We’re almost to April, and you know what that means — warmer weather, spring produce, fresh flowers and baskets of bunny shaped chocolates! Yep, spring is in full force and I’m ready to celebrate all it has to offer. Seriously, I even worked up the gusto to ask my fiancé if we could get a pet chick the other day, and while the answer was a firm no, we did tour a house with a chicken coop last weekend so I feel like I might be making progress. Fingers crossed.
In the last week or so, my Instagram feed has been filled with vibrant photos of baskets and bushels of farm-fresh strawberries. Apparently, our ruby-hued friends have arrived a touch early this year due to warm weather in their growing climates. I’ll avoid any potentially controversial comments around climate change and instead to do a little berry-inspired happy dance, because if there is one thing I think we can all agree on, it’s that it’s the more the merrier when it comes to beautifully ripe strawberries.
To celebrate, let’s bake something, shall we?! I absolutely love strawberries for breakfast. I have memories of sitting at the breakfast table as a small child, my grandmother across from me slicing strawberries into a bowl of Special K cereal, then sprinkling a heaping spoonful of sugar over the top and passing it over to me with a wink, a signal that the little extra something on top was just between her and me. (My mother would not have approved.) So, to celebrate those strawberry-filled breakfasts of my childhood, in combination with my past and present love for sugar, I made you strawberry donuts.
These strawberry buttermilk baked donuts have a airy, fluffy texture with a slight tang, thanks to buttermilk. They’re more cake than donut (let’s be honest, most baked donuts are), but the lightly sweet, cake-like base provides the perfect palette for our star ingredient. And who’s to say we can’t have cake for breakfast, anyway?
Fresh strawberries are finely chopped and folded throughout the batter, studding the donuts with sweet little gems of fruit that, when baked, form jam-filled pockets that provide bright bursts of spring flavor in every bite.
So as not to take away from the fresh strawberries, the glaze is a simple, classic powdered sugar donut glaze, spiked with a touch of strawberry preserves to continue the flavor theme. For a pop of color and brightness, I added raspberry powder to the mix (freeze dried raspberries, pulsed in a food processor for 30 seconds), but you could achieve the same bright pink color with a touch of food dye.
And since texture is of the utmost importance, I topped my donuts with a hearty sprinkling of chopped pistachios, but these would also be delicious with pecans, hazelnuts, shredded coconut, or if you’re feeling really spunky, rainbow sprinkles. Enjoy!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 eggs, beaten, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4-6 tablespoons cup water or milk
- 1 tablespoon strawberry preserves
- freeze dried strawberries or raspberries (optional, see notes)
- chopped pistachios, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a donut pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and vegetable oil.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the strawberries.
- Fill the donut mold 3/4 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until donuts spring back when touched. You may have to bake the donuts in two batches to use all of the batter.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then unmold and let cool completely.
- Combine the powdered sugar, milk or water, and preserves in a bowl and stir to combine.
- If choosing to use freeze dried fruit, add 1/2 cup to a food processor and pulse to a fine powder. Add to the glaze and mix well.
- Pour the glaze over the donuts and garnish with chopped pistachios or the garnish of your choosing while wet. Let sit until firm.
- Add freeze dried raspberries, pulsed to a powder, to the glaze for color and flavor. I buy mine on the nut aisle at Trader Joe's.