There are a couple of ways you can eat donuts at their peak freshness. Stand outside your favorite donut shop ready for it to open, so you are first in line for donuts right out of the pan, or you could make them yourself.
I am not sure everyone has the time or energy to wait for the open sign to light on the donut shop door.
However, we can all experience freshly made donuts at home with a donut maker. Understanding and choosing wisely from the best mini donut makers is our goal here, so let’s take a look at the options and learn a little bit more about how to make one of everyone’s favorite yummy treats.
What Makes Fresh Donuts So Special?
A donut, like a bagel, goes stale very quickly. The donut trade talks about the half-life of a donut.
During the first hour or so it has a crisp outside and a soft inside, no matter if it‘s a leavened crumb of a cake donut or the more chewy yeast donut. In the first few minutes out of the pan, they can taste even better.
It doesn’t take that long for the crispiness of the outside to soften, and the crumb to become a little stale. It’s still good to eat but just not perfect.
The best donut shops virtually cook to order and don’t have many laying around to go stale. That’s why if you want to eat a donut at peak perfection, it‘s best to make them yourself.
Is It Doughnut Or Donut, And Other Things You Didn’t Know
We are aware everyone enjoys them but how do we spell them, is it doughnut, or donut? The official dictionary spelling is a doughnut, with donut being a variation. The word doughnut makes its first appearance in the early 1800s describing a delicacy of sweetened dough fried in hog’s fat and made in New York.
Even so, it took another 100 years before the simplified spelling of donut became popular in the United States. Once the successful Dunkin’ Donuts chain started in the 1950s, the use of the word donut took off.
You would think that there is an ocean between the British English spelling of doughnut and the American English spelling of donut. Unfortunately, things get cloudy when you realize the first Friday in June is commemorated in the United States as National Doughnut Day – I kid you not!
Therefore, for this review, we will be using both, but for the sake of consistency, I’m going to stick to a donut for our American readers.
What Types of Donuts Are There?
There are two styles of our most favorite donuts. There is the cake donut and the yeast donut.
A hint at how you make a cake donut comes in the name. It is a bit like making a cake and uses a similar mix. Some bakers say it is about the same mix you would use for a coffee cake; flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, butter, and a liquid, which for donuts buttermilk is preferred. What you get is a very thick and sticky dough that needs to be chilled before cooking.
The yeast donut, as you would probably expect, fluffs up when cooked. This recipe calls for flour and eggs, butter, the yeast of course, and warm milk. Donut making experts say high quality butter will enhance the recipe, but the other ingredients can come straight from the larder.
Of course, with any mixture involving yeast, it needs time to work or prove, so this dough has to stand in a warm place until it‘s grown twice its size before cooking.
What We Looked For In Our Reviews
Our Top Mini Donut Makers
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Why Buy A Donut Maker?
Traditionally donuts are a fried food. The batter is popped into hot oil to cook until golden brown and then dusted with a little sugar ready to be devoured. Easy you say, well not so as there are so many things that can go wrong. Let me explain.
You always need to be careful frying with hot oil. The last thing you want is it spurting all over your stovetop. Donuts need deep oil, and generally can’t be cooked in a shallow pan. So you need a deep pan with at least a quart of oil to successfully fry donuts.
Remember popping the donuts into the pot means the oil will be displaced, so the pan needs to hold at least two quarts to stop any excess oil spilling over the top.
Getting the temperature of the oil right is imperative to cooking fluffy and delicious donuts. Chefs who have been frying donuts for decades will tell you that a thermometer is vital to make sure the oil is at just the right temperature. A candy thermometer or one designed for deep frying is best.
If you don’t adjust the temperature of the oil while cooking, your donuts could be undercooked. When frying, the temperature of the oil will fluctuate, so it‘s important to try and keep it as constant as possible. So, once the donuts are popped into the pan, its best to raise the stove’s heat just a little to compensate.
Alternatively, when you take the donuts out, best to turn the heat on the stove down a little, otherwise the temperature of the oil may climb dramatically.
If you want your donuts to be beautiful and golden brown and crisp on the outside, and perfectly fluffy inside then you have to make sure the temperature of the oil is high enough. Most cooks recommend a narrow range cooking temperature of between 350F and 360F for best results. Lower than this and your donuts will come out greasy and doughy and chewy.
