Breads, Rolls + Donuts Breakfast

[baked] banana doughnuts [with coffee-cacao nib or peanut butter glaze]

I don’t know if this is the place for it, but I have to come out and say that I am still terribly upset about how this season of Downton Abbey ended. And yes, I had no idea it was coming, and yes, as [A] has pointed out to me several times it is just a TV show, but I’m still moping around. This has caused me to stay  up way too late and do all sorts of reading about the show, where I found interesting articles about why this outcome is better for everyone and why it’s not the writer’s fault and whatnot. And then of course I’ve spent time chiding myself for caring so much about people who aren’t even real in the first place, and analyzing why books and shows have this kind of power over my emotions.

But, of course, I’ll get over it. And all that lamenting and internet-surfing did actually pay off, as I came across a little interview with Julian Fellowes, who single handedly writes every episode of Downton. He was asked that lovely little question what advice can you give new writers? and his answer spoke to me on several levels. I’m not sure I consider myself a writer, although I’ve always loved to write and do so often. But I found his answer, tenacity, so important to my daily struggles in mothering, and eating well, and how I spend my time, and trusting myself, and, of course, writing.

I’m always a bit nervous about speaking as someone who is successful, but I suppose I’m allowed to. Actually, tenacity is the quality that you cannot do without. I’ve known very talented people who do well and I’ve known very talented people who do badly, and I’ve known not very talented people who do well or badly. The one quality that all the ones who do well have is tenacity. They just don’t give in, and they keep plugging away.

There are moments when you do feel very desperate. You just think nobody is ever going to respond to your work, that it’s never going to happen. And somehow you just have to push through that whether you do it with a big whiskey, or taking a day off, or whatever. You have to push through that sense of not being valued…I think the danger for the young is that they lose faith in the quality that their work has. And yet, that nugget – whatever it is – that is the nugget that will make it happen if they are to be successful. I mean, it’s easy to say, and it’s hard to follow through, but again it comes back to having belief in yourself.  -Julian Fellowes

[baked] Banana Doughnuts [with coffee-cacao nib or peanut butter glaze]
adapted from Saveur magazine

I recommend using frozen-then-thawed bananas here, as they exude liquid during the thawing process that gives so much flavor. However, if you do not have frozen bananas on hand, you can heat up or microwave very ripe bananas to get the same effect. [If you do use frozen bananas, you can taken them out of the freezer and put in the fridge the night before, placing them in a bowl or zip-lock bag to keep all the liquid].

I must admit I am partial to yeasted, glazed doughnuts, so I can be a little skeptical about baked doughnuts. I did really like these – they have great flavor and bake up nice. I thought they kept the best texture without any glaze, just plain; they taste like a banana bread doughnut. The glaze is very tasty, but does add some moisture, which over several hours will make the doughnuts more moist as well. I liked the peanut butter glaze best, but, they are both very good.

2 bananas, very ripe [preferably frozen and thawed, see note]
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sour cream
liquid from bananas
whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

If using unfrozen bananas, place bananas in a bowl and heat them in the microwave for a few minutes until they have released their liquid [You will have about 1/8 of a cup. A little more or less is okay]. Place the liquid in a separate bowl, and then mash the bananas. Set aside 1/2 cup, and discard the rest, or use for another application. If using frozen, thawed bananas, you can use the liquid the bananas omit when thawing, and don’t need to heat them.

Heat oven to 350, with oven rack placed in the center. Whisk together flours, sugar, soda, and salt in a large bowl. Put sour cream in a liquid measuring cup, and add the ‘banana liquid’ that was previously strained. Use enough milk to make the mixture reach 1/2 cup. Mix together, and add 1/2 cup mashed banana, vanilla and bourbon [if using]. Add the egg and combine well, and then add the vinegar and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix into a smooth batter. Lightly grease a nonstick doughnut pan, and spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each mold. Bake until doughnuts are golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 13-15 minutes. Immediately invert doughnuts onto a baking sheet with a wire rack and let cool completely. When cool, dip tops of the doughnuts into glaze and return to the wire rack until glaze is set.

coffee-cacao nib glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3-6 tablespoons strong, cold coffee
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
handful of cacao nibs, finely chopped if needed

Whisk together powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of the coffee. Slowly add more coffee 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add vanilla, salt, and cacao nibs at the end, and whisk together well.

peanut butter glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2-4 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Whisk together powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. Add the peanut butter, and whisk together. Slowly add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add vanilla and salt and whisk together well.

