Brown Butter Brûléed Doughnut Holes
Have you heard about the latest trend? Don’t say Kylie Jenner… don’t you dare.
The latest trend has everything to do with fire, applied with intention and concentration to… basically anything and everything covered in granulated sugar.
A few weeks ago we all pat ourselves on the back for Meyer Lemon Bar Brûlée. We were a success and deserved the recognition. This week we’re getting down and torchy with crisp-sugar-topped, browned butter, soft and tender yeasted doughnuts.
Yea. I mean… we all know you didn’t come here for bronzer or hair tips. You came for doughnuts. Let’s not beat around the bush.
Before we get started, it’s best to take a deep inhale and scream at the top of our lungs ‘DOOOUUUGGHHNNUUUTTS!”. It’s a battle cry. Lettin’ our neighbors know what’s up.
The dry ingredients include all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and a few dashes of ground cinnamon for dough flavor depth.
Everyone needs a sunny Kitchen Aid mixer. Buttercup yellow? Too good. Kitchen dreams, right?
Dry ingredients into the mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Wet ingredients, one at a time.
In with three egg yolks and the risen yeast mixture.
Butter is melted to until browned because we respect butter enough to make it as delicious as possible.
Related: How To Brown Butter!
Milk is streamed into the dough as the mixer spins on low.
The dough will be soft and wet. Not sticky, but certainly not dry.
The mixer does all the work of kneading the dough this round. The bottom of the bowl is scraped, a good dusting of flour on top, plastic wrap, and a nice warm place for the dough to rest and rise.
A thoughtful hour of rise time and we’re one step closer to doughnuts!
Now we knead.
Lightly floured. Risen and soft. We knead the dough into shape before rolling. This is the softest, most lovely dough. It’s my favorite yeasted dough. Eggs and browned butter, too easy.
The soft dough is rolled to somewhere between 1/2-inch to 1-inch thick.
A 1 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter to make our doughnut rounds.
The dough is left to rise for about 30 minutes while a few inches of canola oil heat in a medium saucepan.
Every time I make doughnuts I insist that you make this fry thermometer a part of your kitchen arsenal. I’m bossy. It’s important to know that our oil is at 350 degrees F to make for golden, perfectly cooked doughnut rounds.
As soon as the doughnuts come out of the fryer, they’re smothered in granulated sugar. The hot oil will make the sugar stick, hence… fryer to the sugar.
This would be a perfectly reasonable place to pause, look over your shoulder, and shove as many of these doughnut bites into your mouth as possible.
But why would we stop at this reasonable place when we own a blow torch!
A quality pastime.
Now would be a good time to call a friend and brew some coffee.
Life is short and these are doughnuts. Also… browned butter + brûlée!
Someone stop the world. (That’s a Maxwell song… not sorry.)
If your instinct is to add a cream filling to these doughnuts, thus making them Creme Brûlée Doughnuts… you’re a genius. Get on it.
Photos with and by Jon Melendez.
- 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
- pinch of sugar
- 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted until browned and cooled slightly
- 3 large egg yolks
- About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
- 2-4 cups granulated sugar for rolling and torching
- Stir together yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combie flour (3 1/4 cups), milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture. I like to stir the mixture by hand, with a spatula, to loosely incorporate before transferring to the stand mixer to beat with the dough hook.
- Beat at low speed on the mixer with the dough hook until a soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Add a bit more flour if the dough seems too wet. It will tend to stick to the sides of the bowl a bit, but add flour it it seems overly wet and soft. Increase speed to medium and beat 5 minutes more.
- Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours and make fresh doughnuts in the morning.)
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a roughly 12-inch round (1/2 inch thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with 1 1/2-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not reroll scraps. They tend to get tough.
- While the doughnut rounds rise, prepare your frying ingredients. Begin to heat your oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Spread sugar on a rimmed baking sheet for after the doughnuts have been fried.
- Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. A thermometer is key for this recipe. You need to know just how hot your oil is before the doughnuts fry. Fry doughnuts, 3 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch (1 minute per side). Transfer the freshly fried, hot doughnuts to the sugar and immediately toss to coat. Coating the doughnuts in sugar works best just out of the fryer so the sugar can stick to the hot oil. Remove from the sugar and allow to rest on a cooling rack before torching.
- Return oil to 350°F between batches.
- Once the doughnuts are all fried and generously coated in granulated sugar, using a kitchen torch to brûlée the tops of the doughnuts. Allow to cool and set before serving.
- Doughnuts are best enjoy the day they're fried.