Coffee & Doughnut Holes

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with new and interesting food to serve your guests during holiday parties. It’s always difficult to cook for a crowd, especially when you want to impress them. I know that a lot of people are under the impression that making doughnuts, or baking with yeast in general, is too difficult, but I’m here to tell you otherwise! These doughnut holes are perfect for parties, sit out well, and will amaze your friends and family when you tell them that you made them yourself. Believe me – I’m usually too lazy or afraid to wait for dough to rise, let alone knead it – but this recipe will change all of that. To add to the all around “wow” factor of these little doughnut holes, I wanted to serve it with a grown-up coffee drink that would be a perfect pairing: enter coffee and Kahlua, a match made in after-dinner drink heaven. I used disposable shot glasses to help with the clean-up, and I’d venture to say that my guests were more than pleased with my take on “coffee and doughnuts”, which are truly a New York City tradition. These doughnut holes are light and fluffy, with just the right amount of moisture on the inside and the slight crispy bite of a cinnamon-sugar crust on the outside. They sat out for my entire party and held up well, so I’ll certainly be making them for my next gathering, and you should, too! As the holidays get closer, it’s always fun to try something different – why not coffee shots and doughnut holes?

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Your ingredients.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Weigh out your flour.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Then add in your cinnamon and nutmeg.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Place your shortening in a bowl.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Then add the hot milk to melt the shortening.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Add your yeast to the hot water and let stand for 5 minutes.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Beat together the shortening, milk, yeast, and water.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Add in the flour mixture and knead with your dough hook until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Place in an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Roll out your dough.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Cut the dough out into circles and allow the balls to rise again.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Fry for 1-2 minutes, until golden. Place on a place lined with paper towels to drain, then toss in cinnamon-sugar.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
I cold-brewed my coffee for the shot, but you can just use regular coffee, too.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Melt some chocolate for the rim of your shot glasses.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Dip the chocolate rimmed shot glass in cinnamon sugar, then add in your coffee and Kahlua and stir to combine.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Serve and enjoy.

Coffee & Doughnut Holes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 50
Delicate cinnamon-sugar doughnut holes served with a cold-brewed coffee and Kahlua shooter.
For the doughnuts
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2½ ounces vegetable shortening (about ⅓ cup)
  • 2 packages instant yeast
  • ⅓ cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 23 ounces all-purpose flour (about 5 cups, but weigh it out it you can), plus more for your work surface
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • vegetable oil, for frying (you will want to fill your frying pan/pot with oil so that it is about 2-3 inches deep)
For Rolling:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the Coffee Shooter:
  • 2½ cups good quality cold coffee
  • 2½ cups cold Kahlua
  • ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate, melted (for garnish the rim of your shot glass)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Doughnuts
  1. Heat the 1½ cups of milk in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until steaming and very hot, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the shortening, whisking until fully melted. Set aside until the milk has cooled to room temperature.
  2. Heat up your water to 105 to 110 degrees F, then sprinkle the yeast over it, allowing it to dissolve for 5 minutes. When it has mostly dissolved, add it to a large bowl (preferably that of your stand-mixer, if you have one) and add in the milk and shortening mixture. Add in the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg (or cinnamon), and about half of the flour. Beat the ingredients together on low speed until just moistened, then add in the rest of the flour. Beat until just combined, then switch out your attachement for a dough hook, or knead by hand. Use the dough hook until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, which should take about 3-4 minutes. Oil a very large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover well with plastic wrap, place in a warm spot, such as near your window, and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
  3. After the dough has risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, until it is about ½ inch thick. Use a shot glass or other similarly shaped cutter to cut out your doughnut holes. Place the cut-out doughnuts on a lightly floured baking sheet, and cover with a dish towel. Place in a warm spot for another 30-45 minutes and let the dough rise again.
  4. When your doughnuts have risen, heat your oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F, then carefully place the doughnuts in the oil, cooking 6-8 at a time so that they aren’t over-crowded. Cook for 1 minute on each side, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool. If you want to roll the doughnuts in cinnamon sugar, roll them in the combined 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon immediately after removing them from the oil.
  5. These can be stored in an container with a loose fitting lid, separated by parchment paper, for up to 36 hours. I recommend letting them stay out in the open air as long as possible before storing them, as the humidity inside of the container can cause them to become soggy after too much time – they truly are best when enjoyed the day of, but as long as you are careful with them, they are delicious the next day, too.
For the Coffee Shooter:
  1. In a pitcher, combine the coffee and Kahlua. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Melt your chocolate and dip the rips of your shot glasses (I used disposable shot glasses that I found at the party store) in the chocolate, then in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Carefully pour the coffee mixture into each shot glass and serve.
Adapted From


25 Responses

  1. Jane M says:

    Oh do these look G-R-E-A-T! How could I only eat ONE?

    Who ever won the Witchcraft cookbook – I can’t seem to find it on your site. Just being curious :).

  2. Mom says:

    So cute! What a great after dinner presentation, especially when you want “just a bite”.

  3. Aarthi says:

    So yummy…Perfect with a perfect cup of coffee…

  4. Genevieve says:

    Another winner! Hub is intrigued, I think I will have to make it soon :)

  5. I’ve yet to make doughnuts. Not afraid of the yeast, perhaps I’m afraid I’ll eat them all (only partly kidding!) πŸ˜‰

  6. This looks amazingly delicious! I love it! Those doughnut holes look perfect!

  7. LOVE THIS IDEA. Coffee and doughnut holes! Fluffy and yeasty and sugary, man I can almost smell ’em. And those chocolate-rimmed glasses look phenomenal. You should be proud, party host!

  8. Oh, I love this! I must make this for my next party. I want to eat them right out of the computer.

  9. Benita says:

    Cingratulations on the award for blogging, Sydney! Brava and so well-deserved!

  10. These look great! I haven’t ventured into donut making yet, but this makes me want to try! P.S. Did your house smell like fried food after making these? Or could I make them the same day as the party?

    • Sydney says:

      I made these the same day as the party and it smelled fine! We just dumped the oil as soon as it cooled enough and we were cooking so much other food that we didn’t even notice.

  11. Rhonda says:

    That looks so good! I wish I had some right now.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Do you think it would be alright if the dough rose overnight once it was cut into circles? I wanted to make them tomorrow morning but did not want to wait for them to rise.

    • Sydney says:

      I think that they would dry out, unfortunately. You can probably make the dough ahead of time on day one, then cut them out and proof them the next day.

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