Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mini Donut Muffins

There are many reasons I chose to make these mini donut muffins:
1) They are cute.
2) They involve the holy trinity of melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar.
3) They eliminate the need to choose between baking muffins and making donuts, and as everyone close to me knows, decision making is not one of my stronger suits.

The reason I will make these again though, is not on that list, because I didn't know it before I made the muffins.  That reason is that besides being cute, holy, and a perfect example of a good compromise, these little babies are darn tasty.

To prove my point, let's look at a math problem:

Katie made a batch of mini donut muffins.  She used four mini muffin pans that each yielded 12 muffins.  When the muffins were cool (okay, maybe while they were still warm), Katie ate 10 muffins, her sister Becky ate 12 muffins, and Becky's boyfriend the Music Man ate 3 muffins (because he had already eaten 2 actual donuts).  Katie then took the remaining muffins to work, where Friend E ate 10 muffins, Friend S ate 5 muffins, and also shared a tip on the best way to eat them.* How many muffins were left for Katie's other co-workers?
Are you having flashbacks to fourth grade math class yet?

Fortunately, my fourth grade math teacher, Mrs. Bilanin, was good at her job, and therefore I know that the answer is 8 muffins.  Mrs. Bilanin also had a very cute son a few years older than us and we all had huge crushes on him, but that's neither here nor there.  Though I do wonder what he's up to these days...
...(pardon this short break while I innocently Google/Facebook stalk Mrs. Bilanin's son)...
Yep.  Still as cute as ever. 
But back to the muffins.

My point with that little math problem is that while the three main characters - me, Beck, and Friend E - may not be known for our powers of self-restraint, we also don't indulge in just any old thing.  These mini donut muffins were GOOD.  They really did taste like little tiny cake donuts.

Do you think it would it be too forward of me to send a basket of these with my phone number to Mrs. Bilanin's son?  :-)
*Tip on How to Eat Mini Donut Muffins from Friend S: To get the most cinnamon-sugar goodness, eat the muffins upside down! 

Mini Donut Muffins
adapted from CHOW via Framed
Makes 48 mini muffins

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating muffin tins
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature (sour cream or plain Greek yogurt may be substituted for the buttermilk)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

1. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly brush a mini muffin tin
with some of the melted butter, then coat with flour, tapping out any excess; set aside. Reserve
remaining melted butter for applying the cinnamon-sugar coating.

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda. In a small
bowl, whisk together milk and buttermilk. Set both aside.

4. Beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

5. With the mixer set on low speed, beat in a quarter of the reserved dry ingredients. Then beat in a
third of the reserved milk mixture. Continue to alternate until all of the remaining ingredients
are incorporated, finishing with the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

6. Fill the prepared muffin tin wells to just below the rim with batter. Bake until muffins are lightly
golden and firm to the touch, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat buttering and
flouring of muffin tins until all batter is used.

7. To coat the muffins, dip tops of muffins in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. Roll slightly to generously cover entire top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

8. For jelly doughnuts, allow the muffins to cool and use a small pastry tip to make a hole in the bottom of each. Fill the pastry bag with your favorite jam, jelly, or citrus curd and squeeze some into the muffins.

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