July 11, 2013

Recipe: Brown Butter Baked Chocolate Doughnuts with Salted Caramel Glaze

Creating this recipe was a bit like a fairytale -- Goldilocks and the Three Bears to be exact.  The first batch was too soft.  The next batch, too dry.  My third try, just right!  My story began when I was frolicking through the densely wooded forest of inspiration that is Pinterest.  I was lured by a tantalizing photo of salted caramel glazed chocolate doughnuts and clicked right over to get the recipe.  To my dismay, the doughnuts were far out of  reach -- at a bakery on the opposite side of the country.  The journey had only just begun -- I'd have to come up with a recipe of my own.

After much trial and error, I developed a recipe that yields a perfect cake doughnut that isn't too sweet.  That way, it plays nicely with the sweet caramel glaze.  The batter is easy to make, and it's lineage can be traced to the classic French madeleine.  Although it's tempting to eat the donuts right away, they're best when completely cool, and even better the next day.  

So here's the recipe, submitted for your enjoyment (with no fear of reprisal from angry bears) ~ Happy ending guaranteed.

Brown Butter Baked

Chocolate Doughnuts

with Caramel Glaze & Sea Salt

Yield: 1 dozen

For the brown butter chocolate doughnut batter:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powdered
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the brown butter caramel glaze:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Flaky sea salt for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray doughnut pan with nonstick spray (or brush with some melted butter).

Step 1:  In a small heavy-bottomed pan, melt butter over medium heat until golden brown.  Immediately remove from heat and set aside.

Step 2:  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.  Set aside.

Step 3:  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip eggs with the sugars until light and thickened (approx. 5 minutes).   Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended.  Add vanilla, browned butter and oil; stir to incorporate.  Set batter aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Step 4:   Transfer batter to a pastry bag or large ziploc freezer bag.  Snip a 1/2" hole in the tip.  Pipe batter evenly into the 12-cavity doughnut pan (batter will come up about 2/3 of the way).  Bake on middle rack of oven for 10 minutes.  Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before gently removing the donuts from pan.

Step 5:  While donuts are cooling, prepare glaze.   In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until golden brown.  Immediately add brown sugar and half & half.  Whisk to combine, then bring to a boil.  Once mixture comes to a full boil, continue to boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.  Whisk continuously for 1 minutes till glaze is smooth.  Immediately transfer to a small bowl (with a mouth wider than the doughnuts).

Step 6:  Dip the bottom side (the side that was in the pan) in the glaze.  Turn right-side up and set on a wire rack or sheet of parchment to set.  Sprinkle doughnut with a bit of flaky sea salt before glaze sets.  Repeat with remaining doughnuts.


This post has been linked-up to:
The BFF Open House @ The Answer is Chocolate
The Weekend Wrap-Up Party at Tatertots & Jello


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  2. Thank you for figuring out the hard part! These look delicious, and I can already feel them on my hips!

  3. These really look fantastic Jenn :)

    I didn't get the amount of brown sugar to be used in the frosting.....?

    1. Hi Winnie! Thank you so much for catching that! Looks like I left off the '2'. So, 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar it is!


  4. When do you add the oil and brown sugar to the donuts? I left both out and they were still delicious, but just wondering for next time. Thanks!

  5. Whew! I'm glad that they still came out tasty, Kristi. I really must have been asleep at the wheel when transcribing my notes on this recipe. Thank you for letting me know about the missing instructions. I've made the edits, and have you and Winnie to thank for saving many future batches of doughnuts!


  6. Wow Jenn! These look absolutely delicious! How do you think of these magical concoctions! Thanks so much for your kind comment on my bargain tank... Hugs from Seattle!

  7. Bless you for this!! I can never make doughnuts for work because I don't have time to glaze, etc., in the morning. These are perfect! Have you created a vanilla version? Thank you so much!!


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