  • Reply
    Jessica Robinson
    Monday, March 2, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Nothing better than homemade donuts. Especially with this combination- yum!

  • Reply
    Imen McDonnell
    Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I saw the season finale here in Ireland around Christmas time. It was devastating. And, I couldn’t talk about it to any of my American friends. I was gutted!!!! Eventually, I got over it. I sort of knew it was coming as I had read an interview in a British paper with Dan Stevens in the autumn and it seemed like he was happier living in the USA with opportunities to broaden his career. As always, love your blog posts….these doughnuts sound EPIC. Perhaps we will meet when I am there this summer. What part of Mpls do you live in? All Best, Imen x

  • Reply
    Wild Violets
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Greetings! I wanted to say thanks for this. I too, have been at a loss and sad over the ending of one of my favorite shows. I am going to check out the links right now.

    Also take care of yourself, so sorry to read about your grandmother. It is never easy to loose those that we love.

  • Reply
    Senka I
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    We’ve recently launched the website It’s a search engine that aims to gather all the best recipes from US websites and blogs in one place. We’ve noticed that you have a lot of great looking recipes on your blog that we would love to feature on our site. To read more about how it all works and to sign up with your blog, please visit: or send us an email on [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Kind regards,

  • Reply
    Veronica Armstrong
    Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I feel so lucky to have found your blog (and subsequently connected with you on twitter). You *ARE* a writer. A beautiful one. Please stop second guessing yourself. Own it. You really are amazing.

  • Reply
    Friday, February 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    this is lovely. i’ve just started blogging and it’s hard to value your own work sometime. come say hi sometime. I’ve been a longtime fan.These doughnuts are just fab.

  • Reply
    Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 12:29 am

    and I firmly believe a key to becoming a good writer is to read–a lot!
    read all the books you can on what area of writing you like and do most.
    (I tried to get into Abbey, just couldn’t)
    But I can get into these donuts! lol

  • Reply
    la domestique
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Ok, I made it through 1 1/2 hours of Downton and was so upset I had to turn it off. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to watch the rest. My husband also reminded me that it’s, “just a tv show.” 🙂 I’m so glad you shared Mr. Fellowes’ words on tenacity and the doughnuts look wonderful. I’ve always wanted to find a good baked doughnut.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I’m still pretty miserable about Downton. And angry. But what can you do? Stress/emotional eat a few of these doughnuts, that’s what!

  • Reply
    Monique @Ambitious Kitchen
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Very beautiful.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Great quote, even more gorgeous recipe! I don’t watch Downton Abbey but my parents do so I sat through the Christmas special – majorly distressing, I totally feel your pain! 🙂

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I have never seen Downton (maybe I should start?), but this quote resonates with me on so many levels. In the end it always pays to keep working away towards your goal. Thanks for sharing!

    As for the doughnuts, we must be on the same wavelength because I made some baked espresso banana doughnuts last week ( and seriously contemplated topping them with cacao nibs. These look magnificent, and I love that you added a bit of bourbon in there, too!

    • Reply
      vanilla bean blog
      Friday, February 22, 2013 at 2:56 am

      We must be on the same wavelength! Your doughnuts look delicious.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I have heard so many great things about Downtown Abbey. It sounds like I really need to start watching it! Keep plugging away…definitely great advice. Sometimes you DON’T see the light at the end of the tunnel, but so long as your goals are clear and you want something with all of your heart, I can think of no better advice. Also, gorgeous donuts. xoxo

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Yes, yes. Just keep plugging away. The best advice is always so simple. And I’m with you on getting really invested in TV shows and books. Friday Night Lights and the Hunger Games books are two examples of which I couldn’t stop thinking/searching on the Internet/rereading/rewatching long after I finished them. It’s the characters that I fall in love with, really. I just started The Fault in Our Stars last night and I’m already obsessed. Now I have to get caught up in Downton Abbey — I scrolled all the way to the bottom of this post to avoid spoilers in the comments, ha! Thanks for these thoughts, and the quote, and the donuts! 🙂

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing that great quote, definitely speaks to me too. The doughnuts look great, I need to make some.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    That is a wonderful quote from Julian Fellowes – much needed words for this girl to hear. xoxo

  • Reply
    Marygrace @ Twhispers
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I, too, was sort of shocked and disappointed by Downton Abbey’s ending. But these donuts look so good, they might make me forget about the whole thing.

