Kid-friendly Key Lime Doughnut Holes + Lime Syrup Glaze + Limealicious Mad Scientist Soda Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Key Lime Doughnut Holes + Lime Syrup Glaze + Limealicious Mad Scientist Soda

Family Meal Plan: Key Lime Doughnut Holes + Lime Syrup Glaze + Limealicious Mad Scientist Soda

Key Lime Doughnut Holes + Lime Syrup Glaze + Limealicious Mad Scientist Soda

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Miguel Ormeno/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
12 minutes
6-12 servings

Fun Food Story

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Key Lime Doughnut Holes

For this recipe, we've combined two favorite treats, Doughnuts and Key Lime Pie, into Key Lime Doughnut Holes! In addition to the zest and juice from Key limes added to the doughnuts, we've also included crushed graham crackers that often make up the crust of a key lime pie. Key limes are smaller, more fragrant limes named after the Florida Keys, where they are grown. Key Lime Pie is a famous American dessert layered with a pie crust, a custard made with lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks, and a topping of either meringue or whipped cream, or nothing at all! Your kids will have fun topping their baked doughnut holes with Lime Syrup Glaze and a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs they've smashed themselves!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 10 limes
  • 1/2 small zucchini
  • 2/3 C milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 egg **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 to 4 graham crackers **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 T granulated sugar (or 2 to 3 stevia packs)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 T vegetable oil
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 C cold water
  • ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • drizzle :

    to trickle a thin stream of a liquid ingredient, like icing or sauce, over food.

  • grate :

    to reduce food, like a carrot, to very small shreds or pieces of the same size by rubbing it on a tool with an outside surface that has holes with cutting edges (a grater).

  • squeeze :

    to firmly press or twist a food with fingers, hands, or a device to remove its liquid, like shredded potatoes, frozen and thawed spinach, or tofu.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

  • zest :

    to scrape off the outer colored part of a citrus fruit's rind (skin or peel) using a metal tool with small sharp blades, such as a zester, microplane, or the small holes of a grater (avoid the "pith," the white, spongy lining of the rind that can be bitter).

Equipment Checklist

  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Citrus juicer (optional)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Oven
  • Muffin pan or mini-muffin pan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Zester (or grater with small zesting plate/side)
  • Quart-sized ziplock bag
  • Chopstick or table knife to flip doughnut holes


Key Lime Doughnut Holes

  • 4 to 5 limes for 2/3 C fresh lime juice + zest
  • 1/2 small zucchini
  • 2 to 4 graham crackers **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free graham crackers or omit crackers)**
  • 1 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 T sugar (or 2 to 3 stevia packs)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1 small ripe banana)**
  • 2/3 C milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 3 T vegetable oil + more for baking

Lime Syrup Glaze

  • 1/2 lime for 1 T lime juice
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt

Limealicious Mad Scientist Soda

  • 5 large limes, juiced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 C cold water (amount equal to lime juice)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Key Lime Doughnut Holes

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free graham crackers or omit crackers. Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour.
  • Egg: For 1 egg, substitute 1 small ripe banana.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk.


Key Lime Doughnut Holes

preheat + grate + squeeze

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Have kids zest the skin of 1 lime with a fine grater or zester (only the green part). The lime zest has a ton of oils and lime flavor. Smell it. So good! Set to the side. Have your kids grate 1/2 zucchini, squeeze out the moisture (discard liquid), and set it to the side. Have kids squeeze the juice from 4 to 5 limes into a bowl to equal 2/3 cups and set to the side.

smash + measure

Place 2 to 4 graham crackers into a ziplock bag and have your kids take turns smashing them into a fine powder and set to the side. Next, have kids measure and mix together 1 cup flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the smashed graham crackers and stir well into the flour mixture.

crack + pour

Have your children crack 1 egg into the flour mixture and mix. Measure and pour 2/3 cup of milk and 3 tablespoons of oil into the flour mixture and beat well until smooth. Add the lime zest, lime juice, and zucchini and mix well. If the batter is too thick, add a bit more lime juice or milk. If the batter is too thin, add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk well.

grease + pour + bake

Grease each well of a mini-muffin pan with vegetable oil. Pour about 1 tablespoon of the batter into each well. Pop the muffin pan into the oven and bake for about 6 to 8 minutes. Adults, as soon as the doughnut holes get bubbly and brown around the edge, pull the hot muffin pan out of the oven and turn the doughnut holes quickly and carefully (a chopstick works great!). Continue baking for 3 to 4 more minutes until cooked through. Serve with a drizzle of the Lime Syrup Glaze (see recipe) and extra smashed graham crackers on top!

