From what I can gather, doughnut muffins are supposed to be a much simpler way to get a doughnut, somewhat of a cross between an actual muffin and a cake doughnut. Even if it's nothing like a doughnut at all, it's still very tasty in its own way
There are two methods to make doughnut muffins, one being creaming butter with sugar to create a really tender crumb, then there's the standard muffin method of dry ingredients mixed with wet ingredients. When I found this recipe online, which originated from Joy of Cooking, I decided to use it a) because I was lazy and it used the wet-dry method, b) it had yogurt and I figured it would enhance the taste, plus the variation of the original method used confectioners' sugar as the topping and it made the muffins all the more tastier.
Most recipes call for rolling the baked muffins in butter and shaking it in cinnamon-sugar, but that seemed unnecessarily messy so I used a pastry brush to coat the muffin tops, then dipped the tops in confectioners' sugar with some apple pie spice. Not only did I use less butter (I only melted 1/4 cup to begin with), but it made it easier to eat.
My other change was to replace the vanilla extract with lemon extract, add a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, and a grated Granny Smith apple. The apple seemed to break down and mix with the batter so it wasn't detectable at all, but the flavor was really great.
Were these almost like the cousin of a cake doughnut? In a way, it was. The crumb, while light and melty, wasn't quite as spongy but tighter. The tenderness was incredible, and I enjoyed the flavor more with the few minor changes I made.
Recipe after jump
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apple doughnut muffins
Recipe modified by me, from here
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Gratings of fresh nutmeg
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tsp lemon extract
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
½ tsp apple pie spice, or cinnamon and nutmeg
- Position oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cups. (I just thoroughly greased the cups; I forgot to try the Cook's Illustrated method of only greasing the muffin cup bottoms.)
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together grated apple, eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, and lemon extract. Add flour mixture and mix with light strokes until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Don't overmix; batters should not be smooth.
- Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in one or two of the muffins come out clean, 15-20 minutes.
- While the muffins are baking, melt the butter butter and place in a bowl just large enough to hold a muffin. Combine confectioners' sugar and apple pie spice in a small, shallow bowl. As soon as the muffing are done, brush the tops with butter and dip in sugar mixture. Set on a rack to cool.