Chocolate Munchkins for Christmas

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Two days ago I had one of those panicked moments that we all have around the holidays when I realized that Christmas is in twenty days. That’s twenty days filled with work, chores, baking, cooking, parties, travel, and in many cases, break downs. I don’t know when I became such a busy grown up but geez, here I am trying to juggle work and play like a real person. And ya know what? I like it. It makes you feel like a productive and useful member of society. Oddly enough, it took talking to my mother, who is prone to these panicked moments herself, to calm me down. So Thursday night, I went home, separated my laundry and started heating the oil for these rich chocolate doughnut holes. Or munchkins, if you will. It’s all about the multitasking y’all!

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The manic homemaker in me has been coming out more and more ever since I graduated college and moved home to basically be my mother’s own housewife for a year and a half. This Betty Homemaker persona that I now seem to cultivate has led to me being on the holiday decoration committee at work, which in turn inspired me to bake holiday treats to bring into the office. (This is was really just an excuse to fry more doughnuts and pass them off as a festive act of giving.) Chocolate doughnut holes are appropriate any time of year but add some holiday sprinkles and BOOM – you have Christmas treats.

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Now, was this necessary? No. You’d think if I was panicking over how much there was to do I’d cross something like frying Christmas doughnuts off of my to-do list. But I will never sacrifice frying doughnuts, do you hear me?! (That’s a lie, I’d do it for something important, like saving Marlowe’s life or sleeping.) Actually though, it’s a pretty basic recipe which you’ll have most of the ingredients for if you’ve baked anything, ever, and it’s enough of a step-by-step process that you can take breaks to run down to your building’s sometimes creepy basement to switch out loads of laundry.

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And if you’re enough of a multitasking cliché like me, you can even watch Love Actually while doing it all!

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I doubled this recipe and it worked out really well. The only thing I’d say is that I think they’re a bit dry, so next time I’d try bumping up the buttermilk ever so slightly. Maybe an extra tablespoon or two? It’ll take a little bit of experimenting, but in the meantime these proportions work juuuust fiiiiine.

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If you’re stressing out, just take a few hours to do something you love and you’ll feel all better! Eating three doughnut holes secretly in your living room while nobody is watching also works.

Chocolate Munchkins

Yields about 4 dozen


For the doughnuts:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cups granulated sugar

¾ cups cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

Vegetable oil, for frying

For the glaze:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Water, if necessary

Sprinkles, if desired


  1. In a medium heatproof bowl, melt the butter and the chocolate over a pot of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the buttermilk and vanilla to the melted mixture and stir to combine. Add the eggs, already beaten.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is combined.
  5. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it nicely, and let in rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  6. In a heavy pot, like a Le Creuset, with a candy thermometer attached, heat at least 3 inches of oil to 360 degrees F. Meanwhile, scoop the dough into 1 tablespoon balls (or even slightly smaller). Roll each ball into a neat circle between the palms of your hands.
  7. Gently drop the dough balls into the oil, about 4-6 at a time, depending on the size of your pot. Don’t crowd the pot or the temperature will drop. Keep the oil between 350-360 degrees the whole time. Cook the dough until puffed and cook through, 3-4 minutes. (In this case, color won’t be a good indicator, so crack open the first ball to check on doneness.) Use a spider or a slotted spoon to transfer the doughnuts to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  8. To prepare the glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. The consistency should be about the same as heavy cream. Add a little bit of water if needed.
  9. Dip each doughnut in the glaze and use a fork to roll it around before lifting it out. I let each one drip for a few seconds before putting them on a rack. If using sprinkles, let the glaze set for a few minutes before rolling the doughnut in them.
  10. Let the doughnuts stand until the glaze has hardened, and enjoy with a glass of milk, coffee, tea, or on their own!

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