buttermilk breakfast doughnuts

I feel really lucky. I have the best friends in the whole wide world. It’s one thing to be friends with me at my best, when I’m putting my best foot forward, but it’s another to be my friend at my worst (and whiney-est). When life’s blessings disguise themselves as difficulties, I’m the first one to complain and only see the circumstances. It’s terrible, really. I have a very difficult time looking beyond the immediate to see how everything might play out and that there might, in fact, be a reason for such circumstances. And so, despite my behavior and utter listlessness, my dear, dear friends bear with me as I work through my near breakdowns and fits of toddler like behavior and convince me to come to their house on a Saturday morning to make doughnuts. They couldn’t possibly know me any better.

I’m sure they were thinking of themselves a little, I mean they did get doughnuts out of the deal (they’re no dummies), but I believe they knew they needed some way to pull me out of the fog and into a sunny kitchen to fry some dough just to subsequently dunk it in liquid sugar. Have I told you they’re the best?

Being my first time making doughnuts, I wasn’t quite sure they would really be the thing I needed, but after breaking into a hot, sugary one, normalcy started to return almost immediately. Although, hours later, I would start to feel the effect of a few too many doughnut holes, but we’ll get to limiting your joy later.

These doughnuts are perfectly wonderful. They’re sweet, slightly spiced and a bit dense, making them feel substantial. They couldn’t be easier to make, which in all honesty makes me pretty nervous. It’s a dangerous thing to know I can just whip up some doughnuts any time I feel like it, especially if I don’t have two dozen friends to share them with.

Remember how I said I have amazing friends? Well, the lovely and very talented Emily Scott documented our process, and the darling Anna was the glaze aficionado. Those two are also solely responsible for twisting my arm to make them.

This post is part of a series of posts cooked from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham. Aimee, Sammy, Claudie, Emily and Natasha have posted their picks from the doughnut and fritters chapter so be sure to pay them a visit.

buttermilk breakfast doughnuts
recipe adapted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
makes two dozen


  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Oil for frying


  1. Put the shortening and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat to combine. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the buttermilk and blend.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt into a mixing bowl and stir to mix. Add the flour mixture all at once to the shortening mixture and beat until just mixed.
  3. Generously flour a board and turn out the dough. Roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut the doughnuts out with a 2 1/2 to 3 inch doughnut cutter and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more doughnuts until you run out of dough.
  4. Heat the oil to between 365 and 375 degrees. Drop 3 or 4 doughnuts into the hot oil but don’t over crowd the pan. Fry each side for about 2 minutes and turn over with a slotted spoon or wire skimmer. Remove and place on paper towels. Pat to remove any excess oil and plunge into prepared glaze (recipe to follow), turning to coat all sides. Place on a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet to let the icing set. Alternatively, you can simply sprinkle sugar over the doughnuts for a sweet garnish.

Doughnut Glaze
recipe from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
covers one dozen doughnuts

Mix 2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar with a 1/3 cup hot water. Stir until smooth. Put the glaze in a shallow bowl. While the doughnuts are freshly made, dunk all sides of each doughnut in the glaze. If the glaze thickens too much you can stir in a teaspoon or so of hot water.

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September 4, 2012. breakfast, quick and easy.


  1. emily replied:

    YUM!!! These look delicious! Just like what you’d find in a doughnut shop :) Can’t wait to try them.

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      You totally should! I can’t wait to try those Dewey buns! And the lemon curd was a brilliant idea!!

  2. Joleen Willis replied:

    I LOVE homemade doughnuts! We used to make them when I was little all the time! Great post Rach!

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      Thanks Joleen! Somehow I missed those at your house! Guess we’ll have to make them the next time we’re together. :)

  3. becwillmylife replied:

    Yum…I think this is my comment a lot of the time. Sorry I’m not very original:) This actually brought back wonderful memories. My mom used to make us homemade donuts and hot chocolate on the stove after every home football game when I was growing up. I can smell them now.

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      What a special memory! Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a wonderful tradition. :)

  4. Aimee G replied:

    I completely agree. It is quite dangerous to know how easy doughnuts and fritters are to make. I am still suffering from doughnut envy, so will have to make room in our calorie-laden breakfast schedule to return to Chapter 5!

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      I totally agree! There are so many gems in that chapter. I definitely want to make a bunch of the other ones!

  5. The Vagabond Baker replied:

    Wow, that’s breakfast with effort! they look delicious x

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      It’s funny, they were so easy! Dangerously easy, really!

  6. homecooksunite replied:

    I’ve always wanted to try making donuts, and now that I know it’s so easy, I will give it a try! Thanks for posting!

  7. tokyohamster replied:

    Oooo donuts have long been on my to-do list, but I keep procrastinating because I keep thinking of the calories. I might just have to make them one weekend – you make it sound so easy!

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