Sunday, January 26, 2014

French breakfast puffs

... reminding us that it's not all about dinner, and food and wine pairings. Your day, after all, starts with breakfast -- add a mimosa, if it's the weekend -- and these muffins will start you off very very happily.

The recipe comes from my seventh-grade Home Economics class, courtesty of Mrs. Pemberton, a sweet little old lady who taught "home ec." back in the days when, well -- sweet little old ladies still taught home ec. We begin with 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature, creamed together with 1/2 cup sugar. Then add 1 egg and blend.

Then add the 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt that you have mixed in a separate bowl. Once that is blended into the butter mixture, finish off the batter by adding 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup of milk. Beat batter well. It will be stiff enough to hold the wooden spoon upright.

Then fill greased muffin tins, or paper muffin cups, about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven.

As soon as they are done, take them out of the pan and roll the tops first in a shallow bowl of 1/4 cup melted butter, and then in a second shallow bowl holding a mix of 1/4 sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

This recipe is supposed to make 12-18 muffins; I must be doing something wrong because I find the batter is so rich it only makes nine. And by the way, if you find you cannot fill all your muffin tins with batter, fill each empty section with a quarter inch or so of water before putting the pan in the oven. I recall reading somewhere that you should do this, both to prevent the pan from warping and to make up for the humidity lost when a baked-goods recipe does not produce the volume you expected. Is it really necessary? Who knows? I do it. And in what sense are these French Breakfast Puffs really French? Who knows? It makes them sound as good as they taste.

They are just heavenly. Under Mrs. Pemberton's direction a class full of seventh-grade girls could prepare and bake these, and clean up, in a forty-minute period. Since you are not rushing off to math or science afterward, you may find you can be a bit more leisurely about it. Perhaps you'll have time to mix up that nice mimosa.

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