Churros. Elephant ears. Beignets. Funnel cakes. Krispy Kremes. Apple fritters. I l-o-v-e fried dough. But, I seriously hate frying anything. It makes your house stink for days. It’s a bitch to discard a gallon of gross, dirty fryer oil. And I’ve heard rumors it’s unhealthy.
So what’s a girl to do when she’s craving a hot, golden ball of cinnamon-sugary goodness? BAKE THESE:
Deb of smittenkitchen amazingness is responsible for these babies. Now, Deb calls these “cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs,” but I don’t want to pigeon hole these as a strictly morning delight. In fact, I think these might be best at night, post dinner, served alongside a cup of coffee and perhaps a drizzle of salted caramel and chile-spiked chocolate sauce. Just off the top of my head.
In truth, every time I’ve made these, it’s been for brunch. But that’s because I simply can’t wait all day to dive mouth first into a heaping plateful of these.
This recipe is quick and easy, and the doughnut holes keep for two days if tightly wrapped….but I doubt you’ll have leftovers.
-2/3 cup sugar (I used coarse, but granulated is fine)
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-8 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp table salt
-1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 large egg
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 30 mini muffin cups or 12 standard size muffin cups. Set aside.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
4. Add egg and vanilla, beat until combined.
5. Mix in 1/3 of dry ingredients.
6. Mix in 1/2 of the buttermilk.
7. Mix in another 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
8. Mix in the rest of the buttermilk.
9. Mix in remaining dry ingredients just until combined.
10. Fill muffin cups 3/4 the way full.
11. Bake 12-15 minutes for mini muffins, 20-24 minutes for standard size muffins.
12. In a small saucepan, melt 8 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
13. Continue cooking while stirring regularly.
14. As color darkens, watch for brown bits forming on the bottom. Scrape these off and continue stirring.
15. As soon as the butter smells nutty and heavenly and is a dark amber color (your butter might froth like mine), remove from heat and set aside.
16. In a small bowl, stir together the 2/3 cup sugar and cinnamon.
HERE’S WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS:
17. When a toothpick inserted into doughnut hole comes out clean, take out from oven and let cool for a minute or two.
18. As soon as you can physically stand it, pick up the warm doughnut and roll in browned butter.
19. Immediately drop into bowl of cinnamon sugar coating and roll.
20. Set on plate.
Go make these. Right now. And don’t question me on the “Wait, is 8 tablespoons of melted butter really healthier than fried dough?” I don’t have time to explain the chemical process of frying and how it produces unnatural compounds yadda yadda yadda. I have some delicious toppings to test out on these doughnut holes.