And finally, if the donut is not properly drained of oil, then it really can be an oily mess. It’s best to use a slotted spoon when removing the cooked donuts from the pan, and allow the baked donuts to drain with a little gentle agitation, before putting them on a cooling rack with kitchen paper to catch the remainder of the excess oil.
So you see, what appears to be the simple frying of donuts, is fraught with problems, and is often why lots of people shy away from making donuts at home.
However, by using a donut maker, all those critical issues are resolved, and you can have fresh delicious and more healthy donuts every day if you love them as much as I do. Donut makers are not deep fat fryers, so there are fewer calories in the donuts, and a lot less mess to clean up afterward.
Ingredients to Use for Healthier Homemade Donuts
Having a healthy looking body is a top-10 on almost everyone’s wish list, but it isn’t easy, especially when it comes to changing your diet. No one wants to give up dessert or sugary snacks. Since donuts are essentially dessert for breakfast, they’re often the first to face the chopping block.
Recent studies show that sugar may be as addictive as some popular drugs, and we depend on that sweet flavor psychologically. With this in mind, moving on to healthier alternatives is important for both your physical and mental health.
The good news is, you don’t have to chop dessert off the end of your menu. You can even have donuts for breakfast. It’s all about getting smarter about what you put into them. We’ve gone over some of the easiest and most creative ways to cut calories and add nutrition to your favorite breakfast food.
Whether you want a slight change to help you start the process, or you’re looking to reinvent the wheel, you’ll find the ingredients you need below.
Whole Wheat Flour
This is the simple alternative for someone looking to cut just a few calories without changing the flavor and texture of their favorite donut recipe. While whole wheat flour is better than bleached white flour, it doesn’t add much besides fiber to your donuts. It doesn’t cut anywhere near as many calories as advertising would lead you to believe, either.
Still, it’s a great step in the right direction, and it may open the door to further experimentation.
Everyone knows that olive oil is a healthier stove-cooking option. Unfortunately, it’s not great for high temperatures. In fact, high temperatures turn olive oil’s health benefits into potentially harmful chemicals.
That leaves things like frying, particularly deep frying, out of olive oil’s range. Still, butter and frying oil make up two of the worst ingredients in any donut recipe.
Coconut oil is touted as everything from a lotion to health supplement these days, but not all the hype is false. This oil acts just like butter, which makes it perfect for cooking at high temperatures without compromising its cellular structure.
It has fewer of butter’s drawbacks, and because it isn’t a dairy product, it’s appropriate for a wider range of diets. Coconut oil can replace butter in donut batter, and it can be used to fry the donuts, too. This cuts out two less healthy options with a single, healthier ingredient.
Chia or Flaxseed Meal
Thanks to nutritional movements like the Paleo diet coming into vogue, a lot of cooks and bakers have been re-examining the foundations of their donuts. This brought chia and flaxseed meal into the limelight. They’re both nutritious options.
Besides cutting sugar and calories, they actually deliver powerful vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your food. It’s possible to cook tasty treats without wheat flour at all, but if you substitute flour with chia of flaxseed meal entirely, you’ll get a very unusual texture. That said, there are plenty of recipes that use a mix of flours and seed meals.
Together, they give you the texture and nutrition you’re looking for. You’re bound to find the right combination for your taste buds with a little experimentation, and that gives you an excuse to make more donuts!
Blueberry cake donuts hold a place in the donut hall of fame, and it’s all thanks to the fruit. One of the simplest ways to avoid unhealthy, artificial flavors and extremely high sugar content is to use fruit, nature’s sweets, in your baking.
Berries are some of the healthiest, most nutritious foods in the world, so feel free to add liberal handfuls of blueberries, raspberries, and others to your donuts.
The flavor helps you cut back on the sugar you add to the batter, and the fruit itself gives your sweet indulgence more than empty calories. Blueberries are called a super food for a reason.
Even if you aren’t a fan of big chunks of fruit in your baked goods, you have options. Pulverizing fruit in a blender or food processor allows you to get the most out of the flavor without overriding the donut’s texture. Blended fruit will fold into batter very well.
As an extra benefit, the grinding frees the fruit juice, which mixes with your batter’s other liquids to infuse the entire batch. This trick works for any kind of fruit, including bananas, oranges, and even apples.
