Joy the Baker

Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts

September 8, 2013

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I’m really just thinking about the future.

This weekend I bought a doughnut baking pan.  I’d always thought baking doughnuts was for the birds… literally.  For some reason, lately I’ve been daydreaming about future doughnuts:  pumpkin with maple glaze, chocolate with peppermint frosting, and candy bar cupcakes for Halloween (because yes, I’m that crazy).

It’s just a bit too early to dive into Fall flavors, so I thought I’d break in ye olde doughnut baking pan with some browned butter.  Browned butter is forever in season, as are doughnuts.  We must have a win.

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This is the most natural way to make doughnuts… on my desk with boards and napkins, a big camera, a tripod, and sprinkles everywhere.  Not true, but it’s real life anyway.

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It’s amazing how easy it is to make baked doughnuts.  Why didn’t I know this before now!?

All we need is flour, sugar, leavening, egg, buttermilk, brown butter and nutmeg.  The usual suspects.  We’ve been down this road before… but the road ends in Doughnut Town.  Yes, I just said that.

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I love recipes that come together with a bowl and large soon.

Would you judge me if I told you that this is also my cereal bowl?

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All in the dang bowl.  All of it.

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This doughnut batter is just about right.  It’s best not to overmix it.  Overmixing makes for a tough doughnut and that’s the last thing we want.

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You can use a piping bag to divide the dough between the doughnut molds.  I find that a small spoon does the trick.

Also… pastry bags are not fun to clean.  Think about it.

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This recipe makes enough batter to fill a six doughnut pan.  Two for you.  Four for lucky friends.

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The glaze comes together while the doughnuts cool.

Powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and enough milk and vanilla extract to make the glaze spreadable.

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I dipped the doughnuts top-side-up.  The tops are smooth which make them the perfect base for chocolate glaze (and sprinkles).

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This feels like such success!

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I’ll tell you now, I should have gotten a doughnut pan a loooong time ago!  These baked cake doughnuts are so delicious, so soft and tender, soooo chocolate glazed!  I’m smitten.

I also love that I don’t have to heat a pot of oil and bust out the candy thermometer.

I work in a very small kitchen, and I’m not a fan of unnecessary pans.  I thought doughnut pans were considered unnecessary, but I’m pretty sure I was wrong.

True story:  these baked doughnuts are six of the happiest things I’ve made this year.  There are sprinkles involved, too.  I mean….

Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

adapted from Doughnuts

makes 6 baked doughnuts

Print this Recipe!

For the Doughnuts:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter (but we’ll only use 2 tablespoons of browned butter for the recipe)

1 large egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

pinch of salt

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a doughnut pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter.  Butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts.  That’s the water melting out of the butter.  Once the water has evaporated the butter will quiet down and begin to brown.  Keep an eye on it, it browns quickly.  The butter will begin to smell nutty.  Remove from heat and immediately transfer browned butter (brown bits and all) to a small bowl.

In a small bowl whisk together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Measure out 2 tablespoons of browned butter and whisk into the wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined.  Try not to overmix the batter.  That might create rubbery doughnuts.

Use a small spoon to dollop batter into the prepared pan.  Smooth out and fill each doughnut in the pan three-quarters full with batter.

Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them and try not to over-bake them.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the doughnuts cool, make the glaze.

To make the glaze, in a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  I didn’t sift my powdered sugar.  I was able to whisk the lumps out.  If you have stubborn powdered sugar, sifting before is best.

Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk to combine.  Add more milk as necessary to create a thick but still just pourable glaze.

Once the doughnuts are completely cool, dip top-side-down into the chocolate glaze.  Return to the wire rack and sprinkle with toppings.  Allow to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving. Doughnuts are best within 2 days.  


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