Monday, October 22, 2012

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Pumpkin Doughnut Mini Muffins


Pumpkin is having a moment. You could argue it has a "moment" every year from October 1st to October 31st. But this year is differentpumpkin has moved beyond its post on the front porch, and into kitchens across America. It's become a mark of culinary coolness; as New York magazine puts it, "pumpkin is the new bacon." It's everywhere, it's impossibly chic, and it's freaking delicious.

Pumpkinespecially when combined with cinnamon, nutmeg, and other warm spicesis the epitome of autumnal eating. Since 2010, there has been a 38 percent increase in pumpkin-flavored foods on restaurant menus. And since 2007, the number of pumpkin drinks has leapt by 400 percent, according to Datassential MenuTrends. This year, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte fans have faced serious withdrawal, as shortages of the wildly popular drink have swept the nation.

I don't need any more convincing. Pumpkin is incredible.

I NEED to get in on the action in my own kitchen. My recipe of choice: Pumpkin Doughnut Mini Muffins. The name alone is enough to make me salivate. I love doughnuts (who doesn't?) and I've long adored my mom's pumpkin bread. So why not combine the two? 

I opted for a mini-muffin pan so my little bites of autumn delight would resemble Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins. I also reserved some batter for a mini-pumpkin cake pan my mom gave me, but they just came out looking like little helmets. Soldier pumpkins!

My only mistake: making these on a Sunday afternoon, when I was free to shamelessly devour them. They have the delicious density of cake doughnuts, with just enough pumpkin flavor to make your taste buds scream, "Fall weather!" I seriously am obsessed.

Pumpkin Doughnut Mini Muffins
Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

What you need
½ cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
1 ½ tsp pumpkin spice*
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ¾ cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour 

1 ½ Tbsp sugar
1 ½ Tbsp cinnamon

*I used ¾ tsp cinnamon, plus ½ tsp allspice. 

Put it all together
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin.
  2. Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder. Then incorporate the flour until smooth. 
  3. Fill the cups of the muffin tin about ¾ full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one muffin comes out clean. 
  4. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. While the muffins are still warm (but not hot), shake them in a large Ziploc bag with the sugar and cinnamon, until well coated. 


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