It’s October. Which means that although fall officially began on September 22, only now am I having visions of orange leaves swirling in the wind, hay rides, and apple cider. Which made me get really homesick, because back in NJ, we live just five minutes away from an apple orchard and cider doughnuts that make Kaitlin weak at the knees. Here in the city, there’s not a single hay bale in sight. But there is one saving grace:
It’s all about pumpkin here in our house (er…our 173-square-meter apartment) right now. Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, roast pumpkin, pumpkin seed granola. We are to pumpkin what Bubba was to shrimp.
We get this particular kind of pumpkin here in China that’s total perfection when it comes to baking. It’s beyond what I’ve been able to find anywhere in the US. It has a slightly brown outside, kind of like a butternut squash but more mottled and dark, and deep orange flesh that’s incredibly sweet. We just cut it into chunks, steam it, mash it, and throw it into whatever pumpkin-flavored dessert item we fancy. Plus, you can buy a huge one the size of a small child for about $2.
With prices like that, these pumpkins are a constant presence in our kitchen. Which means we’re constantly looking for new ways to use it. Recently, I discovered a particularly enticing recipe for Pumpkin Cake Doughnuts on King Arthur Flour’s blog, and it was like…YES.
Must. Have. Doughnuts.
So you can imagine the gut-wrenching disappointment I felt when a quick search for donut pans on Taobao and Amazon.cn yielded little more than a doughnut shaped throw pillow and a plastic “donut holder.” The fact that they were prioritizing doughnut storage over doughnut baking seemed both cruel and counterintuitive.
Alas! WHAT TO DO?
*I guess I could try to make some kind of boy scout-y makeshift donut pan with a muffin tin and some wooden dowels?*
*Or I could just find some other recipe.*
*Or I can make pumpkin mini muffins and imagine that they’re doughnut holes.*
This is a great recipe. We highly recommend it, doughnut pan or no doughnut pan.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your pans (muffin, donut, whatever).
In a large bowl, add all the ingredients except the flour.
Grab a whisk and beat it all together until smooth.
Slowly stir in the flour just until combined.
Spoon the batter into the pans until each cup is just about full, and throw ’em in the oven.
Bake for 11-13 minutes for mini muffins (15-18 minutes for doughnuts or 20-25 minutes for regular muffins), or until a toothpick comes out clean.
And that’s it! It’s the quickest freakin’ recipe ever. Once they’re slightly cool, you can shake the muffins/doughnut wannabes in a bag of powdered sugar and/or cinnamon sugar, or dip them in a glaze. Whatever strikes your fancy. Pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy.
Look! At this angle, they’re TOTALLY doughnut holey.
Pumpkin Mini Muffins
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée (or canned pumpkin)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (plus 2 tablespoons)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your pans (muffin, donut, whatever).
- Beat all the ingredients except the flour together in a large bowl until smooth. Fold in the flour just until combined. Spoon the batter into the pans until each cup is almost full.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes for mini muffins (15-18 minutes for doughnuts or 20-25 minutes for regular muffins), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Roll in powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or glaze.