Make Ahead

Cardamom Doughnuts

April 29, 2011
2 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Makes 9 doughnuts and 9 doughnut holes
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

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (plus 1 cup for dipping the cooked doughnuts)
  • 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 tablespoons butter and place 1 cup 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • bostongal
  • Sheri D. Maple
    Sheri D. Maple
  • Sarah
  • Pam
  • Angel McClure Chapin
    Angel McClure Chapin
Amanda Hesser

Recipe 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.

30 Reviews

bostongal January 6, 2018
Yes. It will make the doughnuts more dense/heavy in texture but not enough to ruin them.
Sheri D. January 6, 2018
I have a question. Could I use white whole wheat flour? For example one of the wheat flour and 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour.
Sarah May 4, 2016
I'm making these this morning (I made the dough last night) and unfortunately my dough has come out very sticky and wet and I'm hardly able to shape it. I'm a novice baker, so I'm sure this was a mistake of mine rather than the recipe's, but where do you think I went wrong? Maybe it needed more kneading? Or maybe my yeast has gone off? Any suggestions on what to do differently next time would be welcome!
Kristen M. May 4, 2016
Hi Sarah, sorry to hear it. We'd like to try and help! Do you still have the dough and want to try to save it (you might be able to add a little more flour or chill it again to help it firm up)? Or, if you're moving past this dough and looking for advice for next time, can you tell us if there was any particular step where your dough seemed to be going off-course from what Amanda's instructions were describing?
Sarah May 4, 2016
Thanks for your help, Kristen! Good to know I could have added a bit more flour to this batch. I baked them as is and the consensus is they taste so wonderful that they've been pardoned their wonky look! I only noticed that my dough had deviated from Amanda's after the overnight chill. I had hoped that the dough would firm up overnight and felt comforted that Amanda said the dough should look "impossibly wet" but I think my yeast may have been old or maybe I messed up on the amount of flour? Definitely a rookie mistake and not the fault of Amanda's great instructions. I'll certainly be trying this great recipe again though because they taste fantastic.
Erin J. May 4, 2016
One more piece of advice: I usually advise people to just be more generous with the flour when they go to shape the dough. Normally, the advice is to use as little flour as possible to avoid making the dough tough - but if you just use it on the exterior to aid shaping, you should still end up with lovely doughnuts. You can also try greasing your hands when you touch the dough so it doesn't stick to your hands, it can give you a little extra boost!
Beth W. January 3, 2016
I I hope these taste as good as all the work and I wish I had read the reviews before I made them. The directions are terrible! In the top it tells you to add all the sugar flour and spices to chill - it says 1 cup sugar - it does not say the one cup sugar is for dusting until you get to the very end of the recipe and by that time it's too late. I see it here now in the responses but that doesn't help me now!
Amanda H. January 3, 2016
Hi Beth, thanks for your note. I'm not seeing the error in Step 1 -- it says to use 3 tablespoons of sugar in Step 1 -- but to be safe, I added further notes to clarify in the ingredient list, as well as in Step 11. I'm sorry you had a bad experience and hope this helps. If there are other parts of the directions that need improvement or clarification, please let me know. Thanks.
Beth W. January 3, 2016
Thanks Amanda - I appreciate your note. It is confusing and even more so because I used the printable version to cook. I love your site - everything is always interesting and delicious. This was expensive and labor intensive and it was frustrating to get to the end with super wet over sugared dough. If ingredients are used in two places I think it makes sense to say that in the list of ingredients - for example "one cup +3 tablespoons of sugar. 1 cup is for final prep and 3 tablespoons for the batter."
Amanda H. January 10, 2016
Thank you -- I think it's clearer now.
Pam May 27, 2014
Do you recommend Green, White or Black Cardamom for these?
Roberta April 14, 2014
Love the elegance of these doughnuts. AT the other end of the spectrum are these PA Dutch Fachnachts
Amanda H. April 14, 2014
These sound great -- thanks for sharing!
Gina January 16, 2014
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
Angel M. December 11, 2013
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
Amanda H. December 15, 2013
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.
Yael E. December 22, 2011
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?
Amanda H. December 22, 2011
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.
Vitor H. June 3, 2011
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
Sarah S. June 3, 2011
Good to know your tweaks worked well.
Amanda H. June 3, 2011
Oops. That was me, actually. Was signed in as our photographer!
ghainskom April 10, 2014
Add 1 tbsp white vinegar to a cup of milk, mix and let sit 10 minutes, you have buttermilk!
kellie@foodtoglow May 28, 2011
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.
Amanda H. May 30, 2011
Hope you like them!
blanka.n May 2, 2011
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.
sam_chafos May 1, 2011
11ml of water? how much is that in a usable measurement? about 1T? is this yeast paste we're making? pls clarify -- very confusing.
Amanda H. May 1, 2011
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.
bostongal May 1, 2011
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!
boulangere April 30, 2011
Timing is everything in this life. Just lately I'd been thinking about hunting up a recipe for baked doughnuts. Thank you so much!
testkitchenette April 29, 2011
I love baked doughnuts, my mother used to make them when I was young!