I could have chosen anything.
A thick slice of carrot cake, dripping with heady tufts of cream cheese frosting; a batch of Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, hot from the oven; or something truly over-the-top like a warm homemade brownie, clobbered with salted caramel ice cream, marshmallow fluff, and candied peanuts.
With bacon bits tossed over the top for a "garnish."
But when I woke up this morning -- the morning that marked the end of my second dessert-free Lent -- all I could think about was how excited I was to make and eat donut muffins.
I'd been waiting 46 days to make the sugar-coated bundles of hot dough that first captured my attention at the Village Bakery in Atwater Village this past January. Two of my fellow Eat My Blog committee members had whipped up homemade versions of the humble, yet addictive baked good with sublime results, so when I began thinking about what I wanted to break the streak with on the first day of Lent, the first sweet thought that popped into my head was that darn donut muffin.
And I couldn't shake the thought for the next 45 days.
The anticipation was tortuous. It seemed the donut muffin was popping up everywhere as I sipped on tea and hacked my way through six bags of Trader Joe's dried mango slices. I had dreams about the sweet, doughy pastry -- dreams that I couldn't take it any more and started inhaling them by the fistful, paying no attention to the sugar that was covering the bottom half of my face like a beard.
I'd wake up in a cold sweat, my tongue tingling for the donut muffin, but I'd be relieved that I hadn't actually broken my Lenten pledge. As the weeks went by, I held strong, confident that it would taste even better after an extended period of deprivation.
As it turns out, I was right.
When I sank my teeth through the crunchy blanket of cinnamon sugar that coated the tender muffin earlier today, I couldn't contain my delight. I ignored the glass of Rosé that was perched by my right hand. I couldn't be bothered with the heaping portion of my mom's "white trash" egg casserole that was quickly cooling on my plate.
All I could think about was how perfect that donut muffin tasted.
And how glad I was that I wasn't eating a thick slice of carrot cake, an Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie, and a brownie sundae with bacon bits.
Sugared Vanilla Donut Muffins
Lightly adapted from G-ma's Bakery who adapted it from Grace Sweet Life
Adaptations: My only change to this near perfect recipe is the addition of cinnamon to the muffin's sugary coat for a little extra spice!
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling
1 teaspoon cinnamon, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin with cooking spray or using a pastry brush, coat muffin cups with vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and egg on medium-high speed until light in color.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Pour flour mixture into egg mixture and beat to combine. Results will be a bit clumpy. Pour in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth.
Divide batter evenly into 10 muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
While muffins are baking, melt butter over low heat in a small saucepan, and pour the 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into a small bowl. Stir with a fork to combine.
Let muffins cool slightly in the pan for a minute, then carefully remove and place on wire rack. Lightly brush the top, sides and bottom of each muffin with melted butter and roll in sugar. Cool completely on a wire rack.