These homemade Brioche Donuts, made using an enriched brioche dough, are soft and fluffy on the inside and golden and crisp on the outside. Dipped in a sweet blackberry glaze, these donut rings from my cookbook 'Simply Sweet Nostalgic Bakes' will make you feel like a kid after just one bite!
I adore making Brioche dough as what you can make with the dough is endless. But I get it, making any type of dough can be intimidating. Think Cinnamon Rolls, Caramel Babka Wreath, Strawberry Donut Scrolls, and more! The good news for you is that I have a comprehensive guide on How To Make Enriched Dough that is jam-packed full of images, step-by-step helpful instructions and tips so that you can confidently make it too.
I'm proud to share this Blackberry-Glazed Brioche Donut recipe as it comes directly from my Cookbook, 'Simply Sweet Nostalgic Bakes'. A book filled with recipes to tap into your own nostalgia, to bring you back to days gone by and distant memories through food. For many of us, donuts bring us back to a time of biting down on a sugar-coated, jam-filled donut or eating a pastel-coloured iced donut ring. And it makes us smile!
These Blackberry-Glazed Donut rings aim to do just that, make you smile. In the colour alone, they are an immediate pick-me-up! The glaze is made from pure natural fruit to give it such a vibrant hue, and the bonus is that they taste delicious blackberry too. The donuts themselves have an interior that is reminiscent of biting down into a fluffy cloud that's surrounded by a golden crisp exterior.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Brings out the child in you. I challenge you not to smile when you take a bite out of these! They are tasty, more-ish and down-right fun to make and eat!
- Textural Sensation. The texture of homemade brioche donuts is insane. Fluffy, airy and light on the inside with that crispy shell surrounding it- um, hello! Then they are coated in that sweet blackberry glaze and sprinkled with pearl sugar for some bonus crunch!
- Worth the effort. Yes, there are two proof times needed to make this dough, but you will be rewarded in spades for your effort. I provide instructions to make the dough the day before if you want to get ahead and split up the workload.
The ingredients for these brioche donuts aren't out of the ordinary. Aside from the yeast in the dough and blackberries in the glaze, you should have everything else as staples in your pantry and fridge.
Brioche Dough Ingredients
- Yeast: I use active dry yeast, which means that prior to baking, we need to activate the yeast. We do this by mixing it into warm milk with some sugar (you could use honey if you prefer.) Whisk it together and let it stand for 15 minutes. The yeast will then become frothy and bubbly. This step allows you to test that the yeast is ‘alive’ as, over time, it can ‘expire’. If it doesn’t bubble, you’ll need to use a new packet and start this process again. Using fresh yeast is also an option, but for the home baker, it's harder to come by.
- Milk: It needs to be warm (approx 35C/95F if you use a thermometer) as this helps activate the yeast initially and provide moisture to the dough.
- Sugar: Whilst providing sweetness, it feeds the yeast and helps activate it.
- Flour: Use plain flour (all-purpose flour) to structure the dough.
- Salt: Always necessary to season any bread to help add flavour, otherwise it will taste bland.
- Eggs: Acts as a binding agent but also adds flavour and richness.
- Vanilla Bean Paste: I add it to the dough when making sweet bread combined with other sweet toppings. It adds depth of flavour to the dough.
- Butter: An invaluable and necessary addition when making enriched brioche bread as it adds immeasurable flavour and aids in providing that tender crumb. Brioche just isn’t brioche without the butter! Go for unsalted butter as you can control the amount of salt added, plus salted butter contains higher water content than unsalted.
- Blackberries: The all-important natural colouring and flavouring to the glaze.
- Lemon Juice: Helps to give a little tartness to offset the sweetness from the icing sugar.
- Powdered Icing Sugar: (Confectioner's sugar) The bulk ingredient of the glaze
- Double Cream: (Heavy cream) Helps give a teensy bit of richness to the glaze
- Pearl Sugar: The prettiest finishing touch to the glaze. If you can't find any, then use your favourite sprinkles for a fun alternative.
- Oil. Technically not an ingredient within the donuts or glaze, but it's used to fry the donuts in, so I want to mention it. Use a neutral oil that has no distinctive flavour, such as canola oil, vegetable oil or rapeseed oil. The benefit of these oils is that they have a high smoke point. I’ve specified 2 L needed, but don’t worry - not all the oil will soak into the doughnut rings!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Brioche dough should not be intimidating to make in the slightest. Once you know the basic steps needed to create the dough, and the appropriate timings for prooving the dough, you'll be a master in no time.
