Dollars to Doughnuts

Every Food Has Its Day

Name any day of the year, and I’ll tell you what food the calendar advises us to celebrate. National food holidays have become more of a joke than ever, despite never having serious credentials or origins of real significance in the first place. Every food council wants to get their edibles on the map, from soup to nuts- Literally. Celebrating these obscure occasions used to be a fun diversion, a bit of trivia to share and an excuse to eat something different, but now it’s just too difficult to keep up.

National Doughnut Day

However, there’s still one event that I’ve been celebrating since junior high, marking the date every time I put a blank calendar on the wall: National Doughnut Day. The first Friday of every June has been designated as a time to indulge in these sweet fried rings or spheres, and not just because the United Fried Snack Cake Board of America* said so. No sir, this holiday goes back to the late 1930’s, when the Salvation Army began giving out free doughnuts to soldiers who served in the war. There’s real history behind this joyous, delicious affair.

*Totally fictitious organization, but someone really ought to consider establishing this, don’t you think?

Happily, everyone can join in on the fried festivities now, war veteran or not.

Although there are quite a few shops giving away free oily goods to mark the day, you can do so much better by turning to your own kitchen rather the drive through for doughnut satisfaction. A fear of frying puts many cooks off, but with a simple recipe and a healthy dose of caution, you’ll be rolling in hot, crispy doughnuts, fresher and tastier than anything else on the market. Cake-based doughnut holes fit the criteria beautifully: There’s no yeast that needs to awaken or dough to rise, no fussy shaping or cutting to speak of. You can just mix and fry at a moment’s notice.

One of the greatest benefits of fabricating your own fried treats is the freedom to flavor them in any way your heart desires. Chocolate is always a winning pick, one that I couldn’t resist for this particular celebration. Do you really think I would choose just plain chocolate doughnut holes, though? Clearly you don’t know me very well…

Why you’ll love hot chocolate doughnut holes:

  • Hidden inside of each tender sphere is a gooey, sticky marshmallow, turning these average munchkins into one-of-a-kind hot chocolate doughnuts, inspired by mugs of hot cocoa topped with a crown of mini mallows melting on top.
  • The crisp, sugar-coated exterior gives way to the most moist chocolate cake you could hope to taste, the marshmallow in the center adding equal parts indulgence and nostalgia.
  • To further the “hot” part of the theme, cinnamon sugar or even a spicy, cayenne-flecked sugar could provide the finishing touch, but a simple, straightforward sweetness was exactly what I was craving.
Yield: Makes 20 – 30 Doughnut Holes

Hot Chocolate Doughnut Holes

Hot Chocolate Doughnut Holes

Hidden inside of each tender chocolate donut hole is a gooey vegan marshmallow, inspired by a rich mug of hot cocoa.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


Chocolate Donut Holes:

  • 20 – 30 Vegan Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Natural Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

To Finish:

  • 1 Quart Neutral Oil, for Frying
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar


  1. Before getting started on the batter, place your marshmallows in a single layer on a plate or small sheet pan and stash them in the freezer. They must be frozen solidly before going into the hot oil or else they’ll melt away completely! Allow at least 30 minutes before using your icy mallows.
  2. The batter comes together very quickly, so first begin by pouring the neutral oil into a medium pot with high sides over set over medium heat on the stove.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring to combine. Separately mix the non-dairy milk, vinegar, and olive oil before pouring the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry. Stir just until the batter comes together with no remaining pockets of dry goods. The mixture should be somewhat on the wet side and definitely sticky, but manageable when handled lightly.
  4. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the batter and stuff a single frozen marshmallow into the center of each. Use lightly moistened hands to shape the dough around the mallow, rounding the raw doughnut out into a rough ball and making sure that the marshmallow is fully sealed inside. Handle them gently, since the dough is very soft.
  5. When the oil hits 360 – 370 degrees, carefully lower 3 – 5 doughnut holes at a time into the pot. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes, turning the doughnuts as needed to ensure even frying all over. The best way to tell if they’re done is to watch and listen to the oil; at first, it will fizzle up madly and seem to almost hiss, but by the time the doughnuts are finished, the surface of the oil should be much calmer, and you will hear more of a pinging sound.
  6. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to lift the doughnut holes out of the oil and drain them on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. Let them cool for at least 15 minutes before rolling in the additional granulated sugar, and serve as soon as possible.
  7. Doughnuts don’t get better with age, and I wouldn’t recommend keeping them beyond a day. Luckily, with doughnut holes this good, I don’t think you’ll have any problem with leftovers!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.


