Molasses Glazed Baked Buttermilk Donuts

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“Work is love made visible.” For months now, I’ve been chewing on this phrase by 19th century Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran. My academic brain wants to pick it apart, but my regular self—the mother, the recipe tester, the one who feeds the family—wants to change it just slightly so it reads: food is love made visible.

Making food, no matter the recipe, is, of course, work. Cooking requires action and effort whether you’re making a layer cake from scratch or ripping open a box and opening up a can of frosting. But ultimately, the end goals are always the same: love. To feed someone is to love them, plain and simple. It is these acts, this work, this food that helps make visible my hope and care for others as well as myself.

It is a radical act to work for yourself, but sometimes it must be done so you can later work for others. And while I’m not condoning eating all the baked goods you make or solving every upset with a sprinkled donut and a glass of cold milk, sometimes you must feed yourself.

So whether you are dropping these donuts off on someone’s doorstep or wrapping them up for you and your family, remember the work that went into them and all the work they might inspire.

Molasses Glazed Baked Buttermilk Donuts

Makes: 12 donuts

Ingredients:

For the donuts
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup butter, melted
For the glaze
  • 1 heaping cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (or more if you prefer!)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sprinkles

Directions:

Make the donuts
  1. Set the oven to 350°F. Grease a donut pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, soda, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Add the wet to the dry and stir until just combined. Add the melted butter and stir again.
  4. Fill each mold on the pan to two-thirds full. Gently tap on a flat surface to pop any bubbles in the batter. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown and the tops of the donuts spring back when lightly touched with the tip of your finger, about 12 minutes.
  5. Carefully tap on the counter and invert onto a wire cooling rack. Re-grease pan and repeat with remaining batter. Allow the donuts to cool completely before dipping in the glaze.
Make the glaze
  1. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, molasses, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt until smooth and runny. The glaze should be runny and run in ribbons off the tip of a spoon. Add more heavy cream to thin as necessary.
  2. Gently dip each cooled donut into the glaze (I did only the tops, but you can dip the entire thing!) and return to the wire rack. Top with sprinkles and allow the glaze to set before eating.

Materials

  • Small box, crate, or basket
  • Small tin loaf pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Bottle of milk
  • Small bunch of flowers
  • Napkins
  • One lovely length of ribbon (I’m partial to velvet)

Directions

  1. Line the tin loaf pan with parchment paper and assemble the donuts (only after they glaze has set!) in a row. Nestle the flowers, milk, napkins, and donuts neatly in the crate. Wrap and tie the ribbon gently through one of the crate slats or around the basket handle. Deliver with love.
Photos styled and taken by Katherine Hysmith.

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