For the brioche dough the main elements to remember are that the dough needs to mix for long enough for the gluten formation to occur at the right level. The dough needs to be soft, supple, shiny and smooth. And don't scrimp on the two proofing times- this ensures the light and airy texture. They may seem like a slow process to make, but trust in that very process as some things are worth the wait!!
For the blackberry glaze, the key is to get the correct consistency to dip the donuts into. Too runny and it won't hold to the donuts, and too thick and you'll struggle to dunk and coat the top of each donut.
Make the Brioche Dough
I've pulled these images from my comprehensive How To Make Enriched Brioche Dough Guide, where I go it great detail about the ins and outs of making Brioche Dough. In my post, I share plenty of process shots, instructions and tips so that you can confidently make brioche dough. I'd love you to go and take a read of it before continuing on.
1. Activate yeast. Add the yeast, warm milk, and one tablespoon of sugar into a bowl. Give it a whisk and set it aside for 15 minutes. This activates the yeast and gets it going from its dormant state. It should end up being foamy and bubbly. (Image 2)
2. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add flour, remaining sugar, and salt to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. There's no need to sift these ingredients. Quickly mix together. (Image 1)
3. Add wet ingredients (except the butter). Add the eggs, foaming yeast mixture, and vanilla bean paste into the bowl of the stand mixer and mix on low speed for 5 minutes until the dough starts to come together. (Image 3) If the dough is struggling to come together and needs a little more moisture, then add one tablespoon of milk extra at a time.
4. Add butter and knead in the mixer. Whilst the mixer is still running at medium speed, add the butter gradually, one knob (tablespoon) at a time and mix until incorporated. Don’t rush this process so the butter can emulsify properly with the dough.
Then turn the mixer up to med-high and knead for ten minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl and have formed a ‘tornado’ around the dough hook. (Image 4) You'll know the dough is at the right stage by performing the windowpane test. Head to my Enriched Dough Guide, where I show you exactly how to do this.
5. Knead by hand. Tip the dough onto a lightly oiled surface It will look dimply and needs an extra touch to make it smooth and into the shape of a ball. We do this by doing some stretch and folds to the dough. One corner at a time, pull the dough out and fold it over itself and into the middle.
6. Proof the dough. This is PROOF 1. Turn the dough over so that the fold seams are underneath, and you’ll have a lovely smooth dough ball. (There is nothing more satisfying!) Lightly grease a bowl (up the sides) and place the dough into the bowl gently. (Image 5)
Cover with cling wrap and let rise for about 1.5 hours in a warm place or until doubled in size for the dough's first rise/proof. (Image 6) NOTE: your ambient air temperature will affect the amount of time the dough takes to proof. In the middle of summer, it can rise in 30 minutes for me, yet in winter, it can take up to 2 hours.
7. Deflate the dough. Once the dough has risen double or more in size, gently punch down the dough (Image 7) and tip onto a lightly floured surface, and using lightly floured hands, shape into a rectangle. This next step is optional and dependent on your environment. If your kitchen is very warm or humid and the deflated dough is very soft, then wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. (Image 8) This will make it easier to stamp out the donut rings later on. REFER TO FAQ BELOW if you want to turn these into overnight donuts.
Stamp out the brioche donuts
1. Prep your baking paper squares. Cut 12 squares of baking paper. I usually go for around 10cm (4-inches) square. Line them all up on one or two baking trays and lightly grease them with cooking spray (Image 9 & 10)
2. Stamp out the brioche donut rings. Roll the dough into a rectangle- it needs to be about 2cm (¾-inch) thick. (Image 11) Stamp out dough rounds using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass about 7.5cm (3-inches) in diameter. Then use a mini (!) cookie cutter to stamp out the centre of each round. (Image 12) There's no right or wrong size for these centres. I use around a 2.5cm (1-inch) cutter for these.
Lay the donut rings on their own piece of parchment paper, and the donut centres on the paper's squares too. (Image 13).
Knead the dough scraps and re-roll and stamp out more donut rings and holes. I only re-roll the scraps once to get a second round of donut rings out of the dough. After that, you tend to work the dough too much, which toughens up. I cut out loads of donut holes with the scraps on the second round of rolling through. No need to waste the dough- these little doughnut bites are scrumptious. Bag them up, and they make a great gift to your neighbour!
Cover trays with a slightly damp tea towel and let the donuts proof for 1 hour to 1 hour 45 minutes until the dough has doubled in size and is puffy. This is our PROOF 2. When you poke the dough lightly, and it springs back all the way, then they are ready for frying!
Time to fry the donuts!
