cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs Recipes

cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs

I took a Home Economics class in the 7th grade. I probably don’t need to tell you how stoked I was about this (especially after nearly flunking Wood Shop the semester before with the saddest “toolbox” ever) although I am fairly certain they failed at whatever household management skills they’d hoped to impress on my 12-year-old self. I’m currently staring down a particularly fetid sinkful of dishes, willing them to wash themselves, while deep creases form in a towering basket of clean laundry that has yet to be folded, though perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for the next generation. Nevertheless, the one class I remember perfectly was the one in which we made a puffy muffin embodiment of butter-slathered, sugar broiled cinnamon toast. It could be whipped up in no time, presumably along with a stack of bacon while wearing a gown-like robe and fuzzy slippers to the delight of sleepy-eyed children tumbling down the stairs. (Sorry, my housewife archetype is firmly etched in the Brady Bunch era.)

freshly grated nutmeg
batter

These pastries are, amusingly, called French Breakfast Puffs, I presume they are “French” in the way that French Toast and French Fries are, or that I convince myself I am every time I order Lillet, which is to say, dubiously. Their origin, however — the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens– isn’t half as interesting as their flavor, which is a little bit snickerdoodle, a little bit butter cake and a lot of addictiveness. My first thought upon eating one in class that day was “It’s like a doughnut hole!” and my second was “Why hasn’t my mother ever made these for me? I thought she said she loved us!” and then I pouted for the remainder of the hour. What? I said I was 12.

filling the tins -- you fill it less, okay?

what overfilled muffin tins look like
rolled in cinnamon sugar
dipped in browned butter

I cannot think of a better time to share this recipe than in this last week of entertaining before we all must don our gay old treadmill-trotting apparel again, I mean, for stretchy pants’ sake, they are rolled in butter. We’re not going to even pretend that this would be acceptable in the days after a New Years Day brunch, so we might as well enjoy them while we can. I made some changes to the old-school recipe; shortening became butter, melted butter became browned butter (because, have we met?), regular milk became buttermilk and I made them tiny, mini-muffin size rather than standard because the more they resemble cinnamon-sugar decked doughnut holes, the happier I am. And now I need you to come over and eat them for me. Please. There are but 29 28 25 left…

buttermilk breakfast puffs
please, eat these

One year ago: Milk Punch
Two years ago: Spinach and Cheese Strata, Pear Bread and Parmesan Cheese Crackers
Three years ago: Gramercy Tavern’s Gingerbread and Pizza with Broccoli Rabe and Roasted Onions
Four years ago: Robert Linxe’s Chocolate Truffles
Five years ago: Hazelnut Trufffles and Gougeres

Cinnamon Brown Butter Breakfast Puffs
Adapted from Betty Crocker and others

If you don’t wish to use buttermilk, you can replace it with regular milk and nix the baking soda (keeping the baking powder). I like to get the toppings ready first because they take so little time to bake, you don’t want to be scrambling to have something to dip them in.

Yield: 9 to 12 standard muffin-size puffs or 30-ish miniature ones. Try not to overfill as I did or you won’t get as great domes on them.

Coating
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Puffs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing muffin cups
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 12 standard size or 30 miniature muffin cups, or line cups with paper liners.

Prepare coatings: In a small saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat and continue to cook it, stirring frequently, until brown bits form on the bottom and it smells nutty and heavenly. Immediately remove from heat and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside as well.

Prepare puffs: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together in a medium bowl and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Mix in 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk, repeating again and finishing with the flour mixture. Mix only until combined.

Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling only 3/4 of the way. (I filled mine higher and they ended up spilling over a bit and doming less than they are capable of.) Bake standard sized muffins for 20 to 25 minutes and miniature muffins for 12 to 14 minutes. When finished, muffins will feel springy to the touch and a tester inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer them in their pan to a wire rack.

As soon as you feel you’re able to pick one up, take your first puff and roll the top and upper edges in the browned butter. Don’t be afraid to pick up the browned butter solids at the bottom of the saucepan; they’re the dreamiest part. Let any excess butter drip off for a second before gently rolling the butter-soaked cake top in cinnamon-sugar. I find if you roll too firmly, or have too much wet/not absorbed butter on top, the sugar can clump off, which is heartbreaking. Transfer puff to wire rack to set and repeat with remaining puffs. Eat warm.

For an even more indulgent, doughnut-like puff: Make an extra two tablespoons of the browned butter and roll the whole puff in it and the cinnamon sugar. (I usually have enough cinnamon sugar to fully roll the puffs.)

Do ahead: Puffs are best within hours after they are baked. They can be made it advance and stored in a freezer bag until needed, too. Simply spread them out on a baking tray and reheat them until warm in the oven.

