For the donuts:
3/4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for coating the bowl
1/3 cup warm water, roughly 100 degrees
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for coating the work surface
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
For the glaze:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup dark rum
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the topping:
Nonstick cooking spray
20 frozen tots
4 bacon strips
Make the donut batter: Combine the milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high at 1-minute intervals, stirring after each, until the butter is melted and mixed into the milk. Place the warm water in a large bowl and stir in the yeast. Allow to sit 10 minutes to activate. Add the butter mixture to the yeast mixture. Whisk in the sugar and eggs to combine. Add half of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour and stir to combine.
Lightly flour a work surface and scrape the dough out onto it. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 minutes. Coat the inside of a large, clean bowl with butter, and place the dough inside. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Make the glaze: Combine the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Carefully add the rum, stir in, and continue to boil for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, in batches, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
Make the topping: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the tots in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high at 1-minute intervals, stirring after each, until defrosted. Break the tots into small pieces. Spread the tot pieces on the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until evenly browned and crispy, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat until crispy, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and pat off the excess grease with a paper towel. Crumble the bacon into the tots and stir to combine. Set aside.
After the dough has risen, lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Knead it gently for 1 minute, then roll it out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Use 2 round cutters, one larger and one smaller, to cut out the classic donut shape. (I use a pint glass and a shot glass, respectively.) Continue until you have all the donuts cut and reroll the remaining dough to finish out all 10 donuts, or just cut the remaining scraps into donut holes. Cover the cut dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes (the donuts will rise a little).
When the dough has rested for 20 minutes, heat the frying oil. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a deep-fry or candy thermometer inserted into the oil reaches 375 degrees. Set a cooling rack over a layer of paper towels.
Fry the donuts in 3 batches, turning once with tongs, until they turn a light golden color, about 1 minute per side. Transfer them to the cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Drizzle the cooled donuts with the glaze, then dip them, glaze-side down, into the reserved tot-bacon mixture to form the topping. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Dan Whalen’s Tots! 50 Tot-ally Awesome Recipes from Totchos to Sweet Po-tot-o Pie cookbook.