1. Heat the oil. Two things you need here. A heavy-based saucepan and a thermometer. Super important. Fill the saucepan halfway up and heat the oil to 170C - 180C. Once it gets to this temp, turn the heat down to stop it from climbing any further. Too hot, and the donuts will cook too quickly on the outside and remain raw in the centre. On the other end of the scale, if it's too low, then the brioche donuts won't fry; they'll just absorb the oil and be one greasy mess. (Image 14)
TIP: A cast-iron heavy-based pan, such as a dutch oven, retains the heat well which stabilises the temperature of the oil creating less fluctuation.
2. Fry the donuts. You'll understand why each of the donut rings is on its own separate piece of paper now! Gently and carefully lift the parchment paper with one of the donut rings on it into the hot oil (Image 15). Once in the oil, use tongs to lift the paper out (Image 16). You can put two or three donuts into the pan in one go (Image 17).
TIP: Sliding the donut into the oil directly on the paper allows the donut to hold its shape. If you picked up the donut ring directly, you would most likely, deflate the dough and lose the shape.
Fry for about 2 minutes on each side. The donuts will look golden brown. Just flip them over with a slotted spoon. When they are ready, lift them out of the oil, shaking any excess off and place them on a baking tray covered in a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. (Image 18)
Donut Holes. Don't forget all your donut holes. They'll fry up super quickly, in about 30 seconds. After draining them on a paper towel, you can dip them into the glaze, or toss them through sugar, as I did in Image 19.
Make the blackberry glaze and decorate
1. Make the blackberry juice. Isn't that colour incredible in the photos?! It always amazes me! Simply heat the blackberries and lemon juice in a small saucepan on the stovetop for about 5 minutes, until they are soft. (Image 20) Use a fork to mash them down as they soften. Push the pulp through a fine mesh sieve discarding the pulp whilst keeping the juice. (Image 21)
2. Make the glaze. Add the blackberry juice, powdered icing sugar and cream into a bowl and whisk until smooth. (Image 22)
3. Coat each donut. Dip one side of each donut into the glaze and set it on a wire rack. Sprinkle with as much pearl sugar as you fancy!! Then allow them to set for 15 minutes. (Image below) NOTE: the doughnut rings must be cooled before dipping them in the glaze. They don’t take long to cool, though, so don’t worry.
I'll keep the variations relatively straightforward to stay true to this Brioche Donuts recipe from my book. Ultimately, you can glaze the donut rings with whatever you like and top them with all sorts of sprinkles, nuts or chocolate.
One way to shake things up is to turn them into FILLED donuts! Stamp the donuts out with the larger cutter and leave them in that shape without stamping out the centre. Once fried, dust the donuts in sugar and fill the donut with a Homemade Blackberry Jam.
Recipe Pro Tips
- Refrigerate the dough. After its first proof, if the dough is very warm and too soft to roll out and stamp, just wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
- Flour the cookie cutter. When stamping out the rounds and the donut holes, dip the cutter into flour each and every time before stamping. Otherwise, the dough will stick to the cutter, and you'll lose the defined shape of the donut.
- Paper Bases. One of the best tips in this recipe! Placing the donut rings on paper allows you to manoeuvre the dough into the hot oil without touching. This maintains the shape and puffiness of the dough.
- Use a cast iron pan to fry in. Cast Iron retains heat, meaning that the temperature of the oil will remain at a steady temperature with less fluctuation.
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely! Once you have done the first proof and punched down the dough to deflate it, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The following morning, remove from the fridge and continue with the recipe by rolling out the dough and stamping out the rounds.
Yes, you can as long as the oil is clean when you've finished with the frying. Once cool, pass it through a sieve to remove any bits and return to the original bottle. Store it in a cool dark place until ready to use again. You can get 2-3 uses out of it. Find out more about the re-use of oil for frying from an insightful article from Serious Eats.
The answer is no - you definitely do not. Saying that, though, it is far easier and quicker to use a stand mixer. However, if you don’t have one, arm power is the way. Roll up those sleeves, and round this as your arm work out for the day!! Ensure that you don’t flour the surface too much throughout kneading, as the dough will incorporate this and dry out.
How to store and freeze
To store: Brioche Ring Doughnuts are best-eaten straightaway. Or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. I do find the texture of the donut does become a little stiff and dry, though.
To freeze: I wouldn't recommend freezing these donuts. They are best enjoyed when freshly made.
Tools you’ll need
- Standmixer fitted with a dough hook: To make the enriched dough within 15 minutes. It can be done by hand, but it takes some arm power!
- Heavy Based Saucepan: Dutch ovens from Staub or Le Creuset are my favourite cast iron pan to heat oil for frying safely.
