Chocolate Donut Holes (Munchkins)

November 13, 2014
3 Ratings
  • Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
Author Notes

There was a time in my life when I was at war with chocolate munchkins. As the story goes, the donut hole was invented when savvy donut makers realized that they could cook and sell the little nubbin they punched out of the center of their classic-shaped pastries. Genius! A sweet little snack. Who could say no? Me. I had to. I was sixteen and working at the counter of a local donut shop.

Don’t get me wrong: I loved a good munchkin. But enjoying one would have been a betrayal–donut treason. The name of my shop was The Whole Donut. Can you guess what was special about The Whole Donut? They sold the "the whole donut" and I was part of the team. Indulging in a competitor’s donut hole would have been wholly disloyal.

Fortunately, I’m still up to my elbows in donuts in my current job, but the hole-y war is over. So I’m making up for lost time with this homemade version.

Sure, making donuts at home is a bit more work than running out to the store, but the extra effort is worth it. These guys are almost obscenely chocolatey thanks to the addition of both cocoa powder and melted unsweetened chocolate. My coffee has finally met its soulmate. —Samantha Seneviratne

What You'll Need
  • For the donuts:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • water, if necessary
  1. Prepare the dough: In a medium heatproof bowl, melt the butter and the chocolate together over a pot of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the buttermilk and vanilla to the melted butter mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is combined. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it well, and let it rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  4. In a heavy pot with a candy thermometer attached, heat 3 inches of oil to 360° F. Meanwhile, scoop the dough into 1-tablespoon balls. (A mini ice-cream scoop is a great tool for this.) Roll each ball into a neat circle between the palms of your hands.
  5. Use a spider or a slotted spoon to gently lower the dough balls into the oil, 4 at a time. You can add a few more balls depending on the size of your pot, but don’t crowd the pan. Adjust the flame to maintain the temperature between 350° F and 360° F at all times. Cook the dough until puffed and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. (Color isn’t a good indicator of doneness, so feel free to open up the first or second doughnut to make sure it’s cooked through.) Use a slotted spoon to transfer the donuts to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. The glaze should be about the consistency of heavy cream. Add a little bit of water if necessary. Dip each donut into the glaze. Use a fork to cover each doughnut, then lift it out and tap it against the edge of the bowl to remove excess glaze. Transfer the glazed donuts to a rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. Let the donuts stand until the glaze is no longer wet.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alex
  • donnahobrien
  • Kimberly M Hill
    Kimberly M Hill
  • Barbara Martin
    Barbara Martin
  • Kris

27 Reviews

Alex May 11, 2022
Great recipe! but would recommend measuring out in grams rather than volume, especially if you've been having trouble with dough consistency. The conversions I used are below:
75 g sugar
40 g cocoa powder
120 g flour
30 g chocolate
(FYI this also works with gluten free flour blends! I used Cup4Cup and got great results.)
donnahobrien March 8, 2021
My dough came out dry and crumbly and I know I followed the recipe to a T! HELP!!! ps: love all things Food52!
Kimberly M. September 30, 2019
I do not know what I did but the dough in the refrigerator was wet and impossible to roll into balls. I followed directions very carefully. I'm so disappointed
Lee M. May 27, 2017
Could you make these in the oven? Anyone know how to amend the recipe?
Traci P. December 29, 2016
Fantastic recipe! Possibly the best donuts I've ever eaten!
Rachel Y. November 13, 2016
Is it possible to use a non dairy substitute for the buttermilk? Typically I substitute coconut milk for dairy but wonder if these would still work. Thanks for your thoughts.
Beth June 19, 2017
@Rachel York (I'm late to the party, but I didn't see your question answered below, so I figured I'd try to help you out.) I know soy milk will curdle like buttermilk if you add some lemon juice to it (like cow's does) and I've heard that some nut milks do and possibly oat milk. I don't know if you have allergies, but I can't attest experience-wise to anything but the soy, so here's a link that I found and thought might be helpful regarding plant based milk subs. They don't really cover buttermilk in the article itself, but it's got some good general information on how, when, and why to sub in different plant milks. I definitely recommend taking a look at the comments at the end since there's quite a few people who talk about different types of plant milks not specifically mentioned in the article, including a few buttermilk style subs.
Barbara M. November 13, 2016
I vote for sprinkling a bit of coarse sea salt onto the donuts as the glaze dries.
Kendra August 26, 2016
Just made these. Delicious! Only issue I had was that at 2-3 minutes at 360 the outsides of the donut was crispy which is not what I was going for. Maybe try 1 1/2 minutes?
Kelly P. June 29, 2016
Hi Samantha,

I tried this recipe and when I took the dough out from the refrigerator, it came out very mushy and wet - which made forming the balls quite a hassle. Would extra flour make the dough less sticky next time? (Also wondering if it would make the munchkins thicker/more cake-like). Thank you for your help!

Kimberly M. September 30, 2019
I had the same problems
Dana June 29, 2015
The donuts look gorgeous
Kris November 29, 2014
These look great, I want to make them for my next family brunch. But would it be possible to bake them? Should I have to change the recipe?
Samantha S. December 6, 2014
Hi Kris!
Good question. I never tested them baked. I think if you're interested in a baked doughnut recipe, you should start with a recipe developed with the oven in mind. It would be a little safer!
allthingsconsideredyummy November 21, 2014
I'm about to make these but didn't see baking soda in the ingredients list. The instructions call for both soda and powder - are both required? If so, how much of soda? Thanks!
Samantha S. November 21, 2014
Thank you, allthingsconsideredyummy! Clearly my cutting and pasting skills leave something to be desired. You should use 1/4 teaspoon soda in the recipe. Happy baking!
allthingsconsideredyummy November 21, 2014
Amazing! Thank you so much for your super fast response!!
nutcakes November 20, 2014
Well these were fun and easy to whip up. It's a good sized batch as the donuts expand a bit. They are pretty hefty and rich, though. I sort of wanted a milder donut hole. But I enjoyed. I never deep fry anything but because I could use a little pot I didn't have to use that much oil and I kept the oil temp on target so they were pretty greaseless for the end result.
Jennifer W. November 19, 2014
I craved these when I was pregnant! Thanks for sharing can't wait to make them for my boys now.
MattieK November 18, 2014
This might be a sacrilegious question, but I wonder long these keep for?
Samantha S. November 18, 2014
Good question! I'm happy to report that they never lasted long enough for an official storage test. They're best the day they're made and I'd guess they'd be alright for another day or two stored in the air-tight container.
Jessica A. November 17, 2014
What is the best type of oil to use?
Samantha S. November 17, 2014
I used vegetable oil, but any neutral oil with a high smoke point will do.
Jessica F. November 17, 2014
These are so yummy and SO chocolatey. I agree that their level of chocolate flavor is what sets them completely apart from every other chocolate doughnut hole you've ever had.
Samantha S. November 17, 2014
Thanks, Jess!
LanaVuk November 14, 2014
Did you leave out the cocoa powder in the recipe as published ?
Samantha S. November 14, 2014
Yes! Thank you for catching that typo, LanaVuk. I made the change.