Apple Butter Muffnuts

oh, muffnuts. Let me sing your sugary praises. So donutty. So muffiny.  I’ve been thinking about these since the first time I made them about a month ago.  They were amazing but, as I pondered what to do with a big batch of apple butter I’d made, I thought maybe the two were meant for each other.

 

 

As before, the dough came together in a snap and was thick and amazing.  With the extra heavy application of cooking spray, they baked up with a great looking crust and slightly darker than the original version–probably because of the added apple butter.
Then it was time to brush with butter and roll in the cinnamon and sugar.  I didn’t change anything about this step from the original recipe.  My son could barely contain his little muffnut-stealing hands.

 

When I first tried them when they were warm, I was sadly underwhelmed.  The cinnamon and sugar overwhelmed the little bit of apple flavor from the apple butter.  However, they improved as they cooled and the apple started to shine even up against the heavy coating.  If you ever had the great north-midwestern experience of having cinnamon cake donuts with fresh apple cider, these will taste very familiar.

I’m not going to say I’ll never make the plain version again but, if I have my apple butter laying around, I’ll probably opt for this version.

I made just a couple of substitutions to accommodate the apple butter in the recipe:

 

Makes 12

2 3/4 cups (13 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup of Apple Butter

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

COATING

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. Whisk flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg together in bowl. Whisk buttermilk, melted butter, apple butter and eggs together in separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just combined.

Scoop batter into prepared tin. Bake until doughnuts are lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 19 to 22 minutes. Let doughnuts cool in tin for 5 minutes.

Whisk sugar and cinnamon together in bowl. Remove doughnuts from tin. Working with 1 doughnut at a time, brush all over with melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar, pressing lightly to adhere. Transfer to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve.

The Great Muffin Tin Lining Test

I baked two batches of blueberry muffins over the last couple of weeks and had vastly different results.  The first was blogged here and resulted in gorgeous high-rising muffins that were, sadly, a little difficult to get out of the tin.  In the instructions, I noted that you should use liners instead of facing the frustrating reality of chiseling your muffins out of the tin.

 

But–was that right?  The second batch I made were baked in liners and they came out looking…well…too sad to photograph.  They were delicious but they didn’t rise nearly as high and they didn’t have the nice slight crunch of the exterior that is browned in the individual cups.  I wondered if the liner had anything to do with it and set about to test.

 

Eight muffins, four methods.  Baking spray only, a parchment paper sling, a paper liner, and a foil liner.

Then topped with the topping which I am still using from the original batch.  I still have a little more to use up, in fact.

Halfway through baking, the differences were clear.  Despite the unlined cups having the least amount of batter (since they were filled last and I am terrible at eyeballing), they were baking up higher and better looking than their partners.

 

After baking:

  

Some of this will, no doubt, come down to personal preference.  I prefer a muffin with a little crust on the side and I don’t really love the mess of a liner.  I just want to grab the muffin and eat it without any trash related entanglements, ok?  For that kind of muffin, I think the parchment sling is the way to go.  It made removal super easy and it had an even nicer looking top than the no liner muffins.

 

For those that like a soft sided muffin, the win has to go to the foil liners over the paper liners.  The rise was just a little loftier and muffin comes away just a little cleaner.

Blueberry Muffin Bout

  

  
I used to be anti-blueberry muffin. I’d always go with the banana nut or chocolate muffin (which, lets face it–is just a cupcake). I’ve come around though to the classic pleasure of a blueberry muffin especially if it had a perfect crumble topping. I have tried a lot of different recipes in the past but never found *the one* so, here we go again with the perfect recipe search.

The first contender: To Die For Blueberry Muffins from AllRecipes. With almost 8,000 reviews, this has to be pretty good, right? I read through some of the reviews and decided to do what many did and subbed buttermilk for the milk. Mostly because I had some buttermilk that was on its last day.

  
One thing I like about muffins? Easy mixing, baby. One bowl, minimal fuss. Add everything in and stir. The crumble topping in this recipe made FAR more than I needed for my muffins, so I have it in the fridge for the next batch. Next time, I will double the muffin batter and keep the same amount of crumble.

  
These muffins were quite delicious and looked fantastic. Super soft and fluffy on the interior and just the right amount of blueberries. The crumble was tasty though some of the other all recipes reviewers subbed brown sugar in for the white sugar and I’m thinking I may do the same. The white sugar gives you almost a hardened glazey shell on the muffin rather than a traditional chunky crumble. The crumble as written is delicious–don’t get me wrong–but I am just wondering if it could be better.

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins
Makes 8 big muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup frozen wild blueberries (wild blueberries are smaller than regular berries)

For the crumble topping:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners. (I didn’t and I regret this decision)

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries which may or may not turn your batter blue–don’t worry. Fill muffin cups almost to the top, and sprinkle generously with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork or pastry cutter, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’ve discussed my love of muffins many times on this blog and I stand by my feelings. Today, I have a favorite for you–peanut butter chocolate chip muffins! Two of my favorite flavors in my favorite bready shape!

 

This is a standby recipe in our house and, to be honest, I usually make a 4x batch of these since they freeze perfectly! I just freeze them either in the pan or in a single layer until they are hard, then pop them into large freezer bags. They’ll defrost on the counter overnight or in a few hours in a lunchbox.

 

These are as easy as pie to put together and, since there are many lickable things in the batter, are a great option for cooking with kids. I’ve made these with both smooth and crunch peanut butter and both work fine.

 

These are dense, heavy muffins with a strong peanut butter flavor and are quite sweet for a breakfast muffin. I’d say if you don’t like a sweet morning muffin, these would be a fantastic option for a cupcake with a little chocolate frosting or ganache on top.

These stay fresh for a few days before getting hard but they don’t last long in my house anyway.

Peanut Butter Muffins

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunch or smooth)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup milk or semi-sweet (I used semi-sweet) chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth.
Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter into your paper-lined muffin tin. Each cup should be filled to the top, not just half way up, to ensure you get a nice dome on the muffin.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.

Muffnuts

  
The original name for this recipe is “muffin tin donuts” from Cook’s Country but come on, people–they are just screaming to be called muffnuts. 

This batter came together in a cinch. I always use a one bowl technique for recipes like this. I add all the dry ingredients first and stir them together. Then I add the wet ingredients without stirring until they are all in the bowl. Stir gently until it all just comes together. 

  
You’ll need to liberally spray your muffin tin for this recipe. Both the spray and the (amazingly large) amount of butter in the recipe are going to act together to create a bit of a crispy crust to simulate the fried exterior of a donut. 

  
Once the muffins are done, you melt MORE butter to slather all over them. Then dredge them in a cinnamon sugar mixture. The recipe has you melt and entire stick of butter and make a ton of the sugar mix. I probably only used about 2/3 of each. You are supposed to let them cool for 15 minutes after this last step but you probably won’t. I know I didn’t.  These were AMAZING.  Really close to a donut hole flavor and the cinnamon sugar exterior was just right. A perfect-in-every-way experience. 

  

Muffnuts

Makes 12

2 3/4 cups (13 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup buttermilk

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk

COATING

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray. Whisk flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg together in bowl. Whisk buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs and yolk together in separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just combined.

Scoop batter into prepared tin. Bake until doughnuts are lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 19 to 22 minutes. Let doughnuts cool in tin for 5 minutes.

Whisk sugar and cinnamon together in bowl. Remove doughnuts from tin. Working with 1 doughnut at a time, brush all over with melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar, pressing lightly to adhere. Transfer to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve.