When I was a child, my parents used to love taking our family to a smorgasbord. The owner would always come out from the kitchen and say hello to my parents. He made delicious fried donut holes that my brother and I looked forward to at the end of our meal. At home we duplicated the donut holes using a recipe from an old cookbook. Unfortunately the cookbook is lost, but this recipe is pretty close to the original. Tossing the little donuts in vanilla sugar makes them even more fragrant and delicious. The vanilla sugar can be used immediately, but for the best flavor, make it in advance.
The original recipe had vanilla and nutmeg in it, which are classic cake donut flavors. The addition of fresh orange zest and juice makes them vibrant and flavorful. I love making different flavors of these donut holes. To view Blueberry Donut Holes, click here.
To watch the Orange Vanilla Bean Donut Holes video, click here.
Orange Vanilla Bean Donut Holes
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, orange zest, melted butter, orange juice and vanilla bean paste until well combined.
Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Do not over mix. A few small lumps are okay.
In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil to 340ºF. Place vanilla sugar in a medium bowl.
Drop tablespoon size portions of batter into hot oil. I used a #60 portion scoop** leveled. Don't over crowd the pan.
Cook donut holes until golden brown on all sides, about 2-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. If donut holes cook too quickly on the outside, turn heat down.
Briefly drain donut holes on paper towels, then toss warm donut holes in vanilla sugar.
With the dull side of a knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean.
In a small bowl, whisk vanilla seeds together with sugar, breaking up any clumps. Use immediately or make in advance and let flavor develop 1-2 weeks in a covered container.
**To find vanilla beans, click here.
*To find the scoop I used, click here.
This recipe was updated on March 12, 2023