Lime Syrup Glaze

squeeze + whisk + drizzle

Have your kids squeeze the juice from 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon) into a small mixing bowl. Next, whisk 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 pinch of salt into the lime juice and continue whisking until combined. Whisk in more lime juice or powdered sugar if needed to get the right consistency for drizzling. This glaze is great on our Key Lime Doughnut Holes (see recipe). Enjoy!

Limealicious Mad Scientist Soda

cut + squeeze + pour

Cut 5 limes in half and squeeze as much juice as you can into a liquid measuring cup. How much juice do you have? Add an equal amount of cold water (approximately 1/2 to 2/3 cup) to a large pitcher, then add the lime juice. Measure and add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to the pitcher. Stir! Watch it bubble and create soda!

add + stir + pour + cheers!

Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar to the pitcher and stir to combine. Taste! If it needs more sugar, add it by the tablespoon. Divide into glasses filled with ice. Cheers!

Surprise Ingredient: Lime!

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Photo by Waridsara_HappyChildren/

Hi!  I’m Lime!

"Limes are citrus fruits just like lemons, but we're smaller, rounder, and green. And, while lemons are acidic and sour, limes are more acidic, less sweet, and have a more bitter flavor. We're often invited into the same places as lemons, but you'll probably find us in more savory than sweet dishes, although our Key lime sibling is famous for its pie!"  

History & Etymology

  • Limes are the fruit of tropical citrus trees closely related to lemons. They are native to Southeast Asia. Currently, India, Mexico, and China produce the most limes globally. 
  • In the 19th century, sailors drank their daily grog (beer or rum) with added lemon juice to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C. Later, they changed to lime juice. British sailors were derogatorily called "limeys" because of their use of limes. Navies who prevented scurvy by their daily lemon or lime intake would have the advantage over a country's navy that did not use citrus in their diets. 
  • There are several species of lime plants, and many are hybrids. The type of lime generally sold in grocery stores is the Persian or Tahitian lime, a hybrid of a Key lime and a lemon. The Key lime, native to Southeast Asia, is also known as the West Indian lime; however, the Key lime name comes from the Florida Keys, where it flavors their famous Key lime pie. Spanish explorers brought the lime to Florida in the 16th century. The Kaffir or Makrut lime is native to Southeast Asia and southern China. These three limes are the most widely produced worldwide, with the Persian leading the other two.
  • The English word "lime" comes from mid-17th century French from the Spanish "lima," from the Arabic līma, and the Persian "limu."


  • Since the Persian lime is the most popular, we will focus on its anatomy. The fruit is about 2.4 inches in diameter. It has no seeds, is larger, less acidic, and has a thicker skin than a Key lime.  
  • A citrus fruit's "zest" is the green or yellow outermost layer of the peel (skin), which contains powerful flavor compounds. The "pith" is the spongy, white layer between the skin and the flesh and is quite bitter. Avoid the pith when zesting your fruit.

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Select limes that are firm and heavy (more juice!) with shiny, blemish-free, green skins.
  • Limes are fully ripe and juicier when they are yellow, not dark green; however, they are usually sold when they are green and have better flavor.
  • If you refrigerate your limes, they will last about two weeks. You can freeze lime juice to use at a later time. 
  • The average lime contains one tablespoon of juice. Roll a room-temperature lime on the counter, adding light pressure, before cutting it open to get the maximum amount of liquid. 
  • Limes are highly acidic, and this acid will react with different foods in different ways. For example, the acid will denature the proteins in fish and seafood, causing the fish to become firm and opaque, almost as if you had cooked it. The acid in lime juice can also curdle milk, and while it can cause green vegetables to turn a drab olive color, it will help vegetables such as potatoes and turnips maintain their white color.
  • You can substitute lime for lemon in a dish, but you will want to decrease the amount due to a lime's stronger flavor and acidity. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup of lemon juice, substitute three-quarters of a cup of lime juice.
  • Here are some foods you can add lime to (besides Key lime pie): limeade, dressings and dips, guacamole, salsa, lime curd, lime bars, sherbet, fajitas, tacos, chicken, fish, beef, and pork.


