Mickey Donut Mania!

Donuts seem just about as American to me as apple pie. There are a huge variety of donuts out there and if you ask 20 people you'll probably get some passionate responses about what their favorite donut style. Donuts - let's be honest they are anytime pastries not just breakfast items - come in a few main categories. Yeast: think Krispie Cream or most donuts filled with jelly or custard and usually fried. Cake: soft crumbly interior which can be baked in a pan at home or dropped into oil with a donut extruder. Regional: specialties like eclairs, zeppolis, fritters, churros, cruller, malasadas, and twists can be made from various base dough types and baked or fried, infused with fruit or glaze, rolled in sugar, or squeezed/shaped into various.
Growing up as a kid in Michigan we frequented Meijer's grocery stores often, before the big Walmart takeover, and I have clear memories of begging for an Americanized eclair known as a Long John, and being devastated if I accidentally picked the one with custard instead of whipped cream in the middle. Then there were falls spent at the apple orchards waiting to finish in the field so I could go back and get my apple cider donut and cider to dip it in. Donuts are glazed, stuffed, and rolled in plenty of memories for me.

I think Disney also knows that most folks have some sort of positive relationship with donuts and have really been on a donut craze for a few years. Merchandise including Minnie Mouse donut charms, umbrellas, pins, plushies, and mugs have been released with donut themes. In May 2019, Disney released the Mickey Celebration Donut to celebrate Mickey's 90th birthday. This donut comes in three flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) and is the size of a personal pizza box. It is available at the Main Street Bakery and Chesire Cafe in Fantasyland. Social media has been abuzz with this Disney eat for months due to its photogenic nature.

After getting my feet oily(?) with Tiana's Man Catchin' Beignets for January's Eat Like a Princess Month, I decided to take a stab at donuts too! I was a bit nervous due to the process of proofing, rising, cutting, and frying but the end result is completely adorable. For my first donuts I used a basic yeast dough from Christina's Cucina and cut out Mickey shapes with my cookie cutter. Using a 1M piping tool I cut out the center hole in the body with the large opening and the small holes for the ears with the small opening. It didn't yield great leftovers for donut holes but it did make the perfect Mickey shaped donuts! I used a simple glaze and varied the food color and extract added to yield strawberry, neon raspberry, and vanilla glaze. Chocolate glaze was an easy combination of semisweet chocolate chips, butter, karo syrup, and milk. One of the few disappointments I had with these donuts was they were lacking the picturesque white ring about the middle like Krispie Cream. It didn't help that Claire Saffitz on Gourmet Makes emphasized the white ring indicates a correctly proofed donut (call me a perfectionist) but I had to give it another try.
For my second attempt I tried a different style of dough: brioche. This type of dough was used in the It's Alive video on Sourdough Donuts. I didn't have any sourdough started like Brad and Claire used in the video so I used a basic brioche donut recipe from Jernej Kitchen. It took a lot of mixing with my stand mixer but produced a smooth, buttery dough with a light and airy texture! And best of all it fried up super with the beautiful while ring. These donuts were full of air and floated above the oil after frying so they didn't double fry around the middle. They were delicious filled with jam and covered in powdered sugar (my husband's favorite) or glazed with chocolate and filled with vanilla bean pastry cream. It was like having an adult version of my childhood donuts. Perfection.

Mickey Shaped Yeast Donuts


  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) water
  • 5 oz buttermilk (150 ml) (at room temperature)
  • 1 egg, beaten (at room temperature)
  • 2 oz (57 g) butter, melted
  • 16 oz (454 g) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 2 oz (57 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp (5 g) regular or quick-rise yeast (one and a half teaspoons)
  • oil for frying (I use corn oil)

Plain Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (80 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or strawberry, raspberry, ect)
  • 1 small pinch salt
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons milk
  • food coloring
  • rainbow sprinkles

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (90g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • rainbow sprinkles


