Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnut Muffins

bite out of donut hole

The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 32 servings
  • Yields: 32 muffins

Baking up a bunch of mini muffins and transforming them into cinnamon sugar "doughnut" holes is a pretty impressive feat—and one that is surprisingly easy-peasy and results in many new friends (if gaining friends is something you are into).

Essentially, a simple nutmeg-scented muffin batter (with a bit of brown sugar for a slightly molasses-y vibe and extra vanilla) is mixed by hand (yes: this is essentially a one-bowl treat) and transferred to a mini-muffin pan. If you do not have one, they are worth investing in—if only because after you make these once, you will probably be making them on the regular. Or you may use a regular sized muffin pan (for larger "donuts"). They bake up in less than 10 minutes ( no joke!) and because they are so tiny, they cool quickly and are ready to be "doughnut-ized," as it were, as soon as possible.

To transform muffins to doughnuts, you merely dunk the mini pastries in melted butter, then roll them in a bowl of cinnamon sugar and—voila—the similarities between the dunked and sugared mini muffins and an actual baked (or even fried) cinnamon-sugar doughnut, is uncanny.

Friends and family will love you for these (and, honestly, you'll love yourself, they are that good). These are not only lovely for breakfast or brunch, but they are fab as a special dessert at a dinner party, or with drinks at a dance party.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease two twelve-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray or softened butter.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into a medium bowl and then whisk to insure everything is fully incorporated.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and the vanilla.

  4. Add the egg and whisk until combined.

  5. Add the dry ingredients in three installments, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry.

  6. Place a tablespoon of batter in each muffin cavity.

  7. Bake for about 8 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point, The muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean or with a moist crumb or two.

  8. Meanwhile, place the butter in a small, shallow bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in another small shallow bowl and whisk to combine.

  9. As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, remove them from the pan and refill the cavities with the remaining batter.

  10. Begin dunking the baked "doughnuts" in the butter, then rolling them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Transfer the coated holes to a wire rack. Let cool briefly and enjoy.

Tips

  • Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet for the lightest doughnut-like texture.
  • Use a spoon to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the butter-soaked muffin, moving the muffin around gently in the bowl to make sure it gets completely covered.
  • Do not overbake the muffins or they will be dry. Check them at exactly 8 minutes.
  • Remove the muffins from the pan while they are still warm by turning the muffin pan over on the counter (using potholders, if need be!) and letting the muffins drop out.
  • Serve these at a potluck or even at an evening party as a treat with a glass of bubbly or wine.
  • Double the recipe to feed a crowd!

Recipe Variations

  • Feel free to use buttermilk, or even heavy cream, instead of the milk.
  • Add a pinch of nutmeg to the cinnamon-sugar mixture for an extra spicy kick.
  • Make large "doughnuts" by using a regular-sized muffin pan.
  • Dip only the tops of the muffins in the melted butter and cinnamon-sugar for a less cinnamon-forward treat.