French Breakfast Puffs are tender vanilla muffins drenched in melted butter and dipped in cinnamon sugar for a sweet and crunchy coating that makes breakfast time a treat!
The recipes that I share here at Five Heart Home generally fall into one of two categories: (1.) favorite recipes, beloved by myself and my family, that I've been making for years, and (2.) new recipes that we recently tried and loved. Today's recipe is a happy foray into the former variety.
When I was growing up, my mom often made French Breakfast Puffs. I loved them so much that when I headed off to college, this recipe had the honor of being amongst the few that I transcribed onto an index card and stored in a recipe box containing my treasured recipes from childhood. This is not to say that I did a lot of cooking in college. But I did graduate with that same recipe box in tow, which I then began consulting a bit more once I met my husband and decided that I actually enjoyed being domestic. Who knew???
What is a French Breakfast Puff?
Well, let's just get it out there that the name is pretty much a misnomer.
First off, these beauties are not French; rather, they first appeared decades ago in a Betty Crocker cookbook.
Nor are they true "breakfast" material in the sense of having any nutritive value...which they do not.
However, while their lack of protein, fruit, and/or fiber means that I wouldn't necessarily feel good about feeding these to my kids as a regular school day breakfast, I do think they make a special treat. And they're a lovely pastry-caliber addition to a holiday breakfast or brunch buffet!
As for calling them puffs...well, I suppose they do puff up. But their texture is more muffin than cupcake, almost akin to a cake donut.
But despite not being French, nor part of a balanced breakfast, nor particularly puffy, French Breakfast Puffs are delicious. Take a buttery, sugary, vanilla-laced muffin -- excuse me, puff -- dip it in melted butter, and coat it in a generous layer of cinnamon sugar. What results is a delightful treat with a sweet, tender interior and a sugar-crunchy exterior, bragging flavors reminiscent of a snickerdoodle.
When I make these puffs these days, I do so from a recipe that I've updated for the times. The basics had no reason to change...
- Flour. Simple all-purpose flour is going to give you the most decadent treats.
- Baking powder. To make 'em puffery.
However, since the 1980s version of the recipe from my childhood included the original ingredients of shortening and margarine...
- Butter. Seeing as how I'm a big fan of real butter, this substitution was hardly a stretch.
- Nutmeg. I also prefer to decrease or even omit the nutmeg (I know...sacrilege!) because I find it a tad bit overpowering. But if you're a nutmeg fan, including it is much more authentic to the original recipe. And if you have access to freshly ground nutmeg? All the better.
- Vanilla. I think that most baked goods benefit from a nice dose of vanilla. So even though my original recipe didn't include any, I decided to add some.
How to Make French Breakfast Puffs
This steps are simple and straightforward as well.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Blend in the dry mixture, milk, and vanilla.
- Fill muffin cups with batter and bake until domed and golden.
- Dip the tops of warm muffins in melted butter followed by cinnamon sugar. Serve warm and try your best not to eat seven in a row.
Yep, these delightful muffins are perfectly acceptable at room temperature, but they are heavenly when eaten fresh and still warm from the oven.
I grew up enjoying them with just the tops dredged in butter and cinnamon sugar, but you could certainly dunk and roll the whole muffin so that every bit of its surface is covered in cinnamon and sugar bliss. Just be prepared to lick your fingers clean because they'll be a lot harder to pick up neatly!
That being said, you could also bake these up as mini muffins, in which case I would definitely coat them all the way around and subsequently pop them in my mouth like donut holes.
Hmmm...I just might have to try that later.
So maybe you're wanting to surprise your kiddos/overnight house guests with a special breakfast treat. Or maybe you're on the search for a yummy addition to your brunch menu. Or maybe you're considering a new and tasty holiday morning tradition!
Well, in any of the scenarios, look no further than French Breakfast Puffs! Because take it from me...if Betty Crocker has been wrong for all of these decades, then I don't want to be right.
A Few "Healthier" Breakfast Ideas 😉
- How to Make Overnight Oats + 3 Flavors!
- Homemade Whole Wheat Waffle Mix
- Strawberry Shortcake (Healthy Oat) Smoothie
- Wholesome Breakfast Cookies
French Breakfast Puffs
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, optional
- ⅔ cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup milk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE TOPPING:
- ⅓ cup melted butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease muffin cups with butter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs until well incorporated. Slowly mix in flour mixture, alternating with milk, until all ingredients are blended. Stir in vanilla.
- Divide batter between muffin cups so that they are about ⅔ full. Bake until edges are starting to turn golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- While muffins are baking, pour melted butter in a bowl. Mix sugar and cinnamon together in another bowl. As soon as muffins are done, allow them to cool for just a minute or two before turning them out of the pan. Dip the top of each muffin in butter, allowing it to soak for about 10 seconds, and then press it into the cinnamon sugar mixture until generously coated. Serve warm.
- Instead of only dipping the tops, you may drench the entire puff in butter and roll in cinnamon sugar until the whole surface is coated. In this case, you will need additional melted butter and cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- If you choose to make these as mini muffins, they will probably take 12 to 14 minutes to bake.
Adapted from Betty Crocker.
Post originally published on November 26, 2013.