Turn stale donuts into a trifle. Photo courtesy MonutsDonuts.com.
What happens when you find yourself with a dozen stale donuts? We received two large boxes and forgot to freeze the leftovers. When we returned to them two days later, they were stale.
Smart money might say: through them out or feed them to the birds. We thought: How many ways can we repurpose these donuts?
First: If the donuts are not rock-hard, there are ways to revive them. The first is 20 seconds in the microwave; the second is to place two slices of white bread in a plastic bag with the donuts for several hours or overnight. The moisture from the bread will transfer to the donuts. The dried bread that results can be turned into bread crumbs, croutons or toast.
Or, turn your stale donuts into a different recipe entirely. Here are some suggestions for starters:
Cake Ball Truffles. For this snack or dessert, crumble the donuts and add enough milk to make a dough. You can add a splash of your favorite liqueur, too. Scoop large teaspoonfuls and shape into balls. Place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets for 2+ hours; then roll in powdered sugar or cocoa or dip into melted chocolate.
Grilled Sandwich. Here, the donuts substitute for toast. Make a batter of eggs and milk (as if for French toast). Cut donuts in half, dip into batter and then grill in a pan, panini press or waffle iron. Fill with your favorite ingredients. Lots of lettuce and tomato will imbue the sandwich with some healthfulness. Here’s a Monte Cristo sandwich recipe—a French grilled ham and cheese with Gruyère and prosciutto on battered toast—from ThatsSoMichelle.com. Also see The Paula Deen, below.
Ice Cream Sundae. One of our favorite comfort foods is toasted pound cake topped with ice cream, dessert sauce and slivered almonds. Instead of the cake, substitute half a donut split horizontally and lightly toasted or grilled.
Parfait: Cut donuts into a small-to-medium dice (we think of them as donut croutons) and layer with ice cream in a goblet, parfait dish or sundae dish. You can also add a dessert sauce (caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, raspberry purée, etc.) to the layers.
The Paula Deen: “The Lady” is infamous for monster fat-and-calorie recipes; take a look at her top 10 most egregious recipes, including a photo that approximates the bacon cheeseburger between two glazed donuts. Here’s a “lite” version of that recipe: Split an unfrosted donut and grill with butter on the cut side. Put a burger and whatever fixings you like in between the donut slices.
Scrambled Eggs: If you normally have jam and toast with your eggs, the carbs even out when you substitute a toasted plain donut (slice horizontally before toasting). We enjoyed it with a side of scrambled eggs, although a runny yolk from a poached or fried egg would work, too.
A Monte Cristo sandwich on a donut: Swiss cheese and prosciutto (but any ham an cheese will do). Photo courtesy ThatsSoMichelle.com.
Trifle: Cut the donuts into pieces and layer with fresh fruit; fruit yogurt, coffee yogurt or vanilla yogurt (yogurt is a substitute for the traditional custard sauce); and whipped cream. You also can sprinkle the layers with chocolate chips, coconut, granola, or other garnishes (kids will enjoy mini marshmallows, adults might prefer a splash of Grand Marnier). For a simplified version, dice the donuts into bite-size pieces and top with yogurt and fruit.
There are other options we passed by, such as deep-frying the donuts and grinding them into flour for brownie batter. But don’t let that stop you.