So, I decided to try again to see how I messed up.
First, I added the milk to near-boiling water (I added to boiling last time)
Next was a teaspoon of the sugar
Then the yeast. Then I let this activate
In a separate bowl I combined the rest of the sugar, the flour, and a pinch of salt. Then cut in the butter
The yeast actually activated this time (probably because I didn't kill it with boiling water)
Kneaded on a floured surface for 10 minutes
Then I left this covered in a warm place for 1.5 hours
It actually rose!
While the dough was rising, we decided to go with a chocolate glaze, which was just powdered sugar, coco powder, and a couple teaspoons of milk
Frying the first one
The finished product. If you can't tell, the first ones cooked way too quickly. The oil was way too hot, which I didn't realize until it was too late.
Then we poured the glaze
The finished products
These were much better than last time, mostly because the yeast actually worked so they weren't doughy in the middle. The taste wasn't great though. They didn't taste like a real donut, a little too much dough flavor. What saved them (made them edible) was the chocolate glaze. The glaze itself tasted pretty similar to what you'd get from a donut shop. In terms of the title of the Pinterest post, these were absolutely nothing like Krispy Kreme donuts. If the flavor were to resemble anything at all it would be of the type of donut you might get in a mom & pop donut shop, very homemade tasting (and horrible in terms of donuts, not that mom & pop places make horrible donuts :p) All in all, I might try donuts again, but I'm definitely not using this recipe.