living the sweet life

Baked Brown Butter Donuts with Salted Caramel Glaze

I love donuts.

Like I really do. I am always talking about them, always craving them, and for my birthday I got a cookbook from my friends that’s just about donuts. I seriously stare at the pictures and drool. I eat them at work whenever there are left overs at the end of the night, I eat half a dozen with my boyfriend, I spend half an hour staring at the Glazed Donut Bistro website that is opening down the street from my friends because I can’t decide what donut I want to try first. The answer? All of them.

You know what else I love? Long winded recipe titles. I can’t leave words out. They’re baked, not fried. The brown butter is very important. And the glaze? The glaze is half the reason I made these donuts! So, you’re stuck with long recipe titles.. especially when it leads to delicious “OMG” donuts.

I have a quick confession to make that’s unrelated to donuts but completely related to salted caramel sauce (that I made a jar of just so I could make these donuts. And maybe some cookie bars I’ve been dreaming of). I’ve heard that stirring a spoonful into oatmeal in the morning makes for a delicious breakfast. Not that I would know anything about that… or anything.

Anywho. These donuts.. Now these are truly something else. They are probably the favorite so far of all the baked donuts I’ve made. The nutmeg and the brown butter together.. They actually taste like donut donuts, not just donut cake that’s shaped like a donut. If that makes sense. And I can’t remember the brand (Hostess maybe?) or exactly what I was thinking of, but they taste like those old-fashioned donuts that don’t have any glaze, sugar, or chocolate (I know, how depressing) on them but are still delicious? They used to come in the three packs, right? With the old fashioned ones, the powdered sugar, and the chocolate covered.  If you are able to decode what I’m talking about (my brain is like mush right now), then you know that these are delicious. And when coated in the sweet salted caramel glaze and drizzled with some bittersweet chocolate.. It’s a flavor explosion in your mouth.

So please, make these donuts. I shared them with two of my friends out here, and one of them said that he couldn’t wait for this blog post just so he could relive the donuts through pictures. Now.. I’d say these were a success.

Brown Butter Donuts

makes 6 donuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk *
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Glaze 

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
3 1/2 tablespoons salted caramel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray donut pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and sugar. Set aside.

On the stove top in a small sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk continuously as the butter foams/bubbles up and then subsides. Once the butter begins to form brown flecks on the bottom and has a nutty and almost caramel smell, remove from heat and pour into a small bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together egg, buttermilk (or milk/vinegar substitute: see note below), and vanilla. Measure out 2 tablespoons of browned butter and add to wet ingredients, whisking to combine.

Pour wet ingredients at once into large bowl with dry ingredients. Fold gently just until ingredients are incorporated. Careful not to overmix.

Using two spoons, fill each well about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the donuts start to spring back at your touch. Let cool for 10-15 minutes in pan, and then gently transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. While donuts cool, prepare the glaze.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and milk until a glaze forms. Stir in the caramel sauce until combined. Dip donuts in the glaze (I dipped twice) and then let the glaze harden.

If desired, melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 20 second intervals, stirring in between. Drizzle over donuts.


1. I never keep buttermilk in the fridge, so you can make your own. Take the 1/2 cup measuring cup, pour in 1.5 teaspoons white vinegar and then fill the rest of the way with milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and then it’s ready to use.

2. For the chocolate drizzle, melt 1.5 ounces dark chocolate in the microwave until smooth and able to drizzle.

[source: donut recipe from Joy the Baker; glaze recipe from Confectionary Tales]

Or if you want to be like me and if chocolate isn’t enough, you can just drizzle more caramel on top. Be like me.


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