenched in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar) that you bake in the oven using a mini-muffin pan. And so for these pumpkin holes, I chose to do the same thing. I made my pumpkin donut batter, but rather than pipe it into a donut pan, I dropped tablespoonfuls into the tiny cavities of my (sprayed) min muffin pan and voila! They bake up in less than 12 minutes and because they are rolled in the melted butter when still warm, their edges are softened by the warm butter and cinnamon sugar coating and they really do look more round and donut hole-like, than mini muffin-like . . .
But, you know, regardless of how they look, they really are unbelievably tender and moist and delicious; with just enough pumpkin flavor cut with just enough cinnamon and sugar to be just enough perfect. Moreover, the crunchy texture of the coating is lovely against the soft interior of the holes, and the sparkly look of the holes ain’t half bad either. Pumpkin lover or not, I guarantee these are crowd pleasers. And you know that if I am saying this, a reluctant, only temporary, member of team pumpkin, it must be true.
Pumpkin Donut Holes with Cinnamon Sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree about 2/3 of a 15 ounce can
- For the cinnamon sugar coating:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spay or softened butter.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium-sized bowl.
- Place the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the pumpkin and whisk again.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine. Do not over mix.
- Evenly fill each cavity in the mini muffin tin with a tablespoon and a half of batter.
- Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway mark, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the donuts in the center of the pan comes out clean.
- While the donuts bake, make the cinnamon sugar coating. Whisk the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl with some depth. Place the melted butter in another small bowl.
- Once the donut holes have cooled enough to handle, but are still quite warm, remove them from the pan and begin dipping them one at a time in the bowl of butter and then rolling them in the cinnamon sugar.
- Transfer the coated holes to a wire rack. Serve immediately.
- The donuts are best eaten the day they are made, but will last a day, or so, on the counter wrapped in plastic wrap. They also freeze beautifully: once they are at room temperature, place them into the freezer on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to zippered plastic bag and keep in the freezer for up to a month. Let them come to room temp before serving.