ive been seeing donut muffins pop up in all the baking magazines this year and i must admit i was intrigued. i try to make my treats at least decently healthy, so i am reluctant to fry up some doughnuts (tho i am sure i will one of these days). i did, however, receive a request for apple cider donuts, which i am a huge fan of; i considered making them but all the recipes i saw noted that they were not so good the next day, so unless i wanted to fry them up on my way to work, it wasnt happening.
i will digress for a moment. for those of you in the nj area, if you are within an hour of chester, i suggest you mark a day down on your calendar between now and the end of november and plan the following day: breakfast at the chester hills diner, a light hike in hacklebarney state park to work up an appetite for amazing cider and cidered pastries at the cider mill, a corn maze and a fruit pie from alstede’s farm (get it to go, i am not done with your stomach’s plans yet), a leisurely stroll down the historic main street of chester, stopping in antique stores, candle shops, the christmas shop, etc, a meal at any of the wonderfully charming restaurants (publick house for a classic nice meal, sally lunn’s tea room for a quaint light meal, mama’s grace for some eclectic casual eatin’, etc) to be followed by taylor’s ice cream. if you waited until after thanksgiving, you should check for some of the great events in the neighboring towns to celebrate a traditional christmas (bedminster/pluckemin has a good one, but i have a slew of other restaurants for you to visit on that day!).
for those of you in chicago, get in your car right now and go to goebbert’s this instant. they have hands down the BEST cider donuts i have ever had in my life. melt in your mouth goodness. no fried feeling. seriously, words cant describe. they have plenty of other things too… fresh roasted sweet corn, applewood smoked bacon, fresh produce, and tons of other baked goods, but do not leave without a cider donut. youll thank me later. youre welcome in advance.
anyway, back to my baking….so for some reason i couldnt find a recipe for apple cider donut muffins, just apple cider donuts or regular donut muffins. i must note that i found one that i thought sounded great but it included buttermilk and i just couldnt do that to myself this week! this one used regular milk, so whatever i dont use i will donate to the work kitchen. after going through several pages, i gave up and decided to make up my own way to do it. i increased the dry ingredients a bit, omitted some of the existing wet ingredients, and added apple cider as well as a bunch of fall-like spices. i also found that there was waaaaay too much topping left, so i have reduced that below.
the results are delicious, but admittedly not very doughnut-y. i think the only thing about them that makes them resemble a donut is the buttery cinnamon sugar coating…the butter is a smidge more than delicate, but not overpowering, the cinnamon sugar gives a light crunch. i am a little concerned about how they will hold up tomorrow, i am hoping they get crunchier rather than soggier, but only time will tell!
Recipe (modified for my needs, based on cuisine at home):
for the muffins-
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp apple or pumpkin pie spice (or just nutmeg if you prefer)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup apple cider plain,not spiced–if you use spiced, omit the spices above)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
for the cinnamon-sugar topping:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, melted
preheat oven to 350. coat mini muffins with non-stick spray.
whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl; set aside. combine milk and cider in a measuring cup; set aside. using a hand mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. beat in eggs until fully incorporated. alternately add flour mixture and liquid mixture, mix until all ingredients are fully combined and batter is smooth.
transfer batter to the prepared muffin tins in heaping tablespoon measures. bake muffins until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes. cool muffins in the tins for 5 minutes, then apply topping while muffins are still warm.
stir together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. dunk muffins (i used a pastry brush instead) into butter, then sugar mixture. makes 48 mini-muffins.
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