Homemade doughnuts easier if baked, not fried

If you can make a muffin, you can make these festive baked doughnuts. These are glazed and topped with candy sprinkles, but they also can be dusted with a sugar-and-spice blend.

Do-it-yourself doughnuts are easier than they sound, especially if you opt for a baked rather than fried variety. If you can make muffins, you can make baked doughnuts.

You will, however, need a special doughnut pan. These inexpensive pans resemble a cross between a shallow muffin tin and a mini-Bundt pan (with the funnel in the center of the tin forming the doughnut "hole").

Most varieties of these pans are nonstick, come in mini and standard doughnut sizes, and cost under $15.

But be careful to read the directions that come with your pan. The key to producing a traditional doughnut shape is not using too much batter per doughnut. Your pan's directions should indicate the proper amount.

The glaze recipe produces an opaque, crackly white glaze perfect for dipping the doughnuts into. A little food coloring can be added for a colored glaze. Or dust cooled doughnuts with powdered sugar, a blend of powdered sugar and cocoa powder, or a mix of powdered sugar and ground cinnamon.

Baked Blueberry Doughnuts

Servings: 9 large doughnuts

1/2 stick butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup frozen wild blueberries

Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly coat 9 doughnut tins with cooking spray.

In a food processor, combine butter and sugar. Process until smooth. Add eggs and process until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and process until smooth.

Add the baking powder, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Process until well mixed. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and blueberries. Toss until the blueberries are evenly distributed and coated with flour. Add the wet ingredients from the processor. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Transfer batter to a large plastic bag. Twist close the top. Use scissors to snip off one bottom corner of the bag, creating about a 1/2-inch-wide opening.

Holding the bag over the prepared pan, gently squeeze batter into each doughnut mold.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let doughnuts cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Doughnut Glaze

Makes glaze for 24 doughnuts

1/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar

Start to finish: 15 minutes.

Cook's note: For a special touch, use food coloring to tint this glaze, which dries with that classic glazed doughnut crackle. While any food coloring will do, gel food colorings (available at baking supply shops) provide the most vivid colors.

If you prefer a translucent glaze, reduce the powdered sugar to 2 cups.

Set a wire rack over paper towels or on top of a rimmed baking sheet.

In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a simmer.

While the water heats, in a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the milk and vanilla. Sift in powdered sugar. Whisk slowly, until well combined. Transfer glaze to a large bowl.

Remove the saucepan of water from the heat. Set the bowl of glaze on top of the saucepan. The heat of the water will prevent the glaze from hardening while you work.

Dip one side of doughnut into glaze, then set each glazed-side up on the prepared rack to dry for 5 minutes before serving. If decorating with candy sprinkles, do so immediately after setting doughnut on the rack. Glaze can be drizzled over the doughnuts.