French Breakfast Puffs

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!

French Breakfast Puffs with text overlay


 

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???

French Breakfast Puffs on a serving platter aerial view

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.

French Breakfast Puffs ~ tender vanilla muffins drenched in melted butter and dipped in cinnamon sugar for a sweet and crunchy coating that makes breakfast time a treat! | FiveHeartHome.com

Ingredients

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.
  • Salt.

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.
  • Sugar.
  • Eggs.
  • Milk.
  • 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.
aerial scene

How to Make French Breakfast Puffs

This steps are simple and straightforward as well.

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Blend in the dry mixture, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Fill muffin cups with batter and bake until domed and golden.
  4. 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.

French Breakfast Puffs with glass of milk

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.

Lined up on a serving platter

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.

French Breakfast Puffs, two-photo collage with text.

A Few "Healthier" Breakfast Ideas 😉

French Breakfast Puffs.

French Breakfast Puffs

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!
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 to 20 muffins
Calories: 233kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 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:

  • cup melted butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 327IU | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Adapted from Betty Crocker.
Post originally published on November 26, 2013.

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4.97 from 61 votes (39 ratings without comment)

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63 Comments

  1. I forgot the vanilla, but used the nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon, and it was so good! It wasn’t until I was writing the recipe down when I realized I forgot the vanilla, but it was still so good. Highly recommend.

  2. 5 stars
    Made them for my wife on Mother’s Day using gluten free Bob’s Redmill one for one flour. Delicious!!!

    1. Thank you for your comment! I was wondering if they would come out with gluten free flour! You answered my question! Thank you!

  3. I love raspberry beignets, and these puffs remind me of them , but even better they are crispy on the outside. I was wondering if you had ever filled them, with say a homemade raspberry jam ?
    Right now we are making your ground beef egg and cheese breakfast casserole, and will review that after we enjoy it for breakfast.
    I am glad we found FiveHeartHome.

    1. Hi Ernest! I have not tried filling these before, but I think their texture would work just fine for filling. Your homemade raspberry jam sounds delicious! I hope you enjoy these and the breakfast casserole. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you so much, Samantha, for providing me a copy of a recipe that my husband and I enjoyed so much during the first years of our marriage! In 1973, when we married, someone gifted us with the Betty Crocker Cookbook that was current at the time. Seven years later, we’d become devout vegetarians, and facing our third move (out of eighteen! — my husband worked for DOD) I lightened our load by giving almost all of our non-veggie books to charity — and there went my recipe for these little treats!
    I’m a widow now, after 43 years of a blissful life together, so I can’t make these for my husband, but I get together every Monday morning with a small group of artists and I’ll be taking this treat with me!
    Wishing you many blessings,
    Juliette

    1. What a heartwarming comment, Juliette, and what happy memories with your husband. I'm so glad that this vintage recipe replaces the one that you lost. I'm sure that these muffins will be a hit at your Monday artist meeting! 🙂

    1. Hi Kat! I apologize, but I've never tried this recipe as a loaf, so I don't have any specific, tested information to help you out. That being said, I imagine that you could convert this recipe to a loaf pan. I think you'd have to consider the size of your loaf pan (whether all of the batter will fit or if you'd need to divide it between two smaller loaves). I'd probably keep the oven temperature the same and just watch the baking time (a big loaf will definitely need more time than muffins). Sorry I can't be of more help but I hope it works out if you try it!

      1. Would it be possible to make the batter the night before and bake in the morning?
        We’ve made these before and they are so delicious! Just trying to save some time on Christmas morning while our little one is opening gifts!

        1. I'm not sure, Tracy, as I haven't tried making the batter ahead of time. You could always bake the muffins ahead of time and then, just before serving, warm them in the oven and then dip them in the butter and cinnamon/sugar. Good luck!

  5. Mmmmmm! These look SO delicious, Samantha! And I bet they're a hit with the kiddos! Pinning! Thanks so much for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

    1. Thanks so much, Abby...I really appreciate the pin! And yes, my boys love these...I bet yours would, too! 🙂 Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thanks, Heather...I love cinnamon sugar, too! The butter that it adheres to doesn't hurt either... 😉

  6. Yum! I'm always looking for a new way to eat way too many carbs at breakfast! This looks like a delicious way to get them in!

    1. Ha, Amy...me too! And I won't argue with the butter either... 😉 Hope you're having a great week!

  7. Okay, Samantha! You have sold me! I am adding your recipe to my Christmas brunch "Must Make" list! YUM!!!!!
    XO I am so wanting one right now!!! Lol
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

    1. I'm so glad these are going to be a part of your Christmas brunch, Linda...I think you will really enjoy them! Happy December! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for the pin, Connie! I will check you out on G+ as well... 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Samantha, these look simply amazing! I might make these tomorrow morning! Your photos are just fabulous, as always. Thank you so much for sharing and pinning!

    1. You are too sweet, Cindy! I so appreciate you sharing on social media and, of course, pinning! I hope you enjoy them on Thanksgiving morning -- or another morning soon! -- if you end up making them... 🙂

  9. These are gorgeous! I made a similar recipe years ago and loved it, but haven't had a chance to make it again. I'll have to change that!

    1. Thanks, Megan...glad this served as a reminder of how much you enjoyed these! 😉 Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  10. 5 stars
    I have been making these also for years, They are perfect when craving a sweet treat, I have tweaked the recipe a little. I use 1tsp of vanilla and only use about 1/2 of the nutmeg then what the recipe calls for. I LOVE LOVE these little muffins.

    1. I love these muffins, too, Cindy, and it sounds like we've been making the same tweaks to the recipe by reducing the nutmeg and adding the vanilla! 😉 Thanks for stopping by...happy Thanksgiving!