Pumpkin Cornbread Donuts (for dunkin' and snackin')

Last weekend was Lana's first birthday party.  A year ago, I had made these muffins for her. Things have changed between my sister and me - I go to her more. I call her. I don't hang up quickly or make excuses. I stay over for the whole night. I don't leave by nine, saying I like to sleep in my own bed. 

We didn't grow up with family, really. We lived too far away and there were bridges burned before I was even born. It made for disappointing Christmases and silent phonecalls that never came for birthdays. So it's a learning experience for us. We're learning from mistakes we couldn't always understand before. We hug now. Kiss goodbye. I tell her I love her. It's all for Lana. We patched a lot up quickly for her.

Lana and Me

Lana, beautiful and curious and temper-prone, fills the room with a lightness that I've only experienced as the awkward voyeur of other people's families. We crouch and coo with her. We play a game of trial-and-error, trying to figure out what makes her happy and what makes her sad. We kiss her more than she likes. We feed her small cereals and watch her smile with her four teeth.

And I was more than happy to make something when my sister asked if I could. We had a small party at a church hall where her baby shower was held. My sister made three soups and my mother made the cake.  We helped decorate and I made a Midwest staple - cornbread for the chili. And it just made sense to make them in a donut pan, for small hands and streamlined dunking.

And on the floor of the church hall, I sat with Lana and told her she was special. Because she is, with her big eyes and long hair. Because she is, because it only took 9 months to fix 25 years of silence.

Pumpkin Cornbread Donuts

Pumpkin Cornbread Donuts


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (or whole milk with a 1/2 TB white vinegar)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 TB butter, softened
  • 2 TB honey


  1. Preheat oven to 425*F and grease a standard donut pan
  2. Sift together all dry ingredients
  3. Whisk together all wet ingredients
  4. Create a well in the center of your dry ingredients and fold in wet
  5. Beat vigorously until batter is smoooth
  6. Transfer to a piping bag and cut the tip off
  7. Fill the donut indents about 3/4 of the way full
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown
  9. Repeat if you have a 6-donut pan and remember to re-grease your pan!
  10. Enjoy dunked into some hearty chili on a cold day!
Pumpkin Cornbread Donuts
Pumpkin Cornbread Donuts
Pumpkin Cornbread Donuts

One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Donuts!

One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!

After two years here, I do not claim to be a healthy blog. I eat how I grew up - things that are quick, things covered in fat, things in moderation because my parents had to feed five. I eat what I like. I eat what I want Nolan to come home to - things that are warm, fragrant. Things that make it worth coming home for. It's the easiest part of building a home. Thank God it's my favorite, too.

I do not claim to be a good cook. I'm an average baker when I put the energy into it. But I have my favorites down--roast chicken, kale, eggs, and pizza. We rotate. We sometimes just have cereal when neither of us want to cook. We hardly ever eat out anymore. It's so different than California, when our one bedroom was scattered with paper napkins and plastic forks. But, then again, we are different, too. A year can be a lifetime and thank God we've had a few to learn and try to get this thing right.

Our dogs know the routine now for when it's pizza night, they begin following me around the kitchen when the oven is still preheating. When the yeast is blooming. When the dough is punched and my hands are too floured to pet their needy heads. They always get the end pieces, the burnt edges, the marinara off our plates. We don't mind. Thank God for them.

A few weeks ago, I posted on Instagram a photo of some leftover dough turned into a donut. Using my favorite dough recipe and adapting it to a sweetened donut has become a ritual now for us. I make extra, I put it in a cake stand for the morning. I cover them in powdered sugar like I did for my other donut recipe. We wake up to these and a warm cup of coffee. And thank God for that.

One Dough, Two Ways!

One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!

Basic Dough Recipe:

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (of course, Red Star is my preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar (additional 1/3 cup if making donuts)
  • 1 cup water, warmed to 105*F
  • 2 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Basic Dough Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together yeast, sugar, and water
  2. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until water is foamy and yeast is activated
  3. While yeast is blooming, sift together flour and salt (and sugar if making a sweet dough)
  4. With mixer on low and a dough hook attached, begin to slowly add in a bit of flour at a time
  5. A dough will begin to form, but it will be dry. Add your butter and oil to wet dough slightly
  6. Roll out onto a floured work surface. Refer to the below instructions for further direction on making your pizza or donuts!

For the pizza: Use the above recipe. Preheat oven to 450*F. Using a Silpat or parchment paper, roll your dough out on top of it. Cut out excess dough on the edges to avoid too much crust. Add your desired toppings. Once you have the pizza assembled, bake for 20 minutes and enjoy!

For me, I made a Flammekeuche (tarte flambée), which is a traditional Alsatian dish that is honestly delicious. I used a half cup sour cream, and half a yellow onion (sliced) and 6 slices of bacon (make sure you cook the bacon fully before baking the pizza). 

One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!

For the donuts: Roll out dough onto a floured work surface to about 1 inch. Cut out your donuts shapes. Allow to rest for five minutes. While dough is resting briefly, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 325*F in a Dutch oven. Prepare a plate with a paper towel. Fry two donuts at a time, turning once and allowing each side to fry for about 15-20 seconds or until browned. Transfer to your prepared plate to drain any excess grease. Repeat with remaining dough (and donut holes!). Shake in confectioner's sugar. They're good for about 2 days!

One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
One Dough, Two Ways: Pizza and Doughnuts!
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Thank you to Red Star Yeast for sponsoring this post. I believe in using quality products when it comes to baking and I am always confident my dough will rise beautifully with Red Star! Check out the active dry yeast I used for this recipe and others on their website, follow them on instagram and like their Facebook!

And while you're at it...like my Facebook and Instagram too!