  1. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Put 6 tbsp of lukewarm water in a cup and sprinkle the yeast on top, set aside for about 5 minutes, until the yeast begins to react (you can add a pinch of sugar to help it). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the buttermilk, egg, melted butter and yeast mixture. Using a stand mixer, run with the dough hook until a dough forms then continue for about 5 minutes. By hand, knead for about 10 minutes. Cover and set aside in a warm, sunny spot until at least doubled in size about 2 hours.
  2. Once the dough has doubled, place it on a floured surface and knead lightly. With a rolling pin, roll out dough to about 1/2″ thickness. Cut with a round, sharp cookie cutter about 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches in diameter. Use a smaller object about 1 inch in diameter to make center holes.
  3. Place each donut on a square of parchment paper about 4x4 inches. Lay donuts on a baking sheet and cover with a towel or plastic wrap for 1 hour to proof. They will be puffy when ready to fry!
  4. Heat the oil to about 350ºF (180º). Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil using the paper to carefully lower them into the oil. Turn them over as soon as they become golden brown on the underside about 30-45 seconds, repeat on the opposite side. Remove from the oil and place on a cooling rack with baking sheet underneath to catch oil or paper towel lined platter to cool.
  5. Regular Glaze: Add powdered sugar and salt to a medium bowl and make a well in the middle of powdered sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of milk, extract, and 1-2 drops of food coloring into the well and whisk slowly picking up powdered sugar from the sides of the well until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  6. Chocolate Glaze: Place the chocolate chips, butter, corn syrup, and water in a medium bowl. Melt in 20 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each time, until completely melted and smooth.
  7. Dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze and then cover with sprinkles.

Brioche Donuts


  • 50 g sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 190 ml water, lukewarm (3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast or 16g (2 tsp) fresh yeast
  • 3 eggs, free range
  • 500 g all-purpose flour, plus for dusting (4 cups + 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100 g butter, softened at room temperature (1 stick)

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Add sugar and yeast to the lukewarm water in a large bowl. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes or until the yeast starts to bubble – it will not be frothy and expand only bubble a little so don’t worry. In a small bowl, beat the eggs. Cut the butter on small cubes.
  2. Add flour to the bowl of a stand mixer, make a well and add eggs, lemon zest, and yeast mixture to the large bowl. Knead well. After about 5 minutes, add the salt. Slowly incorporate the butter cubes. Wait until each cube has been incorporated into the dough before adding the next one. Once butter has been added, knead on medium-low speed for 10 minutes; the dough should look smoother still, and most of it will gather around the dough hook. To see whether gluten has developed, take a small piece of dough and stretch it gently between your thumbs and first two fingers on both hands. If it doesn’t break or tear and stretches enough to create a somewhat transparent swath of dough, it’s good to go. If not, beat for another 5 minutes.
  3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave to proof at room temperature in a sunny spot for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough, then re-cover the bowl. Put in the fridge to chill for 12 - 16 hours or overnight.
  4. Take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into 70g pieces. Shape each piece into smooth, tight bun rolling and pulling between our hands. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and dusted with flour. Leave plenty of room between the doughnuts to proof. Cover lightly with plastic wrap proof for about 2 hours.
  5. Fill Dutch oven with 2 inches of oil and heat to 350°F (180°C). Carefully remove the doughnuts from the baking tray put them into the oil 2-3 at a time. Fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. They might seem dark but they are perfect! Remove from the oil and place on a cooling rack with baking sheet underneath or tray lined with paper towels to catch oil. Set aside to cool before filling.
  6. Using a butter knife, cut an X into the end of each donut and push knife through until nearly the other end, twist back a forth slightly to create a cavity. Toss donuts in granulated or powdered sugar or glaze tops. Then fill a piping bag with jam, Nutella, pastry cream, or whipped cream and gently insert tip to fill donuts, pulling back as you squeeze to avoid over filling.
  7. Vanilla Cream: Warm the milk and split vanilla bean in the saucepan until you start to see wisps of steam. It should not actually be boiling. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until a light butter yellow color. Add flour and whisk until a thick paste forms. Pour a little of the hot milk into the eggs and whisk to combine. Place whisk back into saucepan and begin whisking while pouring the egg mixture into the milk, whisking continuously. Continue to whisk and cook over medium-low heat until thickened, stopping every so often to see if mixture has come to a boil. Continue whisking after mixture comes to a boil until cream leaves a trail when whisked and you can see the bottom of the pot that does not fill in 5-10 minutes depending on heat level (on a lower heat level you can cook it for longer without curdling or burning!). Remove the pan from heat. Cover the pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap pressed right up against the surface of the cream and chill completely. (If it did not set-up to a firm consistency after being chilled, return to pot and continue to cook on medium low until thickened and you can clearly see the bottom of pot when whisked).


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