Maple Bars

updated Oct 15, 2021
Maple Bars Recipe

These maple-frosted doughnuts are the perfect doughnut recipe for beginners.

Makes12 bars

Prep45 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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Biting into a warm, soft doughnut at home is a luxury too few of us have enjoyed. Let’s aim to remedy that right now. These maple-frosted doughnuts are the perfect doughnut recipe for beginners. The supple dough is simple to make by hand or in a mixer, and the resulting doughnuts taste even better when you make it in advance. Trust me: Once you’ve tasted these hot yeast doughnuts dredged in sweet maple glaze, you may never go back to the doughnut shop.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

What Are Maple Bars?

Maple bars are soft, yeast-raised doughnuts. Rather than being punched into rounds, the dough is cut into rectangles. Once fried, the tops are dipped in a sweet maple icing. Rich amber maple syrup gives the powdered sugar glaze its signature flavor, but for an extra boost of maple flavor, add a dash of high-quality maple extract, such as this one from Spice House.

What’s the Difference between Maple Bars and Long Johns?

Long Johns are rectangular yeast doughnuts that are left unfilled. Maple bars are a type of Long John doughnut and are the inspiration for many of the maple bacon bars that have become popular in gourmet doughnut shops.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

What Equipment Do I Need to Make Maple Bars?

A well-stocked kitchen should have everything you need to make maple bars. The dough is easy to prepare by hand, and although it’s helpful, it’s not necessary to start with a stand mixer. Plus, unlike traditional round doughnuts, there’s no need for biscuit cutters or a special doughnut punch.

You will need a heavy-bottomed pot, like a Dutch oven, and a deep-fry or candy thermometer for frying the bars and monitoring the oil’s heat. You’ll also need a pair of long tongs or a spider (also known as a skimmer) to remove the fried dough from the oil.

How To Store Maple Bars

It’s impossible to pick the best part about these doughnuts, but ranking near the top is how easy it is to make the dough in advance. Make the yeast dough the night before you plan to serve, then let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. Make your morning even easier by gathering all of the glaze ingredients together in the evening, too.

Maple bars are best eaten the day they are made, but in the unlikely event of leftovers, store the doughnuts loosely covered at room temperature.

Maple Bars Recipe

These maple-frosted doughnuts are the perfect doughnut recipe for beginners.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Makes 12 bars

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the doughnuts:

  • 1 stick

    (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    whole or 2% milk

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet

    active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 4 to 4 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 quarts

    peanut or canola oil, for deep-frying

For the maple icing:

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons

    whole or 2% milk

  • 1 1/2 cups

    powdered sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    maple extract (optional)

Instructions

Make the doughnuts:

  1. Cut 1 stick unsalted butter into large pieces. If using a stand mixer, melt the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. If making by hand, melt the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 40 to 50 seconds until mostly melted (a few lumps are fine) and set aside to cool slightly.

  2. Microwave 1 cup whole or 2% milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl until warm but not hot (about 100ºF), 40 to 50 seconds. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and whisk until dissolved. Sprinkle 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast over the milk and set aside until the yeast appears bubbly and foamy, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn't, get new yeast and start over with new yeast.)

  3. If using a stand mixer, pour the butter and milk-yeast mixture into the stand mixer bowl. Add 2 large eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. (If making by hand, add the yeast mixture to the butter and whisk to combine.)

  4. Place 4 cups of the all-purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in 2 (1 1/2-cup) increments, waiting until the flour is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer and switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook.

  5. Add the remaining 1 cup all-purpose flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is smooth and tacky, about 3 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add up to 1/4 cup more all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and firm enough to pick up. (If kneading by hand, stir the flour and salt into the milk mixture until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.)

  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a tight, smooth ball. Sprinkle the dough with a little more all-purpose flour (about 1 tablespoon) and return to the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until doubled in bulk, 8 to 12 hours. (Alternatively, let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before frying — the finished doughnuts will be denser but still delicious.)

  7. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Dust a work surface with flour, then transfer the dough onto it. Roll the dough into a 12x8-inch rectangle about 1/2-inch thick with a long side closer to you. Cut the dough into 12 (4-inch-long, 2-inch-wide) bars (make 1 vertical cut and 5 horizontal cuts).

  8. Transfer the doughnuts to the baking sheets. Cover loosely with kitchen towels or plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, at least 30 minutes if proofed at room temperature or about 1 hour if proofed in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Make the maple icing:

  1. Place 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, but do not boil, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring, if desired, until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover to keep warm.

Fry and glaze the doughnuts:

  1. Set up a cooling station: Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place a wire rack over the paper towels.

  2. Heat 2 quarts peanut or canola oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 355ºF to 365ºF. Reduce the heat slightly to maintain this heat.

  3. Fry the doughnuts in batches of 3: Place in the hot oil and fry until puffed and golden-brown on the bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and until the second side is golden-brown, about 1 1/2 minutes more. Remove the doughnuts from the hot oil with tongs, a spider, or a metal spatula, and hold them over the pot briefly to drain off excess oil. Place on the rack.

  4. When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle but still warm, dunk the tops in the icing and return to the rack glazed-side up. If the icing has cooled and thickened, place back over low heat and whisk until loose again. Let the glaze set for 3 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dough can be made and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.

Storage: Maple bars are best eaten the day they are made. Store leftovers loosely covered at room temperature.