Mini Doughnuts in Vanilla Sugar

, from Issue #63. December, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Mini Doughnuts in Vanilla Sugar

A tiny sweet treat is always well received and these will really impress. I’ve given you three dipping sauces – your choice if you serve one or all three!


1⅔ cups plain flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup melted butter
100ml milk
1 egg, size 7 (large)
Vanilla sugar    
½ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon ground vanilla beans (I used Heilala brand) or use ground cinnamon
To cook
vegetable oil for deep frying

Chocolate Fudge Sauce
​200ml cream
4 tablespoons brown sugar
150 grams dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
40 grams butter, chopped

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup caster sugar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons dark rum or whiskey (optional)
⅓ cup cream
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Raspberry Coulis
2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons icing sugar 
good squeeze of lemon or lime juice 


Doughnuts: Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and caster sugar in a bowl. Whisk the butter, milk and egg together and stir into the dry ingredients to make a thick dough. 

Roll teaspoonfuls of the dough in the palm of your hands and place on a lined tray or board. Dust your hands lightly in flour if they’re a bit sticky. You should have about 40 balls.

Vanilla sugar: Combine the sugar and vanilla or cinnamon in a shallow dish.

To cook: Put 6cm of vegetable oil in a deep, small to medium-sized saucepan and heat to 160°C on a sugar thermometer or until a piece of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 30 seconds. 

Working in batches, carefully lower the donuts into the oil and cook for 2 minutes, gently stirring the oil for even browning. Cooking them in batches avoids overcrowding the pan, as that will drop the oil temperature rapidly and the donuts will be heavy. 

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels. Roll in the vanilla sugar to coat. Keep warm in a low oven until all the donuts have been cooked.

To serve: Place in bowls and serve with your choice of dipping sauce. Makes about 40 mini donuts.

Cook’s Tips: I like to use a deep, 14cm wide saucepan for cooking the donuts. This way you don’t have to use and discard a huge volume of oil. 

If making ahead, place the cooked sugared donuts in a large roasting dish and reheat in a 160°C oven for a few minutes until warm.

Chocolate Fudge Sauce
Put the cream and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate to make a smooth sauce.

Stir in the vanilla extract and the butter. Tip into a bowl and serve warm. The fudge sauce will keep refrigerated for 3-4 weeks. When reheating, don’t let the sauce boil as it can seize and become grainy. Makes 2 cups.

Salted Caramel Sauce
Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil until the syrup turns a good golden colour, brushing off any sugar crystals from the side of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.

Remove from the heat and carefully add the rum, cream and salt, taking care as the mixture will bubble up furiously. Return to the heat and simmer until the sauce is smooth again. Serve just warm.  Makes 1 cup.

Raspberry Coulis
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard the seeds. Adjust the icing sugar and juice to taste. Serve at room temperature. Makes about 1½ cups.