In the new Vermont Country Store Cookbook (and if you haven't gotten this, you really should), there is a recipe for buttermilk donut puffs - like a donut-muffin hybrid. I made them as directed and they were kind of a flop with the family - buttermilk was too tangy and too much nutmeg. I thought they were delicious but, as I've said in other recipes, I think everything is delicious. I think the kiddos expected more donut-y flavor since they were called donut puffs. So I changed, well, pretty much everything about the recipe, but I like to give provenance even if it was just a jumping off point. I added cooked pumpkin puree with browned butter, upped the sugar with the more flavorful brown sugar, replaced the buttermilk with regular milk and did some editing with the spices. They taste like a donut version of pumpkin pie and were devoured. Oh, and I called them duffins because, uh, I couldn't say muffnuts in front of my grandmother and not blush. —Niknud
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a muffin tin with baking Pam (loooove the baking Pam), or grease and flour.
In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
Over medium heat melt butter. When it juuuust starts to brown, take it off the heat, add the pumpkin purée and fold together with a spatula. After a few minutes of folding/stirring the butter will start to absorb into the purée and the whole mixture takes on a shiny look. Add both of the sugars and stir to combine.
Add the egg and combine. Alternating wet and dry, add the flour mixture and the milk to the pumpkin mixture. Spoon into the cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the muffin tins spring back when pushed lightly. (If you're making mini duffins, check them after 10 minutes).
For the topping: While the duffins are cooking, brown the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in a small sauté pan. When it smells nice and nutty, remove to a separate bowl, straining out any remaining solids if necessary. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining topping ingredients. When the duffins are done and cooled slightly, run a knife around them and pick them out of the trays. Give them a quick dunk in the browned butter and roll them around in the topping.
Full-time working wife and mother of two small boys whose obsessive need to cook delicious food is threatening to take over what little free time I have. I grew up in a family of serious cookers but didn't learn to cook myself until I got married and got out of the military and discovered the joys of micro-graters, ethiopian food, immersion blenders and watching my husband roll around on the floor after four servings of pulled pork tamales (with real lard!) complaining that he's so full he can't feel his legs. Trying to graduate from novice cooker to ranked amateur. The days of 'the biscuit incident of aught five' as my husband refers to it are long past but I still haven't tried my hand at paella so I'm a work in progress!