These Vanilla Latte Doughnuts combine my love of doughnuts with my favorite coffee drink for the perfect Monday morning pick-me-up!
Monday morning. There are only two things that can save it. Coffee and doughnuts. And they need to be enjoyed together. To be fair, a national holiday is really the perfect way to save a Monday morning, but as there are only so many of those in year, we’ll take what we can get. Which is coffee and doughnuts. There’s not really much of a better pairing (unless you’re talking wine and cheese or wine and chocolate or wine and charcuterie or really just wine and anything I guess… though maybe you should try to stay away from those pairings on a Monday morning). You know coffee and doughnuts go together like match made in heaven, so why not incorporate the coffee into the actual doughnuts? Kill two birds with one stone, if you will… Plus you can have another cup of coffee on the side. Or 12. It is Monday morning, after all.
I’m seriously kicking myself right now for not saving one of these vanilla latte doughnuts doughnuts for this Monday morning. Probably the only thing worse than a Monday morning is a Monday morning in February. In New England. I mean, are we done with winter yet? I was in Virginia this weekend and wore my spring jacket or no jacket the entire time. Now I’m back in Boston and back to my knee-length, fur covered winter coat. I’m about ready to burn the thing in ceremonial fire symbolizing the death of winter. Have I mentioned my winter coat doesn’t have a hood? Who makes a winter coat without a hood? Not someone who spends winters in snowy Boston. End rant.
VANILLA LATTE DOUGHNUTS RECIPE
Back to the doughnuts. These were born from me wanting to incorporate the idea of coffee and doughnuts together, but then going a little crazy with vanilla paste and deciding to whip up a vanilla latte custard to pipe into my espresso doughnuts. And a vanilla glaze to top them. Vanilla lattes are pretty much my favorite treat coffee anyway. And now they’re my favorite treat doughnuts, as well.
You can either use espresso powder or you can embrace the opportunity to use your mortar and pestle and crush your own. I didn’t crush mine super fine (mostly because I got a little bored after crushing it for so long), but I kind of liked the bigger granules in the doughnuts and custard.
Start by dissolving the yeast in the warm water for about 5 minutes, so it gets a little bit frothy. In a mixer (or in a big bowl with a hand mixer), whisk together flour, espresso powder, sugar, and salt.
Then add in milk, butter, egg yolks, and yeast mixture.
And blend together using the mixer’s dough hook (if you don’t have a mixer with dough hook, a hand mixer is fine). Form dough and then increase mixer speed to medium and let mix for about 3 minutes.
Sprinkle the dough with some flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and place in a warm place for about two hours, so it can rise.
Look at that beautiful rise!! Seriously though, nothing makes me happier than when I remove the towel from my bowl and my dough is almost to the top. Dough rising is a beautiful thing.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out so it’s about ½ inch thick.
Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a drinking glass, cut out as many rounds from the dough as you can. I used a 3-inch drinking glass since 2 ¾ inch is the largest my biscuit cutters come and I wanted a little larger. Place rounds on a lightly floured baking sheet. With a 3-inch cutter, I got 12 rounds.
Cover the baking sheet with your kitchen towel and let rise again for about 30 minutes. OK, this might make me even happier than when my dough rises in the bowl. Look at those flat rounds above and now look at those fat rounds below. They're becoming doughnuts!!
In the meantime, heat about 2.5 inches canola oil in a large pot until it reaches 350 degrees. This temperature is very, very important. If your oil isn’t hot enough when you fry, the oil will seep into the food. If the oil is the right temperature, the food will quickly fry and the oil won’t seep in. So, 350 degrees for healthier frying, y’all.
I know I shouldn’t be using the words “healthier” and “frying” in the same sentence… But I did. And I'm not deleting it.
Fry those lovely dough balls for a minute on each side until they start turning golden. You can do a few at a time. Place fried doughnuts on a paper towel-covered plate to rest. And when all are fried, move to a metal rack to cool completely.
Vanilla Latte Custard Recipe
While your vanilla latte doughnut dough is rising, you should probably make the custard because it’s going to need some time to cool down. It's a super simple process that only involves a few ingredients.
Bring milk and vanilla to a simmer in a large saucepan and then remove from heat. Then, in a separate large bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks together until thick. Stir in cornstarch.
Slowly whisk half of hot milk from the saucepan into the bowl with the egg mixture to temper the eggs. And add that egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the mixture is thickened. This will take about 4 minutes.
Remove the custard from the heat and stir in espresso water. See how thick and custard-like it is??
