Homer has died and gone to heaven: Doughnut Muffins

Yeah, yeah, I know, you watch “Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network too. This blog does not claim to be particularly original. Tasty yes. Ground breaking? Eh. So, when I saw the episode about Sprinkles’ founder Candace Nelson’s favorite baked good I knew I had to find the recipe and bring it here. I mean come on—this is what the sister grand pubha of cupcakes puts at the top of her list. It’s gotta be good. And it is, really good. Like, reaaalllly gooood. But there is a secret to the doughnut-muffin that makes them extra super excellent that they don’t share with you on the show that I will share with you here. Promise.

Start with all room temperature ingredients. The butter, milk, buttermilk and eggs—the whole lot—at room temperature (I know you’ve hear this before). What’s more, this is no delicate batter. While you could do it with a hand-mixer, I recommend the big guns (and no TD, I don’t mean your biceps).

Grease the muffin pans but don’t use liners. You’ll see why in a second. The original recipe says to use about ½ cup of batter in each muffin cup. For me, 1/3 cup was perfect (once you see the amount of levening agent in this recipe you’ll understand why).

The batter on its own isn’t particularly interesting or unique. It’s when they come out of the oven that the magic occurs (but just the ordinary magic, not the super special magic part I’m going to tell you about at the end of this post).

While your buns are in the over, melt some butter. A lot of butter. And while you are at it, whisk together a cinnamon sugar party.

Now, as soon as you can handle the muffins without either burning yourself or crushing the muffin, the real fun begins. Start with a nice, all over butter bath. That’s right, bathe these cakes in butter.

Then, before the butter sinks in, give them a sugar scrub all over.

Don’t be shy with the sugar baby.

The doughnut muffin is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The outside is cinnamon-sugary with a little bit of crunch while the inside is moist and crumbly.

These are delectable as they are but wait. Oh yeah, I’m going there. The only thing better than a plain doughnut muffin.

Is a jelly doughnut muffin. But that isn’t the secret part.

Here is the secret part.

If you have the discipline, let them sit in a tightly sealed container over-night. What they lose in crunch they gain in doughnuttyness. Is there anything better than a doughnut the size of a muffin?

Doughnut Muffins

Kathleen Stewart, Downtown Bakery and Creamery

12 oz. (24 Tbs.) unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 lb. 11 oz. (6 cups) all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1-2/3 cups milk
1/4 cup buttermilk

For dipping:
8 oz. (16 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more as needed
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon

To make the muffins

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. In a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Combine the milk and buttermilk. With a wooden spoon, mix a quarter of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Then mix in a third of the milk mixture. Continue mixing in the remaining dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry. Mix until well combined and smooth, but don’t overmix. Grease and flour a standard-size muffin tin. Scoop enough batter into each tin so that the top of the batter is even with the rim of the cup, about 1/2 cup (I used 1/3 C) Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 min.

Melt the butter for the dipping mixture. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. When the muffins are just cool enough to handle, remove them from the tin, dip them into or brush them all over with the melted butter, and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

All Hail Kale (chips)

Whaaaaat? Kaaallllleeee? Yes, that cruciferous king of anti-oxidents, kale. In chip form. You know, like potato chips. Or banana chips.

So here is the scoop. Last summer my husband and I spent a week camping up in the Northern California Redwoods. On the way up, we stayed in a little town along the 101 called Ukiah (it’s Haiku backwards…pretty Zen huh?). Ukiah is located in the Southern part of Mendocino County and while the area boasts some fantastic wineries, we were there for the beer. The organic beer at the Ukiah Brewing Company to be specific. http://www.ukiahbrewingco.com/.

The beer was definitely tasty and we did our best to try it all. However, the kale chips were the true scene stealer. When we saw them listed on the specials board we were intrigued. And a little scared. Did I mention how cruciferous kale is? So, we ordered some. Deep green and melt-in-you-mouth crispy, these little gems were salty, nutty and delicious. After all, this wasn’t some sort of raw-food patchouli -scented yoga practicing kale, man—this was kale you eat while drinking beer.

We assumed the chips at the Brewing Company were fried, however, a little research upon returning home from our adventure yielded several recipes for baked kale chips. So I started experimenting and to be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered Nirvana—at least where dark green vegetables are concerned. Seriously, they are that good.

And super easy. Blink and you’ll miss the recipe.

Start with a bunch of kale (or if you live in my house, two bunches, one for each greedy kale cruncher). There are several types of kale. I’ve tried this recipe with curly green and red kale (the red is surprisingly sweet). I haven’t tried it with Tuscan kale–but assume it would be great.

You want to remove the ribs. I find it easier to flip the leaves face-down and then just cut out the ribs.

Once you have strips of just the tender leaves, tear them into bite-sized pieces, wash thoroughly and allow to dry completely.

After the kale is dry, toss it into a large bowl (it’s hard to tell the scale of the bowl in this picture but, it’s a big one).

Now, for every bunch of kale, mix together a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of your favorite vinegar. I’ve tried several kinds and my favorite is white balsamic. But, use whatever toots your horn.

