Cardamom Doughnuts

By • April 29, 2011 20 Comments

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Author Notes: There are many doughnuts in the world to love. But few are as plump and sugared, slight in weight, and brashly fragrant as the cardamom doughnuts from Bluebird Coffee Shop in the East Village. They're a baked doughnut, which makes them even more dangerously accessible.

You make the dough the night before, and it will seem impossibly wet -- the key to fluffy doughnuts.

The next morning you do a little shaping and spritzing and dipping into chopped pistachios, and you are near the finish line.

Amanda Hesser

Makes 9 doughnuts and 9 doughnut holes

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tablespoon lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon buttermilk
  • 13 tablespoons unsalted Plugra or other high butterfat butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pistachios, finely chopped (by hand, not in a food processor)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Mix together the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Stir together the yeast and water in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon), combine the chilled flour mixture, the eggs, egg yolks, milk and buttermilk. Mix on low speed until a dough forms. It might be a little shaggy on the sides and that’s ok.
  3. Add the yeast and continue mixing on low for 3 minutes. Pinch a piece of dough. It should be quite soft and sticky but should begin to stretch. If not, keep kneading for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the Plugra butter, 1/ 3 at a time, and let the mixer knead for 5 minutes after each addition. The dough should become very smooth and elastic. It will seem impossibly soft, and should feel a little bouncy like a marshmallow. Don’t despair. This is right.
  5. Brush a bowl twice the size of the dough mixture with oil. Scrape the dough into the bowl. Lightly brush the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  6. Using a dough scraper, fold in the sides of the dough (don’t punch it down, just fold it). Let rest, covered, for another 45 minutes, then fold it again. Cover and place the dough in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 8 hours).
  7. Lightly flour a work surface. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Have your kitchen scale ready (if not you’ll be dividing the dough into 9 equal pieces) and a spray bottle filled with water. Spread the chopped pistachios on a small plate. Remove the dough from the bowl and set it onto the floured surface. Using your dough scraper, cut and weigh out 100 g pieces. You should have exactly 9 pieces.
  8. Using as little flour as possible, shape the dough pieces into rolls, and set the rolls on a floured portion of the work surface, at least 5 inches apart. Let rest for 10 minutes. If the dough becomes difficult to handle at any time, put it back in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  9. Get out your 1-and-1/2-inch round cookie cutter. One at a time, firmly pat the rolls into 1/2-inch-thick disks. Cut out the centers with the cookie cutter.
  10. Working one doughnut at a time, spray a doughnut with just enough water to wet its surface. Dip the wet side of the doughnut into the pistachios, and set, nut-side-up, on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and doughnut holes, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until fluffy and light – the doughnut should bounce back when pressed – about 1 1/2 hours.
  11. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the doughnuts for 6 minutes, then turn the baking sheets from back to front and continue baking until lightly browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 more minutes. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 tablespoonsbutter and place the sugar in a wide, shallow bowl.
  12. After removing the doughnuts from the oven, again working one at a time, brush the doughnuts with butter, then dip in the sugar, and set on a baking rack to cool.
  13. Pat yourself on the back, and eat while fresh!

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Comments (20) Questions (1)


over 1 year ago Pam

Do you recommend Green, White or Black Cardamom for these?


over 1 year ago Roberta

Love the elegance of these doughnuts. AT the other end of the spectrum are these PA Dutch Fachnachts


over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

These sound great -- thanks for sharing!


over 1 year ago Gina

I made your Cardamom doughnuts today cause when I was in Finland I had the opportunity to try them in a small cottage and wanted to make them at home back in Mexico. I found your recipe and was attracted by the fact of the baking instead of frying. Just wanted to say.. CONGRATULATIONS! It´s worth the wait of making them and followed the instructions just like written. They are delicious and brought me back to Finland. Simply delicious :D


over 1 year ago Angel McClure Chapin

I was very excited by the thought of doughnuts without all the mess of frying, even tho I was a bit hesitant about all the steps in this recipe. Going forward because the ingredients sounded delish... Well I was disappointed I must confess, I just don't think this is a good recipe, especially after all the time and care necessary. Looking forward to trying another.......
Thank you, maybe I did something I shouldn't have done?? Nevertheless moving on, so many recipes to conquer. :) Cheers
Angel of the Ovens


over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Angel, thanks for your comment. Please let me know what went wrong, or what you didn't like. I've made these a bunch of times, and I'd love to help figure this out or adjust the recipe if needed.


over 3 years ago Yael Even

I am making this recipe now and have read it over a million times. It calls for 1 cup +3 tbls.
Of sugar. It says to mix the 3 tbls. Sugar with the flour etc. I have searched all over as to where to add the cup of sugar and I can't find it. Help! And also , is it supposed to be so liquidy?


over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Sorry -- I'll fix this. The 1 cup sugar is just for dipping the doughnuts in after they come out of the oven. See Step 12.


about 4 years ago Vitor Hugo

I tried yesterday a batch and I have to say: it's really, really, really good. Better than I expected.

I made two small changes. I used yoghurt instead buttermilk, I live outside U.S., so here it isn't that common (it works!) Changed pistachios for cashew nuts, 'cause I'm lazy. Cashew was in the pantry, so… why not? heheh


about 4 years ago Sarah Shatz

Good to know your tweaks worked well.


about 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Oops. That was me, actually. Was signed in as our photographer!


over 1 year ago ghainskom

Add 1 tbsp white vinegar to a cup of milk, mix and let sit 10 minutes, you have buttermilk!


over 4 years ago kellie@foodtoglow

Will be making these today! My weakness is cardamom, not doughnuts, but any vehicle for cardamom is always worth a try and these sound and look delish. Thanks for posting.


over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hope you like them!


over 4 years ago blanka.n

This is so ambitious. There's a Dunkin Donuts on my block in Manhattan. It's an indulgence I allow myself maybe once a week. This seems daunting but I'm not sure I ever knew you could bake the caloric suckers - I think I might just try it. Mu husband will be thrilled.


over 4 years ago sam_chafos

11ml of water? how much is that in a usable measurement? about 1T? is this yeast paste we're making? pls clarify -- very confusing.


over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

11 ml of water is about 3/4 tablespoon. I included ml because most liquid measuring cups include ml measurements. And, yes, you end up with a paste. Also for the milk and buttermilk, 95 ml = 3.2 ounces. Hope you enjoy the recipe.


over 4 years ago bostongal

OMG Found this recipe this afternoon and will be making them tomorrow for myself & my beloved to enjoy on his day off. Thanks for the great recipe - can't wait to try them!


over 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Timing is everything in this life. Just lately I'd been thinking about hunting up a recipe for baked doughnuts. Thank you so much!


over 4 years ago testkitchenette

I love baked doughnuts, my mother used to make them when I was young!