Chocolate donut glaze is a chocolate-flavored topping for donuts, the fried, disc-shaped cakes that have a hole in the center. Both cake and yeast-raised donuts, or doughnuts, can have chocolate donut glaze. It is similar to cake frosting but not quite as thick. Chocolate donut glaze falls somewhere between frosting and a typical muffin glaze in consistency.
Glazes meant for treats like muffins are usually thin coatings poured or brushed onto the pastry, often made from as little as powdered sugar and milk or water, or even just a beaten egg. Chocolate glaze used on donuts, however, is thicker and often contains dairy ingredients. A baker making donuts may also dip them in the glaze instead of pouring or brushing it. As a result, the coating is smooth and shiny, without the ripples and waves associated with frosted cakes, and it doesn’t have the cracks one might see in thin muffin glazes. Chocolate glaze tends to dry a little so it doesn’t run, but it doesn’t necessarily harden to the point that it won’t come off if something touches it.
Ingredients in a chocolate donut glaze recipe vary but often include milk, evaporated milk, cream or butter. Other than that, chocolate is the only consistent ingredient. While many recipes contain white sugar, powdered sugar, corn syrup or a combination of sugars, not all recipes have a form of sugar. Some are as simple as melted chocolate and warm cream, and most are easy to make for homemade donuts. Additional ingredients include salt and vanilla extract.
The phrase “chocolate donut glaze” normally applies to a chocolate glaze meant for donuts of any flavor, rather than a glaze meant for chocolate donuts. While it’s possible someone using the phrase might be talking about a glaze for a chocolate donut, it would be in a specific and obvious context. The term also applies only to the glaze and not to extras on top of the glaze like sprinkles or nonpareils.
Despite the addition of dairy items such as milk and butter, and the occasional lack of outright sugar, chocolate donut glaze still contains sugars from the chocolate itself. It is definitely something meant for desserts. Those who have to watch their blood sugar or carbohydrate intake should not eat chocolate donut glaze unless their doctor has shown them how to safely include it and other sweets in their diet.