Doughnut-Cupcake Ninja Snow Day Muffins

Doughnut-Cupcake Ninja Snow Day muffins.  That's a lot of name for a little muffin.  But they deserve every last bit.  

And in case you don't believe me that they really deserve all the names, Shelly from Cookies and Cups described them like this:
ANNND this here breakfast food is a cake, disguised as a doughnut disguised as a muffin…Triple agent breakfast food.  That’s serious espionage.
To pull off being a triple agent?  You must be a ninja.  Hence ninja muffins.  And there you go.

I found these on pinterest the night before a snow day.  Was there really any possibility I wasn't going to make them the next day?

Especially because they are based on the doughnut that NES and I agree is the best doughnut ever: Dunkin Donut's vanilla cream filled!

Even if it ends up that one of the major ingredients is powdered sugar.  For goodness sake, it's might as well be in the name!  I happened to not grab the bag of powdered sugar from home.  So I didn't have any.

I tried to make some, and it didn't go well.  But we've been through that interesting story.  We'll stick with take two this time.  I decided that I just had to start over with the frosting once I found some actual powdered sugar.  

The muffins themselves came out denser and moister than I expected.  I guess I was expecting more of a doughnut texture, but they are, after all, cake in one of their espionage lives.

The dry ingredients get mixed with an egg, and they really do form a sand-like mixture.  Recipes always use that description, but this time, it was incredibly accurate.

Then came the cupcake liners.  I happened to grab them when I was packing up my kitchen for the week, and I'm really glad that I did.  They are the heavy-duty ones that don't need a cupcake pan, and they have red and white polka dots!  So February appropriate.

However, you can tell I'm not used to using an oven with a convection option -- only the ones in the very middle came out flat!  Oops!

Then came the whole frosting snafu.  But we won't go into that.

However, even after I got the frosting right, there were more issues to be had.  I've never been successful at filling cupcakes using a pastry bag and filling tip.  Usually, I get a dot of frosting and that's about it.  I tried.  But after the tip popped right out of  two ziplock bags (I had limited equipment) and there was no more than a dot of frosting in each cupcake, I gave up.

I also didn't have my cupcake corer on hand, so I did it by hand (gasp, I know!).  I filled them and stuck the cure right back on top.  And then, to get the doughnut's mandatory frosting puff, I added just a little more on top.

Then, the failed powdered sugar did come in handy, finally.  I used it for dusting.  It looked like snow, which was perfect for the snow day!

Vanilla Cream Filled Muffins
slightly adapted from Cookies and Cups 

1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
approx. 2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp. milk
extra powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a muffin tin or muffin liners.

Cream together the regular sugar and egg using an electric mixer.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix until the mixture looks like a coarse sand.

Add the milk and vanilla while the mixer is on low speed.  Mix until incorporated.

Fill each liner 2/3 full and bake 18-20 minutes.  The muffins will spring back to the touch when they are done.

Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, cream the butter with a mixer until smooth and creamy.  Add the powdered sugar slowly.

Add milk 1 tbsp. at a time until the consistency is right.

Either fill a piping bag with the frosting and plunge the tip right into the center of the cupcake.  Squeeze until the muffin top begins to split and bulge slightly.

Or, core each muffin (using a knife, cut a circle out of the top of the muffin, sloping the knife toward the middle of the cupcake, and pop the cone out of the top).  Fill the resulting hole with filling and replace the cone.

Dust with powdered sugar (use a sifter or fine strainer).


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