  • One lime has 32 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps your body heal.
  • Citrus fruits, like lemons and limes, have citric acid, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming. 
  • Limes do not contain very much natural sugar. That's why they are so tart! Compared with an orange, another citrus fruit, a lime has one gram of sugar, and a small orange has nine grams.


History of Doughnut Holes!

Photo by Svitlana Slobodianiuk for Shutterstock
  • The name "doughnut" might refer to the nuts put in the middle of the dough ball to help cook the center, or it could come from "dough knots," a popular shape for Dutch oily cakes, sweet dough balls fried in pork fat. Today, "doughnut" and "donut" are used interchangeably.
  • Three stories tell why most doughnuts have a hole in the center, and the doughnut hole inventor in each story is the same. 
  • Story 1: In 1847, Elizabeth Gregory was known for making a unique oily cake with a hint of nutmeg and a filling of nuts. This story says that on June 22, 1847, her son, Hanson Crockett Gregory, was captaining a ship that hit a sudden storm. He impaled his mother's cake that he was eating on a spoke of the ship's wheel to free his hands. The spoke put a hole through the middle of the donut. The captain preferred the cake that way, and the doughnut hole was born.
  • Story 2: Captain Gregory didn't like nuts, so he poked them out and demanded that the ship's cook remove the nutty centers from all future doughnuts. 
  • Story 3: Around the turn of the century, Captain Gregory told the third version in a Boston Post interview. The captain didn't like the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes or the raw center of regular doughnuts. So he got the idea to punch a hole in a doughnut with the ship's tin pepper box.

Let's Learn About Florida!

Photo by Levranii/ (Florida Everglades)
  • Florida is the 27th state of the United States, located in the southeast. The Atlantic Ocean is on its eastern border, the Straits of Florida and Cuba are south of the state, the Gulf of Mexico is west, Georgia is north, and Alabama is northwest. 
  • The state capital is Tallahassee, and Jacksonville is the most populous city. The Miami metro area is the most populous urban area, at about 6.2 million.
  • The indigenous people who first came to America, the Paleo-Indians, arrived in Florida about 12,000 years ago. European explorers and settlers came to the area in the early 1500s. St. Augustine, a Spanish colony founded in 1565, is the oldest continuously lived-in city in the US.
  • Florida became a state on March 3, 1845. In 1861 it was one of the original seven Confederate States that seceded from the Union. It was restored to the Union in 1868 after the Civil War.  
  • Florida's total area is 65,758 square miles, and its population is 21,538,187. It has more residents over 65 than any other US state, who often choose to retire to Florida for its warm, mild climate. 
  • Florida is only 90 miles north of the island country of Cuba. Hispanics and Latinos make up over a quarter of the state's population, with the majority of Cuban or Puerto Rican descent. 
  • The average elevation is 100 feet, with the highest elevation 345 feet and sea level the lowest.
  • Most of Florida has subtropical weather, but in the southern part of the state, below Lake Okeechobee, the climate is tropical, especially in the Florida Keys. 
  • The Everglades is 7,800 square miles of tropical wetlands and forests in southern Florida. The largest mangrove tree ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere is in the Everglades. Some animal species living there are American crocodiles, Florida panthers, West Indian (or North American) manatees, white-tailed deer, and banded water snakes. Bird species include American flamingos, green-backed herons, roseate spoonbills, and wood storks. 
  • Three of the most popular amusement parks in the US are in Florida: Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. 
  • Several professional sports teams play in Florida: the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football teams; and the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays MLB baseball teams. Golf is also an extremely popular professional and amateur sport in Florida.

THYME for a Laugh

What do you get when you cross a brontosaurus with a lime? 

A dino-sour!

The Yolk's On You

Why did the baker stop making doughnuts?

He got fed up with the hole business!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do citrus fruits like to eat? 


THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a lime that opens doors? 

A Key Lime!

The Yolk's On You

"Knock, knock!"

"Who’s there?" 


"Doughnut who?"

"Doughnut forget to let me in!"

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