Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

20 Sep

I’ve pretty much decided to become a beekeeper.  Not professionally, but in a volunteer capacity.  The Garfield Park Conservatory offers about five classes, culminating in a volunteer position, apprenticeship, and eventual maintenance of your own hive.  I went with a couple of friends to the Conservator on the Sunday before last to quiz the beekeeper on the practice and bees in general.  And then, a few days ago, I decided I really only needed to eat dry toast for the rest of forever and spent $70 on the class.

This has nothing to do with that, however, and these doughnut holes don’t even have honey in them.  They probably should, now that I’m thinking about it…  But they do not.  They are merely a product of, “Man, we still have so much pumpkin purée left, what do we do?”

Make doughnuts.  Obviously.  These are baked, too, so they’re super easy and well worth what little time is involved in making them.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod


  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

These are technically muffins, and are baked in a muffin/cupcake tin, but since they puff up so much, they do end up looking like doughnut holes, and that is how the original recipe is named.  So you’ll need either a mini or a regular cupcake tin, depending on what size you want your doughnuts.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.

In a larger bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix until just combined.


Distribute evenly in cupcake tins.

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.  If you make larger ones, they may take slightly longer to bake. Ours did take about ten minutes, but I suspect our oven runs rather hot.

Remove the doughnuts from the pan and allow them to cool.  While they’re chilling, melt the butter in one bowl, and combine the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

Once the doughnuts have cooled, roll them around into the bowl of butter (I know, it sounds really gross), and then in the cinnamon-sugar.

Serve warm, with cider, coffee, or whatever fall cliché you desire.



I read, recently, a book of short stories recommended very highly by my roommate.  The author is virtually unknown now, despite receiving much critical acclaim when her stories were published.  I also read one of her novels in one day.  I think it was Sunday. Obviously that day is sort of a blur.

Her name is Jincy Willet, and she will scare the shit out of you.  I’ll quote something I wrote for another blog, because it comes close to capturing my fear and awe:

Jincy Willet doesn’t billet herself as a feminist writer, but she is.  Yes, yes she is.  Her women are terrifying forces of the darkest parts of human nature, and they are completely normal.  They are the people you walk past in the street who are barely hiding mass nebulae of anxiety behind carefully bored faces.  They’re so real, it’s sort of painful to read about them, because they are you and everyone you know, and everyone you’re afraid of.

There’s a lot of fear in my thoughts of Jincy Willet, but it’s the exciting kind.  Very often I’d be halfway through a short story and I’d think, hm, I don’t know about this one.  But they got me every time, like an unfortunate barb to the cheek when you stand too close to someone fishing.

I absolutely recommend her short story collection Jenny and the Jaws of life, which was brutal and stunning and sharply beautiful, but I also recommend the novel I read, The Writing Class.  If you’re less into Literature, you might want to go with The Writing Class, which is a murder mystery, fundamentally, and a study in the insanity of solitude.  It’s a great book, and the mystery is very engaging.  But mostly the characters are wonderful–some of them are caricatures, some are more realistic, all are surprising and grow a realistic amount, and all have something in them you can find to love.

But love is really the last thing that should be drawing you to Jincy Willet.  Fair warning.



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