Muffins and doughnuts. I love them both! I like muffins better, though. I think. I’ve made doughnut muffins a couple times already, and they were wonderful. I’d have to say, though, that these are by far my favorites! They’ve got that classic doughnut flavor--nutmeg, and plenty of it. It’s just enough so that when these are baking, your taste buds will be anticipating a doughnut. The apple pie filling is a nice addition in the middle, and the glaze--when it sets, it has that nice “crackly” quality. Like when you bite into a glazed doughnut. These are kid and husband approved. Everything about them says Autumn, from the cider doughnut flavor to the apple filling and warmly spiced glaze.
I actually made these first a couple of weeks ago, and wanted to change things up a bit. For one, cutting the butter. I adapted this recipe from BBC Good Food. Doubled it, added some stuff, changed some things. There were five ounces of melted butter in the original--doubling it would have meant ten. TEN. Which is two and a half sticks! That’s a lot of butter. I brought in some applesauce to take the place of about half of that. Thank goodness for applesauce in baking! It’s a fabulous fat replacer. Just shop carefully and look for one without that useless poison, HFCS. No one needs that! And unfortunately, most major brands have it. And they market it right at your kids! Look for the organic choices in your market. (Lecture over.) The yogurt in these also helps to keep the muffins tender and not dry.
A note on the boiled cider in these. It’s not a necessity, but it’s a great ingredient to have in your fridge. It’s very intense, so a little goes a long way. Use it in baking, in sauces, with pork or chicken--use your imagination! There are a lot of good ideas in the comments here on King Arthur Flour’s site. If you want to, you can even make your own. And it’s the season--apple cider is everywhere! You could make some now to last you quite a while!
The filling. I had a jar of Maple Apple Drizzle that I picked up at a general store in the mountains. You can kind of see what kind of texture it is in the photo. Think apple pie filling. You can make your own really quickly by dicing an apple or two into small chunks, adding a touch of sugar or maple syrup, and some spices--apple pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. No need to overthink it--just add stuff till it tastes good to you. Or if you don’t want to do that, use a good chunky applesauce and just break up any large chunks of apple.
Now, aside from these notes about the boiled cider and the filling, these are so easy to make! Dry stuff, wet stuff, add the wet to the dry, mix. Done! The glazing takes just a few minutes. After a couple of days being stored, the glaze will soften up and sink into the muffins. They still taste great, though, so it’s a small matter to me. If you’re planning on taking these somewhere, glaze just a couple of hours before you go, or the day before.
Apple Pie Filled Cider Doughnut Muffins
Makes 16-17 standard sized muffins
Adapted from BBC Good Food
1 cup sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup Greek yogurt (you can use sour cream or plain yogurt)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick (4 oz) plus 1 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup applesauce (please look for one without HFCS!)
2 tbsp boiled cider (or regular apple cider)
Apple Pie Filling Options:
You'll need about a cup or so of filling.
Maple Apple Drizzle or Finely diced apple that's sprinkled with a bit of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg--or apple pie spice, then cooked down a bit to get that caramelized apple texture. You could also skip the cooking part and just leave the spiced apple chunks as is--OR chunky applesauce OR premade jarred apple pie filling--just cut the apples into small pieces.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
3/4 tsp apple pie spice
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 tbsp apple cider
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tins, or line with paper liners. I like the crispy edges, so I don't use paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. Mix well with a whisk and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, butter, applesauce and boiled cider. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until moistened. (Don't stir the heck out of it, be gentle--I like to use a rubber spatula and mostly "fold" the ingredients together.)
Put a couple of tablespoons of batter in about 16 muffin cups. I used a 2 1/2 tbsp sized ice cream scoop. (You can go back and make one or two more if you have enough batter.) Using a measuring teaspoon, add one teaspoon of filling in the center of each mound of batter. Go back now and add another 2-3 tbsp of batter over the tops of each muffin.
If you decide not to use the glaze, sprinkle the top of each muffin with apple pie spice or just cinnamon--and then proceed to bake. If you're using the glaze, leave the tops alone and bake the muffins.
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for 6 more minutes. A tester should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool on racks completely before glazing.
To make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in the apple pie spice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk in the apple cider until completely blended. Dip the top of each muffin into the glaze, and set back on the cooling rack over a baking sheet to catch the drips.