Festively flavored, airy, and topped with sweet and spicy icing, gingerbread doughnuts are the unicorn of doughnuts. At first bite, you will be saying, "it's so fluffy!!"
Get the flour ready and break out the yeast, we're making your Christmas dreams come true with these festive Glazed Gingerbread Doughnuts.
I go back and forth whether my favorite part about these breakfast treats is that they are ridiculously light and fluffy...or that these they go in the oven not the fryer....or maybe it's the sweet and spicy gingerbread glaze that coats them.
Ahh, my head might explode just trying to decide.
Yeast Doughs Don't Have to Be Scary
Really, all you're doing is making a nice, warm, happy environment for the yeast to thrive in.
Getting the milk warm, but not too warm is the key. Yeast thrives in warm temperatures, which equals light and fluffy doughs, but if it's too warm you will kill the yeast.
I typically aim for a temperature of 100°F to 108°F for any liquid I plan to 'bloom' yeast. That just means giving it a little kickstart before making the dough to help the dough rise.
Anything over 110°F will risk killing the yeast from heat and the dough will not rise as well or at all.
Tip: Don't kill your yeast, just invest in a candy thermometer. Like this Candy Thermometer here. It has a clip and is under $10.
That just sounds like a whole lot of delicious winning to me.
Ingredients and Substitutions
These Glazed Gingerbread Doughnuts are made mostly from items that will probably already be in your pantry!
As yet, I haven't tried to make them any other way or with other ingredients, mostly because they taste so good as they are.
You could try switching the spices slightly if you have a favorite in mind, but I personally love this ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg combo...it's perfectly festive and totally moreish!
How to Make this Christmas Doughnut Recipe
Warm milk + sugar. The warm milk is the environment and the sugar is the food. Sugar for yeast is like an all-you-can-eat buffet when you're so hangry you can't even stand yourself. Eat up my little yeasties.
After the flour and spices and mixing, you just chill and let the yeast do it's job. That's really all there is to it. That wasn't so scary, right?
Make the dough. Heat the milk and combine with sugar and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the bread hook attachment. Add the eggs, butter, spices, molasses, and salt. Slowly add the flour and mix on medium-low for 5 minutes.
Let the mixed dough rest for 10 minutes then transfer to a greased bowl and chill in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. After chilling, roll out to ½-inch thickness, cut out doughnuts, then reroll the scraps and repeat.
Transfer the doughnuts to a sheet pan lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Keep the doughnut holes separate as they will bake faster.
Let the cut doughnuts rise for 1 hour before baking. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes for doughnuts and 4 to 5 minutes for doughnut holes.
While the doughnuts are rising, prepare the gingerbread glaze. It will be thick. Once the baked doughnuts are cool enough to handle, dip in the glaze.
Optional: add festive sprinkles while the glaze is still 'wet'. Let dry completely before storing. If you're not eating these right away, store in an airtight container then heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds before serving.
If you're planning on making these glazed gingerbread doughnuts for Christmas morning (which I would highly recommend) prep the dough the night before then roll it out and cut in the morning. Then the cutout doughnuts can rest while the unwrapping of Santa's goodies commences.
A quick trip to a 400°F oven for 8 minutes and your family will be ooo-ing and aah-ing at your culinary delights and gift-giving abilities.
Fluffy Baked Gingerbread Doughnuts
While these doughnuts can be fried instead of baked, why would we if we don't have to? I mean, there's a lot of fried stuff I'll eat, but if its just as airy, fluffy, flaky good without saturating it in oil...well, imma gonna do that.
Unlike most baked doughnuts these Fluffy Baked Gingerbread Doughnuts have the airy texture of a regular fried glazed doughnut you might get at a coffee shop. I'm looking at you Dunkins.
Most baked doughnuts are made in a pan with a cake-like batter. Still delicious, but not the texture we want. We want these to be as soft and light as the clouds Santa is flying his sleigh through whilst we dream the night away.
You can purchase this 3-½ inch doughnut cutter here.
Like the bow on top of the present or the star on top of the tree, this old-fashioned gingerbread doughnut recipe isn't complete without it. The icing packs that gingerbread flavor so reminiscent of the cookies we love. Sweet molasses, spicy ginger, warm cinnamon. It's like a hug of flavor for our mouths and a warm blanket of deliciousness for the doughnuts.
The easiest way to do this is to put together the icing while your doughnuts are resting, pre-bake. Then when the doughnuts are fresh out of the oven, and just cool enough to handle but still warm, dip them into the glaze.
Whether you 'trash it up' with drizzles and sprinkles, that's on you. But when it comes to frosting and sprinkles, I don't know, I tend to let my inner Clark Griswold come out.
As for the doughnut holes, don't toss these babies aside! Like a little burst of holiday cheer, they're great to have as a pre-breakfast munch or serve with coffee after dinner for a nice little sweet treat! Just toss the warm doughnut holes with the leftover glaze and call it a day.
