Donut + Muffin = Duffin
As a kid, mashup meant that wonderful slop created when I mixed my mashed potatoes, meatloaf, and peas. I was an odd child, because I would get my mashup all ready and then take a scoop of that and eat it with a bite of crunchy salad topped with vinegar and oil dressing. My Italian parents would never buy dressing in a bottle or jar, so our salads were typically topped with red-wine vinegar and olive oil, and they were usually so tart from the vinegar that my eyes would roll into the back of my head and my lips would form a near-constant pucker. On its own, the salad could have effectively cleaned windows, but when combined with my meatloaf-potato mashup, why it was decades ahead of the curve in the culinary world of food mashups.
I refer, of course, to the new trend of food mashups, made famous in recent years by the cronut, that delightful and mischievous blend (or mashup) of a donut and a croissant. I’d like to interject some razor sharp commentary about it, but the fact is I would eat the hell out a dozen cronuts in a heartbeat.
The most famous mashup by far is the Turducken. The origins of the Turducken can be traced as far back as ancient Rome, but there appear to be revivals through the years in France, India, and more recently, the deep south. I am not sure what – exactly – one needs to smoke or drink to come up with the idea of shoving a chicken into a duck into a turkey, but I am fairly certain that smoking or drinking said substance would give one the munchies even Cheech and Chong could be proud of!
As much as I love food – it’s deep and it’s real, people – I have never gotten to the stage of life where I felt the need to shove one animal carcass into another and roast them. So I am going to stick with the mashups of the pastry variety. By far my favorite is this recipe for the “duffin.” I am not sure who thought of baking donut batter in muffin pans and then coating them in butter and cinnamon-sugar, but they ought to be sainted.
For the coating:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the muffins:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
For the coating:
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
For the muffins:
Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly brush a 24-well mini muffin pan with some of the melted butter, then coat it with flour, tapping out any excess; set aside. Reserve the remaining melted butter for applying the cinnamon-sugar coating.
In a large bowl, sift together the measured flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and buttermilk. Set both aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the room-temperature butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
With the mixer on low speed, beat in a quarter of the reserved dry ingredients. Then beat in a third of the reserved milk mixture. Continue to alternate until all of the remaining ingredients are incorporated, finishing with the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
Fill the prepared muffin pan wells just to the rim with batter. Bake until the muffins are lightly golden and firm to the touch, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat the buttering and flouring of the muffin pan and bake the remaining batter.
To coat the muffins, brush each generously with the melted butter and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.