Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes

Oh. My. Gosh. These are amazing. 

First, let's talk about traditional donut holes. They are awesome; I'm pretty sure we can all agree on that. But, they're also riddled with calories and fat, thanks to the deep fryer. That's fine in moderation - enjoy them every weekend if you want. Not judging.

But what if I told you that you could enjoy moist donuts, tender in the middle and buttery and sugary on the outside, and enjoy that scenario without guilt? I've got your attention now, right? It's true - you can do it! And, it's super easy too.

Easy breezy recipe: The news just got even better. No messy deep fryer needed. No electric mixer or a gazillion ustensils. Just 2 bowls and a whisk. And maybe an ice cream scoop if you have one (it's not essential, it just makes spooning the batter into the pans easier).

Use a small ice cream scoop! I used a 2-inch scoop to spoon the batter into the muffin pans, and I used the scoop for 2 reasons. First, it saved time (I only needed one hand to do the job). Second, it created a little mound of batter in the muffin pan, with a rounded top. When they baked up, they kept that shape, making them almost completely round (like a real donut hole). You don't need a small scoop, but it sure does make life easier when you're filling 48 muffin cups.

OK, now grab a few ingredients and bake up some incredible donuts right now!

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes 

For the donut holes:
Cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cinnamon-sugar coating: 
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (if you don't let the butter cool, it will melt the sugar coating)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat four 12-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray.
To make the donuts, in a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, oil, egg, and vanilla.
Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just blended (don't overmix).
Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cup 3/4 full (no higher!).
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until a wooden pick comes out clean or with little moist bits clinging to it. Cool the donuts on wire racks.
To make the coating, place the melted butter in small bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
Dunk each donut hole in the melted butter and turn to coat. Transfer the donut holes to the cinnamon-sugar mixture and turn to coat.
Enjoy warm or room temperature!

Makes 48 donut holes