I know you know what is coming next. Dump your vinaigrette into the kale and toss the salad (yes, I just said that) until you’ve got every piece coated. Then, salt and pepper to taste.

Now the whole lot goes onto a sheet pan. Spread the leaves into a single layer. I like to line the pan with parchment–because, well, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I line everything with parchment.

Into the oven for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to flip the chips halfway through. And now you’ve got kale chips. Use them to win friends and impress neighbors. Or just eat them yourself.

I have no idea if these will keep stored over night as they’ve never lasted over night in our house.

Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut-out ribs and tear kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Wash and let dry thoroughly. Mix together oil and vinegar and toss into kale coating every piece. Spread into a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy, flipping chips halfway through baking process.

Zoinks Scoob! Scooby Snacks

Does anyone not love soft pretzels? For me, if nostalgia had a flavor, it would be soft pretzel. Soft pretzels remind me of baseball games and roller rinks and college road trips and summer jobs (the McDonalds up in Lake Arrowhead where I spent three of my  summers during college  sold the things).

Lately it seems, the soft pretzel has appeared in all sorts of incarnations from hotdog and hamburger buns to dinner rolls. My favorite happens to be these little marble-sized pretzel nuggets sold at our local farmer’s market. At nearly six dollars a bag I reasoned I could probably figure out how to make my own. I did. And so was born the scooby snack.

I mean really, it makes sense that scooby snacks are actually soft pretzel nuggets. After all, would you go down a creepy mine shaft, take on a ghostly globe trotter or–ruh-roh–be willing to spend your life cruising along in a psychadellic van with a (very) poor man’s James Franco as your best friend for anything less?

I didn’t think so.

This recipe is actually an adaptation of the one and only pretzel roll recipe from the January 1994 edition of Bon Apetit Magazine. I’ve use it to make all sorts of pretzel-like creations from rolls to actual soft pretzels to the scooby snack.

This recipe starts with the worker bee of baking: yeast.

Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse, pulse, pulse!

Next slowly add in the hot water and knead until you’ve got dough (it takes my processor three-to-four minutes).  After all that hard work, it’s time for the dough to rest up. Into a greased bowl it goes for about half and hour.

Be sure to cover it in plastic wrap and then a towel in a nice warm place. Nighty night.

Come back 30 minutes later and my, how your dough ball has grown.

Punch this baby down and turn out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, form a snake with the dough and cut into six to ten pieces depending on how big or small your like your scooby snacks. Roll each little nugget into a ball. Repeat with remaining dough. Now, even though you are the one who did all the hard work, your dough needs another nap. Twenty  minutes or so. Cover with a towel.

While your nuggets are napping, it’s time to do some magic. You know how soft pretzels have that uber tasty, chewy  skin? This is how they get it. Bring a stock pot of water to boil (see below for specifics).

Once it is boiling you  are going to add baking soda and sugar.

Whaaaat? You feel like you are back at your seventh grade science fair and and you suddenly have an urge to make volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar? Well, this kind of like that. As soon as you add the soda and sugar, you get froth. Yes, the sea is angry my friends. And hungry for some pretzel nuggets.

Now that your pretzel nuggets have napped, it is time to give them a bath. Yes, I too  can hear the natives chanting in the background asking for a dough ball sacrifice. Working in batches, boil the nuggets on each side for about 30 seconds. I use a bamboo kabob skewer to quickly poke and turn the little nuggets.

After their minute is up, remove from the boiling water and set aside on a baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.

Repeat until you’ve boiled all the balls. Then, brush with egg wash and sprinkle on a little coarse salt if you are into that sort of thing. Finally,  into the oven they go for 15 minutes or until they reach your desired level of golden brownness.

And now it’s time to call in Scooby and ask him to do just about anything you want. Because he will. If his reward is a warm, golden, soft and chewy  scooby snack. Alternately, you could take them out to the Mystery Machine where that strange smoky haze coming out through the vents is a sure sign the gang could use some snacks.

Here is the thing. They really don’t save well. So, you and Scooby should probably eat them immediately.

Scooby Snacks

Adapted from the Pretzel Roll recipe

Bon Appetit Magazine, January 1994


  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 envelope quick-rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about) hot water (125°F to 130°F)
  • Cornmeal
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg white, beaten to blend (glaze)
  • Coarse salt


  • Combine bread flour, 1 envelope yeast, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar in a food processor and blend. With machine running, gradually pour hot water through feed tube, adding enough water to form smooth elastic dough. Process 3 minutes to knead. Grease medium bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.
  • Flour baking sheet. Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece and cut into 6-10 smaller pieces depending on desired size. Form each dough piece into a ball. Place the dough balls on prepared sheet. Cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease another baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Bring 8 cups water to boil in large saucepan (I use a stock pot and so double all ingredients in this part of the recipe). Add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (water will foam up). Working in batches, carefully add dough balls and let boil for 30 seconds per side (I use a kabob skewer to quickly turn the balls) Using a slotted spoon or mesh scoop, transfer rolls to prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining rolls.
  • Brush rolls with egg white glaze. Sprinkle rolls with coarse salt. Bake rolls until brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Serve scooby snacks warm or room temperature.