Is there anything more delicious than a donut? We don’t think so. They’re soft, light, and tasty, and come in hundreds of different sizes, styles, colors, and flavors.
And while everyone has their favorites, we think the most delicious of all is undoubtedly caramel glazed donuts. And did you know that they’re one of the easiest desserts to make from scratch?
Today we’re going to show you just how straightforward it is to make your very own donuts, using ingredients commonly found at home. We guarantee this won’t be the only time you make these delicious treats.
History of the donut
One of the earliest recorded recipes for donuts dates back to 1485. Dutch settlers brought over a dish called olykoek, which translates to ‘oily cake’, though it didn’t have its signature ring shape just yet.
By the 1800s, recipes for ‘dow nuts’ begin to appear. These desserts are ring-shaped, which helped them bake faster in the oven.
Donuts continued to grow in popularity. However, in 1938 during Word War 1, donuts became famous for helping feed American soldiers. Providing freshly baked goods to frontline fighters was difficult – donuts could keep fresher for longer and became an ‘instant hit’ during and after the war.
Today, donuts are one of the most baked, eaten, and celebrated desserts, and even have a national holiday on the first Friday of June each year.
The history of caramel
On the other hand, early records of caramel show that it has been with us for an incredibly long time. Records show that Arabs use to mix sugar and water into a crystallized, hardened candy around 1000 AD.
It wasn’t until the 1860s that milk and other dairy products like cream and butter were mixed in, giving rise to the caramel we know and love today.
Below are guideline ingredients for what you’ll need to make the donuts, and the tasty caramel sauce.
- 3/4 cup of brown sugar
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup of cream
- 1 & 1/4 cups of flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 6 tbsp butter
- 300 ml heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Donuts are simple to make, and you’ll most likely have everything you need already, including measuring scales, a wooden spoon, a cooling rack, a mixing bowl, and a sieve.
Donut molds can also help you get that signature shape, and a piping bag can help you apply caramel evenly throughout, as well as any toppings and decorations you decide on.
Step by Step on how to make caramel glazed donuts
To make the donuts:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). By the time we’ve made the donut mixture, your oven should be nice and warm.
- Whisk your brown sugar and butter together in a large bowl, until they form a clumpy paste. You can use an electric whisker on a low setting to speed this process up or whisk it by hand.
- Add an egg and vanilla extract and again, whisk until all ingredients have been absorbed. Gradually add cream, flour, and baking powder.
- Whisking should take a maximum of 5 minutes. By then, your mixture should be smooth. If it is too wet, add more flour. If it’s too dry, add milk to moisten it.
- Next, lightly grease your baking tray or molds with vegetable oil. Collect the mixture and put it in your baking tray or donut molds, filling them 2/3s full. You can do this by hand or use a piping bag for more accuracy. Place them in the oven, which should be hot by now, for a total of 15 minutes.
- Before taking your donuts out, ensure it is cooked thoroughly. You can do this by inserting a skewer into the middle, and seeing if it comes out clean. If there are still pieces of the mixture, leave the donuts in for a further 2 minutes.
To make the caramel glaze:
- The caramel glaze is quite easy to make. Simply heat butter and brown sugar together over medium heat. Stir frequently until all of the sugar has dissolved. If your caramel is too runny, you can add cream to thicken it up.
- Pour your mixture into a bowl and allow it to cool. Add vanilla extract and confectioner’s sugar for more flavor and thickness., and whisk until the sauce is smooth.
- Your donuts should be ready at this stage. Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool. Do not add your caramel to the donuts if they are hot, as it will melt directly into the dough. Instead, wait until both have cooled.
- Simply dip the top of the donuts into the caramel mixture, or use a piping bag to apply it. Place them on a cooling rack for 15 minutes so the glaze has enough time to harden.
- Finally, add your toppings, including sprinkles, chocolate, nuts, or donut decorations.
- Caramel sauce can last for up to 3 months in a freezer. Any leftover glaze can be stored in an airtight container. To use it again, gently reheat over your cooker on a low setting.
What other ways are there to bake donuts?
Like many desserts, there are many ways to make donuts nowadays. And although oven-baking is the most common and still most effective, you might want to try something else.
Two other ways to make your donuts include:
- Deep fry: A classic way of making delicious donuts is by deep-frying them. It’s simple, effective, and quick. Simply use a thermometer and fill your saucepan with 2 inches or so of vegetable oil. Avoid using flavored oils like olive oil.
After the oil warms up, drop rolled donuts in, and cook for 90 seconds. Flip them and cook their other side.
- Air fry: Tasting just like oven-baked and healthier than deep-frying, air fryers are fast becoming the popular cooking method for delicious donuts.
Spray your fryer’s bowl with a non-stick spray, and knead your mixture thoroughly before placing it inside. Cook at 375° for 6 minutes, until deeply golden. Once cooled, you can apply your caramel glaze.
Altogether, caramel glazed donuts are one of the most scrumptious treats you can make. Our easy-to-follow recipe will have you baking an entire batch of delicious donuts in under an hour.
The only thing left to do? Plan your sprinkles, toppings, and decorations, and invite your friends and family over to sample your desserts!
Donuts are often quite easy to make. That said, there are some common questions many bakers ask about how to keep them fresh, vegan or gluten-free, as well as improve the taste and consistency of your caramel glaze.
How long do caramel glazed donuts last?
As with any donuts, caramel glazed donuts will taste their best on the day they are baked. But if you decide to bake in bulk, you can expect them to retain their shape and flavor for up to 3 days when kept at room temperature.
Want your donuts to last even longer? Store them in an airtight container or freeze them. If your donuts contain cream, you will need to refrigerate them immediately.
Why do glazed donuts get wet?
Donuts often contain larger amounts of water than other desserts. When stored in sealed bags or containers, the trapped moisture inside “sticks” to the dry glazing on top. The result? Your glaze will slowly turn into a sugary paste. They’ll feel heavy and wet.
Difference Between Caramel and Salted Caramel
There are some minor differences between caramel and salted caramel. Most often it’s to do with the ingredients used.
With standard caramel, sugar is the main ingredient. But with salted caramel, as the name suggests, salt or sea salt is added to give it an extra kick.
Are glazed donuts vegan?
The short answer is –probably not. Most glazed donuts are not vegan-friendly because milk, dairy, and eggs are some of the core ingredients in making them.
Caramel is also primarily made up of butter and is hard to replicate exactly with vegan substitutes. That said, there are some vegan recipes you can try out. Some of our favorites include:
Are glazed donuts gluten-free?
Similar to vegan donuts, the majority of glazed donuts on the market are not gluten-free. Only if you’ve made them yourself with gluten-free alternatives can you be 100% sure.
Some gluten-free recipes to try include:
What can I add to my caramel glaze?
Fancy putting a new spin on an old recipe? Many bakers add other ingredients to bring out a new flavor in caramel. Most of the popular ingredients are readily available at home.
Some ideas include: