20140428-202319.jpgAfter a week off work, this past Sunday felt slow and good. It's a while since I've felt so rested and blissed out. I woke early, and with nothing much needing to be done, just some dinner at the pub with friends much later, and a whole heap of rain and leaves falling outside, I thought it might be a good time to make Joy's apple baked doughnuts with burnt-butter glaze. And it was. It was the best time, because I went ahead and made a big pot of French press while I was at it and spent a fair amount of the morning by the open window, reading the paper and stuffing my face. These donuts were a beautiful balance of soft apple, some cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg-y warmth and a nutty and sugary kick of burnt-butter. They were autumn in the form of baked-goods and I can't wait to make them again and again.

INGREDIENTS * 1cup of plain flour * 3/4s teaspoon of baking powder * 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda * pinch of salt * 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon * 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg * 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger * 1/3 cup of brown sugar * 50 grams of unsalted butter * 1 egg * 1/2 cup of buttermilk * 2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract * 1/2 cup of grated fresh apple * 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar * 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk

METHOD Pre-heat the oven to 180C and lightly grease a donut pan (if you’re lucky enough to have one).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and brown sugar. Whisking is a nice way of not bothering to sift your flour and still getting away with a smooth batter.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. To get that lovely, dark brown-butter, you will need to wait until it begins to crackle as the water melts out.  It will slow down a little and start darkening after a few minutes. You know it's good when it smells nutty and caramely and looks all warm and speckled. Some of this butter will be used in the batter, some in the icing.

In a small bowl mix together the egg, buttermilk, and a teaspoon of the vanilla with two tablespoons of the brown-butter. Once smooth, add this to the dry ingredients and fold through until just combined. Don’t overfill the casings as I did, or your donuts will be a bit pudgy and ill-shaped (see above). About two thirds should do it.

They will take about ten minutes, or just under – keep an eye on them.

Allow them to cool a little in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack and get started on the icing. Mix together the icing sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, two tablespoons of the brown-butter and half the milk. Stir to combine and add a little more milk as needed – you want the icing soft, but not too runny it will drip down the sides of the donuts.

Once cool, ice these babies and congratulate yourself on an hour WELL SPENT.