Cardamom Doughnuts

- Amanda

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.

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You make the dough the night before, and it will seem impossibly wet -- the key to fluffy doughnuts. Even after watching Adam Baumgart, the pastry chef, make the doughnuts, I didn't trust my instincts and threw out the first batch, thinking it was all wrong. But another batch and 2:30 am later, I got it right. So don't do what I did, and you'll be just fine.

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

Baking fiends knew Bluebird Coffee Shop, but it was such a tiny space that it never got too big for its britches. Earlier this week, Merrill wrote about their Cheese Biscuits. Baumgart was generous to share his excellent recipes, and while that is good news, the sad news is that Bluebird is changing ownership this Sunday and Baumgart is moving on. But tastes of the old Bluebird can live on in all of our kitchens.


Cardamom Doughnuts

Adapted from Adam Baumgart, Bluebird Coffee Shop

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
  • 11 milliliters lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 95 milliliters whole milk
  • 95 milliliters 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

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.


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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


erica_eshoo May 4, 2011
So we are in New York, didn't realize Bluebird was on the same block we were on for brunch at Prune, so stopped in on Monday to find that they were closed and had changed owners and they would reopen on Wednesday. So we stopped in today asking for the doughnut, and the gal says we are using a different bakery sad :( So no more housemade goods??
Nvr4Get2Dream May 1, 2011
These look great! Although they don't appear to be healthier than the fried version. Actually, I think baked doughnuts taste better.
shelley_handler April 30, 2011
Anitalectric - Put that St. Germain in some oh-so-delicately cardamom-ed whipped cream or pastry cream, gloop it on to/into the donuts and we're golden. Golden brown!!!
shelley_handler April 30, 2011
Oh.Dear.God. YUM!!!
healthierkitchen April 30, 2011
Amazing looking donuts (and kitchen)!
gingerroot April 30, 2011
These look ridiculously good! Thank you for sharing the recipe, Adam, Amanda & Jennifer!
Anitalectric April 30, 2011
If you really want to take these baked donuts to the next level, butter them, sugar them, and then torch them! You will get a crisp, sweet exterior like with fried donuts but without all the grease.

I used to make donut cupcakes like this. I actually did 2 layers of the butter/sugar/torch thing, and brushed them with St. Germain liquor in between ;)
monkeymom April 30, 2011
okay! I'm on that too!
monkeymom April 30, 2011
Oh man, these are totally irresistible. I am on it.
Rhonda35 April 30, 2011
This photo makes your kitchen/dining area look huge!! If you can't have it, fake it, is what I always say!! Seriously, what a great shot!
Rhonda35 April 30, 2011
They look like a glorified version of my favorite type of doughnut, which is an old-fashioned. Nothing like that flavor. Hope my instincts are correct! Or maybe I should hope I am incorrect; my waistline will be a lot prettier if I never, ever, ever learn the secret of making anything close to an old-fashioned!! If you love me, Amanda, you will be sure to protect me from myself! ;-)
sarah K. April 29, 2011
I want one of those now so bad that I might cry! Will anyone make them and send one to me? No? Sigh...
CatherineTornow April 29, 2011
The donuts look great, but i forgot how amazing your kitchen is. I love the white storage area!
AntoniaJames April 29, 2011
Quick question . . . to get the ground cardamom that you used when testing these, did you open pods and then grind the seeds? Or did you buy just the seeds and grind them? Or did you buy already ground cardamom? 2 3/4 teaspoons of freshly ground cardamom sounds like so much, for 9 doughnuts/holes. (Or perhaps the cardamom seeds I get from the local Indian grocery is much stronger than what you used . . . . ) Many thanks. ;o)
Amanda H. April 29, 2011
I used pre-ground cardamom so it's probably weaker in flavor.
Dabblings April 29, 2011
Those look so good!!!
AntoniaJames April 29, 2011
Uh oh . . . . . ;o)
Loves F. April 29, 2011
Thanks for posting, these look fantastic!
hardlikearmour April 29, 2011
I love that these are baked! Still not health food, but so much better than deep fat fried. Thanks Adam and Amanda (and Jennifer.)