Sometimes the best descriptions are simple ones. So here is my attempt at keeping the description of the experience of eating Cinnamon Sugar Puffs simple. OMG!!!!! Okay, well I am not sure that this seemingly simple acronym adequately describes these amazing bites of deliciousness. But OMG it has been awhile since I have eaten something so good I was left momentarily speechless. So there will not be any proliferation of adjectives or a short novella describing these Puffs today. Instead I will simply say your life will not be complete until you have eaten them. Yes, these are seriously that good.
The Cinnamon Sugar Puffs melt in your mouth. Perfectly spiced you will find it hard to eat only one of them (yes, even those of you who believe your will power is your strongest asset will be challenged to stop yourself from taking a second one). If I told you they were a cross between the best donut and best muffin you had ever had, I still would not be doing them justice. If I told you the Cinnamon Sugar Puffs just could be one of the things your family and friends will travel miles and drive over bridges to eat (for as long as you keep the recipe from them), I would not be lying. If you are looking for a new obsession, this could be it.
So what compelled me to finally make these Cinnamon Sugar Puffs? The short answer is that I wanted to thank someone for doing me a favor and I thought a bag of warm Cinnamon Sugar Puffs might be the perfect thank you. You might be thinking 'if you hadn't made them before how would you possibly know they would be perfect?' Well every once in awhile you have a sixth sense about something and you just know. I only wish this sixth sense was operational a little more often.
This is one of those recipes where you probably have all of the ingredients in your refrigerator and pantry.There are quite a few spices in this recipe which probably contributes to why the puffs are so delicious (a perfect example of why more really is better). The measurement for two of the spices in this recipe were defined not in terms of teaspoons or tablespoons but as a 'pinch'. It turns out that a pinch is considered by some to equate to 1/16th of a teaspoon. So until I can find a 1/16 measuring spoon, in my world a pinch is one half of an 1/8 of a teaspoon (that may sound a little confusing, but for some reason it makes perfect sense to me).
Sometimes when you read a recipe and it calls for browning the butter, you might be tempted to think 'ah I don't need to do this'. Whatever temptations are on your list of ones to resist, don't let this be one of them. The browned butter takes on a nutty flavor that rivals the flavor of butter simply melted. Once the butter is browned it is poured into the mixing bowl you plan on using for blending all of the ingredients. Just remember to allow the browned butter to come to room temperature before going any further.
Once the butter has cooled to room temperature the egg and one half cup of granulated sugar are mixed in with a hand mixer until well combined. The flour mixture (flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, salt and orange zest) and a half cup of whole milk are added in alternately beginning with the dry ingredients (my sequence was dry-wet-dry-wet-dry-wet). The finished batter will be thick and smooth in texture.
To ensure each of the muffins were the same size I used my favorite kitchen tool, the ice cream scoop. This recipe makes a dozen perfect puffs. I used a non-stick muffin pan, however, I still sprayed and floured the muffin tin. As reliable as a non-stick pan can be, I wasn't taking any chances.
The Cinnamon Sugar Puffs are baked for 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown. You can test for doneness by lightly pressing on the top of the muffin. If it springs back, your puff is done. My baking time was almost 22 minutes.
In addition to the four spices (cloves, ginger, allspice and nutmeg) in the puff batter there is one more. What better to compliment the flavor of those spices than cinnamon. Especially when the cinnamon is mixed in sugar to create the cinnamon sugar coating. When the puffs come out of the oven carefully remove with an offset spatula or knife. Dip each one first in a bowl of melted butter and then roll in a bowl of cinnamon sugar. Your hands get a little messy with the dipping and rolling process so it might be easier if you remove all of the puffs from the muffin tins before they get their final coating (a lesson learned in the puff making process).
RecipeCinnamon Sugar Puffs (an oh so slight adaption to the Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Puffs recipe shared by fiveandspice and posted on Food52)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
1/16 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and lightly flour a 12 cup muffin tin (prepare even if pan is a non-stick one).
2. Combine flour, salt, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger and orange zest. Set aside.
3. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook stirring constantly until browned and having a nutty aroma. Transfer browned butter to medium-large bowl and allow to come to room temperature.
4. When the butter is cooled, add the egg and 1/2 cup sugar, beating with a mixer until creamed.
5. Add flour mixture and milk into the butter-sugar mixture, alternating with the wet and dry ingredients. Beat well after each addition.
6. Using an ice cream scoop, divide batter evenly in prepared muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden browned (puff should spring back when lightly pressing on with finger). Carefully remove from muffin tin with an offset spatula or butter knife.
7. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in bowl. Pour eight tablespoons of melted butter in another bowl.
8. Dip puff in the melted butter, swirling to ensure all sides of the puff are covered. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture until coated. Place finished Cinnamon Sugar Puff on a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.