33 thoughts on “Dollars to Doughnuts

  1. These look delicious! What did you think of the vegan marshmallows? I’ve been wanting to bake with them and haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m definitely guilty of adhering to the “every day is a holiday” thing. I think it gives me a reason to celebrate every day. All the same, it’s nice to come across a holiday that actually is steeped in history and facts rather than proclaiming a random calendar day DOUGHNUT day, just because. The insides are a wonderful surprise :)

    1. Oh, I absolutely love them! Marshmallows are my true weakness, and I could easily power through a whole bag in one sitting if given a chance. It is tough to “sacrifice” them to baking or cooking, but it’s absolutely worth it every time.

    1. My favorite sort is rice bran oil, but that can get a bit pricy when you’re talking about a quart just for frying. A fine alternative is canola oil, and then at the bottom of my list is vegetable oil and soybean oil.

  2. Delish and beautiful. I like to bake my doughnuts so minimize oil. Do you think that would work for these? Perhaps I’d make them in real doughnut shapes in a mini-bunt pan sans marshmallows.

    Just an FYI: “really aught to consider” ought to be “ought.” :-) Happy Doughnut Day, Hannah.


    1. Doh! Thanks for the correction. I guess you can tell that my proofreader is away on holiday (and no, not to celebrate doughnuts, but that would be a pretty spectacular trip.)

      I’m not sure about baking but I don’t see why not. Uncooked, it’s pretty much very thick cake batter anyway. I’d love to hear how they turn out if you give it a try.

  3. I’m one of those averse to injuring myself in a frying accident, but these look delicious! I also love marshmallows…I could easily eat a container of Sweet and Sara’s coconut confections in one sitting. ;)

  4. Thanks for sharing the history behind the holiday. I though it was another random day scheduled to try to get people to buy doughnuts. That was a thoughtful gesture, giving doughnuts to soldiers. Thanks for the recipe too!

  5. Dear Hannah,

    I wanted to tell you congratulations for your book on ice.
    I am happy that your book is also in our editor.
    The world is small and if there is 5 years I was told that you and I are going to be from the same publisher, I would not have believed.

    Congratulations, and you will always remain my favorite vegan coocker :) you gave me the urge to overtake me, thank you :*

    1. An congratulations to you, too! It’s an honor to be working with the same publisher as you. I still can’t believe my luck to have such an incredible opportunity! Thank you so much Laura- I hope that one day we can meet and sign each others cookbooks. :)

  6. I’m looking for a recipe of a Doughnut with a hole at the center and I found this instead. I love that fact that there is a marshmallow inside. Will it not melt when you bake it?

    1. As long as you bake them in mini muffin pans, keep the marshmallows frozen until the very last minute, make sure that they’re in the centers and completely covered by batter, and bake at a high heat (probably 375) they should remain intact. If you give a try, let me know how they turn out!

      1. Thanks for the reply. I did what you said but I guess someone like me who is not good at cooking can’t do this. Some of marshmallows melted and were absorbed by the doughnuts. But some melted partly only. The doughnuts still taste great though. I was frustrated too when I can’t perfect the cooking and I ended up playing the kids games in Y8 about cooking doughnut. You know ’bout that? Here:
        Silly! Me and my daughter were playing this the night after I baked the doughnuts. Sorry for the long comment. :)

      2. Oh no, I’m sorry they didn’t work out quite as planned! Please don’t blame yourself- I never tried to bake them so I couldn’t be 100% certain of the results. Thanks for giving it a try though, and I’m glad they were still tasty. Perfection is really just a myth, by the way. I’m quite happy with “pretty darn good” instead. :)

  7. Glad to have found your blog these look delicious! I have a vegan best friend who has only been on her journey for a few months now but I always love finding new recipes that we can make together! Also to note in your post beginning I feel the same about these so called food holidays. I have heard everything from national chocolate ice cream day to even eclair day. It’s become a tad ridiculous to give nearly every food type under the sun a so called special day.

  8. Ooh Hannah..these mini doughnut holes look amazing. love it that they are the cakey type..without yeast! and i love that you have hidden mini marshmallows in each of the doughnut.

  9. I’m really glad I managed to avoid the whole national doughnut day, because otherwise I would most definitely have been stuffing my face with big handfuls of these. Anything with marshmellows, and I’m there!

  10. Though I am not a vegan, I love your recipes, I also got your book today from library about desserts, and what can I say I am impressed. The chocolate donuts look divine, the only thing I wanted to ask you was to come up with a vegan marshmallow recipe of yours, I would be delighted.

    1. Thank you so much, this absolutely made my day! I really hope you enjoy all of the recipes, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments along the way. As for a marshmallow recipe, it’s still a project near the top of my recipe to-do list. I’ve come very close, but it needs more work before I feel confident releasing it to the general public. Hopefully I’ll have time to resume testing soon.

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