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Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

Snow in May calls for a sweet, doughy consolation prize.

Eat your heart out Hef. Could there be anything sexier? This doughnut could be a cover model. Or a centrefold. Do they even have centrefolds anymore? It wouldn’t need any photoshopping, anyway.

Age has brought with it a certain persnicketiness in the doughnut department. At one time I would have been thrilled with Timbits, but I’ve become spoiled – if I’m going to eat a doughnut it might as well be a really fantastically great one. This is not to say I easily shun a box of coffee shop doughnuts should I discover one in my vicinity. Warm ones, made from scratch with real vanilla, are a little more difficult to resist. But why would you want to, when slush is falling from the sky and you’ve pulled out your woolly socks again?

I buy this vanilla bean paste from the Cookbook Company Cooks for applications such as this, where the flavour is predominant and the smooth glaze allows you to see the bitty black seeds. You could use actual vanilla beans too – I just find the paste a bit easier and more economical. Also – I used every last bean in my cupboard to (finally) make my own extract. So easy-I’ll fill you in soon.

Doughnuts from scratch is the sort of thing I generally reserve for company, for days when I know more mouths will be around to help me out, because leftovers (it could happen!) don’t age well.

It may be the sort of thing I’d make if I had a group of friends over to make peroghies! Remember when I put it out there? The suggestion to have a good old-fashioned peroghy bee? I was thinking it might be a suitable Food Revolution Day activity. It’s coming up fast – May 19th – but really, any longer than two weeks would be far too long to wait. So if you’re free to come make peroghies and nibble coffee and a pile of warm doughnuts that Saturday, leave a comment here!

Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

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May 5, 2012



1 tsp. sugar

1 cup warm water

1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast

1 cup all-purpose flour


1/4 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or good vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. salt

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Vanilla Bean Icing:

2 cups icing sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or good vanilla extract

canola oil (or another mild vegetable oil) for cooking


1In large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water; let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour until you have a smooth paste. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand until bubbly and stretchy, about 30 minutes.

2In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and salt, beat in sponge. Stir in flour until you have a sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place until tripled in bulk, about an hour and a half.

3Punch the dough down and roll or pat it out about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter or a round cutter and a smaller one for the hole, cut out doughnuts. Transfer doughnuts and holes to a baking sheet, cover and let rise for another hour, until doubled in bulk.

4In a wide, shallow pot, heat 2 inches of oil until hot but not smoking. Cook a few doughnuts at a time for a couple minutes per side, turning as they turn a rich golden. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on a wire rack or paper towels. Makes 1 1/2-2 dozen doughnuts.

5Vanilla Icing: Whisk together all the ingredients, adding a little extra icing sugar or milk if needed to make a dippable/drizzlable consistency. Dip or drizzle over doughnuts while they're still warm.


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25 comments on “Vanilla Bean Doughnuts

  1. Jennifer
    May 6, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Beautiful donuts! I’m definitely adding them to my baking queue. I guess that’s the only good thing about Spring snow in Canada. More time for comfort food 🙂

  2. Jan @ Family Bites
    May 6, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Snow? Oh, poor you. These look amazing…now I want to go and make donuts!

  3. Corinne
    May 6, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Who could resist this invitation. We’ll be there. Thanks Julie

  4. Priyanka
    May 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Looks lovely. very tempting

  5. Barb
    May 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Looks amazing! I’d love to make peroghies.

  6. Vincci
    May 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Barring any surprise long weekend plans I should be available after 1:30 or so. Not sure what to bring for a filling! Maybe I’ll mash some potatoes…

  7. Robin
    May 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Yes, yes and yes. Those are happening.
    Thank you!

  8. Robin
    May 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

    You just described my ideal Saturday afternoon (or any day of the week really). I’d love to join in on the peroghie bee.

  9. Amanda
    May 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I have a pug meetup that Saturday, but if the peroghy bee goes a little later, I might stop by…

    • JulieVR
      May 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      Pug meetup?? I want to go to a pug meetup!

  10. bev
    May 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    What time, Julie? I’m trying to come all the way from northern Saskatchewan!! How late can I let you know? I totally want to come!!

    • JulieVR
      May 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      What?! You’re going to come from Saskatchewan?? You’re crazy!! In the best possible way! What time would work best for you??

  11. Stephanie
    May 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Ah! I would love to come and eat doughnuts and make delicious food. Unfortunately I’m away in TO that weekend and am now very very sad to be missing out. These doughnuts look fabulous

  12. H-woman
    May 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    I should be able to make next Saturday! Mmm…perogies…

  13. Amy
    May 9, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Hi Julie 🙂

    If this Peroghy Bee is an open invite I’d totally love to come! I always meant to make my own perogies but I never got around to it. I’ve been reading your blog for ages and I’m a big fan of your recipies. (So delicious!) What time / where and what would a person need to bring?

  14. Cheryl
    May 9, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I’ve always been afraid to make doughnuts in my exhaust hood free kitchen. But if you can…
    And boo, I’ll miss the bee. I’m at Quilt Market that weekend.

  15. Irm
    May 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Absolutely ready to come!!! Just need details and your addy!!!

  16. Aga
    May 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Would love to come. Even though I’m Polish, I’ve never learned to make perogies!

  17. JulieVR
    May 12, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Alright, I’ve emailed you all!! Let me know if I’ve missed anyone or you have any questions! Excited!

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