so you know the phrase, “go nuts for doughnuts?”
if you know me, you know i say that all the time, whether it’s about doughnuts or not. i just like that phrase. it’s silly.
i’m going to drop some stone-cold truth on you right now: i have never actually gone nuts for doughnuts. at all.
my whole entire life, i’ve just never really…liked doughnuts. that’s crazy, right? i know. everyone loves doughnuts! they’re sweet and sometimes colorful, and can be filled with delicious things, and topped with sprinkles…what’s not to like?
in theory, i should love doughnuts for all of those reasons listed above…but i don’t. i’ve sworn a lifelong allegiance to another round, holey breakfast treat. my heart belongs to bagels. me + bagels = love.
however, i think i finally found a doughnut i can love.
these pumpkin autumn maple doughnuts are baked, and that’s one of the many reasons why i love them!
i’ve never been a huge fan of fried food, with the exception of fried chicken and french fries, so it makes sense that i could never fully get on the doughnut bandwagon. i’ve always found them to be a bit too greasy and oily for my taste.
plus, many commercial doughnuts are so beyond overly sweet that i can’t stomach them. i mean, one bite makes me feel like i’m slipping into a doughnut-induced diabetic coma. not a fan.
don’t get me wrong: i love sweets, obviously–otherwise i wouldn’t be specializing in baking and pastry at culinary school! i just feel that desserts should be sweet without being overly saccharine or cloying.
enter: baked pumpkin autumn maple doughnuts. they’re chock full of pumpkin, wonderful autumn spices, and coated with cinnamon sugar.
oh, did i forget to mention that they also have beer in them? yes, beer!
recently, i was contacted by The Bruery, a California brewery that specializes in craft beer. they asked me to develop a recipe featuring their Autumn Maple seasonal offering, and i jumped at the challenge. i love cooking and baking with beer, wine and spirits, and i knew i could come up with something amazing for fall!
i’m not a huge beer drinker, but i’ve always loved the pumpkin ales and lagers that are available during autumn. The Bruery’s Autumn Maple beer is a spicy, sweet take on the pumpkin-style beers that i love so much. each barrel is brewed with 17 pounds of yams–that’s a lot!
as soon as i tasted the Autumn Maple beer, i knew it would be a perfect compliment to a pumpkin dessert. i’ve been wanting to make apple cider doughnuts for an incredibly long time now, but i decided instead to use the Autumn Maple beer to make sweet, spicy pumpkin doughnuts, full of delicious fall flavor.
these doughnuts are crazy-good, people. the beer lends a wonderful depth and spicy quality to the doughnuts, while the cinnamon sugar crust on the outside provides the perfect amount of sweetness. i’m in love!
we had an evening last week that was cool, crisp, and beautifully autumnal. we sat outside in our backyard as the light of the day faded away with a paper bag full of warm, just-baked doughnuts and two mason jars full of Autumn Maple beer.
we ate these doughnuts like it was our job. we consumed them like they were going out of style. we licked our cinnamon sugar-coated fingers and sipped Autumn Maple beer and reveled in the wonderful weather. it was a damn good night.
make these pumpkin autumn maple doughnuts this weekend, and share them with the people you love. once they taste these doughnuts, they’re apt to love you just a little bit more. pinkie swear.
disclaimer: i received two bottles of Autumn Maple beer from the Bruery in order to develop this recipe. i was not provided any compensation. my opinions of the product are my own.
baked pumpkin autumn maple doughnuts
for the doughnuts
3 tablespoons brown butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Autumn Maple Beer
1 envelope instant dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups pastry flour
for the cinnamon sugar topping
1/2 cup brown butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
for the doughnuts
in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the milk and Autumn Maple beer, whisking together completely.
microwave in 10 second increments until the mixture reaches 105 degrees F.
once the mixture is 105 degrees F, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the package of yeast. stir gently to combine, and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
after 5 minutes, add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, egg, egg yolks and pumpkin puree.
attach the dough hook to the mixer, and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
add the bread flour and pastry flour, and mix on medium-high speed for 4-6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and sticky.
transfer the dough to a buttered bowl with tall sides, and cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. allow to sit on the counter for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
you can also refrigerate the dough overnight at this stage if not making the doughnuts immediately. when you’re ready to make them, just take the bowl out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for about 30-40 minutes.
once the dough has doubled in size, scrape it out of the bowl and onto a well-floured surface. make sure you flour your hands as well, as this dough is very sticky!
knead the dough for about 1 minute to punch it down, adding a little more flour if the dough becomes too sticky to work with.
line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to approximately 1/2” thick.
using a floured 3” cutter, cut out doughnut rounds from the dough, and transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2” between each doughnut.
re-roll the scraps and continue cutting out doughnuts until all the dough has been used.
using a floured small cutter, anywhere from 1/2”-1” in diameter, punch out the center of each doughnut and transfer the small doughnut holes to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
once all of the doughnuts are cut out, cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot for about an hour. you can let them rise for up to 90 minutes, but don’t let them go longer than that or they will over-proof and not bake properly.
preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
in a medium bowl, combine the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon for the doughnut topping, and set aside.
bake the 3” round doughnuts for 20 minutes, or until light golden brown, and bake the doughnut holes for 10 minutes until golden.
for the brown butter
place butter in a small saucepan over high heat, and allow to melt. swirl the pan occasionally, and the butter will begin to make popping and hissing sounds as it bubbles up and the milk solids cook.
as soon as the milk solids have turned brown and the butter smells nutty, remove it from the heat and allow to cool.
assembling the doughnuts
remove the doughnuts from the oven.
one at a time, dip each doughnut into the cooled melted brown butter, making sure both sides are coated. transfer to the cinnamon sugar, and make sure all sides are coated well.
repeat with remaining doughnuts and doughnut holes.
serve immediately with a chilled glass of Autumn Maple beer!
these doughnuts are best just baked and served warm, but they will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.