Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffins

I almost regretted making these Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffins when I took them out of the oven and realized they looked just like some store-bought mini pumpkin muffins that had been sitting in my office kitchen for a few days. Then I ate one and that mild sense of regret melted into a sigh of pleasures my senses were overcome with the surprisingly pleasant taste and texture of the donut.

My aunt declared: "perfect taste, perfect texture. The pumpkin really comes through." After brief discussion, we decided that from a scientific analytical point of view, these donuts made no sense. How can something that looks like a mini muffin or cupcake taste so light and fluffy like a donut? How do they achieve their donut-y texture with neither yeast nor vat of hot oil?

True, they weren't so light as a fried donut, but they could give any of the best cake donuts a run for their money. In fact, in a comparison to the Dunkin' Donuts version of a baked pumpkin munchkin donut I bought on a my way to work one day, these were a mile ahead in the race - DELISH!

Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffins (adapted from Craving Chronicles)
Makes 24 mini donut muffins
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk

For Coating:
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

  • Preheat oven 350°F
  • Spray each cup in a 24-cup mini muffin tin with baking spray or butter generously
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • In another large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined – do not over mix!
  • Spoon batter evenly among muffin cups
  • Bake at 350°F for 11-13 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • While the muffin donuts bake, melt butter in one bowl and combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in another bowl
  • Remove muffin donuts from oven and cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle
  • Dip each muffin donut in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat (For a lower calorie version, skip the butter - the sugar will sparkle less in photos but every bite still packs the same great taste)

NOTE: Muffin Donuts best rolled on the same day you eat them. Rumor has it, they get soggy otherwise (I baked at night, rolled a handful of the donuts to taste taste, and rolled the rest in the morning before work - there were no known left-overs)

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