Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate Filled Doughnut Muffins

I have yet to meet someone who claims to dislike a doughnut.  For some reason though, (probably the fact they are laden with oil), I just really don't eat them much.  I found a recipe similar to this in the last issue of Donna Hay, I find that magazine one of the best food publications.  Their styling is absolutely amazing and the recipes are usually easy to make and well written.  I had a little epiphany of sorts while making these, I'm almost embarrassed to tell. When I bake I mostly measure by weighing the ingredients.  I have been doing this for years, I can easily say that aside from my 12" chef knife that my scale is the one thing I cannot live without in the kitchen. 

If you are familiar with using a scale, then you know that to tare is to re-set the scale to zero even when something is on it. For example, if I measure butter I'll set the mixer bowl on the scale, tare it and then add the butter to whatever weight it's supposed to be.  I then usually weigh the sugar, but by this time the bowl is already on the mixer with the butter in it so I get yet another bowl and do this process all over again. The point to remember here is that I have been in the food business for oh, almost 20 years and as a result I felt really dumb because it took me this long to figure this out. Just yesterday I realized that I don't have to weigh the sugar (or whatever the next ingredient to be added to the bowl) in a different vessel. I can tare it all over again, with the butter already in it, bringing the scale to zero and weighing the next ingredient. It was like the light came on in my brain, when doing this before I had been adding in my head or sometimes even on a piece of paper to get the right number of ounces and pounds when adding additional ingredients so I would come up with the correct cumulative total- a series of my own little math puzzles- every single day! When weighing in ounces it was always more challenging than grams because they weren't round numbers- I could go on and on about this. So let me tell you what an epiphany this is indeed.  While I am quite pleased with myself for figuring this out,  I've been also shaking my head at myself for a whole day; wondering if I'm the only one out there that didn't do this. 

Anyhow, about the muffins, they have a large crumb and I find they are best eaten while still warm or re-heated for a few seconds in the microwave. When making the second batch, I changed the recipe a bit. The one below has my adjustments, mostly in the way they are mixed.  The magazine version had you add the vanilla with the butter and sugar, but I feel that makes them not as light and airy because the sugar and butter don't have a chance to get really fluffy when liquid is added to early. The muffins are cake-like, so the batter should be treated as so.

Chocolate Filled Doughnut Muffins

160 grams butter, at room temperature
165 grams sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
450 grams all-purpose flour, sifted
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing

Chocolate filling:
1/3 cup whipping cream
80 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped

Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering, add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. In mixer bowl, combine butter and sugar.  Mix on medium speed until very light and fluffy.

2. While butter is mixing, sift together the flour and baking powder. I do this over a piece of parchment paper which I then make into a cone to add to the mixture.  Set aside.

3. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar, scraping the bowl between additions. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

4. Add half the milks and flour mixture and blend until just combined.  Do not over mix.

5. Spoon half of the batter into lightly greased muffin tins. I used a medium sized ice-cream scoop.  Then make a small hole in the mixture and divide the chocolate filling among the 12 muffins- it's important to try to keep the filling mostly inside the hole, that way the chocolate doesn't ooze out while baking. Scoop additional dough on top of the chocolate.   Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

6. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  When the muffins are cool enough to handle, brush with melted butter and coat with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

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