Top positive review
240 people found this helpful
Does what it says without frills or problems.
on June 16, 2010
I bought this as a fun activity for me and my three year old daughter. Out of the box you get the donut maker itself (which is about the size of a small George Foreman grill) with an attached power cord, and a small instruction/recipe book (which has only one or two recipes in it). The cooking surface is Teflon-coated. It is a truly bare-bones setup but then again you don't really need a whole lot with this.
Setup is a breeze: Just plug it in and close the lid. After a few minutes the red "heating" light goes off and you're ready to go. Lift, fill the six reservoirs with appropriate batter, close, wait about three minutes and you're done. So far we have made chocolate donuts from brownie mix, and yellow and spiced apple donuts from cake mixes. All came out very nice. The cake mix-based donuts cooked a little faster than the brownie mix-based ones.
Each donut is about 2" in diameter with about a 1/2" sized hole in it. One thing that maybe is worth noting: This is a donut machine, not a donut HOLE machine. You will not get tiny-sized "Munchkins" from this machine, only tiny donuts.
TIPS: Use a pastry bag (or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off) to fill the donut molds to avoid spills on the cooking surface. (Be careful with plastic bags or with plastic pastry bag tips; don't let plastic touch the hot surface!) Before filling, wipe the bottom half of the donut molds with some vegetable oil on a paper towel. Use a wood dowel or wood toothpick to remove the donuts; the donuts will flip right out without any sticking. DON'T use cooking spray as it gets everywhere and is hard to clean up (see "the bad" below).
THE GOOD: Very fast donuts, perfectly sized for small children and as a novelty for adults. Easy to use and difficult to screw up; as a test I let some donuts sit for almost eight minutes and they were just fine (and only a little bit dry). It is also a potential calorie control solution; one box of brownie mix easily netted about eight dozen mini donuts, so rather than scarfing down a big fat(tening) brownie you can get a quick chocolate fix from one or two little donuts. :-)
THE BAD: The permanently-attached power cord is a potential hazard; I would have liked to see a safety cord that pops out of the unit if tugged on accidentally. OTOH, the power cord is so short (no WAY it will reach the floor from a kitchen counter) that it shouldn't really be that much of an issue. Also, the baking surfaces are not removable from the unit so you can't just lift them off and throw them in the dishwasher. Then again, if you oil the surface properly (see "tips" above) nothing sticks to it and there's hardly any clean-up.
I would dispute the claim in the description above of it being "safe for even the youngest baker". An EZ-Bake oven is generally safe for young bakers; this, given that the cooking surface is much hotter than a light bulb and has no protection against tiny hands, is NOT the definition of safe. This is not a child's toy nor is it safe for (unsupervised) children. This is a kitchen appliance and should be treated as such.
For an under-$20 kitchen gadget this is tough to beat. You can literally get hundreds of little donuts for very little money. However, be aware of the time investment; this machine only makes six donuts at a time and the average box of cake mix will make around 100 donuts. That's about 16 batches per box. At about five minutes per batch (including oiling the donut wells, pouring the batter in, cooking, and removing the donuts) that's about an hour and a half of work for a single box of cake mix. Since it does cook so fast you can't pour batter in and then go fold laundry for awhile. You have to babysit the unit and keep it going lest you burn up your donuts (which, admittedly, is difficult to do). Just be aware of the time investment and, unless you plan on sacrificing that time to making donuts, you might want to divide up your cake/brownie mixes into smaller batches.
I've only had this machine for about two weeks so I can't speak of longevity. Unless I update this review at a later date with more info, assume that the unit is still working properly. :-)