More recipes using Blackberries that you may like
- Earl Grey Cupcakes with Blackberry Curd Filling
- Chocolate Sourcream Cake topped with Blackberries
- Brioche French Toast served with Blackberry Jam
Plus, I have two other fab recipes from the pages of my cookbook
These brioche ring donuts are honestly SO much better than any storebought version that you can buy. Yes, they take time, but it is worth the effort- plus, they are super fun to make.
If you tried this Blackberry-Glazed Brioche Donut Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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Blackberry-Glazed Brioche Donuts Recipe
- 10 g Active dry yeast
- 200 ml whole milk, luke-warm
- 65 g granulated sugar
- 500 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
- 2 litres canola oil or sunflower oil, for deep frying
- 140 g fresh blackberries, or frozen (don’t thaw)
- 15 ml lemon juice
- 240 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 30-45 ml double (heavy) cream
- 18 g pearl sugar, or sprinkles
Make Brioche Dough
- Activate yeast. To make the brioche dough, add the yeast, milk, and 1 tablespoon (15 g) of the sugar into a bowl and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes, or until foamy.
- Add the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour, remaining sugar and salt of an electric stand mixer and mix quickly.
- Add wet ingredients (except the butter). Add in the eggs and vanilla, and using the dough hook, mix on low for 5 minutes, or until the dough comes together.
- Add butter and knead in the mixer. Whilst the mixer is running on low speed, add the butter gradually, and once incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium speed and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl and have formed a “tornado” around the dough hook. Do the windowpane test on the dough by grabbing a small piece of dough in between your fingers and thumbs and stretch it out. If it tears quickly, the dough requires more kneading. If it stretches thinly and you can see the light through it, it’s perfect!
- Knead by hand. Tip the dough onto a greased countertop and knead a couple of times until the dough forms a smooth ball.
- Proof the dough. Place the dough ball in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for 1½ hours, or until doubled in size
- Deflate the dough. Knock the air out of the dough by kneading it gently about 6 or 7 times until it turns into a smooth ball.
Stampout brioche donuts
- Prep your baking paper squares. Cut 10 to 12, 4-inch (10-cm) square pieces of parchment paper, and grease their tops lightly with cooking oil spray and arrange them on 2 baking sheets.
- Stamp out donut rings. Roll out on a lightly floured countertop until ¾-inch (2-cm) thick. Leave to rest on the counter for a couple of minutes so the rolled dough can settle.Using a 3-inch (7.5-cm) round cutter coated in flour (or a drinking glass), cut out rounds from the dough. Then cut out smaller holes with a 1-inch (2.5-cm) round cutter in the middle. Knead any leftover dough, and reroll it cut to get more donuts. I cut out lots of donut holes with the scraps from this second round of rolling. Place the donut rings on their individual pieces of greased parchment on the baking sheets, leaving space between each one. Place the donut holes on their own piece or two of parchment as well. Cover the donuts with a slightly damp tea towel. Proof in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1½ hours, or until doubled in size and puffy.
Time to fry the donuts
- Heat the oil. Fill a heavy saucepan halfway with the oil. Heat the oil to 340 to 350°F (170 to 180°C) using a candy thermometer to check the temperature accurately. Once it has reached this temperature, turn the heat down to stop it from climbing any further. Then regularly check to ensure the temperature is holding steady.
- Fry the donuts. Working with two or three at a time, slide the donuts on their paper into the oil. Use tongs to pluck out the papers, which should float free within seconds. Sliding the doughnuts into the oil on the paper will allow them to hold their shape; otherwise, trying to move them with a spatula might deflate the dough before it hits the oil. Fry for approximately 2 minutes each side until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat the steps until all the donuts are fried. Don’t forget the donut holes, which will take about 30 seconds to fry on each side. Allow the donuts to cool before dipping into the glaze.
Make the blackberry glaze and decorate
- Make the blackberry juice. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the blackberries and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly and gently mashing the berries to a pulp with a fork. Remove from the heat. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a small bowl and push the pulp though, leaving any seeds/large chunks behind. Allow the blackberry juice to cool for at least 10 minutes before using.
- Make the glaze. Transfer the blackberry juice to a large bowl, and add the confectioners’ sugar and cream and whisk until smooth. If the glaze appears too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar ¼ cup (30 g) at a time. If the glaze appears too thick add in a little more cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
- Coat each donut. Dip each donut in the blackberry glaze, set aside on a wire rack and sprinkle immediately with pearl sugar or sprinkles. Allow the icing to set for 15 minutes. Dip the donut holes in the glaze or toss in caster sugar. These are best eaten straightaway or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.