It’s hard to deny the satisfaction of freshly made doughnuts, be it fluffy yeasted doughnuts or rich and cakey doughnuts. But in my opinion, the very best homemade doughnuts don’t start with pulling out the stand mixer or heating oil for deep-frying. Instead, they start with a box of puff pastry.
Unlike other doughnuts, puff pastry doughnuts bake up extra-tall, with irresistible layers of buttery, flaky dough. The dough is barely sweetened, which leaves plenty of room for a blanket of glaze over the top. And best of all, you’ll be rewarded with both doughnut rings and doughnut holes in just 30 minutes.
Don’t forget the glaze
Puff pastry doughnuts are best when finished off with a thin layer of glaze, and our recipe includes instructions for a simple one made with powdered sugar and milk. Make it your own by adding a couple drops of food coloring, or even a tiny bit of flavored extract (about 1/8 teaspoon will do), such as vanilla, lemon or almond. Chocolate, of course, is also always a good option.
30-Minute Puff Pastry Doughnuts
Makes 8 to 10
1 (17-ounce) box frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed according to package directions
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 cups peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Food coloring (optional)
1. Thaw 2 frozen puff pastry sheets according to package directions. Unfold on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, gently roll each sheet to just over 12 inches long. Use a doughnut cutter or 3-inch cookie cutter to punch out circles, then cut a hole in the center of each using a 1-inch cookie cutter if needed. (You’ll get 4 doughnuts per sheet). Gather and re-roll the scraps to make 2 additional doughnuts, if desired.
2. Place the doughnuts and doughnut holes on a plate or baking sheet and refrigerate. Meanwhile, heat the oil.
3. Heat 2 cups peanut or vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat to 375 F. Working in batches, add the doughnut rings to the pot. Cook until the bottoms are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is browned, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the donuts with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Fry the doughnut holes, flipping halfway through, about 2 minutes total. Let cool completely.
4. Whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk in a wide bowl until smooth. Tint with food coloring if desired. Dip one side of the doughnuts into the glaze; place glaze-side up on a wire rack. Let sit until the glaze sets, about 10 minutes.
(Kelli Foster is the food editor for plan and prep content at TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)