Baked Cranberry Pecan Donuts


Friends, I’ve been holding out on you.  You see, nearly a month ago I bought a pan.  A life-changing pan.  A donut pan.   And since then our entire clan has been in sweet frosted heaven.  I have made triple chocolate donuts, cherry almond donuts, lemon blueberry donuts, pumpkin donuts, apple cider donuts and these cranberry pecan donuts — all in less than one month.  They have taken the place of our cinnamon rolls, which is a big deal in this family.  The whole charade started when Claire and I attempted to make traditional donuts, you know with the vat of oil.  The sweet potato yeast donuts were just o-kay, and the cake donuts were a nasty, greasy mess.  So as is always the case; when I fail, I obsess.  “Plenty of people makes donuts.  Look at all of those donut pins on Pinterest.  There are donuts everywhere.  It can be done, and I’m going to do it.”  {I am about to launch into a similar tirade with Red Velvet Cake.}  The main thing I came away with from the frying experience was that I don’t like oil.  Even the yeast donuts that did okay were just too heavy.

So, I took the plunge and bought the donut pan I had been going back and forth about.  It was only $10.  But it wasn’t the cost that had been holding me back, it was the principle.  I am a food purist.  I didn’t want donut-shaped muffins, I wanted donuts.  In the end, my determination to perfect a cake donut combined with the nausea I felt every time I considered going the frying route again made this purchase happen.  Once I started experimenting, I  quickly figured out the this pan can produce donut-shaped muffins.  But it can also produce totally authentic tasting, greaseless masterpieces.  The secret lies in the batter/dough.  You want it to be very thick, to the point that you have to spoon it into the pan because it won’t pour.  You also want to only fill each cavity a little more than halfway.  And you want to almost overcook them, but only by about 20 seconds.  This will make them firm {rather than muffin-y} and give them a crispiness on the outside.

I will eventually share all of my donut adventures with you, but since we are nearing Thanksgiving I thought it was fitting to start with this cranberry creation.  These would be perfectly suited for Thanksgiving or Black Friday breakfast.  I used a basic vanilla donut recipe and added some orange zest and the cranberry filling from one of my favorite holiday cookies.  The cranberries are minced with pecans and brown sugar so their tart flavor is pronounced, but not overpowering.  Trust me when I say these are the best way to start any festive day.


  • 3/4 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil or softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 1/4  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cups milk


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tablespoons orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream


  1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease 2 nonstick doughnut pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, add cranberries, pecans and brown sugar.  Blend until evenly chopped.  If you don’t have a food processor you can chop the cranberries and pecans by hand, then mix well in a bowl.
  3.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl, mix oil {or butter} and sugar together until creamed.  Stir in vanilla, eggs and orange zest.  Alternate adding in the dry ingredients with the milk, starting with the dry and ending with the milk.  Mix until just combined.  Stir in the cranberry mixture.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan evenly, filling each cavity about halfway.  Reduce oven temperature to 325ºF and bake 12-14 minutes or until bottoms turn golden.  Remove from oven and cool completely.
  5. For the glaze, add all ingredients into a small bowl and stir until smooth.  Place a doughnut down into the glaze halfway and remove.  Place on a rack and continue to dip until all doughnuts have been glazed.  Glaze should set in about 45 minutes.
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