Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Mini Doughnuts
Note: This recipe was first posted on my original blog, Celebration Generation, on September 10, 2020. It was transferred over to this blog - existing comments and all - on Feb 26, 2021
The other day, we got up early and went to go sit by Lake Ontario for the view. Sometimes we go to watch lightning, sometimes for waves, sometimes for sunrise.
In this case - a lightning storm - things were a bit more time-sensitive than if it had been just to go look at waves, so we decided to stop by Tim Horton’s to pick up hubby’s morning coffee, rather than waiting for him to make it.
I decided I’d get a rare treat of iced coffee, and was looking forward to it. Porter had seen some mention of pumpkin spice TimBits, and he was planning to order some for the first time this year.
Well, Timmies was closed for some reason (I’m guessing the holiday), so we both ended up disappointed!
Now, when he’d mentioned Pumpkin Spice TimBits, I was a bit jealous. Tim Horton’s doesn’t have ANYTHING like that in a gluten-free version, and frankly... pumpkin spice donuts sounded really good.
The weather took a sharp turn for cooler, crisper temperatures lately, and I - like any proper basic chick - have been RIGHT in the mood for PSL anything.
Hell, I even did up a Pumpkin Spice Latte Bath Set, so I can *soak* in those precious fall aromas!
Obviously, I was going to have to make some Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Donuts!
Now, I’ve made gluten-free doughnut holes before - My Gluten-Free Glazed Chocolate Doughnut Holes and Gluten-Free Chai Doughnut Holes were always a hit when parties were still a thing, and I’d make them for mixed (GF and not GF) crowds.
I even have a WHOLE thing in More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods From My Home and Native Land on how to make almost any kind of “Timbit” at home... including gluten-free versions.
... except for Pumpkin Spice!
Coming up with the batter recipe was easy, as I’ve got a great handle on flours and proportions after all the work on my gluten-free cookbooks, Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking & Baking, and the sequel, Beyond Flour 2.
The finishing was something I was still deciding on, as I starting thinking about the logistics. Did we even have any frying oil? I didn’t want to go to a grocery store... ugh.
The thing is, I wasn’t really in the mood to deep fry anything. I’m not the biggest fan of deep-fried food, and now that we have an air fryer... breaking out a pot and a bunch of oil seems like even more hassle than it did before.
... but I have no idea how donut holes would work in an air fryer, so I would have to come up with another way.
I knew mini doughnut machines were a thing, so I took to Amazon to research them, read reviews, and pick one out.
I own a set of silicone baking molds for such things - this 24 piece set - though I haven’t gotten around to using it yet ... and managed to completely forget about it when figuring out my plan!
I knew that nonstick pans - such as the Wilton Mini Donut Pan, which is hugely popular in food blogger circles - were an option...
... but I was definitely distracted by the idea of getting a mini donut machine. They were only a few dollars more than the pans, and really... the mini donuts they made turned out much cuter and more pristine, on account of it basically being a 3D mold for it to bake in.
Yes, I can be fickle sometimes.
To be fair, I also liked the idea of turning out a batch of mini donuts in just 3 minutes. MAGIC.
I ended up deciding on the BabyCakes Mini Donut Maker, and was initially disappointed.
I bought this one (Which appears to not be available in the US? Amazon links are weird though?)... and all the photos that showed the inside of it, showed it to make 6 donuts.
... but the one I got made 4. Apparently, I didn’t read the listing closely enough, as it did specify that it only made 4. The photos were of THIS model, for some reason.
Not fond of using the wrong photos in an ad like that, but like... I’d already waited 24 hours since I designed my batter recipe, and REALLY just wanted to make the Pumpkin Spice Mini Doughnuts. I grumbled and set about to actually make them.
Not only was the machine super cute (and tiny, which is great considering I have a small GTA kitchen now!), the doughnuts were SO. FREAKING. CUTE.
They turned out perfectly, right from the first batch. I was worried there’d be a learning curve, with spills, messing, burning... nope.
Every Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Mini Donut turned out absolutely perfect and uniform, aside from the very last one, where I ran out of batter and tried to squeeze out one last one with less batter. Oh well, it was tasty... just misshapen!
It was SO quick and easy to make, with no mess at all. I honestly can’t see going back to deep-frying them, after buying this. I’m actually seriously considering buying the Cake Pop Maker from the same company.
On one hand, I really don’t need another single-use machine, AND I just started low carbing yesterday (the day after snarfing a bunch of Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Mini Doughnuts!).
On the other hand, I am SUPER impressed with the mini donut machine and would like the option to make doughnut holes as well.
.. Aaand it’s in my cart.
Anyway. Yes, if you like mini doughnuts and aren’t a fan of deep-frying, 100% you should consider getting one of these little machines.
You can literally go from “I feel like making doughnuts” to having doughnuts *in your mouth* in 10 minutes - that’s less time than it takes me to go buy some!
