Remember when donut pans came out? I feel like I started seeing them everywhere about five years ago (could be three, could be ten) and I became instantly covetous. I don’t really know why I wanted one so bad but I just couldn’t let it go. I think I felt left out of the greater movement of people who were over fried donuts. But I heard someone once refer to an unboiled bagel as “just a roll with a hole” and I couldn’t help but apply such a colorful phrase to the donut situation. It just couldn’t be as good.
It wasn’t, obviously. When I caved and bought one of these elusive pans I was thrilled with the cuteness but disappointed with the delivered product — what I found to be a very uniformly textured, slightly dry cake. This definitely could have been user error, but I’m happy to entertain this alternative.
Enter: Donut Muffins. They’re probably not as revolutionary as I’m making them sound but they really are the best of both worlds. And you make them in a plain old muffin tin. The small bit of nutmeg in the batter lends to that classic donut taste, but the texture is pretty much all muffin and it makes all the difference. Whereas the donut pan yields relatively limp tubes, the muffin does that wonderful cracky thing on the top. (I won’t even get into my feelings about “muffin top” pans. Stop, please! Leave well enough alone. ) The inside is fluffy. Enough said.
The possibilities of topping flavors are limitless. I chose the standard cinnamon/sugar/butter topping from the original recipe (it was heaven) and a quick glaze-style with sprinkles. You could do chocolate with sprinkles. You could do powdered sugar. You could do cinnamon-powdered sugar. You could throw blueberries in the batter and do a lemon glaze. Rhubarb, perhaps? Just don’t do Sriracha. And tell your friends not to do it either.
- Eat them soon out of the oven (decorate when warm: you can still do a glaze, it just won’t be as thick). This is imperative for their lightness. Homemade baking powder muffins don’t really age well.
- You are strong and courageous. Assume power pose.
- Enjoy with coffee, naturally.
Donut Muffins Two Ways
- 1/3 c. vegetable oil
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Oven: 400° Equipment: grease a regular muffin tin
In a large bowl, cream together oil, sugar and the egg. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, the salt and the nutmeg. Measure out milk separately. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to the creamed mixture. In a greased muffin tin, fill each muffin 2/3 full. Bake about 20 minutes.
Decorate when warm. Makes about 8 donuts.
- 1/4 c. butter, melted
- 1/4 c. sugar & 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, mixed in shallow bowl
Brush tops with melted butter. Tip muffin upside down and roll top into cinnamon sugar.
Simple Glaze Topping
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- small pinch salt
- 1-2 tbs. milk
- food color optional
Combine all ingredients with fork until very smooth. No lumps! Tip muffin upside down and dip into glaze. Sprinkle away.
Recipe adapted from Jean Childress’ Country Kitchen: Muffin Cookbook which contains the recipe for the very best blueberry muffins I have ever tasted.