Cinnamon Sugar Mini Donut Muffins – Part cinnamon-sugar donut hole, part mini-muffin, no matter what you call them, they’re fast and easy to make, and so tasty and pop-able. Because they’re baked rather than fried, I don’t feel guilty when I pop more than a couple.
I grew up eating fried mini donuts at fairs and carnivals and loved every greasy, cinnamon-sugary second.
These mini donut muffins are the next best thing.
I couldn’t decide if they were more like a donut hole or a mini muffin, so I’m calling them donut muffins.
They come together from start to finish in under 30 minutes. Having warm, fresh donut muffins for breakfast sure beats a bowl of cold cereal.
And yes, plan to eat muffins, plural. They’re tiny, but oh so pop-able. But because they’re baked rather than fried, I don’t feel too guilty when I’m popping away.
Four of these mini muffins are still smaller than 1 bakery-style coffee shop muffin. I’ve noticed that bakery and coffee shop muffins keep getting bigger and bigger, and they’re now about the size of a softball. These are about half the size of a golf ball.
Buttermilk keeps them soft, light, tender, and fluffy. It also serves to add moisture, which is important because I find that mini muffins and baked donuts are prone to dryness, but the buttermilk protects against it.
No buttermilk? Cheat and make some with regular milk.
A hefty dose of cinnamon in the batter as well as in the cinnamon-sugar coating, makes for well-spiced muffins. The cinnamon is noticeable and distinct, but not overpowering. If you’re a cinnamon fiend and prefer to be over-powered, it’s easy to add more to taste.
I also added ground nutmeg because I find it rounds out flavors, especially cinnamon. It gives depth in a can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it kind of way.
They bake quickly, in just about 10 minutes. Because they’re small, they can go from raw to dried out and crisp in the span of about 90 seconds, so watch them closely.
Ten minutes with my two mini muffins pans was the magic number, but due to variance in pan size, oven, and climate, watch your muffins not the clock. If you’re baking them as full-size muffins, I’d estimate 17 to 20 minutes, but haven’t tested it.
After they bake, dip the tops in melted butter and then in cinnamon-sugar. The cinnamon-sugar coating is key. It adds so much extra cinnamony flavor and the sugar granules add donut hole authenticity.
I almost put them in a gallon-sized ziplock, and wanted to pour butter into the bag, then douse with cinnamon-sugar, and shake. But I used restraint and simply dipped the tops. Next time I’ll live dangerously and use the bag, butter, and shake method because it’s faster, and why say no to more butter and more cinnamon-sugar.
The flavor and the speed in which these little puffballs went from idea to reality to half a dozen in my belly makes them a total win.
Once you pop, you can’t stop.
This is my second mini food recipe this week.
It’s cute, it’s fun, and it clearly tastes better.
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- 1 large egg
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- For the Muffins – Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 12-count mini muffin pans with floured cooking spray; set aside. (You can make as full-size muffins and will likely yield about 1 dozen; or make as donuts or mini donuts; adjusting baking times accordingly)
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and hand mixer), combine egg, butter, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed to cream ingredients until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the buttermilk. Beat momentarily to incorporate.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated; don’t overmix. Batter will be fairly thick.
- Using a spoon sprayed with cooking spray so the batter slides off easily, drop rounded tablespoons into prepared pans. Fill each cavity about 3/4-full. (I made 28 mini muffins and some were on the skimpy side. In order to keep the yield at an even 24 muffins, I recommend dividing batter equally among 24 wells)
- Bake for 9 to 11 minutes (mine took 10 minutes exactly), or until muffins are domed with set centers, are springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Because they’re small, they cook quickly and 1 minute can drastically effect taste; don’t overbake and watch them closely. Allow muffins to cool in the pans on top of a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing. While the muffins cool, prepare the coating.
- For the Coating – In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power; set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
- After the muffins have cooled, dip each muffin top briefly in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar, and repeat until all muffins have been coated. Optionally, the entire muffin could be buttered and coated similar to traditional cinnamon-sugar donut holes, and in doing so, you’d need to melt more butter and use more cinnamon-sugar. Serve immediately. Donut Muffins are best fresh, but will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 4 days (noting that the cinnamon-sugar coating may liquify a bit), or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g
Baked Eggnog Vanilla Donuts and Mini Donuts with Eggnog Rum Glaze (use regular milk in place of the eggnog this time of year)
Thanks for the entries in the Peanut Butter Comfort and KitchenAid Handheld Blender Giveaway
What’s your favorite donut or muffin recipe? Mini food fan?