Baked Brown Butter Champagne Doughnuts
Not but three years ago I can remember stressing about what black dress I was going to shimmy into for New Years Eve. This year… lemme tell ya… I’m honestly more concerned with which pork tenderloin recipe I’m going to try, and if my potatoes are going to be baked or fried. Listen, priorities shift. I’ll likely be in very cozy pants and socks, in the kitchen with an oven full of pork and a glass full of champagne. I wish the same for you very much.
These cakey, tender, baked and sparkled doughnuts will also be around for celebratory holiday snacking. Holiday eating is going STRONG right now. There’s no stopping this train.
You might also consider Brown Butter Brulee Doughnut Holes. Equally festive and fierce.
Strawberry sprinkled and gold dusted. Casual cakes at a very festive volume.
You need a medium bowl and a wooden spoon.
This is the part where I nag you again to add another pan to your vast baking collection: the mini doughnut pan. Worth its weight in non-stick metal… I swear.
We’ll also need browned butter… elusive, but here’s how to make browned butter.
The essentials: flour, sugar, leavening, salt, egg, vanilla extract, milk.
For extra credit: dehydrated strawberries and dry champagne. I found the dehydrated (not simply dried) strawberries at Whole Foods and Trader Joes, and purchased a small split of champagne instead of a giant bottle. You’re grown and obviously I want you, to do you.
Into the bowl with flour and granulated sugar.
We’ll add freshly grated nutmeg along with baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Freshly grated nutmeg is important in these doughnuts and really, all baking. The flavor is so much more nutty and sharp than the pre-ground jarred stuff. This is mostly the only place where my spice snobbery flares up.
Here’s something that might be handy: professional nutmeg spice grinder.
Stir and fluff the dry ingredients. Not hard. Easy.
Now for the wet ingredients!
Browned butter… one of those keys to the good life, added to a small bowl along with an egg.
We’ll add whole milk for richness and vanilla extract because we’re not heathens, we’re civilized baking humans.
The mixture is fork-whisked together and then… champagne! Champagne stirred into brown butter? Smells juuuust right.
The wet ingredients are added all at one to the dry and the mixture is stirred until just incorporated.
The batter will be spoonable, pourable thick. We’ll give it about 10 minutes to rest and absorb and figure out what’s going on in the world.
There are a few ways to get the batter into the doughnut pan.
Because we’re using mini doughnut pans, just a few tablespoons of batter goes into each doughnut space. I used a cake decorating piping bag (with no tip, I just snipped the edge) to deliberately pipe batter into the pan. A small spoon would also work. The trick is to fill each doughnut vessel about 2/3 full, ensuring that the batter won’t bake over the center mound.
While the doughnuts go off to bake (it’ll just be about 8 to 10 minutes), we’ll make the sweet glaze.
To powdered sugar we’ll add a splash of browned butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Enough to create a very thick glaze.
Now to thin the glaze… the good stuff: champagne until we reach a pourable thick glaze consistency.
The doughnuts are cooled completely, even if that means we’re impatient and have to pop the little darlings in the freezer for a few minutes.
Face down in the glaze. Give them a push around in the glaze to evenly coat the top, then place them on a wire rack to drip and dry.
Before the frosting dries to hardened, we’ll sprinkle with crushed dehydrated strawberries and any sort of gold sprinkle we can get our hands on. Festive because why not?
Tender, petit, happy doughnut bites. A sweet (and comfortable) New Year celebration to you and yours. xo!
Photos with Jon Melendez
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted to browned
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup dry champagne
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons dry champagne
- dehydrated strawberries, crushed
- golden sprinkles
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini ddoughnut 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,milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk in the browned butter, brown bits and all. Whisk in the champagne.
- 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 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 melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Add champagne as necessary to create a thick but still just pourable glaze.
- Once the doughnuts are completely cool, dip top-side-down into the 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.