I've lived in Maryland my entire life, for better or for worse. The better being Old Bay, the ability to go from the mountains to the ocean without leaving the state, and the town with the hottest men in the nation are all housed within our borders. The worse, of course, includes the 495 Beltway, lack of Einstein Bagels beyond Montgomery County, and my current hometown being voted as having the second ugliest men in the country. I'm not making that up. Tell me how is it possible that the number one hottest and number two ugliest are contained in the same tiny state? No one can ever judge me for taking to the Internet to find a man.
Now, despite the fact that last year's survey proved my little town has little to offer beyond overweight, toothless, uneducated men - we are not without hope. (Can I just say one thing? I'm not actually from this town. We moved there when I was in sixth grade from another city which is much closer to the City of Hotties - just to clarify.) We moved to Western Maryland on the thought that it would be a slower paced country life with kind neighbors and easy living. Well, what we actually got was an interesting class of people who used words like you-ins and up'air while sitting on their porches in dirty tank tops smoking one pack after another. Not exactly the overall-wearin', corn-plantin', country-folk we'd imagined.
But then there was Krumpe's Doughnuts. This little hole-in-the wall shack with a walk-up counter, buried behind a church and only open after dark, could bring redemption to the whole dang town. It's sort of a Krispy Kreme concept, only better, because there are many Krispy Kreme's but only one Krumpe's. There's barely enough room behind the white counter for three people to wait in line, so you shuffle with your back against the wall while you order your cinnamon sugar twists and apple filled doughnuts with caramel icing at one o'clock in the morning. Hey, if those other folks are in line with you, no one's judging. You're amongst friends.
Oh, hey Kona.
The fryers are an arm's reach away from the cash register and the doughnuts are served piping hot with the box tipped open just enough to peek inside. They smell incredible - that sinful smell of fried dough and sugar and fat. Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me for that fateful night last summer when I ate three cinnamon sugar twists and a jug of whole milk in one sitting when I thought no one was watching - but You see everything, my doughnut darkness brought to light.
Thanks for letting me confess, I feel so much better. So I told you that story to tell you this story - I was craving doughnuts two days ago and Krumpe's was closed. Quelle horreur! My Dad offered to haul out the turkey fryer so I could make doughnuts, bless his heart, but the very thought of it seemed ridiculous. I remembered a glimpse of a show on Food Network that highlighted a cinnamon doughnut muffin at a bakery in California. Of course it's in California, the one state that's the farthest away from mine, ain't that the way it goes? Once I got over the distraction of Anne Burrell's skin, I set to work on finding a recipe that would mimic said muffin, giving me the power to curb my doughnut craving, tell my increasingly large backside that I didn't technically eat a doughnut even though it tasted like it, then go back to reveling in the fact that my boyfriend is from Pennsylvania and not Uglytown, USA.
These muffins were, by far, one of the best things I've ever eaten. (Is that the name of the show they were on? Not sure. This blog does not endorse the Food Network.) They taste like a spicy applesauce doughnut and the once cooled to room temperature, the powdered sugar takes on a bit of glazey form so it lessens the chance of that first bite snowing powdered sugar all over your shirt. Then we'd all know exactly what you were doing. They're not too sweet, the buttermilk gives a nice tang, and I'd be lying if I told you I ate less than five. Okay, I'm done confessing for today.
Nutmeg Doughnut Muffins
Adapted from Orangette
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Scant 1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg *
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, soft, but not melted
Scant 1 cup of sugar (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons, actually)
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and set a rack to the middle position. Spray a standard size muffin tray with cooking spray or brush liberally with melted butter (I chose the latter).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside
Combine the milk and the buttermilk in a measuring cup, and set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for a few seconds, until the butter is 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 a light, fluffy, pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are just combined.
With the mixer on low (or with a wooden spoon if you are one of the folks who tends to overmix), 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 dry . Mix until the dough is smooth and well combined, being careful not to overmix or your muffins will be more like bricks. You know what's up.
Divide the batter between the cups of the muffin tin, filling about 2/3 full (I use my larger cookie scoop and they come out even and perfect every time). Bake until the muffins are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20. (The original recipe says 25-32 minutes, but that is way, way too long. Mine were nearly over baked at 19 minutes, so keep an eye on things, your oven may vary.)
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. Serve.
* The original recipe called for fresh nutmeg, but I find that fresh nutmeg's flavor completely evaporates during baking. I tried it once in my Sweet Potato Pound Cake and I was terribly disappointed in the flavor. I used the dried stuff, straight off the shelf, and I think you should, too.