Seriously Simple: Cinnamon sugar doughnut muffins usher in the autumn season

Seriously Simple: Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins Usher In The Autumn Season
Yvonne Duivenvoorden/TNS

These muffins taste like cinnamon doughnuts without the deep-frying fat or mess.

I first tasted these heavenly muffins at the Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, California. More like a cake than a muffin texture, these are really easy to make. When autumn comes around, I love to make these with kids who really have fun rolling them in cinnamon sugar.

These sweet nuggets remind me of the regular cinnamon doughnuts without the deep-frying fat or mess. The biggest decision is whether you want mini-muffins or large ones. Sometimes, if I can’t decide which size to make, I will make six large doughnut muffins and 24 mini-muffins with this batch so I have some of each.

These little treats make a great breakfast or brunch addition. You’ll notice you can also fill them with jelly or peanut butter. I prefer to make them as is. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Makes 48 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins

For the muffins:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon 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
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

For the coating:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Use a baking cooking spray to grease 4 mini muffin pans or 1 regular muffin pan.

2. In a large bowl, sift 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 fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light yellow and the sugar granules can’t be seen, about 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Lower the mixing speed to low and add in one third of the dry ingredients. Add in a third of the milk mixture. Once incorporated, alternate with the rest of the dry ingredients and then the rest of the wet ingredients until blended. Stop beating once fully mixed. DO NOT OVERMIX, or the muffins will be tough.

5. Using a small ice cream scoop (size 30) for mini muffins or a regular ice cream scoop (size 16) for large muffins, fill the prepared muffin cups, just up to the top, with the mixture. Bake for 13 minutes for mini muffins or 17 to18 minutes for regular muffins, or until a toothpick stuck through the middle of the muffins comes out clean. Do not worry if the tops of the muffins have not browned. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool on a wire rack lined with foil or wax paper.

6. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Set up an assembly line with the melted butter, sugar mixture, and muffins. Dip a muffin in the butter or brush the muffin with butter and coat lightly all over. Try to get the sides of the muffin so there will be more topping. Then transfer to the sugar bowl and coat all over liberally. Shake off the excess and transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Advance preparation: These are best eaten warm, but you can make them a day ahead and keep them in an airtight container.

The clever cook could: Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small tip with a mixture of peanut butter and jelly (or just jelly) for kids. Use the tip to poke a small hole in the bottom of the muffins and fill with the mixture. This works best with large muffins.

(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)