I don’t recall where I found this recipe but I know one thing for sure, it makes a near identical recipe to the walnut crunch cake donuts that were commercially available here in Canada. No one knows for sure why its no longer made commercially. Luckily, we have a recipe that will allow people to make them at home.
[Footnote: I will add more pictures and a youtube video in the next week or so.]
I will start with the recipe, then I’ll talk about how to make them. I use the cups and tablespoons for measuring, so the grams calculations is estimated.
WoodchuckCanuck Walnut Crunch
30 g (2 T) butter
45 g (1/2 cup) walnuts, chopped
2 Whole eggs (large)
150g (3/4 cup) white sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk (or sub with 3/4 tsp lemon juice and top up with milk, set aside for 15 min before using)
1 tsp Vanilla flavouring
180 g (1-1/2 cup) all purpose flour
42g (6 T) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp dry instant coffee grounds, crushed (simply crush in palm of your hand with finger)
Sift these ingredients together.
3-1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup boiling water (more will be needed to adjust)
2 tsp corn syrup
pinch of salt
Step 1: Combine Part A. Melt the butter on the stove in a small pan, cook with walnuts until brown. Set aside to cool.
Step 2: Combine Part B. Whip eggs and sugar until pale and thickened. Should take 2-3 minutes. I used a whip on the 5qt KitchenAid mixer.
Step 3: Add Part C. Add buttermilk and flavouring to the eggs and sugar mixture. Stir to combine well.
Step 4: Change out the whip on the mixer for the paddle. Add Part D to the mixed ingredients and also add Part A. Mix to a semi stiff dough for about 20 seconds on medium speed.
Step 5: If the dough appears a bit soft on the bottom, use a plastic scraper to fold in the dough while still in the bowl. Then turn out onto a flour surface on the counter top. Knead about 6 times using a little more flour if necessary. Remember that the more flour you use, the more dry the donut will become.
Step 6: Set the kneaded dough on a plate in the fridge for about 20 minutes. It will be soft and slightly sticky.
Step 7: While dough is setting in the fridge, make the glaze. Using a 5qt mixer with paddle, insert the icing sugar. Blend the hot water, corn syrup and salt together then add to the icing sugar. Stir slowly. Add more hot water to suit the thickness of glaze you want. When making glaze, less is better when adding extra water. So once you have the walnut crunch ready to dip in glaze, do a test and if the glaze is too thick, blend in a wee bit more hot water.
Step 8: Prepare the dough. Either cut them evenly and pre-shape individually, or roll out to a rectangular shape on a floured surface countertop to approximately 12×8 inches. I generally like the individual pieces to be 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. I usually like to make 12 from the batch, sometimes I’ll roll the dough a little longer to make them each about 5 inches long.
Either way, the rectangle is 10-12 inches wide and then roll it out long enough to get the quantity desired. Cut out the shapes. Pick up each one and brush off the excess flour, I use a natural bristle BBQ brush. Then set the pieces aside to sit while you prep the fryer. This sitting time will allow the baking power to work some.
Step 9: Now plug in your fryer to bring it up to temperature. Our fryer maxes out at 374ºF on the dial. The true temp is likely 350º to 360º. It’s close enough. Usually takes about 15 minutes to warm up. The oil I use is generally canola oil, sometimes its vegetable oil. Sometimes it’s a mix of both. You will want some means to flip the donuts, I use two forks. And you will want some means to extract the donuts from the hot oil, I use the basket that comes with the fryer. The picture shows 4 in the fryer but it’s better to cook 3 at a time.
Fry for 1 min 15 seconds per side. You may have to adjust that frying time depending on your method. It definitely should not take any longer than 1 min 30 seconds per side.
Step 10: As soon as those 3 or 4 donuts come out of the fryer, dip them in glaze and set them on a rack for cooling.
Enjoy! We welcome your comments and feedback below. Meanwhile, here are few more photos where we took the recipe and changed a few things to make Lemon Crunch donuts. Also delicious!
Update July 2023
Someone asked if the walnut crunch recipe can be oven baked. I said yes but honestly I was not sure so I made a batch and added the following ingredients:
- doubled the baking powder to the dry ingredients
- added an additional 2 tablespoons of oil (veg or canola) to the liquids (in Parts C)
I took a guess the extra baking power would provide a boost in the oven. The addition of the oil would assist with keeping the donut soft after baking. Everything else for the recipe stays as is. I baked them in the oven just like baking a pan of cookies, 350ºF for about 10 minutes. Your oven may vary. When you slightly press the top of the donut after 10 minutes you don’t want to leave an impression of your finger.
Glaze them right away. I’ll be honest, they tasted a little bit like a brownie the same day they were baked. The next day, they tasted more like walnut crunch. That’s true of a lot of baked goods. Give them time to sit overnight and the flavours have a chance to cool and settle in.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a question? Or have you tried the recipe? Let me know by leaving a message below.