Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts

doughnuts brown butterSo I bought some doughnut pans. 1 regular sized, 1 mini pan, because why not? Because even though my kitchen is not yet equipped with the most basic essentials (e.g. can opener, cast iron skillet, stand mixer and good knives), the child in me could not NOT have them. Plus, there’s always time to get the grown-up stuff… isn’t that why people get married?
brown butter doughnuts 2Let’s talk about brown butter. It’s like the nutty smelling magic elixir of food, and it makes everything taste like dreams and autumn. If you’re like me, and you made it way late to the brown butter train, no matter. It’s still plowing through tons of sweet and savory recipes, restaurants, and food blogs to this day. Now it’s making it’s debut on my blog and will remain a regular in my dishes for ages to come.

These baked doughnuts are different from normal doughnuts in that they are more cakey and less fluffy. The are still soft, but they have a denseness to them that would be the perfect match for a big cup of coffee (or milk, if you’re into that kind of thing).

A note about sprinkles: don’t omit them. They are really what set the tone on a doughnut, whether that be fun, whimsical, or tastefully decorative. In fact, sprinkle them with whatever you have handy that strikes your fancy: candy, pretzels, bacon, whatever! Go nuts with these doughnuts.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts

Doughnuts by Joy the Baker
makes 6 doughnuts
total time: about an hour

For the brown butter doughnuts:

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 C granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (2 Tablespoons reserved for doughnuts, the rest is for the glaze)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the brown butter glaze:

  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of milk (I used almond milk)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a doughnut pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.  Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter for about 4-5 minutes.  Butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts, and once  it quiets down, it will quickly begin to brown. Watch it carefully so it does not turn from brown to black and gross. The butter will begin to smell nutty, at which point remove from heat and immediately transfer (brown bits and all) to a small bowl to stop the cooking process.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together egg, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Measure out 2 tablespoons of browned butter and whisk into the wet ingredients. Reserve the remainder of the brown butter for the glaze. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring together until everything is combined.
  5. Use a spoon to dollop and shape batter into greased doughnut pan. Fill each doughnut crevice 3/4 of the way full. Place in oven with rack on the upper third of the oven for 7-9 minutes. Once the edges look likely browned and a toothpick comes out clean, take them out and allow them to cool in the pan before transfering them to a wire rack.

As they cool, make the glaze:

  1. Take the 3-4 Tablespoons that of brown butter that was reserved from when you were making the doughnuts, and add to the powdered sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir in vanilla and milk until it forms a glaze. Dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze and immediately sprinkle with whatever makes you happy while glaze is still wet.
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