Tender yeast raised doughnut holes are filled with salted caramel pastry cream and drizzled with salted caramel sauce.
Doughnuts are usually something I reserve for breakfast and brunch. But, that kind of nonsense is over, because Doughnut Holes for dessert are the bomb. Especially for a crowd.
First of all, doughnut holes are already proportioned into individual serving sizes. I made mine somewhat larger than what you'd cut from the center of a whole doughnut because I wanted them to be large enough to contain quite a bit of salted caramel pastry cream (because OMG, salted caramel pastry cream is delicious).
I also wanted each doughnut hole to be large enough to provide a satisfying 2 or 3 bite dessert all on their own. I made them golf ball size, but you can make these any size you like.
Just be aware that shaping these doughnut holes into larger or smaller balls of dough will affect the cooking time. Smaller doughnut holes will cook much faster. And, if you decide to make your doughnut holes much larger than golf ball size, I'd suggest lowering the temperature of the cooking oil by 10 or 15 degrees so that the center has time to cook before the outside burns.
Salted Caramel Doughnut Holes Recipe Notes
These doughnut holes are filled with salted caramel pastry cream, which is just pastry cream with salted caramel sauce whipped in. Then they are drizzled with even more salted caramel sauce. So, you're going to need to have some salted caramel sauce on hand.
If you'd like to try your hand at homemade, this recipe for salted caramel sauce is amazing. It's one of those things that I like to have on hand pretty much all the time because it makes everything better. In fact, it's one of the reasons I thought to fill these doughnut holes with salted caramel pastry cream - I already had some salted caramel sauce in the refrigerator.
If you're not keen on making salted caramel sauce from scratch, just purchase a couple of jars of caramel sauce and stir some salt into it. You'll need about 1 ½ cups of sauce.
For Perfect Doughnut Holes, Plan Ahead
Every element in these salted caramel doughnut holes, the salted caramel sauce, pastry cream and dough, can be made in about 5 hours, start to finish. (Not all of that 5 hours is hands-on. It includes time for the dough to rise.) If you don't have a 5 hour block of time, no worries. The salted caramel sauce and pastry cream can both be made in advance and you can control how long it takes the dough to rise by placing it in the refrigerator.
The salted caramel sauce will keep well in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. So, make it as far in advance as you like. The pastry cream will keep for up to 2 days, covered in the refrigerator.
You can also slow down the rise time of your dough by allowing it to rise in the refrigerator. This is a great way to fit bread baking into a schedule that doesn't allow for you to be home for several hours in a stretch. The dough will continue to rise in the refrigerator, but will do so at a much slower rate.
If your plan is to make everything in one day, here's your game plan:
- Make the pastry cream, place it in the refrigerator to chill completely.
- Make the doughnut hole dough, cover and let it rise for 1 ½ - 2 hours.
- While the dough is rising, make the salted caramel sauce. Let it sit on the counter, stirring from time to time, to cool to room temperature. The sauce needs to be at room temperature before incorporating it into the pastry cream. If your salted caramel sauce isn't cooling down fast enough, just put it in the refrigerator for a while.
- Shape the doughnut holes and let them rise for about 45 minutes.
- Heat your oil and fry the doughnut holes, let cool completely before filling with pastry cream.
- While the doughnut holes cool, finish the salted caramel pastry cream: whip the cream and beat in the chilled pastry cream and room temperature salted caramel sauce.
- Fill the doughnut holes, drizzle with salted caramel sauce.
- Share and devour.
You might also like:
- The BEST Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- Homemade Caramel Rolls
- Homemade Cinnamon Bread
- Apple Fritters with Maple Glaze
- Yeast Raised Doughnuts
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Meg Hunt says
Thank you for the prompt reply. I'll let you know how it works. If it does, I will have flexibility to serve amounts as needed. Heaven forbid we should eat all in one sitting. Meg
Rebecca Blackwell says
Yes... The recipe does make quite a few. You can also halve the amount pretty easily. For the doughnut dough, instead of using 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk, just use one whole egg. Everything other ingredient should just be split down the middle. Good luck!
WHAT. These are a dream, for real. I'm drooling and my stomach is growling and I need a baker's dozen of these in front of me ASAP!
Rebecca Blackwell says
Ha! I wish I could magically transport some to you Karly! Where's one of those Star Trek teleportation machines when you need one? xo
Meg Hunt says
Can. You make the dough ahead and freeze for later use?
Rebecca Blackwell says
Hmmm... I've never frozen this dough, Meg. But, I think it's worth a try! I'd suggest shaping the dough into balls and laying them in one layer on a baking sheet. Cover the sheet with a sheet of plastic wrap that's been sprayed with non-stick spray and freeze for a couple of hours. Then remove the frozen balls of dough from the baking sheet and place them in a zip top freezer bag before placing them back in the freezer. To thaw, lay them on a parchment covered baking sheet, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap that's been sprayed with non-stick spray and let thaw in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours. I THINK that will work. If you try it, let me know how it works! xo