Remove custard to a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is actually touching the custard so that a skin doesn’t form. Put the custard in the fridge to cool.
Vanilla Icing Recipe
And while your vanilla latte doughnuts are cooling, you can complete the last step in the recipe... the vanilla icing! I know these doughnuts are a lot of steps, but I promise they’re SO SO worth it. And this icing is basically the easiest thing ever. You can use vanilla paste or vanilla extract, but note that if you use the paste, you will get the nice little specks of vanilla in your icing!
All you have to do is whisk all the ingredients together. Start with 3 Tbsp milk and if you need the icing to be a bit thinner, add a bit more. Make sure your doughnuts are cooled completely before icing!
Get your cold custard out of the fridge and using a pastry bag with long tip, pierce each doughnut and squeeze some custard into the middle. Then drizzle a layer of icing over the top.
I recommend letting the doughnuts rest for about 10 minutes so the icing will harden.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee OR whip up a vanilla latte and dig in. Monday morning, who?
It's hard for me to tell you what I love best about these. I think it might have to be the creamy custard filling with strong vanilla notes, but also deep espresso flavoring. Like I mentioned, my espresso granules were a bit on the bigger side and I loved their impact each bite of doughnut I took.
If you're feeling lazy, you could always skip the filling and stick to an espresso doughnut with vanilla icing. Not quite the same, but definitely saves a few steps. I used to think frying doughnuts was so hard, but now I'm finding that it's dangerously easy.
I know vanilla latte doughnuts aren't part of a balanced breakfast, but I strongly believe how rules go out the window on Monday mornings. Whatever it takes to get you through. Whatever it takes.
The only major issue is that these doughnuts are so light and airy, that you'll find yourself grabbing for a second or third without even thinking about it. I'm sure that also has something to do with how delicious they are. Oops? Side note... if you eat one of these vanilla latte doughnuts WITH an actual vanilla latte, your head might explode. Just warning ya!
UGH. Have I mentioned how mad I am that I have no doughnut in my hand this Monday morning? Because I'm pretty sure it's going to throw off my entire day.
Annnd now I’m seriously craving a jelly doughnut. What is wrong with me?
How do you make your Monday mornings a little bit brighter? Doughnuts and coffee?
P.S. Happy, happy birthday to my dad, the very best dad!! 🙂
For more delicious donut recipes, check out my Grapefruit Donuts (like jelly donuts, but better!) or my Glazed Coffee Chocolate Frosted Donuts. I'm also loving these Basil Peach Shortcake Donuts from Good Things Baking Co.
Vanilla Latte Doughnuts
- 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast (from 1 packet)
- 2 Tbsp warm water
- 3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ Tbsp espresso powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks
- Canola oil
- 1 batch vanilla latte custard (recipe below)
- 1 batch vanilla icing (recipe below)
Vanilla Latte Custard
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ Tbsp espresso powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3-3 ½ Tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water for about 5 minutes, until frothy.
- In the bowl of a mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk together flour, espresso powder, sugar, and salt.
- Add in milk, butter, egg yolks, and yeast mixture and blend together using the mixer’s dough hook (if you don’t have a mixer with dough hook, a hand mixer is fine). Form dough and then increase mixer speed to medium and let mix for about 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the dough with some flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and place in a warm place for about two hours, so it can rise.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out so it’s about ½ inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a drinking glass (or other round object), cut out as many rounds from the dough as you can. I used a 3-inch cutter and got 12. Place rounds on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with your kitchen towel and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
- Heat 2.5 inches of canola oil in a large pot until it reaches 350 degrees. Add a few dough rounds to the oil and fry for about a minute on each side until they start turning golden. Place fried doughnuts on a paper towel-covered plate to rest. When finished frying, move doughnuts to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Fill a pastry bag with long tip with custard. Pierce each doughnut and squeeze some custard into the middle. Drizzle a layer of icing over the top.
Vanilla Latte Custard
- Bring milk and vanilla to a simmer in a large saucepan and then remove from heat.
- In a separate large bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks together until thick. Stir in cornstarch.
- Slowly whisk half of hot milk from the saucepan into the bowl with the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Then add that egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. This will take about 4 minutes.
- Remove the custard from the heat and stir in espresso water mixture.
- Pour custard into a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is actually touching the custard so that a skin doesn’t form. Put the custard in the fridge to cool completely.
- Whisk together confectioners' sugar, 3 Tbsp whole milk, and vanilla. If icing is too thick, add remaining ½ Tbsp milk a little bit at a time until desired consistency is reached.