Today’s PB and Honey Donuts are a love letter to the first sandwich I ever learned how to make myself – peanut butter and honey. My mom was always keen on independence, so I started making my own school lunches fairly early on. But because my repertoire was limited, whenever I brown-bagged it to school chances were there was a PB and honey sandwich in that bag. And yes, I am old enough to remember a time when peanut butter was allowed in schools. You’d think after years of eating the same sandwich I’d be sick of it but I’m not. I still love the combo to this day, so much so that I saw fit to immortalize it in donut form. And the result was pretty spectacular if I do say so myself. So let’s dive in!
I must admit these donuts were supposed to be a Father’s Day thing. I just couldn’t get it together in time – story of my life. Don’t worry, my dad and I live in different provinces, so he didn’t miss out on any donuts. He only missed out on being taunted by them via Instagram on the big day. My dad was the first person to introduce me to the magic of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. He used to make them for me usually on a single slice of bread folded over itself. I then discovered the combo was truly magic on a toasted English muffin and ditto on a thick slice of toast. But transforming the iconic duo into a dessert never crossed my mind.
The world is flooded with PB & J treats. There is even one on this blog. But I don’t often see peanut butter and honey renditions. There is, however, peanut butter and honey toast art, which I won’t lie, delights me to no end. But on the dessert front, there has been little headway. I find this strange because, given the choice between PB & J and PB & H, I actually prefer the h.
These PB and Honey Donuts attempt to right that wrong. So let’s break them down. The first thing to tackle is the donut dough. And honestly, it’s the most important component to get right. And I got it wrong, more than once, hence the tardiness of these “Father’s Day” donuts. But with the help of the dessert queen Martha Stewart, the donuts you see here are airy, tender, and delectable. In other words, everything you want a donut to be.
Now, I have a couple of notes and disclaimers about this dough. This dough calls for 2 tbsp of dry active yeast. Yes, that is a lot of yeast but the yeast is what makes that filling accommodating pocket inside the donut. The second the risen donuts hit the oil, they puff like you wouldn’t believe and I attribute that to the high yeast content and the elasticity of the gluten. The previous doughs I tried were much more brioche-like, which I found to be almost too dense to fill. But this dough is easy to pipe into, even without a Bismark tip. But I do recommend getting a bismark tip. After making these donuts, I promptly added one to my collection. They just make filling eclairs, cream puffs, and donuts so much easier.
The next thing you should note is this dough is not what I would call sweet. It actually leans more to the savory side, which I consider a bonus. These PB and Honey Donuts have a lot of sweet going on, so having a neutral or even savory donut dough really helps balance everything out. It’s hard to trim back the sweetness of a vanilla frosting or a cup of honey-roasted peanuts, but it’s easy to doctor your dough. But if you have more of a sweet tooth than I do, feel free to trim back the salt content.
Next up is the filling. Now, this recipe comes from this blog. The honey-sweetened peanut butter mousse that fills these donuts made a previous appearance in my Peanut Butter Bombes. It is the same exact recipe. I didn’t change a thing because it’s pretty much perfect. The one thing I will note is it does make use of powdered gelatin, so if you’re vegetarian or gelatin just wigs you out, you can substitute it for agar flakes.
Now, I did deep fry my donuts and honestly, I think you should too. What is that saying? “Don’t just eat a hamburger, eat the hell out of it!” Yeah, the same energy applies here. You can certainly try baking these donuts but the texture and color of fried are far superior. If there was ever a moment to throw caution to the wind and truly embrace a dessert craving for what is it, that time is now. Oh! And don’t worry, you can reuse the oil you use to fry the donuts with. Donuts have a relatively clean flavor, so you won’t have the residual taste that you would from, say, the oil you used to fry fish in.
The PB and Honey Donuts are finished with a simple vanilla glaze and crushed honey-roasted peanuts. Both of these toppings ask very little of you. And yet, they really give the donuts a bakery-worthy appearance. I added a little yellow color gel to my glaze, but that is optional. The one thing I will say is the vanilla glaze does take on an unfortunate beige color after you add the vanilla extract. So you may want to consider adding a little color to counteract that. Another alternative is to use a clear vanilla extract.
So that’s everything you need to know about these PB and Honey Donuts. These are such a fun kitchen project and the sight of them is sure to brighten anyone’s day. Nothing can compete with a solid homemade donut.
PB and Honey Donuts with Honey Roasted Peanuts
- 1 Candy Thermometer
- 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet
- 1 piping bag
- 1 small round piping tip or bismark tip
- 1 stand mixer with a dough hook and whisk
- 1 Rolling Pin
- ½ cup milk I used 2%
- 2 tbsp dry active yeast
- ¼ cup +1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- neutral oil for frying
Peanut Butter & Honey Filling
- 2¼ tsp powdered gelatin
- ¼ cup cold water
- ½ cup milk I used 2%
- 375g (13oz) smooth peanut butter not the natural kind
- ⅓ cup honey
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1½ cups confectioners' sugar sifted
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- yellow color gel optional
- 1 cup honey-roasted peanuts crushed
For the Donuts
- Heat the milk to 90° F. Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and stir to combine. Set the mixture aside. Let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.½ cup milk, 2 tbsp dry active yeast, ¼ cup +1 tsp granulated sugar
- Pour the milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, butter, salt, nutmeg, and the flour. Lock the bowl into the mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low until a dough begins to form. This should take about 10 minutes.¼ cup +1 tsp granulated sugar, 2½ cups all-purpose flour, 2 large eggs, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1½ tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp nutmeg
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour and a half or until doubled in size. **
- Once the dough has risen, transfer it to a well-floured surface and roll it out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut 12-14 donuts out of the dough using a 2 1/2 – 3 inch biscuit cutter. *** Transfer the cut donuts to a large baking sheet dusted with flour. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour. The donuts will puff up slightly.
- When your donuts have risen, heat 3 1/2 inches of oil in a large cast-iron skillet to 375° F. Add 4-5 donuts to the oil at a time depending on the size of your pan. Fry the donuts until golden on each side. About a minute on each side.neutral oil
- Transfer the fried donuts to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set them aside to drain and cool for about 30 minutes.
For the Filling
- While the donuts are on their first rise, make the filling. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set it aside to gel. This should take about 10 minutes.2¼ tsp powdered gelatin, ¼ cup cold water
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk to combine the peanut butter, honey, milk, and salt. Set it aside.½ cup milk, 375g (13oz) smooth peanut butter, ⅓ cup honey, ¼ tsp kosher salt
- Pour the cream into a separate bowl and using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, whisk until stiff peaks form. Set the cream aside.1 cup heavy cream
- Place the gelatin in the microwave and heat it in 15-second bursts until it becomes liquid. Whisk the melted gelatin into the peanut butter mixture.
- Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture, cover, and transfer the bowl to the fridge. Let it chill for 2 hours.
For the Glaze
- Place all the glaze ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. ****1½ cups confectioners' sugar, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, ¼ cup heavy cream, ¼ tsp kosher salt, yellow color gel
- Take the Peanut Butter and Honey filling out of the fridge and give it a stir to loosen it up.
- Transfer the filling to a large piping bag fitted with either a small round tip or a bismark tip. Pipe the filling into each donut until they become heavy and the filling starts to push back on you.
- Working with one donut at a time, dip the donuts into the glaze and transfer them to a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle with the crushed peanuts. Leave the glaze to set for 1 hour prior to serving.1 cup honey-roasted peanuts