Doughnut Holes and a Doughnut Tree

Time to make the doughnuts. Does anyone remember that commercial?

I saw a photo of a doughnut tree on social media and instantly knew that I had to try to make one for the dessert table at Thanksgiving.  It’s a bunch of doughnut holes in the shape of a tree.  What’s not to love?

I could have bought a few boxes of doughnut holes from the store, but no.  Instead, I insisted on making homemade doughnut holes.  Maybe it was because I wanted to save money (gosh, they are expensive).  Perhaps it was because I knew a homemade version would taste better than store bought.  Or maybe I’m just crazy to want to add to my long list of things to do in preparation of hosting 17 family members over for Thanksgiving (which went really well).

Well, this doughnut tree was a hit!  Everyone loved it.  Although, maybe my young nieces and nephews were more into the actual doughnut holes than the crafty presentation.  I served the leftover doughnut holes that didn’t all fit on the tree in a bowl and those went first.  Maybe they went for those first because they didn’t want to “ruin” the adorable tree.  Yes, let’s go with that.

I’m not a crafty person and I have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with how this festive tree turned out.  Whether you want to make a doughnut hole tree with store bought doughnut holes, make delicious vanilla glazed doughnut holes in non-tree form, or try both, then I’ve got you covered in this post.

Doughnut Holes (and Tree) Recipe
(Makes about 50-60 doughnut holes)

Ingredients for the Doughnuts:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (equivalent to 8.5 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Glaze:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoonss vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used whole milk.)

Directions for the Doughnuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a doughnut hole pan and set it aside. I use this donut hole pan. (You can use a miniature muffin tin instead but the shape will obviously be less round.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.  These are the dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, sour cream, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.  These are the wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Don’t over mix the batter.
  5. Fill the greased doughnut hole indentations with the batter. You’re only filling the bottom half to be clear.
  6. Bake them for about 11 to 13 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean.  (Mine took 12 minutes.)
  7. Let the doughnut holes cool in the pan and then remove them from the pan. (You don’t want to remove them while they are hot because they will likely fall apart. Trust me, unfortunately I know from experience.)
  8. Make sure the doughnut holes have cooled completely on the rack.
  9. While the doughnut holes are cooling, make the glaze.

Directions for the Glaze:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and milk.
  2. Place a wire rack in a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet is not strictly necessary but it will help with an easier cleanup.  This is the prepping station for glazing the doughnut holes.
  3. Dunk each doughnut hole into the glaze, covering the entire doughnut hole and then place the glazed doughnut hole onto the wire rack.
  4. Let the doughnut holes stand until the glaze has set.  Glaze each doughnut hole until you are done.

Directions for the Doughnut Tree:

  1. Take a 3.7 inch by 8.9 inch foam cone. I used this one. Wrap it in tin foil or plastic wrap so that the food does not touch the foam cone.
  2. Starting from the bottom, stick a toothpick into the foam cone and then place a doughnut hole onto that toothpick. Continue doing this around the cone and for each layer until you reach the top. (The number of doughnut holes will vary depending on their size and the exact dimensions of your cone. I used a total of 36 doughnut holes. The bottom layer has 9 doughnut holes, the next layer up has 8, the next layer has 7, the next layer has 6, the next layer has 5, and the top layer has 1 using a vertical toothpick right at the point of the cone.
  3. Place an M&M or two in any gaps that are in between the doughnut holes. This helps hide parts where you would otherwise be able to see the tin foil underneath.
  4. Place a (nonedible) bow on top for a finishing touch.
  5. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, to give it a snowy affect.

Doughnut recipe was adapted from: Baking a Moment


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