Mini Mochi Donuts

I’ll admit it–when it comes to what I like to watch on TV I don’t always like what’s mainstream. I’m a total enthusiast for public television and the lack of commercials that go with it, so when I came across a PBS special covering National Doughnut Day this past Tuesday, I placed the remote down at the very mention of Fresh Strawberry Donuts.  In the re-run, the late Huell Howser was driving around LA looking for unusual and historical places to have doughnuts–like a much less edgy version of something Anthony Bourdain might cover.

I have a serious weakness when it comes to doughnuts.  The ironic (and wise) thing is, I almost never eat them.  The last time I had a doughnut was when I visited Top Pot Doughnuts in Seattle a few years ago.  I was attending my very first food photography workshop with Helene Dujardin and two days into my trip I realized that Top Pot Doughnuts was a few doors down from my hotel.  Other than telling you that you must order the unassuming yet incredibly delicious plain cake doughnut when you get there (they spice them with mace!), I will say that Top Pot is a place that shouldn’t be missed if you are a doughnut lover and can remind yourself to have self-control before stepping through the doors.

On none other than National Doughnut Day today, I’d like to share with you a simple recipe for Mini Mochi Doughnuts, a specialty that’s perfect for the mochi lover who wants to celebrate this unique day on a smaller, healthier scale.  Mini Mochi Doughnuts start with a gluten-free rice flour batter that’s made with rice milk, and is later baked off in the oven.  Lightening up the texture of the mochi batter itself sets the stage for highlighting the shiny chocolate ganache glaze, which can be scattered with all kinds of yummy sprinkles and toppings.

As I like variety in color and flavor, I typically divide the prepared batter into 4 portions when I make these doughnuts.  I like to flavor each of the 1/4 portions of liquid batter with different flavorings like cocoa powder, freeze-dried strawberry powder, vanilla bean, and of course my favorite…green tea matcha powder!  These flavorings give a vibrant, natural boost of color, which is always nice when you are making a food item as fun as doughnuts are.

It’s important to remember that there is some baking powder in these Mini Mochi Doughnuts, so it’s best to work with at least two mini doughnut baking pans when making these.  If you let the batter sit around too long before baking, the doughnuts won’t rise in the oven as they ideally should.

Another thing to pay careful attention to is to make sure the mini doughnut baking pans are thoroughly sprayed with non-stick spray before using them.  Mochi batter likes to stick to the pan even after having been baked off, so please don’t skimp on the spray.  And if you don’t have spray, use some vegetable oil and a pastry brush to create an evenly greased layer on your pans.

Cool the mochi doughnuts completely before removing them from the pans, otherwise they will warp under the pressure from your fingers.  You can speed up the cooling process by placing them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes after they have already cooled for 15 minutes at room temperature.  When they have cooled completely, run a toothpick around the inner and outer edges of the molds, then use your fingers to gently tug the doughnuts as they release them from the pan.

I love that I didn’t have to resort to deep fat frying to make these cuties.  Even if you decide to pass up on the chocolate glaze, the naturally colored plain mochi donuts are just as enticing as the decorated ones are.  The plain donuts make a less sweet snacking cake that’s perfect with a cup of unsweetened Asian tea.  I like to think of these adorable Mini Mochi Donuts as wagashi turned rouge–a traditional treat that’s taken on Western-style individuality and charm.

Mini Mochi Donuts

Makes 18 mini donuts.



4 oz. mochiko (sweet rice flour)

3/4 cup rice or almond milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking powder

Non-stick vegetable or coconut oil spray

sprinkles, for decorating

{Chocolate Ganache}

2 Tbsp heavy cream

1/4 cup chocolate chips


***add one of these options to every 1/4 cup of batter or 1/4 of full recipe***

For chocolate donuts:  1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder, sifted

For green tea donuts:  1 tsp matcha powder, sifted

For strawberry donuts:  1 1/2 tsp freeze-dried strawberry powder (pulverize the strawberries in a spice grinder)

For vanilla bean donuts:  1 tsp vanilla bean paste


large mixing bowl

wire whisk

4 small bowls

1 Tbsp measure

2 mini doughnut pans (I used Wilton)


cooling rack


1.)    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously spray the mini doughnut pans with non-stick oil spray.  Using wire whisk, mix sweet rice flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, and baking powder together in a large bowl and mix evenly.

2.)  If you prefer, divide the batter into 1/4 cup portions into smaller bowls, then add one of the {Variations} to each bowl to create flavored doughnuts.  If you don’t, your doughnuts will just be a plain vanilla flavor.  Mix in the powder or paste until each batter is evenly colored.

3.)  Spoon 1 Tbsp of the batter into each mini doughnut mold, making sure to keep the middle hole portion of the mold clean and free of batter.  When you are finished spooning out the batter, lightly jiggle the pan so that the batter distributes itself evenly in each mold.

4.)  Bake the doughnuts for 17-20 minutes.  When a toothpick inserted in a doughnut comes out completely clean, remove the doughnuts from the oven and place on cooling rack to cool completely (after the doughnuts have cooled at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, you can then place the pan in the fridge to speed up the cooling process).

5.)  Run a toothpick all along the inner and outer edges of each mold, then gently use your fingers to unmold the doughnuts from the pan.

6.)  Prepare the ganache by bringing the cream to almost boiling either on a stovetop or in the microwave.  Place chocolate chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over them.  Gradually stir the chocolate until it becomes thick and glossy.  Dunk the top of each mini doughnut in the ganache, then lightly shake off any excess.  Top each doughnut with sprinkles, allow the chocolate to set for a few minutes, and serve.  After the ganache has set, Mini Mochi Donuts can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.