Donuts are delicious – fact! And with hundreds if not thousands of different styles, sizes, textures, and delicious flavors, you’ll never grow bored of them.
But with so much choice, no doubt you’ve asked which ones make for the nicest, easiest bakes at home?
We highly recommend trying out the Maple Long John donut. Famous for their fresh, fluffy texture and rectangle shape, these donuts are a proven hit at birthday parties, family gatherings, or as a simple treat during the week.
Today we’re going to show just how easy it is to make these donuts, complete with a delicious maple glaze. We’re also on hand to answer any burning questions you might have about the process!
You only need to worry about one thing; how many are you willing to share?
History of the Maple Long John Donut
Donuts are fried dough treats enjoyed around the world. And despite what many people think, they are easy and practical to make, using everyday kitchen ingredients and equipment.
But where did it all start? Well, its originally thought that donuts were introduced to America by Dutch settlers in the 1620s, although the first written reference to donuts was in the History of New York in 1809.
Originally called oliekoecken (which translates to oil cakes or fried cakes), donuts fast became one of the most popular and simplest treats to bake. Yeast donuts proved the most popular kind of donut because of their light flavor, easiness of making, and because they stay fresher for longer.
History of the Long John Donut
Although the most common is a ring-shaped yeast donut, the Long John donut has always been a staple across America.
Although there’s no concrete proof, people believe the name is a tribute to John Blondell, who in 1872 patented the first donut cutter.
Long John donuts go by several names, depending on their shape and where you are In the world. For example, a rounded Long John that is filled with cream is called a bismark; if it’s filled with jelly, it’s known as a Berliner
Some parts of America call them éclair doughnuts, bar donuts, finger donuts, or cream sticks. Filled long johns will be called filled bars. They can be glazed with delicious flavorings or filled with cream. The most popular topping with a Long John is undoubtedly maple glazing.
A Long John or an Éclair?
What makes a Long John donut so unique is its shape. Rather than the traditional ring that many other donuts share, Long Johns are rectangular bars.
Many commonly mistake a Long John for a French éclair because both have similar shapes and toppings. But french éclair is not made of yeast.
Suppose you’re wondering if the next Long John donut you buy is authentic or fraudulent? Then look for the ‘fry line’ in the center of the bake. This mark shows the buoyant part of the donut, which floated just above the oil level in the fryer. Think of it as a tasty birthmark on your donut, proving it’s the real deal! Eclairs are baked and show no fry line.
As a yeast donut, making a Long John has a much simpler baking process which has remained relatively the same throughout history. Lastly, yeast-based food is often incredibly light and fluffy to chew compared to other treats.
Maple Long John donuts are incredibly easy to make, requiring simple everyday cooking ingredients and kitchen equipment. Here’s what you’ll need to make these homemade donuts:
For the Long John donut:
- One package of active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup of warm milk
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3¼ to 3¾ cups of all-purpose flour
- One large egg
For the maple glaze:
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon maple extract
- ½ teaspoon of coffee extract (optional)
Some equipment you’ll need will include:
- Electric mixer, hand mixer, or wooden spoon
- Rolling pin
- Knife, pizza cutter, or donut cutter
- Candy thermometer
- Baking sheets
- Cooling rack
- Paper towels
Step by step on How to Make Maple Long John Donuts
Make the Dough
- Active dry yeast must be dissolved first. Add your yeast into a large bowl and pour warm water into it. Signs of bubbles, clumps, or foam are a good sign your yeast is ready.
- Next, add your milk, sugar, salt, butter, and egg into the bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth. An electric mixer will speed things up, but you can do this step by hand, too.
- Once you have beaten the mixture, mix the flour into your bowl until a soft dough forms. If your dough is particularly wet, adding more flour will dry it.
- Place your dough into a pre-greased bowl. Cover it and allow it to rise for about 1 hour in a warm place.
- Roll your dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface. At this point, you can cut your dough into rectangles for that signature Long John shape – 3×1 inches works best.
- Place your rectangles on greased baking sheets, cover, and let them rise again until doubled for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat your deep-fryer to 400°. Place a small number of donuts into the fryer gently. Don’t worry if they look deflated – they will regain their shape when fried.
- Fry until all sides of your Long John donuts are golden brown. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature throughout.
- Take them out carefully and leave them on paper towels to collect excess oil. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
Making the maple glaze:
- Add sugar and maple extract together in a small bowl. Maple extract often has a more robust maple flavor than store-bought syrup.
- Slowly whisk in milk until you get your desired texture.
- If your glaze is too thin, you can add sugar to thicken it up quickly and corn syrup to add an attractive shimmer.
- Adding more milk will create more glazing. Some bakers also add some coffee extract for additional flavors on the toppings.
- When your Long John donuts have cooled, drizzle the glazing on top of them. Be careful – the glazing will melt if the donuts are too warm!
Maple Long johns are a classic donut that goes well with any occasion or meal.
Our donut recipe makes the perfect dessert to share with friends and family. Our only advice is that you make double the batch because no doubt these tasty treats won’t last long!
What is the difference between a maple bar and a Long John?
Long John donuts have a variety of names in different parts of the world, depending on how they are glazed or if they have been filled.
In parts of America, including California, a Long John with maple glazing is often called a maple bar.
How many calories are in a Maple Long John donut?
An unfilled Long John donut with maple glazing has, on average, 290 kCal. Additionally, nutrients include 1g of fiber, 4g of protein, and 20mg of calcium.
Are maple long John Donuts vegan?
There are many spins and takes on the Maple Long john donut to make it vegan-friendly.
You must source vegan-friendly flour, egg substitute powder, and non-dairy milk. Pure maple made from tree sap is vegan-friendly, but store-bought maple syrup may have mixed honey!
What toppings or fillings go well with Long John Donuts?
Bakers from around the world have experimented with the signature Long John Donut. And there are lots of different ways to put your unique spin on this classic recipe. Some of our favorites include:
- Adding savory bites like bacon to the glaze for a signature, smokey taste
- Adding sprinkles, chocolate shavings, chocolate buttons, or powdered sugar.
- Add a combination of extracts to the glaze, including lemon, banana, peppermint, and orange extract, for a zesty taste to donuts.
- Add a variety of food colorings to change the appearance of your donuts – this is a great, fun way of keeping children entertained when baking!
Can you freeze or reheat Long John Donuts?
Regular donuts will keep fresh for 1 or 2 days on a counter and a week in the fridge. They will spoil quicker if filled with cream.
Long John Donuts can last up to 3 months in your freezer. To defrost, leave them on your kitchen counter for a couple of hours, then heat them in your microwave for 20 seconds.
Never re-freeze thawed donuts, as they may contain bacteria and spoil easily.