Homemade Italian Doughnuts

I went through a phase where I was obsessed with creating the perfect authentic Red Velvet Donut. Though my final product was ultimately based upon a variety of recipes specifically designed for maximum red velvet flavor, I never really looked into authentic methods of doughnut preparation.
The idea of at-home doughnuts struck again one Sunday morning while watching Giada de Laurentiis make some Italian doughnuts, known as zeppole, with a coffee-flavored glaze. I couldn't help but notice that her method was entirely different from the one that I had utilized just a few weeks prior. Being the doughnut-lover that I am, I couldn't let this recipe go ignored.
Giada's doughnuts are made primarily on the stove top. She begins by thinning out melted butter with some water, then adding in the sugar and flour and cooking the dough, all on top of the stove. The final addition is 4 eggs, which are mixed in one by one off the heat. This technique looked so much easier to me than I would ever have imagined. And it created some much more authentic doughnuts than those of the red velvet variety which I made on my first attempt. 
Since I'm still a doughnut-making novice, I simply copied the recipes without any alterations. Maybe in the future I'll develop my own doughnut-making methods but for now, I'm sticking to directions from the experts.
The one change I did make to Giada's original recipe was the glaze. I'm not a coffee person - in fact, I really can't stand the flavor of the stuff and her glaze contained espresso. Instead, I sprinkled some extra sugar on top of the doughnuts as soon as they came out of the oil. I also sought out a chocolate glaze recipe from Mr. Alton Brown if you'd rather go the chocolate route. Whether you go with the original glaze, plain old sugar, or Alton's version, these doughnuts are sure to please! 

Homemade Italian Donuts with Chocolate Glaze
Donut Ingredients
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Glaze Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

To make the doughnuts: 
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 10 seconds. 
2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Using a wooded spoon, quickly stir the mixture until all the flour is fully incorporated and forms a thick dough.
3. Return the pan to the heat and stir continuously for 2 minutes. 
4. Scrape the mixture into a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment. With the machine running on medium speed, add the eggs and egg yolk, 1 at a time until fully incorporated. Beat the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes until thick and glossy. 
5. Add the lemon zest and beat until smooth. 
6. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.
7. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don't have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in a couple of minutes.)
8. Using a small ice cream scoop or 2 small spoons, carefully drop scoops (about 1 tablespoon) of the dough into the oil. (Do not crowd the pan!) Cook for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, turning occasionally, until the doughnuts are golden and puffed. Drain on paper towels. (I sprinkled them with extra sugar as soon as they were removed from the oil for a little extra sweetness!)
9. Repeat until all of the dough has been used. When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, dip the top halves in the glaze.
To make the glaze: 
1. Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted.
2. Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted.
3. Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.
4. Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. 
5. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


  1. Mmm . . . sounds good, I finally made doughnuts a while back and was so pleased with the outcome. THese sound special though : )

  2. These sound so good! I love your chocolate glaze, even though I'd probably love the coffee one as well. I'm equal opportunity when it comes to sweets. :)

  3. I LOVE zeppole! :D I had some recently that came with a lemon curd glaze, and raspberry jam to dip them in. DELICIOUS!

  4. Okay, I cannot go on. It's only 10:30 am where I am and I am not sure I will make it to lunch time without snacking if I continue reading your delicious recipes! Everything you make looks SO yummy!!!


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