Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Since I was dangerously close to eating cupcakes for breakfast this week, I figured I should make something that I could actually justify eating at 8 am.
Enter: Doughnut Muffins. The bastard love child of a cake doughnut and a coffee cake muffin. So wrong, they're right.
These have been on my To Bake list for a while now and I'd collected three different recipes to try out. Although each recipe was different, they all had two things in common: nutmeg in the batter, and the essential final step of rolling the baked muffins in melted butter and cinnamon-sugar.
Doughnut Muffin #1
This recipe was butter-based with lots of brown sugar. I love cookies that use a lot of brown sugar, so I had really high hopes for this recipe. And flavor-wise, of the three recipes I tested, these tasted most like a doughnut. But they came out with flat tops and looking too brown with a tough outer crust and a somewhat dense texture. It's possible that I overbaked them even though I used the minimum baking time suggested.
Doughnut Muffin #2
This recipe was also butter-based and was your basic plain muffin batter. Of the three, these muffins had the best texture. They were super light and fluffy, and were a pretty light golden color. But the tops of the muffins were still flat, and with so little flavoring in the batter, I thought it tasted a little egg-y. Dan likened them to coffee cake, which sounds about right. In the end, I dubbed these the best of the three and dropped some off at our neighbors.
Doughnut Muffin #3
Unlike the other two, these were oil-based with no butter in the batter. They crowned nicely, with high tops but the batter never really smoothed out so the tops were uneven. They took much longer to bake than the recipe suggested, and had a crunchy exterior, but the interior stayed a little gummy. I could also really taste the difference the oil made. These were my least favorite, and after sampling, ended up in the trash.
In the end, I took the flavor inspiration from #1 and combined it with the great texture of #2 (plus the addition of cinnamon in the batter from #3) and came up with my own recipe, which I am totally in love with. To me, it tastes just like a cake doughnut but with all the ease of baking a muffin!
Makes 12 muffins
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
13.5 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp buttermilk
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter; more as needed
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a standard muffin tin with non-stick spray (or butter and flour). Be sure to grease inside the cups as well as the top of the muffin pan.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with both sugars. Beat in the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk and buttermilk.
4. With mixer on low, add a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Add half of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry. Mix just until combined, finishing by hand if necessary.
5. Fill each muffin cup just to the top with batter. Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 24 minutes. Allow to cool 3-5 minutes and then remove from muffin tin onto a cooling rack.
6. For dipping: melt butter and place in a medium bowl. In another bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. While muffins are still warm, roll each muffin in the melted butter, coating the top and all sides. Transfer to the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and roll to coat the muffin completely. Leave on cooling rack to cool completely.