I Attempted to Make Joanna Gaines’ Homemade Cinnamon Donut Recipe. Here’s How It Went

I am one of, I assume, many people who would love to have the decorating and cooking skills of Joanna Gaines.
So, in order to be just a little bit more like her, I’ve purchased way too much of her home decor line at Target and now I’m tackling the recipes she put in her magazine, “The Magnolia Journal.”
The first recipe I tried was the “Cinnamon Donuts.” Making the dough was the easiest and quickest part, by far.
According to The Magnolia Journal, this is how it is done.
First, the ingredients you’ll need:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin or applesauce (Given the time of year, I used pumpkin)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (More on this further into the article)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I took the easy route and just purchased the nutmeg already ground for me)
A dash of ground allspice
And now, the order in which you mix the ingredients:
In a large bowl beat the sugar and the shortening with a mixer until combined, before adding in the egg and vanilla. After beating those four ingredients “well,” add in the evaporated milk and pumpkin (or applesauce) and beat for roughly three to four minutes, or until the mixture is “light in color and slightly thickened.”
In a separate bowl, the magazine suggests a medium sized one, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Then add the dry mixture into the large bowl that has the egg mixture in it and beat on low until both bowls are fully combined.
From there, you are instructed to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the recipe, Gaines suggests that the prep takes about 30 minutes and I’d say that’s about right.
Now, onto the fun part and also the part that got a little tricky. In the magazine, it is said that the dough should be soft before putting it in the refrigerator overnight, and mine was.
However, when I got the dough out the fridge the following day to roll it out, cut it, and fry it, the dough was WAY TOO STICKY.
So, instead of simply adding a light dusting of flour to my counter as the recipe said, I had to add close to another cup of flour to the dough itself just to get it to stop sticking to my counter, my rolling pin, and me.
The good news is after I did add that extra flour, I was able to roll out and cut the dough super easily.
You also don’t need a specific doughnut cutter to make this work. I didn’t have one, so instead, I used a mason jar and another jar I kept for unknown reasons, but now I’m glad I did because I needed it in order to be a little bit more like Joanna Gaines.
Here is what you need to do after you rolled and cut your dough:
In a large heavy-bottom pot, heat 2-inches worth shortening. The shortening should reach about 350-degrees before you start frying the dough.
At this point, you can also mix a 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, which is what you will roll your doughnuts in once they are fried and cool enough to touch.
Once your shortening is hot enough, start frying the dough. I did four doughnuts at one time and six donut holes at one time.
I fried the doughnuts for about a minute to a minute-and-a-half on each side, or like the magazine suggests, until the doughnuts are a light brown color.
I then rolled them in the sugar and cinnamon mixture while they were still fairly warm. As the recipe says, the mixture sticks to the doughnut better if it is warm.
Fair warning, the nutmeg really got to me and my eyeballs while frying the doughnuts. Do with that warning what you will.
And voila, here you have the finished product. My doughnuts definitely did not turn out as pretty as the ones pictured in the magazine, but it was a valiant effort — if I do say so myself.
Because I’m impartial to the taste of my own cooking, I took them into the newsroom to see how they would fare against the harshest critics I know — my co-workers. Just kidding, they are all very lovely people.
And I say that because the general consensus was that I’m pretty good at making Joanna Gaines’ doughnuts.
One of my colleagues said of the breakfast desert:
Excellent flavor, I can really taste the pumpkin and the nutmeg. The texture is more like a pumpkin bread than a donut, it’s very dense but I like it. The sugar added does give it a donut feel and I like how the holes are tiny and truly bite-sized.
Are you willing to try this recipe out?

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