One of the things I like best about my new working-from-home regime is the fact that I can act on my impulses. If I want soda bread for breakfast, I can just walk into the kitchen and make soda bread for breakfast. If I fancy a curry for lunch, all I need to do is avoid being knocked out by the jar of Madras paste when I attempt to dislodge it from the top of my (overstuffed) cupboard and whip one up during The World at One. So, when I was gripped an overwhelming urge for donuts on Monday afternoon (brought on by the sight of a Dunkin Donuts box in an episode of Orange is the New Black) I knew what I needed to do.
I am too much of a wuss to deal with bubbling pans of boiling oil on a weekday afternoon, so I turned to a baked doughnut recipe from Joy the Baker to cure my cravings. While some may see baked doughnuts as being a bit of a cop-out – particularly as they lack that delicious artery-clogging hit of hot fat and white sugar you get from the fried versions – they’re great for people like me who like to kid themselves that they are a ‘healthy option’. The only snag in my glorious plan was that Joy’s original recipe calls for a ‘doughnut pan’. I do not own a doughnut pan. I do not know anyone who owns a doughnut pan. In fact, prior to reading that recipe, I wasn’t even aware that doughnut pans existed. And I certainly wasn’t going to schlep all the way to Lakeland for a very specific item of bakeware. It was time to put my thinking cap on.
So, I used what few lateral thinking skills I have retained from my time in the Girl’s Brigade, and decided to improvise. If you’ve been keeping abreast of the food media over the past week or so, you’ll have seen a lot of press about the ‘duffin,’ a doughnut-muffin hybrid which was created by Bea’s of Bloomsbury and has (rather naughtily) been trademarked by Starbucks. I’m not going to say that this donut-muffin mishmash is my version of a ‘duffin’ as a) I don’t want to be sued by Starbucks and b) I much prefer the portmeanteau of ‘muffnut’ (plus, ‘muffnut’ just sounds dirtier.) What I will say is that these muffnuts are the perfect vehicle for a chocolate glaze and a shedload of sprinkles, and make a perfect 3pm high-tea treat. Oh, and if you have an incredibly childish sense of humour like me, they provide you with ample opportunity to make loads of jokes about your ‘muff’. Sorry Mum.
CHOCOLATE BROWN-BUTTER MUFFNUTS (Makes six ‘muffnuts’)
Adapted from Joy the Baker
You will need
For the Muffnuts:
- 150g plain flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 75g white sugar
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 medium eggs
- 100ml buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
For the Chocolate Glaze:
- 100g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Heat your oven to 200 degrees c/gas mark 5. Lightly grease a muffin tray, and set to one side.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. The butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts. Once the water has evaporated, the butter will begin to brown quickly and smell nutty. Make sure that you keep an eye on it, as it can easily burn at this stage. Once it’s turned a rich brown colour, remove from the heat and immediately transfer (brown bits and all) to a small bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, brown butter and vanilla essence.
- Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir together until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined. Try not to overmix the batter, as that will lead to rubbery muffnuts (and no, that’s not a euphemism.)
- Portion out the batter into each section of the muffin tray until they are all evenly filled. This batter should give you six large ‘muffnuts’.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until they have turned a rich golden colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan before gently (!) removing them and placing them onto a wire rack. (If you don’t have rack, a large plate will be fine.)
- While the doughnuts cool, make the glaze.
- To make the glaze, sift your icing sugar into a medium sized bowl to remove any lumps. Then, whisk it together with the cocoa powder, and salt.
- Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla essence, and whisk to combine. If it looks too thick, add a touch more milk. You want the glaze to have a relatively thick consistency.
- Once the muffnuts are completely cool, dip top-side-down into the chocolate glaze. Return to the wire rack/plate. If you’re artistically minded, this is the time to cover them in sprinkles. Allow to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving. The muffnuts should last for 2 days, but quite frankly, you’ll be lucky if they last two hours.