Zero waste doughnuts!

Filed in Blog by on December 13, 2010 9 Comments
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Half a doughnut, half a fairy cake

No laughing please; Half a doughnut, half a fairy cake

Ahhh, donuts. Gorgeous things that you can’t eat without licking your lips and unless you’re lucky enough to find them fresh at the seaside presented to you in a paper cone, they come in all sorts of horrible plastic packaging too.

At best you’ll get them in a plasticised bag from the bakery counter in a supermarket. At worst they come in hard clamshell-style packaging that simply won’t do when you’re on a zero waste mission.

The other week I spotted a donut tin for the oven. I always thought doughnuts had to be deep fried, and as I don’t have a deep fat fryer these were one delicacy we’d learned to live without.

I bought the tin but then had trouble finding a suitable recipe. I’d quite forgotten to make the connection that a food beginning with the word ‘dough’ probably had yeast in it.

Yeast and I are not the best of friends. We don’t get along at all. Al my attempts at yeast-based cooking have failed miserably. From bread to stolen all I can bake is bricks. I don’t know why it is. I’ve cooked bread alongside a friend who was showing me what to do – she ended up with a light, fluffy loaf and I ended up with house building material.

Then I came across Sharon’s site ‘making stuff’ and on there I found a cheaty doughnuts recipe, so set to work.

I learned that you should only half fill the containers otherwise you get doughnut shapes on one side and fairy cakes on the other. Plus my oven must be hot as these were a little overcooked as you can see from the colour in the photograph. But there we are; they tasted good and that’s all that matters. Little Miss Green ate three in one go so that can’t be bad.

Oven baked doughnuts recipe


6 tbsp softened butter

1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup fructose instead)

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 beaten egg

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup milk


Preheat oven to 200

Soften the butter and cream together with the sugar

Add the vanilla essence and egg and beat well

Mix in the rest of the ingredients until you get a smooth mix

Half fill doughnut tray and bake for 20 minutes until golden

When cool enough to handle, dip in melted butter then roll in caster sugar

Go and check out Sharon’s photo – this is how they *should* look!


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (9)

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  1. I have a baked doughnut tin, don’t tend to use it very often though as having a dff I do a yeast based mix in the bread machine then fry off,

    Might have to give it a go again as the bread machine mix makes loads so need all the boys mates here as well.

  2. Dmarie says:

    I LOVE doughnuts, but only those baked by a bakery in town…a 35 minute or so drive round-trip, so I don’t often get them. Really need to learn to bake my own. Will bookmark this page & be on the lookout for one of those baking tins. thx!

  3. Ben says:

    Thank for the recipe. Home made doughnuts are one of my favourite things, although I’ve always used the chip pan (well, it’s an old saucepan, you don’t have to buy anything special except a heat resistant slotted spoon to get things out). I’ll have to try this recipe, it looks easier than the one I have now and another zero waste aspect to it is not having old oil to use up at the end. I do struggle to find uses for used oil from deep frying, particularly if it has picked up a strong flavour. I’ve found you can scrimp on the oil with most recipes and don’t often need to submerge the item, just turn over half way through, but it still leaves me with a cup or two of old oil. Oh, and I don’t own a doughnut tin, do you think the dough is ok to make balls and bake on a regular tray, or is it more a liquid?

  4. adomesticprincess says:

    These look so good. They do not look overcooked or over brown on my computer. I am going to give them a try. Looks like the perfect treat with a cup of tea. We are having lots of rain and flooding (Portland, Oregon, USA) so its mostly a stay inside as much as possible week. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Kathy

  5. Alyson says:

    I’ve made jam doughnuts, ones you deep fry. We loved them, including my husband, so they must have been good! I must admit I wanted a yeast recipe and to see how much cheaper it was to make them yourself and it’s got to be raspberry jam. Strawberry jam is not the same. I could make about 16 doughnuts for about 25p or less. Ring doughnuts are cheaper obviously and you get loads more, but they are best eaten fresh.Years ago, I was given a second hand doughnut maker but I never had the recipe book. Been tucked away in the cupboard all this time. maybe I’ll have a lokk on the internet to see if I can find a recipe for the machine. I’m guessing it’s a batter.

  6. Brenna says:

    Yum, those look delicious! I love that by focusing on creating less waste we are going back to the ways of our grandparents, even homemade doughnuts! I have to say that if it weren’t for my husband we would not make so many things at home (not a good cook). Maybe even I could give this recipe a try though!

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: Hi Maisie; I tend to steer clear of yeast baking wherever possible; I just don’t seem to be able to master it! Hope you get to make some doughnuts soon.

    @Dmarie: Hey; you’re welcome and I hope you enjoy making them. If this recipe doesn’t work out there are lots of yeast variations on the web 😉

    @Ben: Hi Ben, I’m quite sure you could use a muffin tin or similar; they’re not runny, but they might spread if you put them on a sheet. Great that you have found you can deep fry in less oil. I’d love to invest in one of those fryers that claims you only need a tablespoon of oil …

    @adomesticprincess: You’re welcome Kathy and thanks for your comment! I hope you get to make them and enjoy them .

    @Alyson: Hi Alyson; do come back and tell us what you find. Deep fried jam doughnuts would have LMG eating out of my hand LOL!

    @Brenna: Hi Brenna, I love how it seems to go hand in hand too – waste less packaging and you tend to waste less food overall by being more resourceful. Have a go at the recipe; you never know how good you might be at it!

  8. you’re right! it’s easy to make and delicious too :d i finished 5 in just one-seating 😀 thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe 😉 if you have more recipes like this you can share, i’ll be looking forward to it again 😀

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @myfreightaudit: Glad you enjoyed the recipe. I’m aiming to share one a week during 2011, so come back and visit 🙂

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