It’s back to work already tomorrow, but it certainly was nice to have a week’s vacation… my next one won’t happen until I go into labor (scary!). I tried to take advantage of the free time by trying out some breakfast recipes, and this one was on the top of the list. They’re the nutmeg doughnut muffins Molly at Orangette wrote about a year or two ago. I thought maybe they’d make a slightly healthier alternative to fried doughnuts, and to that end, I made a few additional adjustments to the ingredients: namely, white whole wheat flour and Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend (I know, I know, but I decided to try it out since it was on sale, and it seems to work just fine for recipes that don’t ride on the quality of the butter.) I also used an equivalent amount of Greek yogurt for the buttermilk.
The resulting batter looked suspiciously like Bisquick dough, but I went with it, and 28 minutes later the first batch dropped onto the cooling rack. They smelled good enough to lure Jeremy into the kitchen with a plate before I had a chance to give them a tumble in the powdered sugar. He ate two by the time I got the next batch in the oven and didn’t think they needed sugar-coating at all, so I just dusted two to try for myself, and left the rest nude.
The verdict? Perhaps it was my substitutions, but they definitely felt more like muffin-shaped biscuits than muffin-shaped doughnuts. That wasn’t a bad thing, though: they were subtly spiced and sweetened, with a good mouthfeel. I liked them with the powdered sugar, but the numerous leftovers were delicious without, reheated with just a drizzle of honey.
Nutmeg Doughnut Muffins
2 C unbleached AP flour
1 C white whole wheat flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Scant 1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¾ C plus 1 Tbs 1/% milk
2 T Greek yogurt
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ C plus 2 T granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4-6 T unsalted butter
About 2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F, and set a rack to the middle position. Get out your trusty silicone muffin pan or spray a standard-size muffin tin with cooking spray.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or, alternatively, in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters nearby), and beat on medium speed for a few seconds until soft and creamy. With the motor running, add the sugar in a steady stream. Continue beating, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, until the mixture increases in volume and lightens to pale yellow. This could take a couple of minutes, so in the meantime, combine the flours, baking powder and soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; whisk to mix them thoroughly. Now whisk together the milk and yogurt in a measuring cup, and set aside.
When the butter and sugar look light, fluffy, and as creamy as frosting, add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are just combined. With a wooden spoon, mix ¼ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture. Continue to add the dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dries. Mix until the dough is smooth and well combined, but do not overmix.
Divide the batter between the cups of the muffin tin. Bake until the muffins are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-32 minutes.
When the muffins are cool enough to handle, prepare the topping: melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop, and pour the powdered sugar into a deep bowl. Using a pastry brush and working one muffin at a time, lightly brush the entire outside of the muffin with butter, and then roll it in the powdered sugar. Shake off any excess, and place the finished muffins on a rack or serving platter to serve.
This batter keeps, covered and chilled, for up to three days, and leftover baked muffins reheat perfectly in the microwave.
Source: Adapted from Orangette.