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Coming from a film background, I was sort of expecting something to happen with Matthew… so it didn’t hit me as hard as most. However, there are other shows, like Six Feet Under, where I’ve been left in shock when a main character has died. So, I certainly know what you mean about having this weird connection to people that don’t even exist. It is strange. But that, there, is why it’s such a powerful art form.

    Now, moving on to doughnuts. Yeah, I’m kinda drooling all over these babies. You decorated them beautifully too!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    That was a pretty wonderful quote! And yes, I agree that it can apply to quite a bit.

  • Reply
    Tartlet Sweets
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Such a great answer and perfect word. And it goes far beyond just writing, I think.

    The donuts sounds wonderful. I think I could definitely enjoy a banana donut right this very moment actually!

    Also, I absolutely love the photo at the top of this post (and all the others as well). It’s just so sweet.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 11:53 am

    i’ve never seen downton abbey, but my mom watches it and told me about what happened on sunday. she was so upset ;( i love the advice the writer gave. as much as i don’t think of myself as a writer, i think all of us bloggers really do share a piece of ourselves with every post, spend hours on the right words to type, convey our emotions and experiences, and because of that, we are writers.

    as far as these donuts, they really do look perfect. i think i’d love the peanut butter glaze best, too, maybe with some cacao nibs on top 😉

  • Reply
    london bakes
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Such an interesting quotation from Julian Fellowes – although I’ve never really watched Downton Abbey, I’ve always enjoyed his writing.

    Seriously beautiful doughnuts too. I’ve never yet found a baked recipe that I’m happy with but these look perfect.

  • Reply
    the cake hunter
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 8:57 am

    I seriously need to get myself a doughnut pan. I’ve been dying to bake doughnuts for ages and I just downloaded the doughnut issue of Saveur which has left me drooling ever since.
    I think I’m the only person left in the UK who has never seen Downton so I sadly I can’t really comment on the end but I do know everyone here was disappointed as well.

  • Reply
    Reem |Simply Reem
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 5:18 am

    I agree.. The end hasleft me shocked sad n disappointed. .. Matthew death is too much n too soon. I have to say it was like too much of tragedy and that to too early… Some characters become a part of us sometime n this is exactly what has happened. ..
    Anyways these doughnuts look Yum. .. The pictures are beautiful!

  • Reply
    lisa heaner
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:34 am

    The picture of the glaze dripping back into the bowl made me gasp for breath. How do you do it? How do you take the most prosaic moments, turn them on their heads, and then return them to us reavealing them as they truly are — moments of pure magic and beauty? I love your work.

  • Reply
    Heather Hands
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:26 am

    My mother-in-law gave me season 3 of Downton Abbey. I watched all of the episodes. I talked to my mother on the phone the next day, and she was like ‘I can’t believe they killed him off’. I had no idea what she was talking about, but later realized that I had missed episode 8. I hear that it is quite sad, so I will probably skip it. Arg. On a more positive note, these doughnuts look fantastic.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:18 am

    Today I sat down to watch the final episode of Season 3 and I was not expecting this. I cried 🙁 First, it was lady sybil and now Mathew! I didn’t like the ending at all. Thanks for sharing those links. I too tend to get very attach to such characters from TV and books and treat them like real people.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 4:00 am

    That is a great quote! I completely relate to the idea of losing the value of your work. And these doughnuts look fantastic too. I will take one with peanut butter glaze, please.

  • Reply
    Emma Galloway
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 3:40 am

    Lovely quote which rings true on so many levels. And as usual, beautiful recipe + pics! xx

Leave a Reply