The worst part of any sweet is its sugar content. While we suggested adding some sweet flavor with fruit, we understand that apples and berries alone do not satisfy the primal urge of the sweet tooth. Processed sugars, however, are the absolute worst option for anyone to use in their cooking.
Agave nectar, maple syrup, honey, applesauce, and monk fruit sweeteners are all options for those trying to get away from processed sugar.
Although things like maple syrup and applesauce are relatively processed, they are still far closer to their natural forms than cane or beet sugar. They also rely on additional flavors besides pure sweetness to make them tasty. In the case of applesauce, you get bonus fiber to boot.
Finding the right balance of these ingredients depends on your individual taste and health requirements. You may already face the need to completely remove processed sugar from your diet, or you could be dealing with a wheat allergy.
These factors will ultimately decide which techniques and ingredients work best for you as you pore over the best mini donut makers in hopes of adding a little indulgence to your kitchen cooking . Just remember, even if your donut doesn’t look like something from the store, homemade donuts rarely do. Just because it looks different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
It certainly doesn’t mean it tastes bad, either. Recipes are always a matter of experimentation, so try different fruits, sample different sweeteners, and see how chia or flaxseed meal affects your results.
Changing your diet is uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be a tasteless experience. Once you’ve retrained your body to taste things other than pure sugar, you’ll be amazed at how many different flavors there are in the world.
What do I want a donut maker for?
Let’s assume you have a sweet tooth and like to eat donuts. Visiting the local coffee shop each day and picking up a donut can become very expensive. Just add up how much you spend on a donut if you buy one every day to go with your morning coffee, it could be as much as $250 a year.
For the price of say five donuts you could buy the ingredients to make donuts for the whole family for a week or more, so everyone can enjoy them, not just you. A reliable mini donut maker will pay for itself within a month or two, and you have the reassurance of knowing exactly what ingredients have been used to make your donut.
By using a donut maker, rather than a store bought fried donut it will be healthier too. Homemade donuts have less cholesterol than store bought, and you can also experiment with recipes to find the one that is perfect for your taste buds.
When you buy from a donut store, you have little idea how long it has been sitting on the shelf, whereas when you make your own at home, you know they are fresh as fresh can be. You also have control over the recipe, making sure all the ingredients are of the highest quality and excluding anything you don’t like or that may cause an allergic reaction.
What are the best mini donut makers for you?
It’s best to answer this question by deciding on the quantity of donuts you want to cook. Is it just for yourself, or for a family of multiple hungry kids? And if you will need lots of donuts you would want to spend as little time preparing them, so you have more time to enjoy them.
Therefore, the time it takes to make a batch needs to be considered too. We have reviewed a selection of the best mini donut makers in this article, so there is likely to be one that is just right for you.
How do I get the mixture in the cooking cups?
Most people try spooning the donut mixture into the machine, but you need to be very careful not spilling it all over the heating element and making a mess. Users recommend two simple ways of cutting down on mess and making things a whole lot easier. You could first try piping the mixture into the cooking cups of the machine.
With this method, you have more control over the amount of mixture you put in each cup. You could also try using an ice cream scoop to ladle up a quantity of the mix, and put it in each cup. Both of these have been tried and tested and work great.
My donuts are raw in the middle, what did I do wrong?
There are a couple of reasons why this could be happening. The first is that the batter may be too cold and that the heat does not get through to the core of the donut to cook it before the outside is ready. We are talking very quick cooking times, so it‘s best to have the dough at around 70F/23C for best results.
Secondly, the cooking time might be off, and the donut needs more time in the machine. As all devices are different, it‘s best to check the manufacturer‘s recommendations, and if still unsuccessful, experiment with longer or shorter cooking times.
The inside of my donut ring cracks, where am I going wrong?
Quite often this is a problem due to the batter being too stiff. The mix of water or buttermilk to the other ingredients may be a little off, so best to check with the recipe, and alter accordingly. Practice makes perfect.
My donuts don’t seem to rise, what’s the problem?
This could be due to lots of reasons. The most likely is that the donut batter is not mixed enough. Check the recipe, and experiment to make sure you are getting the ingredients properly mixed and have aerated the mixture for the correct length of time.
It could also be due to the consistency of the batter not being right. Again, check the recipe, and try again. It’s also wise to keep an eye on the batter temperature and the cooking temperature to make sure they are correct and not too low thus hindering the batter’s rise.