Maple Bars

It’s kind of discouraging that after I slave in the kitchen making a healthy well-balanced meal with lots of vegetables, all Charlotte will eat is a cold, congealed mass of leftover oatmeal. (It is dang good oatmeal, but still. Doesn’t she know I have feelings?)

Maple Bars

I made doughnuts!!!! Doughnuts are on such a high pedestal in my mind that I never thought I would make the attempt. There are so many ways it could go wrong…and deep-frying things is always scary (right? Please tell me I’m not the only one. Today I had horrible nightmares in which I somehow managed to slop the whole vat of 350° oil down my front. But it didn’t happen! See, making doughnuts is easy!)

I’m convinced that most people have a favorite doughnut shop back home. Mine is called Sam’s Donuts and they are amazing. They have the puffiest, softest doughnuts in the world, with the perfect glaze-to-doughnut ratio. I just googled them to see if they have a website. They don’t, but the first hit had a review: Just your regular donut shop could use some spice maybe sprinkle some bacon on the maple put Manteca in the donut map. (Manteca is my hometown.) Really? The donut map? Awesome.

You have got to try these Maple Bars, sans bacon. They are soooo worth all the effort. And really, they weren’t hard at all. It’s no more effort than making bread. (Okay, maybe a teensy bit more effort.) But the result is absolutely incredible. You will win many friends with this one. Because that’s what cooking is all about right? Making people like you through food? Should I contact a psychologist now?

Today I’m listening to Sea Lion Woman by Feist.

P.S. Check out my new store! Wahoo!

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and share on social media using the hashtag #thefoodcharlatan! I’d love to see what you’re making!

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Maple Bars

Yield: Makes 12 doughnuts.


    For the dough:
  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup very warm (105 degree) water
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace (optional; I didn't use it)
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 cups bread flour*
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Peanut oil for frying (I used two 24-ounce bottles)**
  • For the Maple Icing
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1/3 cup (plus more if needed) hot water


  1. Combine the yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 cup very warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow it to proof for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.
  2. While the yeast is proofing, combine the sugar, mace (if using), salt, baking powder, and 4 cups of flour in a large bowl. When the yeast is ready, add the shortening, egg yolks, and vanilla and mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute to break down the shortening. Add 1/3 of dry ingredients and mix on low until blended. Repeat with the next 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Switch to the hook attachment and add the remaining 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix until no white spots remain and then turn the mixer to medium speed and knead for 2 minutes. Add more flour a little bit at a time if necessary. (You don't want the dough sticking to the bowl too much.)
  3. While the dough is kneading, bring a large pot of water to a boil (a little more than 2 quarts of water). Lightly flour a baking sheet.
  4. When the dough is done kneading, transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Form a 6×6? square and cover it with a clean cloth. (Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour too, so the cloth doesn't stick to it. Not that that happened to me.) Place the pan in the oven and place a 9×13? pan on the rack beneath the baking sheet. Pour the boiling water into the 9×13? pan and close the door to the oven. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
  5. When the dough is done rising, remove it from the oven and place it on a lightly floured surface. Bring another pot of water to a boil. Punch down the dough and roll it into an 11×12? rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to trim 1/2? off all the edges of the dough. (so that you have even rectangles. I used the scraps to make a 13th gimp-doughnut.) Cut the dough into 12 rectangles about 5×2?. Use a flexible scraper or large spatula to carefully transfer the dough rectangles back to a floured baking sheet, spaced about 1 1/2? apart. Place the baking sheet uncovered back into the oven and pour the boiling water back into the 9×13? dish. Rise for 30-45 minutes (or more), until the dough is doubled.
  6. When the dough is almost done rising, heat 2+ inches of peanut oil in a large, high-sided pot with a candy thermometer attached to it. Heat it to 350 degrees. When the oil is hot enough, in batches of 2-3, use the rubber scraper to carefully transfer the rectangles to the hot oil and fry for 30-40 seconds and then flip and cook for another 20 seconds or until golden brown. Remove doughnuts from the hot oil, allow to drain on paper towels, and repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. While the dough is cooling, whisk together the icing ingredients. Dip the dome-iest side of the bars into the icing and spread it out if necessary. Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving. (Yeah right!!)


*I just realized that this says bread flour. Oops. I definitely used regular flour. I'm sure it makes an even lighter dough, so next time I will use it, but obviously is still works with regular flour.

**I saved the used peanut oil. Just funneled it right back into the bottles for the next time I make these babies.

Source: Our Best Bites

Love Maple Bars? Try this 30 MINUTE version!! No joke!! They are sooo good (and so much faster):

30-Minute Maple Bars

You will also like these 4-ingredient Apple Cider Doughnuts:

4 Ingredient Apple Cider Doughnuts from The Food Charlatan





      • susan says

        Hi Karen:

        Happy to have spotted your recipe for the maple bars and icing. We have a local donut shop in my area that makes great maple bars; and some of
        best maple icing I’ve had in years. ( highly addictive ). I think it’s time; to finally make “maple bars” and stop handing over dollars to this local donut shop .. ( lol ). P.S. I noticed that your from Manteca. I lived in Ripon; during the 1990’s. Cheers and thank you for the recipes. :)

  1. says

    I would so rather go to Sam’s, then make donuts! They are the best! However, I will not succumb! Your donuts look SO good though! :)

  2. D'Arcy says

    Thank you so much!! I am from the west coast (Oregon) where Maple Bars are a staple in the doughnut world. Now that I live on the east coast I can’t find one maple bar! The people at Dunkin Donuts look at me like I’m nuts and ask, “You want a donut with maple syrup poured on it?” Ohh the frustration. This recipe will be a life saver!