You can still have doughnuts! Prepare the doughnuts following the same directions but instead of using a bread hook and mixer, you'll be using a spatula to help work the dough together. You can also use your hands to help the dough come together, but it will be very sticky so just keep that in mind.
Hungry for More Festive Snacks?
On the hunt for recipes that will really blow your loved ones away this holiday season? Or just love having a delicious tasty snack to snuggle up next to on the couch with a movie? I got you!
When it comes to festive snacking, we all know that gingerbread is King! Try my Gingerbread Cupcakes complete with a creamy melt-in-your-mouth Eggnog frosting, it's so festive and so cheerful! You can share them, but I won't judge you if you don't!
Maybe you prefer the delicious sweet taste of Gingerbread in your drinks? Try the coziest, most comforting Gingerbread Hot Chocolate for an indulgent treat. Or my Gingerbread White Russian for a boozy kick!
If you aren't a Gingerbread lover, I won't leave you out! Nothing says Christmas more than a batch of warm Brown Butter Cookies fresh out of the oven!!! Chewy, deliciously golden and perfect in every way!
However you spend your holidays, eat well, drink plenty and love hard!
If you loved this festive Glazed Gingerbread Doughnut recipe, please consider leaving a star rating and comment below! Don't forget to tag @hungerthirstplay when you post on Instagram and Facebook so I can see all your hard work!
Glazed Gingerbread Doughnuts
Fluffy Baked Gingerbread Doughnuts
- 1 ⅛ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons or 1 package Active Dry Yeast
- 2 whole large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1¼ stick unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Make the dough:In a small saucepan, heat milk over low heat to 108°F. A candy thermometer will work great to temp this. If you don't have a thermometer, the milk should be warm enough you can hold your finger in it for at least 30 seconds. If the milk is too warm it will kill the yeast.
- Transfer the milk to a standing mixer fitting with bread hook attachment. Add sugar and yeast, mix to dissolve sugar, about 1 minute. Let rest, without mixing, for 5 minutes.1 ⅛ cup whole milk, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 ¼ teaspoons or 1 package Active Dry Yeast
- Turn the mixer to low and add the beaten eggs and melted butter. While mixer is running on low, add the spices, molasses, and salt.2 whole large eggs, 1¼ stick unsalted butter, melted, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon molasses, ½ teaspoons salt
- Slowly add the flour, in 2 to 3 batches. Once all the flour is added, increase mixer speed to medium low abd mix for 1 minute. The dough should be sticky to the touch, but most of the dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Return speed to low and mix for a full 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- After resting, transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, scraping the dough from the bottom of the bowl if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Cut the doughnuts: Transfer the rested dough to a flat work surface lightly sprinkled with flour. Roll out dough to ½ to ⅓ inch thickness. Cut out doughnuts using a 3½ inch doughnut cutter. Try not to wiggle the doughnut cutter for maximum oven spring of your doughnuts! Transfer doughnuts to a sheet pan lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Doughnut holes should be transferred to a separate sheet pan, as they will cook faster. Form the leftover scraps into a ball, kneading if necessary, repeating the rolling and cutting process as many times until all the dough is used.
- Let it rest, again:Let the cut out doughnuts and doughnut holes rest for 1 hour before baking. Preheat the oven to 400°F. (See note for tips to get the best rise out of your doughnuts.)
- Transfer the baking sheets to the oven. Bake full doughnuts for 8 to 10 minutes. They should be golden on top and on the bottom. Bake doughnut holes for 5 minutes. Let doughnuts rest for 5 minutes, or just cool enough to handle, and dip into the glaze while still hot.
- While the doughnuts are resting, prepare the glaze. In a medium sized bowl, combine confectioners sugar, heavy cream, molasses and spices. Whisk or stir together until smooth. The icing should be thick.2 cups confectioners sugar, 4 tablespoons heavy cream, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Icing the doughnuts:With the doughnuts fresh out of the oven, dip into the glaze. Dip the doughnut top side down and gently press into the glaze. Give it a turn before gently removing. Place on a sheet pan or parchment paper to let icing set. If you wish to use sprinkles, apply or dip while the icing is still wet. If the doughnuts have cooled too much, heat the icing for 10 seconds in the microwave to thin it. Note: The white icing in the photos is a thinner version of the glaze using just confectioners sugar and heavy cream, drizzled over the doughnuts after the gingerbread icing is set. Its totally optional but looks great!
- Storing and reheating:The doughnuts will be good for up to 3 days kept in an air tight container. Reheat slightly before enjoying (about 10 seconds in the microwave.)
- Side note: These doughnuts are equally delicious if you substitute half the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour.
- Yeast loves warmth. During the hour of resting I preheat my oven with the sheet pans on or near the stove top. The heat from the preheating oven will help get the doughnuts to rise as much as possible. Also, if your house is generally pretty cold, this will help too.