DONUTS ARE THE NEW CUPCAKES + THE BEST BAKED DONUT RECIPE

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Anyone who spends time on Pinterest knows that donuts are all the rage. 

In 2013 they've been bigger than cupcakes and they've definitely blown cake pops right off the scene. But even though donuts are super delicious and everyone likes 'em, you probably haven't tried making them at home for some very good reasons:

a) you don't own a deep frier; b) you can't face the oil splatter of a makeshift one; c) you've never deep fried anything in your life and don't particularly want to start now; d) all of the above

I couldn't be bothered with traditional deep-fried donuts either, but then I discovered donut pans and the best baked donut recipe ever. The flavours of brown butter and nutmeg in these (my very first at-home) donuts are sophisticated enough for a grownup gathering while the chocolate glaze and sprinkles are the stuff of pure childlike joy. I should have bought a donut pan ages ago because:

a) they are genius; b) these little cakes are so tender, delicious, and happy; c) I'm thinking we'll get a whole lot of use out of it; d) all of the above

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The Best Baked Donut Recipe: Brown Butter Donuts with Chocolate Glaze and Sprinkles

(yield: a dozen donuts)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (but we’ll only use 2 tablespoons of browned butter for the recipe, but you'll need to start with more because some will evaporate as it 'browns')
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup of regular milk + a tsp of lemon juice)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
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Directions:

1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350F (180C). Lightly grease your doughnut pan with butter and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.

3. Now we make the brown butter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. It will begin to crackle and froth up as it melts and releases its water. Once the water has evaporated the butter will quiet down and begin to brown. Keep a close eye because at this stage it browns quickly! When the butter turns dark and smells nutty, remove it from heat and immediately transfer the browned butter (brown bits and all) to a small bowl.

4. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, 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 to avoid creating rubbery doughnuts.

6. Use a small spoon to dollop batter into the pan. 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 so you don't over-bake. They should feel springy to the touch when ready.

7. Remove from the oven and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. While the doughnuts cool, make the glaze.

8. To make the glaze, sift together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla extract. Add more milk as necessary to create a thick but still just pourable glaze. (Though you're not going to pour it; you're going to dunk the donuts)

9. Once the doughnuts are completely cool, dip top-side-down into the chocolate glaze. Return to the wire rack and sprinkle with toppings (100s and 1000s are my fave!). Allow to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving. Doughnuts are best eaten within 2 days.

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Catherine Roberts