Desserts · Recipes

Chocolate-filled Brioche Doughnuts

Soft doughnuts with a velvety filling. Start it the day before, because it's a "rest overnight" recipe.
Prep Time1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Resting time16 hours
Total Time18 hours
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, doughnuts
Servings: 12 doughnuts


  • 1 candy thermometer (or infrared, instant, or probe)
  • 1 stand mixer & bowl with dough hook
  • 1 deep pan with heavy bottom (like a Dutch oven)
  • 1 disposable piping bag
  • 1 kitchen scale
  • 1 large baking sheet
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 medium bowl
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 wire rack or plate (for cooling)
  • 1 slotted spoon or pair of tongs
  • cellophane / saran wrap
  • parchment paper
  • paper towels
  • brownie baking pan or deep serving dish



  • 2 quarts sunflower or canola oil
  • 12 oz all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • ¼ oz active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 3 oz butter (with at least 82% fat) (¾ stick)
  • ½ lemon
  • 1-½ tsp dark rum
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz eggs (1 or 2 eggs, weighed with shell)
  • 1.5 oz standard, granulated sugar (about 6 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp more sugar (for activating the dry yeast)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water


  • 2 oz standard, granulated sugar (about ½ cup)
  • 1-½ tsp ground cinnamon

Chocolate Filling

  • 8 oz confectioner's/powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
  • 4 oz butter (with at least 82% fat) (1 stick)
  • 2 oz unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup water (2 fl oz; 4 tbsp)


Doughnut Prep, the day before (10 min)

  • Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer
  • Get the large bowl and grease it (with spray oil or butter) or lightly cover it in flour — the dough will go in here and we don't want it to stick
  • Zest the lemon.
    You can do this in a variety of ways: peeling it by hand, with a knife, or with a peeler, grating the peel with a grater or microplane, using a zester, etc.
  • Weigh out the eggs (in their shells) to see if you need 1 eggs or 2 eggs to get between about 3 oz of eggs.
  • Soften the doughnut butter in the microwave or whatever
    3 oz butter (with at least 82% fat)
  • Heat up the water a little so it's lukewarm — no more than 120ºF
    ½ cup water

Make the dough, still the day before (30 min + overnight)

  • In the bowl of the stand mixer, pour in the water, yeast, and activating sugar and give it a gentle stir with a fork
    1 tsp more sugar, ¼ oz active dry yeast, ½ cup water
  • Wait about 5 minutes until the yeast activates and the top of the liquid is frothy.
    If the liquid doesn’t foam after 15 minutes, then the water is either too hot and has killed the yeast, or the yeast was already dead.
  • To the yeast liquid, stir in the rest of the sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, rum, and vanilla extract
    1-½ tsp dark rum, 1.5 oz standard, granulated sugar, ½ lemon, 3 oz eggs, ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Add in the flour, salt, and nutmeg
    12 oz all-purpose flour, ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Turn the mixer on low and let it knead the dough for 5-8 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and shiny, and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl
  • With the mixer still kneading, cut chunks of butter into the bowl, one at a time
    3 oz butter (with at least 82% fat)
  • Turn the speed up to medium. The butter will eventually mix in and the dough will become sticky. After that point, continue to let the mixer knead the dough for another 10 minutes or so, maybe longer, until it's once more smooth and shiny and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.
  • Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and slap it on a clean surface, spread it and fold it onto itself and repeat that a few times
  • Transfer the dough to the large, greased/floured bowl. There should be enough room in the bowl for the dough to double in size.
  • Cover the bowl with cellophane / saran wrap
  • Put the bowl in the fridge and let the dough rest there overnight, 12-18 hours

Make the doughnut balls (20 min + 3 hours)

  • The dough will have inflated overnight and doubled in size: punch it with your fist to take the wind out of it
  • Get a large baking sheet
  • Get the parchment paper, cut 12 squares roughly 5×5" in size, and arrange them on the baking sheet.
    If your parchment paper is the standard 15" wide, you can tear off 4 strips, each about a handbreadth, and then cut each strip into thirds.
  • Lightly flour a surface on which to knead the dough and then, surprise surprise: knead the dough a little bit on it
  • The dough should weigh about 24 oz. Tear roughly 2 oz chunks out of the dough, rolling each one into a ball, and then placing it on one of the parchment squares.
    To roll the balls, one technique is to roll it around between your palms until it’s spherical.
  • Cover the baking sheet with cellophane / saran wrap, or a clean tea towel, and let them rest/rise/"proof" for about 3 hours, being careful not to over-proof and become hollow inside and soak up oil during frying.
    Proofing them at room temperature works well, and the warmer it is, the more quickly they rise. Keep it below 120ºF though, so that the yeast doesn’t die.
    They will double or triple in size, and they’re done when you can press one with your finger and will slowly spring back, but the mark remains in the dough. If the dough springs back quickly, it needs more time. If it doesn’t spring back at all, it could be over-proofed: this means deflated doughnuts.

