If you live in New York and are suffering through the oppressive heat, turn away from the screen right now and bookmark this post for a rainy (and cold) day. I actually made these muffins over a month ago (when the temperature was sub-90 degrees) and turning the oven on was not a completely crazy idea. I have been planning to post about them ever since, so chalk this up to a case of bad timing. For a recipe more appropriate to the current weather, try this.
I first discovered "Kathleen's Doughnut Muffins" (a recipe from The Jimtown Store Cookbook) on 101 Cookbooks, when Heidi wrote about them back in August 2003. Although I owned the cookbook, I never got around to trying to make the muffins until we threw a brunch for my wife's birthday in June.
I'm glad I finally did.
The sweet treats are neither muffin nor donut, but something in between. They have the texture of a cake donut without all of the mess involved in deep-frying. As authors Carrie Brown, John Werner, and Michael McLaughlin put it in their introduction to the recipe, they "have the soul of a doughnut and the body of a muffin."
Kitchen Notes: I was a little worried that I had screwed up when I first removed the muffins from the oven. They looked incredibly bland and boring. But, as I brushed each with a coat of warm, melted butter, the color deepened, and the cinnamon-sugar mixture adhered beautifully. Stick to the recipe and everything should turn out fine.
Kathleen's Doughnut Muffins
by Carrie Brown, John Werner, and Michael McLaughlin
from The Jimtown Store Cookbook (HarperCollins)
Makes 24 muffins
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 2/3 cups milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and lightly flour the cups of two standard muffin tins (12 muffins each).
2. For the muffins, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Mix together the milk and buttermilk.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer using the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream the butter. Gradually mix in the sugar and beat until the mixture lightens in color and increases in volume. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition no more than necessary to blend. By hand, alternately add the dry ingredients in four additions and the milk in three additions, starting and ending with dry ingredients and mixing no more than necessary to blend after each addition. The batter should be smooth but should not be overmixed.
4. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins, filling the cups level with about 1/2 cup batter per muffin (at the bakery Kathleen uses a number 16 ice-cream scoop, available in restaurant-supply houses).
5. Bake until the muffins have risen and are firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the tins on a rack for a few minutes.
6. To coat the muffins, in a bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tins. One at a time, brush them, all over with the butter, then roll them in the cinnamon-sugar, covering them thoroughly. Enjoy the muffins immediately or let them stand on a rack until cool.
Recipe reprinted with permission from the publisher.