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Muffins That Taste Like Donuts

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These Muffins That Taste Like Donuts are my interpretation of ‘those little donuts’, the ones you buy at an Amusement Park. Although mine aren’t deep-fried they are soft and cake-like, dipped in butter then rolled in a sweet cinnamon-sugar topping.

These muffins remind me of the cake donuts my grandmother made when I was young. I remember watching her fry her donuts in a cast iron pan on the stove in hot oil, something my mom never did. When all the big donuts were cooked she fried the little holes. Us kids each had a brown paper bag with some white sugar in it. As she cooked the donut holes she transferred them to our bags so we could shake them in the sugar and then eat them warm. It’s a great childhood memory of mine.

Midway Food at The Calgary Stampede

Every July in Calgary, the world is invited to The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth. It is a western event with a rodeo and chuck wagon races, amazing entertainment and a midway, but for some people it’s all about the food. Each year they advertise their line up of new Midway Food (2019) and the idea is to out do the offerings from the previous year. From Cricket Pizza to Butter Beer Ice Cream you never know what you’ll see but you can be guaranteed there’ll be something outrageous. The more outrageous the better.

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I think of summer as the season for amusement park food. Call it junk food or midway food but no matter what you call it people love it. There is a lot of excitement around the idea of eating these treats. I think it’s part nostalgia for food you ate as a kid and partly the anticipation of trying something you haven’t eaten since last year. Then there is the atmosphere, walking around outside eating food on a stick or in little bags, not what you do at home. This is amusement park food and it’s all about fun and adventure, and usually off limits for people on a restricted diet.

Amusement Park Food at Home

But it is often about the idea, many people won’t be in a place to eat those foods. So think outside the box, or outside the little bag, and make it yourself. Review the food list then create a list of your favourites and host a party. Here are three ideas to get you started:

  • -Deep-fry all your favourites and invite friends to share in the fun.
  • -Create an Amusement Park Food dinner party and have everyone bring an item.
  • -Host a competition and challenge like-minded friends to create something new. You can do this with as little as three food items then invite the others to fill in the menu with healthier fare.

Get The Tools

You could definitely try this recipe in one of those donut pans, I haven’t bought one yet. Here are some tools you might need for your mini muffins/donuts.

These Muffins That Taste Like Donuts are delicious warm and remind me of ‘those little donuts’ I enjoyed at the Calgary Stampede as a teenager. Let me know in the comments below if you made them as muffins, in a donut pan or a deep-fryer.

The Recipes – Amusement Park Food Ideas

Amusement Park Corn Dogs

Amusement Park Corn Dogs
Amusement Park Corn Dogs -photo credit Jim Little

Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy

Canadian Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy and cheese curds
Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy -photo credit Jim Little

Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

A plate of gluten free chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches
Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches -photo credit Jim Little



1⅓ cups GF flour (I used my GF flour mix)
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup sour cream or yogurt (first amount)
¼ cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream or yogurt (second amount)
1½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup melted butter for dipping
½ cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon


In the large bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and nutmeg. Whisk the dry mixture until evenly combined.
With electric mixer on low add the sour cream (first amount) and butter. Beat for 2 minutes.
In another bowl combine eggs, sour cream (second amount) and vanilla. Add half the mixture to the large bowl and beat until mixed in. Add the remainder of the mixture then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Grease mini-muffin tins or use paper liners. Using a small scoop fill muffin tins ½ to ¾ full. If they are too full they will rise over the top of the pan and break when you try to remove them.
Bake in 350°F oven for 18 minutes, do not under cook.
Cool on rack 5-10 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from the pan. Cool completely on baking racks before adding cinnamon-sugar topping.
Melt butter in small bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl combine sugar and cinnamon. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls.
Dip the top of each muffin into melted butter then into the cinnamon-sugar. When there are too many lumps of butter in the sugar change to the other bowl.
Makes 48 mini muffins.


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