Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

Is it “donut” or “doughnut”?

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I tend to write “doughnut” but only for the simple fact that it looks better. Cause, you know. We be fancy.

So which ever one you like to use, feel free. No judgement here. I mean, how can there be judgement when one is talking about doughnuts? Doughnuts are pretty much perfect. Handheld little cakes or fried dough topped with glazes, frosting, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and anything else your little doughnut loving heart desires. I’m apparantely also trying to see how many times I can say (type?) the word doughnut in this post.

I can’t exactly remember where my fascination with doughnuts started. I guess I would have to say from the very beginning of my existence. Growing up, every Sunday morning, my parents would go to this one particular bakery in the town I grew up in (Joe’s Bakery for all you North Arlington people) and buy a bag of their freshly made rolls and a box of their doughnuts. Ohmygosh. I used to L-O-V-E Sunday’s for this reason. One of their rolls with butter was all I really needed in life. But their doughnuts? That’s where the magic was. I was (still am) a jelly doughnut girl all the way. Joe’s Bakery had such great ones. Topped with powdered sugar, the doughnut was melt in your mouth delicious. The jelly was nice and thick and the whole combination was just perfection.

Their other doughnuts were amazing as well. Glazed, chocolate frosted, you name it. And their CRUMB CAKE. Oh man, I can’t even stand it. That was my Dad’s favorite. All this talk is really making me sad that Joe’s Bakery is no longer there. It went out of  business years ago and no such bakery has been able to really live up to what Joe’s was.

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While doughnuts are one of the most perfect foods on earth, I know it’s not very healthy to eat them all the time. But for a doughnut loving person like myself, what is one to do? Enter: baked doughnuts.

I’m sure you’ve all seen different varieties of baked doughnuts floating around the interwebs recently. I know there are people who feel very strongly that a baked doughnut isn’t and shouldn’t be considered a doughnut because it isn’t fried. It’s baked and therefore should be thought of as a cake. I tend to disagree. It’s just lightened up and cooked differently to make it easier and more accessible to people. It’s still, in its essence, a doughnut. Just prepared differently than your traditional fried version. There are still glazes, and fillings, and sprinkles that you would find on a fried variation. And because they are baked, they are slimmed down and more healthy. Therefore you can eat, like 3. Baked doughnut math.

Just like their fried counterpart, the flavor variations of baked doughnuts are ENDLESS. They can made with seasonal ingredients such as pumpkin, winter citrus, or fresh summer fruit. They can be topped with sprinkles, chocolate chips, glazes, and frosting. They can also be filled with jams, jellies, pastry cream, and puddings. Endless combinations.

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Or you can be like my typical self and infuse the doughnut with brown butter. Because, duh. I will never stop singing the glories of brown butter. The flavor it gives anything you make with it is out of this world. Depth and richness that cannot be achieved by simply just melting the butter. Here’s a good lesson for all you cooks/bakers out there: if a recipe calls for melted butter, BROWN IT.

I made these doughnuts one night with no intention of really taking pictures and sharing them. I just wanted to bake and these doughnuts were the first thing that came to mind. But as I started making them and tasting them throughout every step of the process, I knew I HAD to post these. I made them at night with no good natural light, so the pictures in this post are from my cell phone. My camera (which I DESPERATELY need to upgrade) just wasn’t taking great pictures in this environment.

So what’s all the fuss about these doughnuts that I just had to share? The base of the doughnut is brown butter batter (say that 5 times fast..). Perfection on its own. But why stop there? Go big or go home. I topped this with a thick chocolate glaze (it’s nice and thick that I could even get away with calling it a frosting). And to add the finishing touch? Well, sprinkles. Flavor explosions like WHOA. The doughnut itself was soft and fluffy and the brown butter just took it to the next level of flavortown. The chocolate glaze was the perfection accompaniment and added the perfect amount of sweetness. And the sprinkles? Yeah. I need my life to be covered with sprinkles.

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These doughnuts also just continued to get better day after day. On day 3, they were just as good (if not, more so) as on the day they were made. After that? I don’t know. They didn’t last that long 🙂

Also, I don’t think this doughnut could be any more “Deanna” even if it tried. Brown butter, chocolate, and sprinkles. That’s like my Holy Trinity. AMEN.

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I’m also not the only person in my family who loves doughnuts. In fact, my wonderful cousin’s Chris and Danielle are actually opening their own doughnut shop! Top That! Donuts (located in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) is scheduled to open in Spring 2014. It will be a served warm donut and coffee shop. You will be able to choose donut options from their seasonal menu or create your own donut! Just think of ALL THE TOPPINGS. Check out their Facebook page for more information and updates! I can’t wait!


Brown Butter Baked Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

(Recipe by: Joy The Baker)


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



  1. 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.
  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. Butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts. 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.
  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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. While the doughnuts cool, make the glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. 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. I used about 3 tablespoons.
  3. Once the doughnuts are completely cool, dip top-side-down into the chocolate glaze.  Return to the wire rack top with sprinkles.  Allow to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving. Doughnuts are best within 2 days. I kept mind on a plate covered with plastic wrap and they were still good on day 3.

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