orangette’s nutmeg donut muffins

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I love the idea of donuts done right. I remember the first time I had a homemade beniegt, only a few years ago, they kind of rocked my world. You have maybe 30 minutes once they come out of the fryer to get the full crispy pleasure, which provided a handy excuse for downing the entire batch save a few tin-foil clad offerings we passed over the fence to out closest neighbor. Just as delicious, and no deep-frying required, are these nutmeg kissed and butter-sugar dredged “donut muffins.” I had to package them up and drop them on a friend’s door step just to get them out of the house. I happened upon this recipe along with one of the sweetest (sorry) food-based love stories I’ve ever read. Where else but on Orangette? I’ll let you just read the post for yourself, save one reader comment which pretty much sums up the whole sentiment: “Molly. You just made me cry. I can’t even finish this comment, except to say I hope you and Brandon share nutmeg scented kisses for eternity.” Donuts + nutmeg + love + a little melted butter = I’m in. And what a charming little recipe; these muffins taste like cake donuts gone to heaven. They remind me of the cider donuts I buy from Russel Orchard every fall minus the cider of course. Perfect for a weekend breakfast on the porch, they could also double as dessert with some berries and a pouring of coulis or cream. I can’t wait to remake these in the fall and serve them up with some sautéed apples and maybe an apple cider caramel. The original recipe is adapted from the Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healsburg, CA, and my one complaint is that the measurements are a bit wonky – I included some notes and suggestions below.* Makes 12 muffins.

For the Muffins:
*see notes below
3 cups, 400g all purpose flour (345g)
2 ½ tsp baking powder (2 tsp)
¼ tsp baking soda (scant ¼ tsp)
Scant 1 tsp salt (¼ tsp)
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (scant ½ tsp)
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp, 180g whole milk (155g)
2 tbsp, 20g buttermilk** (18g)
6 oz, 170g unsalted butter at room temperature (145g)
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp, 365g granulated sugar (310g)
2 large, 100g eggs (2 smallish eggs, 85g)

Make the Muffins: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Place the milk and buttermilk in another small dish and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape down the bowl after each addition and try not to over mix, you want the ingredients to be just combined. Divide the batter evenly between 12 greased muffin tins and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes.

For the Topping:
6 tbsp unsalted butter, give or take
Powdered or granulated sugar for rolling

Make the Topping: melt the butter either in a dish in the microwave or in a small sauce pan on the stove. Set out the sugar in a small bowl (I did 6 with powdered sugar and 6 with granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar might be tasty also.) Once the muffins are cool-ish, dredge (or lightly brush if you must) in butter and then roll in sugar. Serve at once. The muffins are best enjoyed the day they are made, but they will keep 3-4 days tightly covered at room temperature. 

*Measurement Notes
This recipe, featured on Orangette in cups and teaspoons, reads like a formula that’s been converted to volume from a weight based recipe (I’m 99.9% sure this is the case, since it’s original source is a bakery and any place that does larger scale production generally works in weight.) How can I tell? There’s no round measurements to be found, it’s all ¾ of a cup plus 1 tbsp of this and that. That’s what happens when you covert weight to volume – you end up with all these “not quite” measurements. Simple baking recipes, or what I call grandma recipes (see here), are all ratio based and round. Maybe once upon a time this recipe was in round ratios, but somewhere along the line, after scaling up and scaling down, it’s wound up in its current state. I gotta say, though it yielded delicious results, the measurements drove to completely nuts. I had to dirty every cup and teaspoon and re-wash them several times throughout; it just felt so cumbersome. Without botching the chemistry of the recipe, my simple solution is just to return it to weight measurements. I know, I know, that means you have splurge on a little kitchen scale (which, by the way, will only set you back $20-50.) But think of all the time and dishwashing you’ll be saving yourself (see here for an expanded version of this argument.)
Couple other gripes: 
**First, 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Come on, really? I should buy a quart of buttermilk for something that calls for 2 tablespoons? That’s borderline offensive. Please substitute yogurt or kefir which 1. you might already have and 2. can be eaten for breakfast as is, unlike buttermilk. I mean ok, I know some people drink the stuff, but that just sounds wrong to me.
Second, the yield. For my muffin tin (which I think is pretty standard), this recipe made about 2 muffins too much batter. So, and here’s where those math skills come in handy, that means I want to make 12/14 (or 6/7) of the recipe next time. Calculating 6/7 of ¾ of a cup plus 1 tbsp makes my head hurt, but calculating 6/7 of 180 grams I can handle. I hate secretly love to harp the scale thing, but it just makes things so much easier. 
Long story short, I wrote the recipe is in its original cups and teaspoons form with accompanying gram equivalents. The slightly smaller size measurements (6/7 the original to fit my 12 muffin cups) are listed in parentheses. 


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  2. I read her post, and I haven’t been a follower of hers, at all… too busy teaching school and writing my posts for my daughter and community and reading my favourite posts … and I knew hers were literature for the palate… and now I see why. Thank you, Alex.
    One day, I may make these, just because of you and her, but donuts and muffins are not often made here….

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