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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Doughnut Muffins—Different, Easy, and Delicious

Photo by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Leafing through the pages of Diane Worthington’s beautiful new book, Seriously Simple Parties, I found plenty of recipes that made me want to rush into the kitchen and start cooking. In this collection, just as in the author’s successful prequels, Seriously Simple, and Seriously Simple Holidays, the philosophy is the same. “Keep it fresh and keep it simple!”

From tempting drinks and appetizers, to seasonal soups and salads, to a cornucopia of mains and sides, plus plenty of desserts, Diane has streamlined her recipes without sacrificing flavor.

Doughnut Muffins is a good example. The name alone was intriguing. Who would have imagined that the delicious goodness of doughnut batter could be baked as muffins instead of fried in fat as rings? The muffins, prepared either in mini-or standard-sized pans, come out golden and tender. Then they are finished with a coating of melted butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

Can’t you just imagine how delectable these doughnut muffins would be with mugs of warm cider or cups of steaming dark hot chocolate! For your own “seriously simple” party, you could share them with friends after a fall bike ride, offer them as a finale to a leaf-peeping expedition, or set them out as a sweet treat after a movie. 

Doughnut Muffins

Makes 48 mini-muffins or 12 regular muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted
1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1.  Preheat the oven to 375  degrees F. Butter and flour four min-muffin pans or one regular muffin pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, buttermilk, and eggs until well blended.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the room–temperature butter and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar together on medium-speed until light yellow and the sugar granules can’t be seen, 4 to 5 minutes. Decrease the mixing speed to low and add the dry ingredients and milk mixture in thirds, alternating between the two and beating after each addition to incorporate it into the batter. Stop beating once the batter is completely mixed. Do not overmix or the muffins will be tough.

4. Using a small ice-cream scoop for mini-muffins or a regular ice-cream scoop for large muffins, fill the prepared muffin cups, just up to the top, with the batter. Bake for 13 minutes for mini-muffins or 17 to18 minutes for regular muffins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Do not worry if the tops of the muffins have not browned. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack lined with foil or wax paper.

5. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Put the melted butter in another small bowl. Set up an assembly line with the muffins, melted butter, and sugar mixture. Dip a muffin in the butter or brush the muffin with butter, coating it lightly all over. Try to get the sides of the muffin, so it will have more topping. Then coat all over liberally with the cinnamon-sugar. Shake off the excess and transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining muffins. Serve immediately.

Note for party prep:
These are best eaten warm. You can make them 1 day ahead and keep them in an airtight container.

From Seriously Simple Parties by Diane Rossen Worthington
Chronicle Books 2012
Photo of Doughnut Muffins by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

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