When the Bakery is Closed, Make Your OWN! (Homemade Mini Donuts)

For the past three and a half years we've been super blessed with in-OUR-home childcare, but all of our regular sitters are growing up and had to cut back their days and hours for more classes or because they are starting their careers.  So this semester we have had THE hardest time finding regular helpers the days that we need them-- today was one of those days so I took the day off to be with the kiddos. (I'm not complaining too much about this, my heart is at my home with my babies, always!) Well this morning, I saw that storms were expected pretty much 90% of the day and I wanted to do something special with them. We have a new bakery just a couple blocks away from us so I thought, Hey, let's walk to the bakery! We've driven in the past but the kids could use the fresh air and maybe it'll tire them out for a better nap. (PS. It didn't. They both only slept an hour. What can do you do). 

My sweet two and three-year-old walked for twenty minutes, jumping over mud puddles, talking about the different kinds of donuts they were going to enjoy. Reese wanted sprinkles and Pierson was craving chocolate. Every other crack in the sidewalk they asked, "Is that the bakery? Are we there yet?" Just keep walking, I told them. Finally, we arrived and to my dismay, the blinds were all closed and the sign on the door read, Tuesday: Closed. I kid you not, the two of them sat down on the sidewalk and whimpered for several minutes; to them of course they felt they had just walked for hours and the reward was going to be a donut. I had to find a way to lure them back the same way we came, without having to switch off carrying them both (they are getting SO BIG!) Then I remembered: we have a mini donut maker at the house! Pierson and Reese, I excitedly said. We have a donut maker at home, I think we can make our own donuts!  It worked (for the most part. I still had to carry them on and off several times but at least I didn't have crying toddlers!)

We enjoyed a short pit-stop at the playground and then once home, I quickly googled "easy donut maker recipe without a cake mix." Baker Bettie's website came up and she had what looked like a fairly easy (and kid friendly) recipe. I let the kids watch an episode of Curious George (thank you, Netflix) and got busy in the kitchen getting out the ingredients we needed--luckily we had them all.

Ingredients: For Donuts
5 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
Ingredients: For the Topping
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

Once I had all of this out and ready it was super easy to call the kids into the kitchen to have their 'help.' Pierson pulls over a yellow step-stool and dumps the ingredients as needed and also can turn on the standing mixer. Reese climbs ON to the counter and watches, handing me measuring cups or the ingredients we need next. Here are the directions:

1. In a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix until just combined (mixture will look curdled).
2. Add in the baking powder and the salt and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the flour just until combined. You don’t want to over-mix.
3. Turn on the mini donut maker and spray it generously with cooking spray
4. Spoon big drops into the donut maker and allow them to bake 3-4 minutes (or in my case, until the green light came on telling me "ready." Allow to cool just slightly before dipping in topping.
5. Melt the butter for the topping and combine the cinnamon and sugar. Dip each donut lightly in butter then roll in cinnamon and sugar.

The original recipe says it made thirty mini donuts-- I'm not sure what I did differently or if my donut maker is just a different size, but my batch did NOT turn out to be thirty. When the donuts came out of the maker, they were a dark brown and super soft. I dipped them into the cinnamon mixture and told the kids they could enjoy them after they ate their lunch. I prepared a little spot for them at the table and they were so excited for this sweet treat!

Next time I try to haul the kids to our neighborhood bakery I will definitely be checking online to see if they are OPEN or not, but this morning still turned out to be such a sweet one- literally! My kids are always inspiring me to try new things and I think our first time baking our own donuts turned out to be quite the success. I hope you enjoy them as much as we will!