Every couple of years I remember to take a picture & share the recipe of my New Years Eve oliebollen…. after New Years Eve (Happy New Year!; World Champions 2046). This really does none of you any good, unless you magically remember to google my blog before the big night itself. This year I thought I’d repost both my favorite recipes ahead of schedule.

What are oliebollen? In a nutshell, donuts. In reality? The best thing ever! When I was a child I hated food. I know, I know. You think I’m exaggerating. I’m not. Ask my mom or the 100’s of doctors she took me to, trying to get me to eat. It was a struggle until I was about 11. Except for licorice & oliebollen. Those two things I loved.

I can’t remember my first piece of licorice (we Dutch call it “drop”) but I can remember my first oliebol. My mom always made them with raisins, I think raisins ruin everything they are in. Except maybe carrot salad, and then only if they are removed after sweetening the salad. I need a tool for removing raisins from carrot salad. Anyone have any ideas?

Biting into the perfect ball of hot fluff, sugar melted over the top is Heaven. I once had a Krispy Kreme donut fresh out of the oven & it’s close, but not as good. That is how much I love oliebols. I am not alone in my love of oliebols. Millions of Dutch can’t be wrong. In fact, the Smithsonian, under The History of the Doughnut credit the Dutch with the world’s first donut:

But the doughnut proper (if that’s the right word) supposedly came to Manhattan (then still New Amsterdam) under the unappetizing Dutch name of olykoeks–“oily cakes.”
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-history-of-the-doughnut-150405177/#O0MqCBguwkfQPAMe.99
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As we head into our ninth year stationed in Germany, we are making our own, new traditions. Our military family stands in for our families back home. Even our German neighbors are becoming a part of our annual traditions. One of our new traditions involves our old neighbors, from our old village (6 years ago already!).

We meet up at Real (our better-than-Walmart Walmart) and buy up some fireworks using her employee, friends & family discount. We make sure to have a couple good batteries, and that we each get different kinds, and some fireworks for the kids to shoot off. And, of course, some giant wunderkerzen (1 meter long sparklers). Mandy & I also work out the New Years Eve menu, and New Years Day breakfast. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’d texted Mandy to find out the best day (ie., cheapest) to buy the fireworks. This year that was yesterday, Saturday. We agreed to meet at Real for a double date at 20:00. I love that Germans use the same 24-hour-clock as the military, having some sameness makes things easier. We met in the fireworks aisle at 20:05. Amazingly we were early, they were late. Unheard of for Germans!

After hugs all-around, some good-natured ribbing, they both turned to me, eyes big, curious & hopeful:

“You are making oliebols this year, aren’t you?”
“No. Not this year.” I teased.  “I can’t walk. I can’t stand that long.” Their faces fell, only to immediately lift again;

“Oh! You don’t need to stand! We’ll put a stool in the kitchen! You can make them sitting down.” And just like that their world was right again. What world wouldn’t be right without oliebollen?

Homemade Oliebollen (with apple)

Oliebollen are traditional Dutch doughnuts we have every New Years Eve. I usually make them plain, and appleflappen (deep fried apple rings) on the side, but with a full house I put apple bits in the Oliebollen and they were phenomenal!

It’s mean of me to rave incessantly about mouth-watering Oliebollen, so, without further ado, my much tweaked & practiced recipe:

Toiny’s Oliebollen Recipe:

1 teaspoon sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (instant/2 packets)
4 cups/400 grams flour (all-purpose)
1/4 cup/50 grams sugar (white)
1 large eggs
1 cup/250 ml warm milk
1 beer (I prefer hefeweizen)
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups/2 liters oil (vegetable or sunflower)


  • Mix 1 teaspoon white sugar into 1c. warm milk (I microwave for 1 minute, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot).
  • Sprinkle the yeast on top wait 5-10 minutes (if the yeast doesn’t bubble, discard and buy new yeast. The yeast is no longer active), mix milk & yeast just before adding to flour.
  • Sift all the flour and 1/4 cup/50 grams white sugar in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the middle. Add 1 egg, beat, mix into flour.
  • Add beer.
  • Add yeast and milk.
  • Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and allow to rise in a warm area for about 1 hour. Longer is fine. Mine has sat for hours.
  • Once the dough has doubled, stir in the salt.

Note: If desired, just before frying & serving chop up an apple or two into very small pieces (1 cm by 1 cm or a little less). Stir into dough. I like apples that are hard & sourish. My favorite is Pink Lady apples.

Fry and Serve the Oliebollen
Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, I use my stock pot, or in a deep fryer. To check whether the oil is at the right temperature, hold a piece of bread into the oil, dip in just a corner. If little bubbles form around it, the oil is ready.

You will need two tablespoons to form and handle the dough, as well as a slotted metal spoon to remove the oliebollen from the hot oil.

Scope the dough with one tablespoon, use the other to form a ball-like lump of dough. It won’t be round. Your dough will be a little runny. With a little twist & scrape carefully drop the ball-like lump of dough into the oil. There may be escapees. There may be tendrils of dough poking out. That’s okay! They will be the crispy bits. We love crispy bits!

The oliebollen will sink to the bottom of the pan and then pop right back up. You should be able to fry at least 4 at a time, I usually manage 5. Too many is not good, it cools the oil & makes for oil-laden lumps o’donut.

Fry until golden brown on both sides, carefully flipping when required with the metal slotted spoon. Don’t use plastic or wood in the hot oil. Sometimes oliebollen flip themselves. Yay! Drain on a plate or bowl lined with paper towels. When they are dry, and this happens pretty fast, you can plop them into your serving bowl, dust with powdered sugar (more is better) and serve! Alternatively, you can roll in cinnamon sugar. Very tasty with apple oliebollen!

Careful! They retain heat and the centers can be very hot.