Nutella makes everything better: yummy Nutella-filled doughnut muffins
All photos by Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES
Doughnut muffins sounds like a contradictory name; doughnuts by nature are not muffins, nor are muffins doughnuts. Yet in it all its strangeness, this hybrid explains itself with the first bite. It all started when I decided to finally try one of the baked doughnut recipes featured all over Pinterest. As with most decisions made on a fanciful whim, I quickly discovered two major roadblocks. Making yeast-risen doughnuts takes several hours because of the dough rising and resting. While it is well worth the trouble, I do not possess such precious time. In addition, a doughnut pan is needed to make cake doughnuts, which do not need yeast, because the batter will not keep its shape when piped onto a cookie sheet. As an ardent advocate against fad-based, single-purpose and downright silly kitchen tools and gadgets, I simply could not bring myself to cough up $15 to $20 for a doughnut pan that I would probably utilize no more than twice a year.
Set in my stubbornness, I decided I would bake whichever recipe I liked the best in my muffin tins instead. It was in a moment of sweet serendipity and I stumbled upon what I can only assume to be the product of an equally obstinate genius. Originally drawn in by a single word — “Nutella” — I immediately knew these fabulous doughnut muffins and I were a match made in hazelnut chocolate spread heaven.
Nutella-Filled Doughnut Muffins
Adapted from: usmasala.blogspot.com
cooking spray or oil to grease pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
approximately 1/2 cup Nutella
extra sugar and ground cinnamon for coating
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a mini muffin pan well, especially since there are no cupcake papers to prevent the doughnuts from sticking.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Whisk together the oil, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Pour into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and stir just until all the ingredients have been incorporated. Once dry flour is no longer visible in the batter, stop mixing. Further agitation of the batter after this point will lead to sad, tough muffins instead of light, perfect muffins.
Portion a tablespoon of batter into each hole in the mini muffin pan. Add a teaspoon of Nutella on the center of each and add another tablespoon, or slightly less, of batter to cover. The batter should fill the hole no more than 3/4 of the way.
Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after the first eight minutes. Don’t forget to set a timer; these muffins will become dry if baked for too long.
Rotating the pan halfway through the baking cycle allows equal heat distribution so that all the muffins bake evenly. This can be applied to most other baked goods, including cookies and cupcakes.
When your timer goes off, check the muffins by lightly pressing on the top. If it springs back then they are ready; if your finger leaves a dent, the muffins still need a little more time. Check them in three-minute intervals after this point.
While the muffins are in the oven, combine the extra cinnamon and sugar together. Making cinnamon sugar is one of the few baking-related things that is not an exact science; a few shakes of cinnamon stirred into about half a cup of sugar should do the trick. You should be able to smell the sharp spiciness of the cinnamon without it being overpowering.
As soon as the muffins come out of the oven, pick the muffins up out of the pan individually and toss them in the cinnamon sugar until completely coated. It is important to do this while they are piping hot so the cinnamon sugar sticks; if the pan was greased well they will be easy to remove. Pick them up by the sides of the muffin top, taking care not to touch the metal pan. Wait a minute or two if the muffins are too hot to handle immediately, but do not let them cool down all the way.
Place the finished muffins on a plate to let cool down a little more. Fortunately, this will only take a few more minutes. These little treats are best enjoyed still warm with a tall glass of milk. They also store well for a day or two in an airtight container — that is, if you even have leftovers.
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