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What Is a Mini-Donut?

By Laura Metz
Updated May 16, 2024
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A mini-donut is simply a smaller version of a donut, and comes with many different toppings. The origins of this snack are unknown, although many different theories abound. Mini-donuts can be enjoyed at carnivals and fairs, bought at grocery and convenience stores, or made at home.

Typical donuts weigh about 2.7 ounces (76.5 grams) each. A mini-donut, on the other hand, is only about a fourth the size of a regular donut, with four mini-donuts only making one full serving. While some people prefer plain mini-donuts, others eat them with various toppings, such as chocolate, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and sprinkles.

Donuts and mini-donuts look very similar, but mini-donuts do not have a hole in the middle, due to the smaller size. The cooking process forces the hole closed, although evidence of a hole can still be seen. Donut holes are not considered mini-donuts. A mini-donut is made just like a normal sized donut but is cooked in a smaller pan. Donut holes, on the other hand, are made using a donut cutter; once the dough has been cut, the holes are pushed from the middle and fried.

The origin of the donut is unknown, although many different stories have been circulated. One such story involves a sea captain, named Hansen Gregory, who needed both hands to steer his ship through a storm. Gregory thrust his donut onto a spoke of the steering wheel, which enabled him to steer and eat at the same time. Donuts where not massed produced until the 1920’s.

Mini-donuts evolved from their full sized counterparts. One theory claims the mini-donut was first made during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Because of the war, the soldiers faced various rationing procedures, which resulted in a smaller donut. This allowed more people to enjoy the sweet breakfast treat.

To make mini-donuts at home, a special pan or dough cutter is recommended. The pans can bake up to a dozen donuts at once; a non-stick coating provides for easy removal once baking is finished. The main ingredients consist of flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, eggs, and milk. Once the dough is made, it can either be fried in a fryer or skillet or it can be baked using special pans. After they have cooled, they can be topped with sugar, chocolate, sprinkles, or any other topping.

Some waffle irons come equipped with a mini-donut maker. Many cooks prefer a waffle iron because it produces less heat in the kitchen than a traditional oven. In addition, a waffle iron will cook mini-donuts in approximately four minutes, as opposed to the eight minutes required for a traditional oven.

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