Pumpkin Doughnuts


October 7, 2010 by Flora Dawn

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you have probably noticed that I have a bit of a sweet tooth. Perhaps I can blame it on my mom who baked up a storm my entire childhood. It seems to me that everyday I had an after-school snack consisting of fresh baked cookies or other sweet and a glass of milk. Maybe it’s comforting reminders of days long gone, maybe it’s just the love of good food, but for whatever reason, fruit cobblers, fudgy brownies, chewy cookies, and mile-high cakes all equate to pure bliss in my mind.

However, there is one dessert that I just don’t crave the way my kids do, doughnuts. It’s not that I don’t like doughnuts, because I do; I just have never loved them enough to want to learn to make them. And truthfully, I am a bit scared of frying foods. I do make fried chicken and the occasional fried mozzarella sticks, but seriously, think about it, a couple kids, a mom with a million things to multitask and a large pot of boiling oil; this doesn’t sound like a pretty picture to me. So, bagels, sourdough bread, fudge, caramel corn, you name it I have baked, or at least attempted to bake at some point. But, doughnuts, no thanks.

Well…that is until about a month ago. My three year old saw a bagel and mistook it for a doughnut. And boy was she adamant that she wanted that “doughnut.” I tried to convince her that it wasn’t a doughnut, and it was full of gluten to boot. Well, she isn’t one to cry over bagels, so calmed herself down and said, “I want gluten free doughnuts.” I quickly said, “Honey, doughnuts are not gluten free, sorry,” hoping this will end the discussion. Unfortunately for me, my daughter is way too logical and replied in an almost patronizing tone, “Mom, you are just going to have to learn to make them.”

Maybe it’s guilt that she has dietary restrictions, maybe it’s just a love of baking, or complete insanity, but for the last month or so I have been researching and attempting gluten free doughnuts. The first batch I made were the fried old-fashioned buttermilk variety. And while edible, they were a not easy to make. Seriously, no doughnut is worth the mess they made in my kitchen. And I am not a clean cook, so you can believe me, they were messy.

I bought a mini-doughnut pan with the philosophy that baking certainly has to be less messy then trying to cut, handle and fry gluten free gobs of doughnut dough. Well, the good news is, yes, baking doughnuts is much easier, cleaner and healthier (not to mention safer).

I am not a great planner when it comes to cooking. I just sort of cook spur of the moment. I am not exactly recommending this approach in the kitchen, but I like to feel inspired, to cook what sounds good. Well, Pumpkin Doughnuts sounded good today. Lucky for me, my crazy impromptu attempt of making Pumpkin Doughnuts worked….really well! And they are fairly easy and take less than 10 minutes to bake a batch.

With the leaves turning colors and Fall in the air, what could be better then grabbing a little pumpkin doughnut with a cinnamon-sugar top? So grab a cup of coffee or a glass of milk and enjoy a doughnut, or four, with the kids. Oh, and speaking of kids, they’ll love to help make these.

I made these using a mini-doughnut pan (12 spaces) but you could also just make mini-muffins if you don’t want to buy a special pan, although I think it is worth it (They are on sale this month at Sur la Table, however I found mine at Ross for under $8 a pan).

UPDATE: I have made these several times, and my family prefers that I omit the tapioca starch. We are finding an “off” flavor with tapioca flour so I am just substituting cornstarch with great results!

Mini Pumpkin Doughnuts, perfect for fall!

Pumpkin Doughnuts

These have a subtle pumpkin flavor that I think are very kid-friendly. And they are also dairy-free!

  • 3/4 cup white rice flour (I did use Superfine Rice Flour from Authentic Foods)
  • 6 TB cornstarch or tapioca flour
  • 2 TB potato starch
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a non-stick mini-doughnut pan. (This recipe should make 36 mini doughnuts)
  2. In a medium bowl combine the rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, xantham gum, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, applesauce and oil until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir until blended.
  4. Fill each doughnut cup about 3/4 way full (you don’t want to over fill or they won’t exactly look like doughnuts; I use one tablespoon per space). Bake for about 8 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes before removing. I immediately dipped the warm doughnuts into a cinnamon-sugar mixture (1/4 cup white sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon) but they would also be good frosted or glazed.


Slightly Indulgent


7 thoughts on “Pumpkin Doughnuts

  1. Evie R. says:

    These look wonderful. I might have to try them at your house sometime.

  2. Sophie says:

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,…the endresult says it all,..they look just stunning & awesome too!

  3. Christine says:

    Yummy! I really want to try making doughnuts but I hate the idea of deep frying them. Maybe I’ll have to try these!

  4. […] Gluten Free Pumpkin Doughnuts […]

  5. Ellen B says:

    I have learned to love baked donuts and I’d like to try these, but I want to avoid rice flour. Is there a good substitute for rice flour?

    • Flora says:

      I haven’t personally tried to replace the rice flour, but Jules Shepard recommends in her Free For All Cooking book to replace rice flour with either sorghum flour or millet flour, so that would be my first idea. Good luck and let me know if it works well; I am thinking with all the pumpkin and spice flavor it should work just fine.

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