March’s 5 Star Makeover: Junk Food! {And getting creative with donuts.}

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The humble donut that started it all. 

The theme of this month’s 5 Star Makeover was junk food.  Not to re-create junk food (like make a healthy version of chicken wings or a fancy version of French fries), but to use junk food itself in a gourmet recipe.  Such a fun idea, right? 

Now, like many of you out there, even though I don’t avoid it altogether, junk food isn’t a huge part of my daily eating (dark chocolate aside, of course…and yes, I still consider it junk food, not because it’s really junk, but more in the sense that it’s something to be eaten in moderation).  That being said, I do have a few junk food favorites… pizza (New York-style in particular), tortilla chips with salsa, pretzels (both soft and hard), and gummy worms, to name a few.  So the question was, what kind of junk food to use? 

Because of the coconut oil in it (which melts at 76F), Donut Butter starts to soften at warm room temperature. 

I wanted to pick something that is iconic junk food, but hasn’t necessarily been used to make many other dishes.  I know you can use donuts to make bread pudding, but other than that I really haven’t heard of them being used in recipes very often.  So when the idea of donuts came to mind, I thought it would be perfect.  But what to make with them? 

Then I remembered something I had seen around the holidays:  Speculoos Cookie Butter!  It’s a spread that’s made from crushed Speculoos cookies, which are thin, buttery cookies that are usually warmly-spiced (with things like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper) and sometimes have slivered almonds.  I immediately knew I wanted to use donuts (dried out in the oven and crushed) instead of cookies in my own version of this butter. 

Donut Butter is runny when melted…it makes the perfect topping for pancakes or waffles. 

I wasn’t able to find Speculoos Cookie Butter in my area so I have no idea if my Donut Butter tastes anything like it…but the Donut Butter is delicious!  It has a toasted, nutty almond flavor, a subtle hint of coconut, and is scented of vanilla and more faintly of warm spices.  I used glazed sour cream donuts, which lend texture, as well as another flavor dimension.  Because coconut oil is the base, this butter is stiff in the fridge, starts to soften at warm room temperature, and is liquidy when warm. 

Jelly Donuts, Reinvented (Donut Butter Mousse with Raspberry Sauce)

How can you eat Donut Butter?, you wonder.  So many ways, really.  As a spread for crackers or dry cookies, a filling for cookies or cakes, in sandwiches with fruit or jam, heated up as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or crepes.  The list goes on. 

I wanted to use the Donut Butter to make a re-constructed version of a jelly-filled donut (my favorite donut as a kid!).  I made a Donut Butter Mousse and topped it with homemade Raspberry Sauce.  My eight-year-old niece and two of her friends were at my house on the day I made it and they went crazy for both the idea and the taste.  It really was like eating a jelly donut…but even more fun, if that’s possible.  :) 

Donut Butter 

Yields 1 1/3 cups 

1/2 cup blanched almonds (I used slivered almonds)

1 1/2 (4 oz) glazed sour cream donuts, chopped

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch nutmeg 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spread the almonds on a small baking pan and spread the chopped donut on another.  Bake the almonds until golden (about 10 to 15 minutes), and the donut until dry and golden (about 20 to 30 minutes), shaking the pans a couple of times while cooking.  (After I turned the oven off, I left the donut in there to finish drying out as the oven cooled; if you do this, be sure to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t get too dark.)  Let the almonds and donut cool. 

Transfer the toasted donut to the bowl of a food processor and process until it looks like graham cracker crumbs; transfer to a separate bowl and set aside (you should have about 1 scant cup of donut crumbs).  To the bowl of the food processor, add the almonds and process a couple minutes until it forms almond butter.  Process in the coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla bean paste, almond extract, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary; pulse in the donut crumbs a couple times until combined.  

Store the Donut Butter refrigerated for up to a couple weeks.  (The butter will be stiff in the fridge, starts to soften at warm room temperature, and is liquidy when warm.) 

Jelly Donuts, Reinvented (Donut Butter Mousse with Raspberry Sauce) 

Serves 4 

1/3 cup Donut Butter (recipe above), at room temperature

3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

2/3 cup heavy cream

Raspberry Sauce (recipe below) 

Use a handheld electric mixer to beat together the Donut Butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, and almond extract; beat the heavy cream to stiff peaks in a separate bowl.  Fold the whipped cream into the Donut Butter mixture 1/3 at a time, being careful not to over-mix.  Pipe into 4 individual serving glasses, then refrigerate until serving.  Right before serving, spoon the Raspberry Sauce on top. 

Raspberry Sauce 

1/2 cup red raspberries

1-2 tablespoons sugar (more or less depending on how tart your berries are)

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 teaspoon cold water to form a slurry 

Put the berries in a small saucepan and mash them with the back of a fork; add the sugar and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Add the cornstarch slurry and cook (stirring constantly), until thickened, about 30 seconds.  Turn off heat and cool.  Serve on top of Donut Butter Mousse.

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  1. says

    I never heard of cookie butter, but I love what you did here especially that deconstructed (reconstructed?) jelly donut. Very creative and well-executed!

  2. says

    Oh Faith, you clever thing!! :-) What a delightful post this is. :-) I fell in love with Speculoos when I lived in Amsterdam, and your idea is splendid. :-)

  3. says

    Great looking recipe…

    FYI, the phrase “because of the coconut oil in it, Donut Butter is soft at room temperature” doesn’t make sense. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. There must be another reason.


  4. says

    These ideas are so clever and original – I never would have thought of using donuts in this way! I love the use of the donut butter in the mousse, sounds like such a treat :)

  5. says

    …I am speechless. This is beyond creative- I never imagined making donuts into other desserts like this! You have just opened the door to so many other recipe possibilities… I may not be able to sleep tonight thinking about it!

  6. says

    This is just utterly brilliant!! It also makes me think of Biscoff spread, which I\’m not sure what that stuff is made out of but I imagine (hopefully) the Biscoff cookies or their ingredients, at least. Very very cool idea, and I love the mousse you made. You are a genius!

    • says

      Veronica, Yup, like I mentioned in the post, my inspiration was Speculoos Cookie Butter, which is the same thing as Biscoff Spread! (Two different names for the same kind of cookie!) :)

        • says

          Toooo funny! I’d never heard of the Speculoos spread you mentioned but I ran across it for the first time on Healthy Food For Living today! Food blogs can make you wise in the ways of the world without travelling it-lol! So far, I’ve only found Biscoff spread here (and only this month!) but haven’t tried it yet. I keep wanting to, then not wanting to b/c it’s basically junk. So far I have resisted. Maybe I should just make doughnut butter instead! At least that has redeeming almonds and coconut oil.

  7. says

    I gave up donuts a long time ago, but your donut butter and deconstructed jelly donut are amazing, Faith! So unique and creative – I agree with Maya, this may be the next big thing, move over Krispy Kreme!

  8. says

    Can I just say that I think I may have passed out or fainted at the sight (and your description) of these? This is one of the most mouthwatering and beautiful desserts I have ever seen. So creative, Faith!

  9. says

    Bravo. This is a genius use of donuts. I’ve heard about this speculoos butter, but never have had either the butter or cookies, but I’ve donuts and I can figure out how amazing this tastes. Gorgeous photos.

  10. says

    This is genius! I’ve seen cookie butter around the blog world (even one made out of Oreos), but I never thought of making a delicious spread with donuts. I’m sure this would be lovely with fruit as part of a brunch spread. Yum!

  11. says

    I have never heard of cookie butter, but it sounds pretty amazing! Your donut butter idea is very creative all on its own, but then to create a jelly donut dessert is over the top. Great job with this one!

  12. says

    Love it! Speculoos is definitely all the rage now. It still stuns me because I remember hearing about it on the Food Network or Cooking Channel a year or two ago on I believe a throw down with bobby flay that was all about waffles and now all of a sudden it’s everywhere. Donut Butter sounds even better. I think it would probably be fantastic in a savory application, like on a hamburger with some bacon perhaps. :-)

  13. says

    Gummy warms! Those are addictive haha. This is like double creation, Faith! Donut butter sounds super delicious. I can see myself digging in with toast in the morning. And, you made jelly donut mousse? Man, this is so pretty and sonds great on Monday!

  14. says

    Faith, you really know how to work the donut. I think it’s brilliant to sauce one and then throw the proportions on it’s ear. great work with your junk food. Who knew that it could be so creative?

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