Fry prep (10 min)

  • Pour the oil into a deep, heavy bottomed pan, like a Dutch oven. The oil depth should be at least 2".
    2 quarts sunflower or canola oil
  • Get your candy/infrared/instant/probe thermometer and heat the oil to around 360ºF (10 minutes).. Put the burner on high to start, then turn it down to low when it reaches 360º.
  • While the oil is heating, if you have a blender, you can make castor sugar, which is finer than regular sugar and nice for the coating.
    Put the coating sugar in the blender and pulse it a few times until it becomes fine, but not too many times so that it becomes powdered.
    You can also just skip this step.
    2 oz standard, granulated sugar
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and castor sugar until it's combined. This is your coating dish.
    1-½ tsp ground cinnamon, 2 oz standard, granulated sugar
  • Get your cooling station (wire rack or a plate) and cover it with paper towels
  • Get the serving dish (brownie baking pan or other deep dish).
  • Set up your assembly line so that you can quickly remove a cooked doughnut from the pan to the wire rack, then replace it with a raw doughnut from the baking sheet into the pan, and throw away the parchment square.
    Also to move cooked doughnuts (after they've cooled for a minute) from the wire rack to the coating dish, to the serving dish.
  • This is the important info that makes or breaks the doughnuts. Read it all carefully.
    To place a doughnut in the oil, gently pick it up using the square of parchment paper under it, and carefully place it in the oil, face down. Be careful to not burn yourself and don't be afraid to put part of the parchment in the oil: the important thing is to not puncture the doughnut.
    Fry only 3-4 at a time, so they have plenty of room, and keep the number consistent so as to not throw off the oil temperature too much: when you remove a doughnut, add a doughnut.
    When you add the first batch of doughnuts, the oil temperature will drop 10-20º.
    Keep checking the temperature throughout the frying process and keep it between 340 and 360º, by making small adjustments to the stove top heat. If it goes above 360º, take it off the burner, turn the heat down a bit, let the oil cool to 350º, and put it back on the burner. You can keep frying while this is happening.
    Fry the doughnuts for about 2 minutes per side. Turn them over using tongs or a slotted spoon, and gently remove them from the oil with same. Add a doughnut after removing a doughnut. Keep going until you're done.
    If they turn brown in under 1 minute per side, your oil temperature is too hot. If it takes longer than 2 minutes, the oil temperature is too cold, and the doughnuts will absorb more oil and not float.
    Let each doughnut cool on the rack for about a couple of minutes, until it’s not too hot too handle, but still warm. Toss it in the cinnamon sugar, then place it vertically, into the serving dish or brownie pan.
  • When the oil is at 360º, turn the burner heat down to low
  • Add 4 doughnuts to the oil. The oil temperature will drop 10-20º.
  • Repeat the steps in the next section 3 times, until all 12 doughnuts are in the serving dish, referring to the above important info as needed.

Fry the doughnuts (15 min)

  • Make adjustments as necessary to keep the oil temperature between 340 and 360º.
  • After 2 minutes, flip any doughnuts that are frying and cook for another 2 minutes until they're cooked on both sides.
  • While waiting, transfer any doughnuts from the cooling station to the serving dish, coating them in the process
  • Adjust the temperature as needed
  • After the second 2 minutes, remove doughnuts one by one, to the cooling station, placing another raw doughnut into the pan before removing the next.
    Repeat this section until there are no more raw doughnuts.

Chocolate filling (10 min + 1 hr 20 min)

  • Let the coated doughnuts cool completely, at least 1 hour, before filling.
  • Soften the filling butter in the microwave or whatever
    4 oz butter (with at least 82% fat)
  • Heat up the filling water to boiling in the microwave or whatever
    ¼ cup water
  • While that's heating up, get either: the medium bowl and a hand mixer, or your stand mixer and its bowl
    2 oz unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ tsp fine sea salt, 8 oz confectioner's/powdered sugar
  • Pour the confectioner's sugar, cocoa, and salt into the bowl
  • Stir it all together until it's combined well
  • Add the butter and pour in the boiling water
    ¼ cup water, 4 oz butter (with at least 82% fat)
  • Mix until completely smooth
  • Mix in the vanilla
    ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Place the bowl with the mixture in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, until it's spreadable and creamy

Finish the doughnuts (15 min)

  • Get the chocolate filling and put it into a disposable piping bag.
    A good technique is to put the piping bag inside a pint glass and drape it over the sides, then add your filling and remove it from the glass when done.
  • Make a hole somewhat deep into the each doughnut's side (which is now facing up) by shoving a thin knife or scissors in there
  • Cut the end off the piping bag
  • Stick the bag in the hole and fill each doughnut with the chocolate, until it starts expanding. Try not to overfill, due to the richness of the filling. Filling will be slow and require steady pressure.


Adapted from Anna’s Baking Chronicle, Baran Bakery, and The Food Charlatan.
If you don’t have a standing mixer, you can of course knead the dough by hand. It’s a great workout.