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273 comments on cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs

    1. deb

      Danielle — Actually, when I went to visit The Lodge a few years ago, someone who came to my demo gave it to me as a gift, and I am such a terrible, tacky person that I a) forgot her name and b) never sent her a thank you note. I blamed pregnancy brain. It’s really cute, each dish is oval-shaped and a different size.

  1. Amy

    I always loved those home economic classes too. We made similar looking cinnamon-butter-batter things… maybe there’s a home economics standard for these things, haha! Anyway, these look fantastic. Can’t wait to try them out!

  2. Kristin

    Yeesh, you’re killin’ me here! I already have started my post-holiday detox, yet I am so tempted to make these. I LOVE cinnamon sugar anything, and these look fabulous!

  3. Thank you for sharing these before New Years. My dance partner on the other hand does not thank you, because last time he dipped me, I heard a grunt that was definitely not there before the holidays. I think he may have noticed the holiday weight gain. Everything is better with browned butter, and I can’t believe you would reference brown butter without a single link to the hazelnut brown butter cake.

  4. It’s like a muffin-donut hole-popover-whole lotta goodness in one bite thing going on.

    I hate making mini muffins or mini donut holes b/c I am so not neat with the batter and am in more in a hurry to bake so I can get to eating…but in the end, mini stuff just tastes better. Probably b/c more work and love went into making it :)

  5. I only vaguely remember making a dry apple muffin in my home ec class; I may have been more interested if we made anything that even mildly resembled this. They look scrumptious.

  6. I love that you posted these! I have a fairly old (and not Betty Crocker) cookbook with a similar muffin recipe that I used to make all the time as a teen, but I had forgotten all about them. It’s a must-make in the next few days! Thanks for the reminder. Much appreciated! Happy holidays!

  7. E’owyn

    We made yummy soft pretzel in my Home Economics class. I lost the recipe to a tragic accident with the washer years ago. These look so divine! I mean, how do you go wrong with Brown Butter?! I don’t care for buttermilk though, do you think half and half would work as well?

  8. themagicbaker

    my mother made these for us for every special occasion…which wasn’t often enough. i still have the recipe entitled “french breakfast puffs” in her recipe box. my mom passed away almost exactly two years ago, and i am so happy to have this memory of her. thank you.

  9. I too love these, we call ’em donut muffins. Thanks for the updated version using butter instead of shortening. Might have to squeeze this recipe in before the clock strikes midnight myself.

  10. Leigh

    Actually I had a look and the recipe is pretty much the exact same! I guess teacakes is just what they’re called in Australia. This is a recipe with many guises it seems. Reminding me of these is still a great excuse to make them though.

  11. Perfect timing as I sit here contemplating which recipe I will use to break in the KitchenAid mixer that I just got for Christmas. :) Cant get enough of cinnamon buttered toast so this sounds spectacular.

  12. sillygirl

    We made these in Home Economics class when I was in high school – out of the Betty Crocker cookbook and still a yummy recipe. In fact I was Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow from my high school in my senior year – what memories.

  13. Gayle S.

    Wow, you brought back a very old memory of eating these puffs when I took French in high school (eons ago!) I think I have to make these this weekend. How can you go wrong with brown butter and spices?

  14. Hi Deb! I just made a gluten free version of these, and they came out soooo delicious! Thanks for the awesome recipe. Here are my modifications for anyone who wants to make a GF version: The only changes I made are: increase baking powder to 2 t and baking soda to 3/4 t. Butter increased to 6 T and Buttermilk increased to 3/4 of a cup. I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour Mix. Rationale for increased liquids is that GF flours tend to absorb more liquids, and I didn’t want these to be dry. They came out light, fluffy, and YUMMY!!

  15. Question! Do you think I could I pipe this batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan? I only have a “normal” muffin pan and like the idea of making these cream-puff sized. What do you think? Would they just spread all over the place or would they hold their shape?

    Thanks!

  16. ahaha – I hated woodshop too. I made a terrible duck (that was a recipe holder!) and remember being terrified at all times that I was going to cut my finger off with the jigsaw. And now that I think of it, I can’t believe they let 7th graders use JIGSAWS!

  17. candace

    Fine Cooking magazine included these in a muffin article years ago — called them Donut Muffins. Author was Kathleen Stewart, who made them for her bakery in California. I baked them for my kids (such a great excuse), and they were indeed wonderful. Best as mini muffins in my opinion — then you get the cinnamon sugar coating with each bite.

  18. Kathy

    My home ec teacher got all worked up because we were talking too much, or something… She then turned the class into a cooking demo class, we watched while she cooked. I somehow managed to not hate cooking.
    These look delish.

  19. Laura

    These are almost exactly what my grandmother used to make – except she added wheat germ and called them Muff-nuts. That name still makes me chuckle after all these years.

  20. Elyse

    So glad you published this recipe! I used to make it- or one just like it- but it was called French something-or-other Muffins. I keep remembering it and wishing I could recreate it, and now I can!

  21. Oh, my. In order to sample these, I will not only dirty the mixer attachments (which I often skip and shoot for the bicep exercise), I will also incur the muffin pan’s wrath. They look so heavenly! Thanks, Deb!

  22. Genius!!!! oooooohhh how I cannot wait to make these! In fact, I might even make them tonight or tomorrow morning.. and them write a blog post about how delicious and amazing they are, and then link your blog straight to the recipe!

  23. kristin

    I have a theory on why so many things are ‘French’ – I think ‘French’ is just a nice way of saying ‘fat’. Lets face it, if French toast was called ‘fat toast’, or French Fries were called ‘these are really bad for you in the most delicious of ways fries’, I think the marketing department would have a bit of a battle on their hands. I think of it as an homage to the way everything sounds better in French… and the way everything tastes better cooked with butter.

  24. Another one of those things I must try….and it must be before next Sunday because I have a large list of things I am not eating in the month of January and I am pretty sure this fits in that category! Thanks for the great post. I love reading your writing. Our thoughts of food are eerily similar…;)

  25. Becky N.

    I made these this morning and I think I did something wrong! Mine didn’t come out in a muffin shape. They didn’t rise up at all. I substituted milk for buttermilk without the baking soda. Any ideas on what I did wrong?
    Even though they don’t look as great as yours do…they still tasted delicious!!

  26. karen

    I wish I could bottle up brown butter and wear it as perfume. The scent is so delectable it makes me want to cry!!!

    I have them baking in the oven but I’m tempted to ditch them puffs and just eat the toppings :P

  27. Wowsers Gadget! They look amazing! Isn’t it funny how we all remember that one awesome Home Economics cooking experience? (Although they changed the name of the subject to Food Technology when I did it, to get the boys onside, I think!) We did butterscotch scrolls, and they invoke in me a similar feeling that these muffins do for you! lol!

  28. Ronda

    thank god I just had French toast before reading this post! I’d be in the kitchen right this moment! BTW In French, French Toast is called “lost bread.” I had a dry baguette so made French Toast.
    Now, my son is fascinated by donuts (we don’t have them here in France). I’m not much into frying (calories, fear of all that hot grease…). This looks like a good compromise!
    And talking about home ec! I hadn’t thought of those classes for years, and I ended up doing “Pigs in a blanket” as hors d’oeuvres for the young guests. That’s the only recipe I remembered from jr high. Our teacher never showed this one, though. I’m sure of it!

  29. YUM!!! My fiance and I are moving into our new apartment this weekend, I think I’ll serve these for our first breakfast in our new apartment on New Year’s Day :) Thanks for the inspiration, Deb :) Happy New Year!!!

  30. My 6 year old is over my shoulder screaming “make those they look yummy”..lol Had to disappoint her and tell her we have no buttermilk. They do look amazing and looks like I will be trying them out soon. Thanks for sharing!

  31. M.L.

    OMG! Flashback time…as I was reading the recipe, I realized that this recipe was quite similar to one from the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Kids…the first thing that I baked on my own! Thank you!

  32. Those look amazing! Can’t wait to try and make a gluten-free version. Will have to experiment…but that’s what I love to do anyway with new recipes. And I’m dying to make the Parsnip Latkes. A great alternative to potatoes.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Anna

  33. Vknits

    Something so lovely about all these comments–no one is being mean. Does this suggest that we are our best when talking about food? Does sharing food bring out our good selves?

    1. deb

      Vknits — People are very rarely mean in the SK comment section. I think that means we should all hang out here more often. :)

      baker_d — No, it wouldn’t work because this is really a cake batter, albeit a thick one. Snickerdoodles, if you haven’t tried them, are slightly cakey, very buttery cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar that sound totally up your alley.

  34. themarketgirl

    Oh, my! These are heavenly! What a lovely post to wake up to this frigid winter morn?! There are only 4 left and I suspect from the look of pleasure on my children and husband’s faces, there might not be any by the time I finish the dishes!
    Thank you!

  35. themarketgirl

    I am wondering if there is a significant difference if you make them with buttermilk? I just followed your instructions for regular milk and I can’t imagine them being any better! Every time I buy buttermilk, half of it ends up rotten in my fridge. I wish it was sold in smaller quantities.

  36. Clara

    Love it! These look very similar to the Cottage Street Bakery’s Dirt Bombs in Orleans, Cape Cod, that we go to every year. They published their recipe in Cape Cod Table by Lora Brody. I make them in mini muffins too but I don’t seem to eat any less for it haha. Cottage Street Bakery adds cardamom in which is nice too.