Definitely expect more mini doughnut (and, let’s be real, doughnut hole) recipes here in the future. Now that I don’t have to talk myself into dealing with deep frying, I’m FAR more likely to make more doughnuts.
Apple cider doughnut season is coming, after all...
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Mini Donuts
Ok, enough about how ridiculously cute the mini donuts turned out, let’s talk about the recipe itself.
Much like all of my other gluten-free recipes, this recipe uses multiple flours, combined to make the BEST flour mix for this particular recipe.
I’ve never been a fan of the “all-purpose” GF flour mixes, as I don’t find they actually do a universally great job. I like balancing flavours and properties of various flours, specific to each recipe I’m creating.
It just turns out the best product - and it’s why I was able to test the cookbook recipes exclusively on people who are NOT gluten-free. I wanted them to be as good or better than the “normal”, full gluten versions - something that would never happen with gluten-free “all-purpose” mixes.
In the case of these doughnuts, I wanted them soft, with *just* enough moisture. Dry doughnuts are sad doughnuts, but you also don’t want too MUCH moisture.
The flours themselves make for a nice soft mix, with no grit, no chalky taste or texture, and no gumminess. These are great to eat fresh out of the doughnut machine, and also hours later at room temperature.
... they don’t survive long enough to see if chilling them in the fridge would negatively impact them, sorry! 🙂
If you don’t already keep a variety of flours on hand, seriously... give it a try! The extra minute or so to measure a couple more ingredients is *absolutely* worth it.
... except that it means you’ll have non-gluten-free household members up in your treats. The flip side of that, of course, is that you’ll only have to make one batch of anything, instead of one normal one, and one special batch.
See? Measuring a couple more items actually saves you work in the long run, when you look at it like that!
There are 4 basic ways you can finish a doughnut - or doughnut hole, for that matter:
- Dipped in a thin glaze
- Frosted top
I wasn’t in the mood for plain, but couldn’t make up my mind between the other 3.
In the end, I decided to go with both sugared - in a cinnamon-spiced sugar - and frosted top. Cinnamon sugar sounded great at the time, and frankly... those super cute tiny doughnuts would look even CUTER with a frosted top.
Yes, that was literally my reasoning.
I decided on a maple and cinnamon version of my doughnut frosting, to compliment the Pumpkin Spice flavour of these gluten-free mini donuts.
As a note: The ingredient listings for the Cinnamon Sugar is probably enough to do a whole batch of mini doughnuts, while the frosting was a good amount for maybe ⅔ of a batch. Feel free to size up or down, based on how many gluten-free pumpkin spice mini doughnuts you’re making in each finish.
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Now, on to that recipe!
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Mini Doughnuts
- Baby Cakes Mini Donut Maker
- Nonstick Metal Mini Doughnut Pan
- Disposable Pastry Bags
Pumpkin Spice Mini Donuts:
- 1 cup Sorghum flour
- 1 cup Light buckwheat flour
- ¾ cup Brown sugar
- ⅓ cup Coconut flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Ground ginger
- 1 cup Pumpkin puree not pie filling
- ¼ cup Butter melted
- ¼ cup Milk
- 2 Large eggs
Spiced Sugar Coating:
- ½ cup Granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
Spiced Maple Glaze:
- 1 ½ cups icing sugar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, spices, salt, and xanthan gum, set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, combine pumpkin puree, butter, milk, and eggs, whisking until well combined.
- Pour wet mix into the dry mix, gently stir just until combined. Spoon batter into a pastry bag(s) for ease in filling the baking cavities.
- Cut enough of the tip off to create a ¾" diameter hole in the end of the frosting bag.
For using a Baby Cakes Mini Doughnut Maker:
- Plug the machine in and let it heat up.
- Pipe the batter into the cavities, as shown. Close and lock the doughnut maker, allow doughnuts to bake for about 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, carefully remove the donuts and transfer to a clean work surface before proceeding.
Alternate directions for nonstick metal doughnut pans:
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Grease the donut pans. Using the pastry bag, pipe the batter into the pan cavities, filling ⅔ full or so. (You’ll want to play with this amount in your specific pan).
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until fragrant and cooked through.
- Transfer to a clean work surface before proceeding.
For Spiced Sugar Topping:
- Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, place in a small bowl.
- When mini doughnuts are still hot, spray with a little pan spray - on both sides - and roll them in sugar mixture to coat.
- Place on parchment and allow to cool.
For Spiced Maple Glaze:
- Whisk together powdered sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Add powdered sugar, a half cup or so at a time, whisking until thick (but still “dip-able”).
- Heat in the microwave for 10 seconds, stir until completely smooth. If needed, thin with a very small amount - 1 teaspoon at a time - of milk.
- Transfer to shallow bowl, heat for another 10 seconds, and stir. Use a couple of forks - or clean fingers - to dip each donut, one at a time.
- Allow excess glaze to drip off doughnut before placing on parchment paper to dry.
We ended up with WAY too many great photos from this shoot, so here are a few other ones. I had to share!