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Mini Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Labor day is behind us, people. So that means…fall is heeeeeeeeeere! I definitely sang that out loud as I typed it to make sure I used the correct amount of “eeees.”

Fall is my favorite season of the year. So much so that I begged my husband to let us get married in the fall, which he so graciously approved. The whole wedding had some fall aspects to it: fall centerpieces, leaves everywhere, cookies in the shape of pumpkins and leaves, hot cider. You name it. Now, every October 24th, we get to celebrate our anniversary with some pumpkin-themed dessert. Can you imagine anything better than that? Nope, don’t even try.

To honor the fall season, I just had to make my first pumpkin baked good of the month. And I knew just what it was going to be.

A few years ago, I made some cinnamon sugar doughnut muffins that were unbelievable. Yes, I said doughnut muffins. They are basically little “faux nut” holes since they aren’t fried like traditional doughnuts. Instead, they are baked in mini muffin tins and rolled in cinnamon sugar to look like a doughnut hole. There are also glazed versions, which I blogged about here.

Despite all the time that passed since I made them, I never forgot the soft muffin texture that tasted so much like a doughnut hole. And then there was the cinnamon sugar that provided a hint of crunch when you took a bite. Mmm. Plus, they were mini so I didn’t have to commit to a whole, huge muffin, when all I really wanted was a bite. Side note: this fear of food commitment comes up a lot. It’s the reason why I always take a bite of my husband’s food – I just want a taste! It’s also why I love buffets since I can have just a little bit of everything. Oh and it’s also why I love food festivals. And hor d’oeuvres.

Okay back to the doughnut muffins. For all the reasons I mentioned above, I had to make these again. But this time…they would be pumpkin!

The recipe I used was actually for pumpkin doughnuts, not doughnut muffins. But it was really similar to the recipe I had for the doughnut muffins, aside from the pumpkin puree and extra spices. And the fact that they would be baked in a muffin tin, not a doughnut tin. So I thought it would probably work.

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And work, it did! Each bite was full of pumpkin spice goodness that just made you want to sip a coffee alongside it. And that crunch from the cinnamon sugar that I mentioned? Yup, still there. Each bite was so full of fall flavor that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I almost put on a flannel shirt right then and there. But it’s still almost 90 degrees here so I would have sweat through it immediately. Soon, flannel, soon.

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Here are a few tips to consider before you begin you journey to doughnut muffin land:

  1. In order to get a rounded shape reminiscent of a doughnut hole, you need to use a small cookie scoop to put the batter into the muffin mold nice and evenly. This one is similar to the one I have. If you just put batter in the muffin tin all willy-nilly, the doughnut hole will be less round and may have weird uneven edges. This happened to me when I got lazy on the last doughnut muffin. It doesn’t look that bad but it’s definitely not as round as the others. Take a look at it below.
  2. Do not over mix the batter. If you do, the muffins will be slightly tough. Mix the batter just until everything is incorporated.
  3. If you have a dark-coated pan (like I do) make sure you bring down the oven temperature to 350 degrees. If you don’t know what a dark-coated pan looks like, this is the one I have. The darkness of the pan absorbs much more heat than a normal light-coated pan. So that will cause you muffins to bake a lot faster and even darken them too fast, making them dry out.
  4. Make sure the doughnut muffins are completely cool before you roll them in the butter and cinnamon sugar. Otherwise, the warm muffins will absorb the butter and you won’t get a good coating of cinnamon and sugar.

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Alright, that’s all I have for you guys. Let me know how you like them!

What other treats should I make for fall? What are your favorites?

Recipe (adapted from Baker by Nature):

Print Recipe
Mini Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
Pumpkin plus cinnamon = fall in your mouth! These little muffins are the perfect size to enjoy a fall treat without all the guilt.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
mini muffins
Ingredients
For muffin dough:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon groud cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter unsalted, melted
  • 5 ounces milk
For cinnamon-sugar coating:
  • 1/4 cup butter salted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
mini muffins
Ingredients
For muffin dough:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon groud cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter unsalted, melted
  • 5 ounces milk
For cinnamon-sugar coating:
  • 1/4 cup butter salted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 if your pan is dark, like mine was). Grease your mini-muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients through ground cloves with a whisk.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix puree, milk and butter. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until everything is combined. Do not over-mix or the muffins will be too tough. The batter should look like brownie batter when it's done. If it's more like pancake batter, add a little more flour. If it's more like cookie dough batter, add a little more milk.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop (1/2 ounce), place one scoop of dough into each muffin mold. The dough should be almost to the top. Do not overfill or your doughnut muffins will look more like muffins and less like doughnut holes.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking to get an even bake. Muffins are done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  6. When done baking, place muffin pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then, remove from muffin tin and cool completely on cooling rack before coating.
  7. When the muffins are completely cool, melt butter in microwave for 45 seconds. Mix cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl.
  8. Roll one muffin in melted butter. Then roll that muffin in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat for the remaining muffins.
  9. Muffins are best eaten on the day they're baked.

mini-pumpkin-doughnut-muffins

16 comments

  1. These look unbelievable good! Question – have you ever substituted almond milk for regular milk? Didn’t know if that would change the texture or consistency of the dough. Thanks Sharon!

    • Thanks Sarah! I haven’t tried it but the consistency and fat in the two milks are similar so I don’t think substituting almond milk would affect the muffins in a negative way. Thanks for your question!

  2. Oh my goodness. These look perfect! I’d like to think I’d be able to snack on these … but I would probably just end up eating all of them at once. :\

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