Pumpkin Molasses Doughnuts (Daring Bakers October)

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I had mixed feelings about this month’s Daring Bakers challenge… I love doughnuts, but I’m really not a big fan of frying things in my kitchen.  Eventually my love of doughnuts won and I gave in to frying up a batch of doughnuts.  After all, Daring Bakers is all about getting me out of my comfort zone, right?

I originally planned to make these pumpkin doughnuts…  However, my lack of preparation got the best of me.  I failed to read the recipe ahead of time (this is a constant problem… one day I will learn) and didn’t realize that the dough needed to chill for 3-4 hours.  I didn’t have that much time, so I decided to go with a yeast dough recipe that would only need a 1 1/2 hour rise time.

I ended up just kind of winging it on the dough, adding in some pumpkin and molasses to add a bit of a fall flavor.  They were fun to make, and tasted pretty good.  The pumpkin flavor was subtle, but after a dip in the cinnamon sugar, they had a definite fall taste.  I used some leftover cinnamon frosting that I thinned out for a few of the doughnuts, but I actually preferred the ones that were dipped in cinnamon sugar the best.  I may give the cake doughnuts a try sometime when I have time to let the dough rest, but it will probably be a while before I get the urge to fry something again.  Really, frying isn’t my thing.

Pumpkin Molasses Doughnuts

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for sprinkling
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Cinnamon sugar (or powdered sugar) to coat the doughnuts

Begin by heating the milk in a microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute in the microwave.  Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the milk and set aside for about 5 minutes until the butter has softened and begun to melt.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the pumpkin puree, molasses, egg, yeast, salt, and nutmeg.  Whisk together until the mixture is smooth.  Gradually stir in the flour until the dough starts to form and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Use your (clean) hands to gently knead the dough until smooth, adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

Once the dough has risen, roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Use round cookie cutters to cut out doughnut shapes (and don’t throw away the holes… they are the best part!).

Meanwhile, pour canola oil into a large pot or deep skillet, adding about 3 inches of oil.  Heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 375°F.  (I’d recommend using a candy/oil thermometer to regulate the temperature.)  Once the oil is up to temperature, add one or two doughnuts to the oil and fry for a minute or two on each side until the doughnut is puffed and golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to cool.

Roll the doughnuts and doughnut holes in cinnamon sugar (or a glaze, if you prefer) and enjoy!

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17 Responses to Pumpkin Molasses Doughnuts (Daring Bakers October)

  1. These look delicious! I noticed that you didn’t say when to put the yeast in, but I’m assuming that you dissolve it in the warm milk. I’ve actually never fried anything, it would definitely be a daring challenge for me!

    • Monica – Thanks for pointing that out… I actually just throw the yeast in with the pumpkin, molasses, etc. When you whisk everything together, it will dissolve in the mixture, and it usually works out just fine for me. You could add it to the milk to dissolve, though, if that’s what you prefer.

  2. Your donuts look amazing! I’m with ya though…I hate frying in my house! I feel like it smells like fried food for days afterwords. Although if my treat at the end was a delicious donut I might do it more often…

  3. I’m planning on making these for my girlfriend because she is practically obsessed with doughnuts. I was wondering if you had the recipe for the glaze you used? I checked the rest of your blog, but couldn’t find anything. Thanks!

    • Hi, Jason – I think I just made the glaze up as I was going… No real recipe involved. I simply start with about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and add just enough milk or cream to get the consistency I want. I’m pretty sure I also added a bit of cinnamon to this glaze, as well (about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon).