Tag Archives: Donuts

Challah Donuts

As I mentioned in my last post, Challah Bread, my family discovered that my father is half European Jewish through an ancestry DNA test this past fall. I turned to baking to celebrate this new family heritage by making challah bread for my families holiday celebrations. It was so exciting to be able to connect to our family history through baking!

While strolling along in the grocery store one day shortly before the holidays, I came across a “bake From Scratch” magazine holiday issue. (Just a side note here…this magazine has become one of my new favorite baking publications out there!-and no, they did not pay me to say that.) I was thrilled to come across an entire section in the magazine devoted to challah dough! It included four recipes you can make with challah dough including challah donuts. YUP, I said CHALLAH DONUTS!!!!!! I about jumped up and down in the store thinking of how delicious fried challah dough would be. That soft, fluffy, and slightly sweet dough fried into a donut sounded like heaven to me.  Then I thought about how I could fill these fried rounds of deliciousness with one of my most favorite things on this earth, vanilla bean pastry cream. AND, I found another way to connect to my family history though baking…well baking and frying in this case.

I decided to treat my family to a very special movie snack for family movie night during the kids holiday break. At first, the kids were a little disappointed that I did not make popcorn…until they took one bite of these drool worthy challah donuts. I heard words like, “amazing,” “the best thing you have ever made,” and “can I have another one.” Nobody missed the popcorn! Since then, I have gotten many requests to make them again. I just fulfilled one of those requests last week. My son requested challah donuts  to celebrate getting his cast off his arm. I was more than happy to bless him with these fried, pastry cream filled bites from heaven!

Challah Donuts


For the Donuts:

1 recipe of Challah Dough (see recipe below)
Vegetable oil for frying
1 C (210 grams) granulated sugar (vanilla sugar works wonderfully here! See my baking tip below)

For the Pastry Cream:

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped
pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes


For the Pastry Cream:

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.

3. When the milk mixture comes to a simmer, very slowly pour 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to slowly add the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly until it has all been incorporated.

4. Place a fine mesh strainer over your saucepan. Pour the mixture back into the sauce pan through the mesh strainer to catch the vanilla bean pod and and any bits of egg.

5. Cook the mixture over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about two minutes.

6. Transfer the mixture to a an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attached, or a hand mixer. Add the butter and beat on medium speed until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.

7. Place the pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

For the donuts:
    1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with baking spray with flour.
    2. Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface, and roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 3 1/2- inch round cutter, cut dough, rerolling scraps as necessary.  Place onto prepared pans.
    3.  Set a wire rack over paper towels. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan (I like to use my cast iron dutch oven) pour oil to a depth of 3 inches, and heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees. Add donuts to hot oil in batches of 3-4, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry until light golden brown, 1 1/2-2 minutes per side. Remove, and let drain on prepared rack. Let cool for 5 minutes. Place the granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Dip doughnuts in sugar.
    4. Spoon pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Use a sharp knife to make a small hole in one end of each doughnut. Insert piping tip and fill with cream. Serve immediately.*Makes approximately 24 donuts. You can freeze half of your challah dough to use at a later time if you only want to make 12 donuts.

       Challah Dough


      1¾ cups warm water (105° to 110°)
      2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
      1 tablespoon (14 grams) active dry yeast
      ½ cup (100 grams) olive oil
      5 large eggs
      ½ cup (144 grams) honey
      2 tablespoons (36 grams) kosher salt
      7½ to 8 cups (1,050 to 1,120 grams) all-purpose flour


      1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 1¾ cups warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in honey and salt. Gradually add flour, ½ cup (70 grams) at a time, until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and knead for 3 to 5 minutes.

      2. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (75°) until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.

      Recipe adapted from bake From Scratch Holiday 2016

      Recipe Source for pastry Cream: Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

      Baking Tips:

      • Dip your donuts in vanilla sugar to take them above and beyond. Vanilla sugar can be purchased or you can make some by placing a used vanilla bean in a bowl of sugar. Let the bowl of sugar sit for a few days before using.
      • Use a good deep fry thermometer to maintain the proper temperature when frying
      • Place your challah dough in your oven with the oven light on to rise. If it gets too warm with the oven light on, prop the oven door open.
      • If your dough is too sticky while kneading, add flour 2 TBS at a time until dough pulls away from side of bowl

      Bake and Share Ideas:

      1. Whip up a batch of challah donuts for your next family movie or game night
      2. Share challah donuts at your next brunch whether you host a brunch or attend a brunch
      3. Invite some friends over for coffee and challah donuts!

BFB Bake and Share


I am so excited to introduce what I like to call, “Bake and Share.” I started this blog with the idea of providing easy recipes and instructions for you to become a successful baker as well as ideas and ways for you to share your baked creations with others. The hope is that spreading just a little bit of kindness through the random act of sharing baked goods will change someone’s mood, make someone’s day, or make someone feel extra special, and in turn, they will spread kindness as well. I would like you to help me put this into action in your communities in a really fun and effective way.
This weekend, I will be hosting my first bake and share party. I have invited a few close friends over to make the Heart Shaped Vanilla Bean Donuts I posted last week. As the host, I will gather the ingredients, boxes to share the donuts in, and set up a few baking stations in my kitchen. (I may also provide light snacks and drinks for my friends.) Everyone will chip in for the cost of ingredients. We will each bake a batch of donuts. Since I am having 6 friends over, I will have them work in groups of 2. Each group will double their recipe. Each baker will take home 6 donuts to share with their family. They will then be left with 18 donuts to share within their community. For this bake and share, we have decided to share our donuts with a service group such as police officers, firemen, nurses, doctors, etc.
I have decided to share my batch of donuts with a fire station near my home. I had to call upon their help last year when I forgot to open the flu of my fireplace and lit a fire. They came quickly and thoroughly checked everywhere in my home to make sure it was safe. I am happy to show my appreciation with a box of freshly baked donuts! With it being Valentine’s Day weekend, the heart shaped donuts will be perfect! 
I plan to host a bake share gathering at least once a month. I would love to include children as well, and even do mommy and me or daddy and me gatherings. Every month, I will pick a different group or organization to share with such as military, food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, those battling illness and their caretakers, etc. 

My hope is that you will bake with us this weekend. If you do not have a heart shaped donut pan, just use a standard pan or a muffin pan. Host your own bake and share gathering, or bake on your own or with your kids. Make it a family activity! What a wonderful way to teach our children to show kindness to others! And they can learn to bake as well! Please take a picture of yourself sharing your baked creations and post it on instagram and the Baking For Blessings Facebook Page with the hashtag #BFBbakeshare. I would love to see who you bake for! Let’s flood our communities with kindness and baked goods this weekend! Happy Baking! 

For the Heart Shaped Vanilla Bean Donut Recipe, click HERE
Help me spread the word and share this post with your friends and family through email and social media. Thank you! 

Heart Shaped Baked Vanilla Bean Donuts



Look at the flecks of vanilla bean deliciousness



Who doesn’t love a heart shaped donut? Add in the vanilla bean and these donuts go from cute and special to deliciously scrumptious. My family is a huge fan of this baked donut recipe. It has become a staple in our home for every occasion from holidays to birthdays. I decorate the donuts based on the occasion. Vanilla bean donuts are now expected to be sitting on the kitchen island in my covered cake stand the morning of any holiday or birthday. All three of my kids thank me over and over and tell me I am the best mom ever when I make these! I was fortunate enough to score a great deal on a heart shaped donut pan at the Wilton tent sale last June. Which means, this year, my kiddos will get to enjoy these heart shaped donuts for breakfast on Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have a heart shaped donut pan, I have seen them for sale on Amazon. However, a standard donut pan will work just as well!



I found this recipe on the Cooking Classy blog a few years ago. I love anything with vanilla bean, so I knew I had to try it immediately! If I know I will be short on time right before a holiday, I bake the donuts, let them cool, then freeze them. The night before the occasion, I defrost the donuts, then decorate them with fun holiday sprinkles.

Click on the photo below for the recipe. (Be sure to read the notes below the photo for instructions to bake in the heart shaped pan)



To bake in the heart shaped pan:
  1. Fill the heart shaped wells halfway with batter (2 TBS)
  2. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 4-5 minutes or until the donut springs back when touched.
  3. Cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then remove from pan onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely
  4. Decorate with glaze as directed in the recipe.
  5. One batch yields 24 heart shaped donuts



Baking Tips:

*See my tips and techniques page on how to measure flour

*I like to use whole milk in my baked goods

*Use high quality vanilla extract such Nielsen Massey. I have found that the vanilla beans are cheapest at Walmart. Or you can order them from Beanilla.  This is the cheapest option for me. I typically order a package of 25. However, they offer them individually or in packages of 3 for $7.95. Also feel free to substitute vanilla bean paste for the vanilla bean in this recipe. 1 TBS of vanilla bean paste is equal to one vanilla bean

*Take your used vanilla bean and place it in a small container. Add sugar and place the top on the container. Let it sit for about 2 weeks. You now have delicious vanilla sugar! You can use it in your coffee, sprinkle it atop your vanilla bean scones before baking, or use it to in your baked goods for a more intense vanilla bean flavor.

Bake and Share Ideas:
  1. Bake a batch of donuts. Keep enough for your family to enjoy and box up the rest to give to friends and neighbors for a sweet Valentines treat.
  2. Share your donuts with your kids teachers and coaches
  3. Bake up a batch to treat your co-workers
  4. Attach a cute Valentine tag to your box or tray of donuts when sharing. I found a few cute ones on-line that you can print yourself.

From I Heart Naptime: Click on the photo to print the tag


From Short Stop Designs: Click on the photo to print the tags. There are multiple sayings to choose from.


STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT HOW I INTEND TO BLESS OTHERS WITH HEART SHAPED DONUTS!!!! I will be posting about it on Facebook next week and will be asking you to join me in my efforts to spread kindness in our communities through freshly baked goodies!!!!BE SURE TO LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE if you have not done so already. You can click the “like” button on the right hand sidebar of this post.