Friday, March 16, 2012

Chocolate-Glazed Baked Doughnut Muffins

Right now I have post-it notes all over my wall just to remind me to bake doughnuts today.

It's one of those weeks.

Among baking doughnuts, the scribbles on my sticky notes say things like:

pay phone bill
call Nikki!
use up strawberries
do a hand wash
bake something with the rest of that 10% cream
take pictures of brownies
you  need to buy peanut butter!
get another external hard drive 
defrost chicken
throw out nail polish
buy new nail polish
did you call Nikki yet? 
where did I put those gummi bears...

My brain simply can't hold all of those thoughts at one time. I'm not that talented.

I can bake doughnuts though!

PS. I hate doing my hand washables and my nail polish is like 13 years old. 

These are called doughnut "muffins" because they're made from a batter, not a dough. The batter is fairly wet so that it can be scooped into muffin cups and baked until golden.

The thing that makes them distinct, and taste like doughnuts, is the addition of nutmeg and yeast. Doughnuts are typically made from a yeasted dough, and nutmeg is a characteristic spice that makes them taste doughnutty. 

The best part is that you don't have to heat up a big pot of oil.

You don't need to knead, roll or cut out dough.


You just let the mix sit in the bowl for 30 minutes to an hour to let the yeast work its magic. Instant dry yeast only needs a bit of moisture to become activated. As it dissolves in the liquid of the batter, it feeds on the sugar and begins to produce carbon dioxide gas as part of its metabolism.

The reason why bread and all other yeasty things are so tasty is that, along with CO2, yeast also produce a bunch of fun flavour compounds that make these muffins taste great.

Just make sure you don't over-heat the milk. If it gets too hot (much hotter than 110 degrees F), then it will kill the yeast. For now you really want them to live...then they can die in the oven.

Sad, but delicious.

Then there's chocolate glaze...chocolate glaze. Every doughnut needs it.

It's just perfect in more ways than I can scribble on a sticky note.

Chocolate-Glazed Baked Doughnut Muffins
Makes 12 doughnut muffins

½ cup milk
¾ tsp instant dry yeast
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into about 8 cubes
¼ cup full fat yogurt
2 large eggs
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:
2 oz semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp amber honey

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a standard non-stick 12-cup muffin pan with butter.

In a small pan, heat the milk gently until quite warm but not boiling (110 degrees F is ideal). Remove from heat, sprinkle yeast over the surface and set aside to dissolve while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Whisk in sugar.  Add the cold butter and use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients until it is very finely dispersed throughout the butter and the mixture is dry and crumbly. It will resemble fine bread crumbs. Set it aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the warm milk and whisk to incorporate.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir together with a spatula until just incorporated.  Be careful not to over-mix as it may make the muffins dense. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Gently spoon batter into muffin tins.  Muffins tins should be filled halfway. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the muffins are lightly golden brown and springy to the touch. Insert a skewer into the center of a muffin to test for doneness.  If the skewer comes out clean, the muffins are done!  Remove from the oven and let rest while you whip up the chocolate glaze.

To make the chocolate glaze, in a small saucepan over medium flame, heat butter, milk, and honey until it comes to a boil.  Remove from flame and add chopped chocolate.  Let stand for 2 minutes and then stir until chocolate has melted.  If the mixture begins to separate a bit, don’t worry. Place the pan over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. The glaze should be thick and shiny.  Dip the muffin tops in the glaze while the glaze is warm.  Let rest for 3 minutes then sprinkle with coloured sprinkles.

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