Last night, I dreamt Dorothy Parker and I were having breakfast in New York. I remember the skyscrapers casting shadows on her face, as she swigged scotch on the rocks, from a crystal glass. I was crying into a cup of black coffee, we both were smoking menthol cigarettes. She said “Cheer up sweetie” when I told her I was going through an existential crisis, she seemed to understand what I meant, when I said “My ‘Dorothy’ shoes no longer fit, I have nothing to click together.”
Her lips were painted red and her eyes looked sad. I told her I liked her poems and her wit. I don’t know why, but she looked like a Tamara de Lempicka painting.
I told her that I felt like a melon with the seeds scooped out, that I had hoped for more at thirty-two. She smiled knowingly and offered me a doughnut.
So I woke up this morning and made these muffins and read this passage from her poem “Ballade at Thirty-Five”, over and over again:
Pictures pass me in long review, —
Marching columns of dead events.
I was tender, and, often true;
Ever a prey to coincidence.
Always knew I the consequence;
Always saw what the end would be.
We’re as Nature has made us — hence
I loved them until they loved me.
And it didn’t make me feel too much better. So I downed a shot of vodka.
I don’t know if these muffins will solve your existential crisis, but they sure as hell taste fantastic. Cake like, moist and nutmeg scented, they are coated in warm butter and rolled in icing sugar, to give them that ‘fried but not’ doughnut deliciousness.
Nutmeg Doughnut Muffins
adapted from Orangette
makes about 15 muffins
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
a scant tsp of salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (I think cinnamon would make a lovely variation)
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp full cream milk
2 tbsp buttermilk
185g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 xl free-range eggs
For the Topping:
100g unsalted butter
1 1/2- 2 cups icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C. Spray the muffin tins with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and nutmeg, and whisk together thoroughly. Set aside.
Combine the milk and buttermilk in a jug, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and cream together with an electric whisk, until light, fluffy and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined.
With a wooden spoon, mix 1/4 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture. Continue to add dry and wet ingredients alternately, ending with the dry mixture. Mix until the dough is smooth and well combined, but do not overmix. Do not be alarmed, the batter is dough like in consistency!
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake until the muffins are firm, golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Mine took about 19 minutes, EXACTLY!
When the muffins are cool enough to handle, melt the butter for the topping in the microwave or on the stove, and pour the icing sugar into a wide bowl. Using a pastry brush and working one muffin at a time, lightly brush the entire outside of the muffin with butter, and then roll in the icing sugar. Shake off any excess, and place the finished muffins on a rack or serving platter.