It’s probably safe to assume that at this point the country is replete with enough Thanksgiving dinner inspiration to last into the next millenium. A speedy Google search turned up 180 MILLION hits when I plugged in the words, “Thanksgiving recipes” (my Colorful Cabbage Salad among them). So let’s all stop talking turkey for the moment and consider something nearly as pressing:
What are we going to feed all the family and friends who descend for the holiday in the days following the famous feast?
Here’s what: these homey, wholesome, homespun crazy good Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Brown Butter Glaze.
If you don’t have a baked donut pan already, get ahold of one because a batch of these beauties alone is worth the 10 bucks it will set back your bank account. I can boast about the recipe so very boldly because it’s not my own. I borrowed it — tinkering with the ingredients ever so gently — from Tracy Benjamin, the talent behind the immensely charming blog, Shutterbean.
Because these donuts are baked instead of fried, there is no vat of boiling oil to contend with and the fat content is cut in half, if not more than that. The whole-wheat pastry flour and pumpkin ups the nutritional value, offsetting the decadence of that heavenly glaze.
The glaze results from browning a couple of tablespoons of butter in a pan until dark and aromatic, and then stirring it into confectioners’ sugar. I’d planned to top the donuts, as Tracy does, with toasted pecans, but when the kids caught wind of my plan, I thought they might slap the bowl of chopped nuts right out of my hand. Colored sprinkles on glazed donuts? Yes. Pecans? Absolutely not.
However you dress these babies up, do make them. They are tender, moist, and have the cozy, spiced flavors so redolent of fall. Piled onto a plate alongside a pot of coffee (and a pitcher of milk for the kids), I can’t imagine a better way to greet sleepy guests bunking in for the holiday.
Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Brown Butter Glaze
These tender pumpkin donuts are excellent warm from the oven or hours later at room temp. Either way, hot coffee for grown ups and cold milk for kids are a must here. The number of donuts and cooking time may vary depending on the size of your pan.
Oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the pan
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown Butter Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
3 teaspoons milk, plus more as needed
Preheat oven to 325 F. Generously grease donut pan with oil or non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, canola oil, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and blended.
Add the pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and whisk until smooth and one even consistency.
Spoon batter into a glass measuring cup with a lip for pouring or a small pitcher and fill donut pan about 1/4-inch shy of the top.
Put in the center rack of the oven and bake until the top of the donut springs back when lightly pressed, about 13 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on the counter for 3 or 4 minutes. Invert pan and gently release donuts onto a rack to cool for another 10 minutes or so.
While the donuts cool, make the glaze. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until browned. Pour browned butter into a bowl with confectioner’s sugar. Add the vanilla and milk and stir until the glaze is silky smooth with no lumps. If the glaze solidifies a bit as it cools, add more milk, a few drops at a time as needed.
Dip cooled doughnuts into bowl, allowing any excess frosting to drip back into bowl.
Makes 9 donuts.
*All-purpose white flour can be substituted for whole-wheat pastry flour
Adapted from a recipe by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean