These muffins have been a family favorite ever since I started making them for Cafe Zog in Rhode Island almost twenty years ago! With their light texture and lovely cinnamon-sugar topping, they are also one of my Top Ten Favorites from O Taste & See Some More!

These muffins turn out so well that when I baked them for Cafe Zog, I actually developed a lot of variations to them such as Lemon Muffins, Dutch Apple Muffins, Blueberry Muffins, etc. My recipe from O Taste & See Some More! (p. 26, and also at the end of this blog) makes a really large batch, about 9 jumbo muffins like the one pictured above or 20 regular-sized muffins. Of course you might not be baking for a cafe, but even for a family or several guests I find we go through them quickly so I always make a full recipe. If I have some leftover, I freeze them for another day.

My good husband was willing to get up this morning to take photos…with the prospect of having warm muffins for breakfast. Here’s how I made them:

I begin by weighing out 1 C. of butter and cutting the hunk into smaller pieces. If you live in the Land of Plenty (America), you can just use two sticks. (Yes, you can use margarine…but I always use butter.)

I cream the butter together with 1 1/2 C. sugar until it’s well mixed. This morning I used my Kitchen Aid mixer, but you can use a hand mixer, assuming your butter is soft. I left my butter on the counter overnight so it would be nice and soft.

When I forget to take it out the night before, or just plain ol’ decide to make muffins after I get up, I’ll use my food processor since it has such a powerful motor and blade.

Once the mixture is nice and creamy, I add three eggs…

…and cream the mixture together.

Next I add the dry ingredients…the recipe in O Taste & See Some More! says to add them alternately with the milk…but I know the author and she said she only does that if she’s mixing the batter by hand. Otherwise, it’s quicker and easier to add them all at once. First some flour….

A reminder…since I’m using European flour, and I know African flour is the same, I’m adding an extra 1/4 C. for every two cups of flour. So instead of 4 1/2 C. of flour, which the recipe calls for, I’m using a full 5 C.! Seems like a lot but the thicker batter makes for a better rise in the muffin tops.

Now I add some baking powder…

…a little salt and some nutmeg…

I used to use ground or powdered nutmeg…but then I bought some “real” nutmeg and now I use my handy-dandy zester to grate my own. It’s nice and fresh…gives a nice flavor.

So Anna (last month’s winner) now has another use for her zester!

Lastly, I add the milk…

Now I combine everything together quickly…you don’t want to mix it too long or else the muffins texture will be somewhat tough from the gluten in the flour…so just mix until combined. A few lumps are OK.

The batter will be very thick. Don’t thin it out! I’ve found the tops of these muffins really rise nicely, rather than spreading out over the edges of the pans.

I use two large spoons to transfer the batter into the paper-lined, or greased, muffin tins.

Most muffin recipes say to fill the muffin tin about 2/3 of the way…I always fill mine right to the top. Especially with these muffins, you need to be able to dip the muffins after they’re baked so you need a good top on them.

Now I bake them in a 350° F (180° C) oven for 45 minutes. If you’re baking regular-sized muffins, you’ll need about 25 minutes to get them nice and golden brown, like this:

I place them on a cooling rack until they’re cool enough to hold…then dip the tops in melted butter… (Don’t even be thinking about the calories! Just think about how delicious they are gonna be!)

…swirl the top around in the butter…then hold it up to let some drip off…

before swirling it around in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar…

And there you go! A light and fluffy muffin with a crunchy, cinnamon top!

My good husband prefers them without the cinnamon topping. (Can you even believer it? Some things I’ll never understand.) So I leave a few plain for him…

But the rest are all for me…and you if you stop by today! We’ll have one with a cup of coffee, OK?

Ciao!

Debbie

French Breakfast Puffs

Yield: 9 giant muffins or 20 regular muffins

French Breakfast Puffs

Ingredients

  • 1 C. (230 g) butter
  • 1 1/2 C. (375 g) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 1/2 C. (560 g) flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1 /2 C. (375 ml) milk
  • 1/2 C. (125 g) sugar
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • 1/4 C. (55 g) butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the eggs, beating well.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients along with the milk, being careful not to over mix.
  4. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tins to the top.
  5. Bake at 350° F (180° C) 20-25 minutes for large muffins, 45 minutes for giant muffins.
  6. Remove from the pans immediately after taking them from the oven. Meanwhile combine the remaining 1/2 C. (125 g) sugar and 1 T. cinnamon. When just cool enough to touch, hold them by the bottoms and dip in the melted butter, rolling so the top is completely buttered. Immediately roll the top around in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
http://ciaofromdebbie.com/blog/step-by-step-cooking/french-breakfast-puffs/

Variations

Blueberry – Omit the nutmeg; add 2 C.(200 g) fresh or frozen blueberries. Sprinkle granulated sugar on the tops before baking. Do NOT roll in butter and cinnamon sugar.

Cranberry Nut – Omit the nutmeg; add 2 C.(200 g) fresh or frozen cranberries (You may want to chop them a bit–I pulse them in the batter in my food processor as the last step. ) Fold in 1/2-1 C. (100-200 g) chopped walnuts or pecans. Do NOT roll in butter and cinnamon sugar.

Lemon – Omit the nutmeg; add in the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tsp. lemon extract. As soon as you take them from the oven, before removing them from the pans, brush them with a mixture of the juice of your lemon and 1/2 C. (125 g) sugar.

Dutch Apple – Add 2 C. peeled, diced apples (2 large apples) and 1/2-1 C. (100-200 g) chopped walnuts. Fill the muffin tins almost full and sprinkle with streusel topping before baking: 1/2 C. (60 g) flour, 1/4 C. (60 g) sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Cut in 1/4 C.(55 g) butter.

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