There have been all sorts of tasty-looking doughnut recipes online lately and, while I was keen to try making them, I was much less eager about the idea of deep-frying at home. Both the potential slippery slope of eating if I tried and succeeded, and the burnt fingers (or worse) if I tried and failed*. And then I came across a donut niche (or should that be a donut hole?) of baked doughnuts, doughnut muffins and doughnut cakes... burnt fingers averted!
Prompted by the opportunity to share them with the llama-loving friend, an early start was made, as were muffins...
The recipe I used was from Kathleen at Downtown Bakery via Fine Cooking, and this was the recipe...
12 oz (24 Tbs) unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 lb 11 oz. (6 cups) all-purpose flour
1 Tbs plus 2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1-2/3 cups milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
For the coating
8 oz (16 Tbs) unsalted butter; more as needed (I used much less than this, and while they tasted good, the sugar didn't stick as much as it could've. But this isn't Masterchef. There are limits on how much butter should be involved in some recipes)
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs ground cinnamon
Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
In a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
Combine the milk and buttermilk.
With a wooden spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Then mix in a third of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry. Mix until well combined and smooth, but don't over mix.
Grease and flour a standard-size muffin pan. Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup, about 1/2 cup. Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, around 30 to 35 minutes**.
Melt the butter for the dipping mixture. Combine the sugar and cinnamon.
When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the pan, dip them into or brush them all over with the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.
The finished muffins definitely had a good resemblance to doughnuts, and had a lighter texture than I'd imagined (there had been a bit of a concern that a baked doughnut would effectively resemble a stale normal doughnut - not at all the case, thankfully!).
Although, the next time I feel a doughnut craving coming on, I'd be tempted to try something with a filling in them. Maybe these. Or maybe it could be a good use for trying out creme patissiere...
* Eternally optimistic, this penguin!
** Less if you have the evil, temperamental Smeg.