Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recipe: Donut Muffins

David, John and I just got back from a wonderful long-weekend getaway to Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio.  We’d visited for the first time last summer and had such a great time that we decided to return for the Victoria Day weekend.

John loved this visit even more than last year, as he was older and accordingly, more interested in all of the fun activities for kids.  Truth be told, David and I were looking forward to the burgers at Eddie’s Grill and the old-fashioned donuts at Madsen’s almost as much as we were looking forward to spending time away from the hustle and bustle of our regular routine, with Johnny all to ourselves.  

Madsen’s Donuts is an institution in Geneva-on-the-Lake.  They’ve been in business since 1938 and still make donuts the old-fashioned way.  This no-frills-yet-charming space has an open kitchen, so you can watch the donuts being made right before your eyes.  

After witnessing the line-ups at Madsen’s (as well as for apple fritters at the recent Mennonite Relief Sale in New Hamburg) I’m positive that there are many other donut-lovers in Waterloo Region as well.  This is a fun recipe because it’s a muffin, but it tastes like an old-fashioned donut (I think the magic is in the nutmeg…).  It’s a tasty way to get your donut fix with a lot less mess and effort!

Donut Muffins - adapted from Fine Cooking magazine - yields 24 medium sized muffins

ingredients for the muffins:
§         ¾ lb. (three-quarters of a pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
§         1¾ (one-and-three-quarters) cups sugar
§         4 (four) eggs
§         6 (six) cups all-purpose flour
§         1 (one) tablespoon plus 2 (two) teaspoons baking powder
§         ½ (one-half) teaspoon baking soda
§         2 (two) teaspoons salt
§         1 (one) teaspoon ground nutmeg
§         1 2/3 (one-and-two-thirds) cups milk, any kind (skim, 1 % or 2 %)
§         1/4 (one-quarter) cup buttermilk
§         1 (one) teaspoon pure vanilla extract

ingredients for the topping:
§         ¾ (three-quarter) cups butter, melted, use more if required
§         1 (one) cup granulated sugar
§         1 (one) tablespoon ground cinnamon, more if you choose
§         ¼ (one-quarter) teaspoon nutmeg, more if you choose

method for the muffins:
1.       Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2.       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. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula.
3.       In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.  Stir the milk, buttermilk and vanilla together in another separate bowl or dish.
4.       With a wooden spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture.  Then mix in a third of the milk mixture.  Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry.
5.       Mix until well combined but do not over mix, as this will result in tough muffins.
6.       Use greased paper liners or grease and flour two standard-size muffin tins.  Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup.
7.       Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, about 27-35 minutes.

method for the topping:
1.       Combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl.
2.       Dunk the top of each muffin into the melted butter (or use a pastry brush) and then dip them into the bowl of cinnamon sugar, to coat the muffin top completely.

Additional Notes:  If you like the taste of powdered donuts, you can also top the muffins with icing sugar, or add finely chopped apple to the batter, for a muffin that tastes more like an apple fritter.

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