    • says

      I had no idea Maple Bars were a west coast thing. I am from California so I guess that makes sense. Although now that I think about it, I don’t remember ever seeing maple bars in Indiana when I lived there. Weird!! Somebody write a press release, the world must know about maple bars!!!

      • Jennifer says

        There is really very little difference between Maple frosting and Caramel frosting (it tastes the same anyway). I love Caramel frosting and was disappointed when we moved from the mid-west to the east coast cause I couldn’t find any. But they have maple frosted donuts here and voila, it’s the same!!! Hope this helps anyone with questions.

  3. Nicole says

    Maple bars are my husbands favorite! Haven’t seen them since we left California. Do you think it’s possible to bake them? I would love to make them for my hubby but he a super healthy eater and I think baking them would make him even happier =)

    • says

      I don’t know if it would work to bake these. You could certainly try and let us know the results! Instead, I would find a recipe specifically for baked doughnuts (like these) and add the Maple frosting to them once they are baked. Best of both worlds! Good luck, and let me know how everything turns out!

  4. says

    I am shocked and disappointed that you didn’t take an opportunity to mock me mercilessly. I would say that 95% of my freshman year (excessive) donut consumption was due to BYU’s incredible maple bars. And these actually look even better. Needless to say I will be making them soon. I would say these fully qualify for food porn (and I mean that in the best way possible).

    • says

      Haha, how could I forget about your completely full tray of cream of wheat, biscuits and gravy, bacon and eggs, 1 glass of milk, 1 glass of juice, at least 4 donuts, and some Marshmallow Mateys to top it off? I think the first time I saw you eat breakfast was the moment I knew we would be friends.

  5. Kaylynn says

    I am using a bread maker to make the dough instead. Do I need to still place it in the oven with water prior to cutting them?

    • says

      Unfortunately yes. That step is an at-home version of an industrial proof box. It helps the dough to remain moist and form air bubbles. Go to this website to find out more about how proof boxes work. Hope this helps! Let me know how it works out in the bread machine.

  6. Courtney says

    Manteca is my home town too! I live further North now, but I’ll have to try Sam’s if I’m ever down there; I looooove maple doughnuts!

  7. Diana Marquez says

    Yours was the first listing I checked out when I googled for a maple bar recipe. Thank goodness you put pictures up!!! These are EXACTLY like the ones I remember when I lived in California. I now live in Upstate SC and no one hear has ever heard of a maple bar – they just don’t know what they are missing. Thanks again..I will be “following” you from now on :)

      • Diana Marquez says

        I am trying…however, I did go to one of the bakery department of one of the supermarkets here-they are a great store and will just about anything to please you-and I asked if they would make me maple bars – they flatly said “no”. And the baker looked at me as if I asked her to bake me a snake pie – go figure :)

  8. Emily says

    I have used this recipe multiple times, and have always had wonderful results! I recently tried to bake the dough instead of frying it, and the results were still great. I used roughly quarter-inch thick circles of dough and baked them at 425 for 8-10 minutes.

  9. says

    Oh my goodness, these are amazing. I come from Montana, and everyone I know either loves maple bars, or at least knows them. But I have talking about them with friends from other parts of the country and they smile politely and nod. I had no idea they didn’t know what I was talking about out. Right now, I’m living in Tanzania, and it looks like I am here for the long haul. In my time here, I have yet to taste a good doughnut. Most people think a doughnut is a piece of bread shaped into a circle and maybe covered in frosting. These are perfect. These are just what I have been craving. Truly, the only reason I have to return to Montana is to see friends and family. And maybe for a tender steak. Life is good.

    • says

      It looks like you need to educate the people of Tanzania about doughnuts in general. They will love you. I lived in Peru for a summer and taught them all about chocolate chip cookies. I kind of felt like C3PO when all the Ewoks think he’s a god. Just kidding. By the way, my husband is from Montana, so I think we would get along very well :)

  10. Lela Steed says

    I was raised in Seattle Wa.,AND MAPLE BARS WAS MY ADDICTION. So good!! I moved to Alabama, and tried to find Maple bars to no avail. No one knows what you are talking about. Packed some in my suitcase and airplaned them to Al. They was a treat for my family.Wish oh wish the south knew about maple bars.

    • says

      oooh I like that idea Bonnie! Sadly, I have no idea how to do that. I’ve never filled donuts. I always feel pretty proud of myself for making something fried, because frying is like, effort. Haha. I would just look up some filled donut recipes and adapt away! Let me know if you try it out! (And what you fill it with! Yum :)

      • Michele says

        Here in Ohio we have these but they’re called Long Johns and they are filled with custard. Yours look just like them. Going to make them and add the custard filling. These are what I craved when I was pregnant. lol


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