I did something different to celebrate New Year Eve's this year and to be honest, it blows my mind that I've never thought to do this before. Instead of going out and fighting the crowds and paying elevated prices at bars and restaurants, my friends and I decided to celebrate with a New Year's Eve brunch. This meant we could drink sparkling wine all day, I could be home by 5pm and in bed by 10pm. Sounds perfect to me!
This was a potluck brunch, and I wanted to make something sweet. Donuts always pop in my mind for brunch fare, but I'm not a big fan of deep frying at home. It makes the whole house smell, plus you have to deal with disposing of the grease. Then, I remembered a muffin recipe a good friend in Chicago gave me many years ago that couldn't be simpler and seriously, these muffins taste just like donuts!
First, you'll want to have some quality jam on hand as that will be the filling for the muffin. The original recipe only calls for a teaspoon but I upped that to a tablespoon. Some of the jam will leak out as the muffins bake but that is exactly what I wanted. If you don't want that, you can always stick with just the teaspoon.
I used my favorite preserves from Bonne Maman. I remember back in the day (i.e. about 20 years ago) when I could only get these preserves from the Southwest of France at The Chopping Block's Webster Avenue location in Lincoln Park. Now, you can get them at Wal-Mart. How times have changed!
Another ingredient I wouldn't skimp on for these muffins is freshly ground nutmeg. Nutmeg is at its most flavorful and fragrant when freshly ground from the whole seed. You can also find whole nutmeg in most grocery stores these days and with a Microplane grater, you can have freshly ground nutmeg anytime you need.
Other than those ingredients, you likely have everything else you need for these muffins already in your fridge and pantry.
This simple recipe calls for you to mix all of your wet ingredients together and all of your dry ingredients together. You then combine the two to create a batter. You've done these steps before anytime you've made pancakes, cornbread, and any type of quick bread in loaf form, but you may not realize it actually has a name: the muffin mixing method. It's one of the most basic mixing methods utilized in baking.
The purpose of using this method is to limit the amount of gluten production during the mixing process, which keeps your baked goods light and tender. The batter will be lumpy because you are only mixing to combine, so don't keep mixing to try to achieve a smooth batter.
I love using a portion scoop to scoop the batter into the muffin tins for even distribution. This recipe makes only a dozen muffins, so you may want to double it!
Muffins that Taste Like Donuts
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Adapted from Muffin Mania by Cathy Prange and Joan Pauli
Makes: 12 muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
For the muffins:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground if you can)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil like grapeseed, vegetable or canola
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
For the filling:
12 Tablespoons jam of your choice
For the coating:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
3. In another bowl, thoroughly combine oil, sugar, egg and milk.
4. Add liquid ingredients to dry and stir only to combine.
5. Fill muffins tins with a small scoop of batter.
6. Add 1 Tablespoon jam to the batter and top with the rest of the batter.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
8. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the coating. Have the melted butter ready.
9. Shake the muffins out of the tin immediately and while still hot, dip the tops in melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar.
I especially thought my taste-tester muffin went well with a cup of hot tea in my new mug from Santa Fe, a Christmas present from my sister and brother-in-law. The rest of the muffins were a big hit at the brunch!
I hope you enjoy these muffins that taste like donuts at your next brunch or breakfast gathering! If you want to learn how to make real donuts, don't miss our virtual Cake Donut Workshop on Sunday, February 5 at 11am CST. You'll bake along with our chef to create:
- Apple Fritters with Cinnamon Sugar
- Sour Cream Cake Donuts with Vanilla Maple Icing and Pecan Streusel
And of course, Mardi Gras season is just around the corner and that means the return of Paczkis (pronounced Poonch-Keys), so we have a Hands-On Paczki Party: A Fat Tuesday Tradition on Tuesday, February 21 at 6pm at Lincoln Square. If you aren't familiar with Paczki, they are made from yeast dough, often filled with jams and creams and then fried. If that doesn't say Fat Tuesday, I don't know what does! Well, maybe my King Cake Cupcakes do too, but there's no reason not to enjoy both!