  37. Haha I still remember many of the recipes my home ec class cooked. Caramel rolls, microwaved egg mcmuffins, barbecued pork sandwiches. I also remember my home ec teacher saying, “The recipe calls for salt, but we’re not going to use it because all is does is enhance the flavor.” Thank goodness I’ve learned a thing or two about “home economics” since then…

  38. ATL Cook

    I have a Betty Crocker cook book from the early 60s. Battered and stained! This recipe has a few stains on the page. Home made noodles and sugared walnuts recipes have a few smudges on them!

    I also have a few “Home Ec Teachers Favorites” cookbooks. Yum. All those Jell-O recipes are in there too. Make them sugar free in January and February.

  39. Brittany

    These are just what we needed to continue our weeklong foray in spectacular breakfasts. Thanks to holidays for allowing me to indulge in one of your recipes the very day it appears in my reader!

    A note: the vanilla didn’t make it into the instructions. We assumed it went in with the egg?

  40. Nadine

    I actually made a fantastic bookshelf in woodshop but set fire to a pot (grease fire) in home ec. The flame shot from the floor (where the instructor had placed our smoking pot) to the ceiling, just missing the instructor’s hair! I blame the 2 boys I was forced to work with (haha) and ended up with a B for the class. However, I did make the best brownies I have ever eaten in that class and have come a long way since. Now I love to cook and rarely burn anything.

    I may have to give these a try…its like little tiny monkey breads!!

  41. Pat

    These will definitely be on the weekend breakfast scheduule!! For Danielle, if you have a Old Time Pottery —I have gotten all sorts of odd shaped, 2, 3, 4, section in in one unit! Love them for salsas, dips, etc. The are the good white ironstone–even use a triple, for cat food (new kitten in one, water in the middle and the piggy older cat in the third! No tipping over here! And the prices very reasonable

  42. Ah…home ec. Where all the girls were taught what girls should know and the boys, you know…boy stuff. I would have loved shop class too but for all the sexist connotations of that experience (far before yours I’m sure) I will say this much. I learned to sew and to this day am glad of that; I’ve made clothes, pillows, quilts and more over a lifetime with that skill. And a foray into cooking which combined with helping my mother cook for 6 kids and escaping to Grandma’s occasionally to bake with her, was surely the foundation for what I love to do today.

    Funny, I recall that first A-line skirt but not one thing we made in the cooking part of class…so I will try these and channel that young girl during the experience. With your grown up revisions. Brown butter hmm? Can we overdo using brown butter? I hope not!

  43. My middle school and high school did not offer Home Ec. We had a Home Ec classroom; no Home Ec classes. I think they were mainly concerned with keeping us off the pipe, because we had about 50 million “hugs not drugs” classes.
    But that’s beside the point. The point is, those look delicious and I want some right now!

  44. Anne Weber-Falk

    Oh my word. After the cranberry bread is done I am making these. I looked around the kitchen for food to eat and nothing looked good…until now.

  45. I made these awesome apple ginger mini scones last week (using your cream scone recipe as a base), and they were delicious. Now I want to make these. They have my name written all over them!

  46. Sigh, I love these. I first spied them on PW’s blog, and immediately had to make them. I didn’t think you could improve upon them, but there you go again, blowing my mind.

    My Home Ec experience (half a lifetime ago, eek!) was actually entitled “Life Management Skills,” or something 21st century like that. We were given Imperial Margarine to bake with. Even at 12, I knew better. I ransacked the cupboards, used shortening instead, and secretly gloated when everyone else had one giant cookie that spread across their baking sheet. While shortening is not butter, there is no place for margarine in my kitchen.

  47. spyglassweb

    If you want a way to use up buttermilk, try making these pancakes. That is what I am doing :) They call for 3 cups, so you should have just enough left to make these puffs. Look for my pancake review with the addition of pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla plus other tips. 1600 reviews and still 5 stars cannot lie. These are the most raised cakes I have ever had, and the best tasting! Thanks Deb for all your solid recipes I can count on!

    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buttermilk-pancakes-ii/

  48. “I mean, for stretchy pants’ sake, they are rolled in butter…” I’m going to be saying this over and over again, and chuckling under my breath. Until Jan. 1. Then, butter will no longer be funny.

  49. Martha

    Memories! I used to make “Golden Puffs” from a late ’60’s version of the B Crocker cookbook. They were cinnamon-sugar bites of love, but they were deep fried!!! This baked version seems like health food compared to those. Lovely way to end 2011.

  50. Ana

    These are a favorite of mine (and my boyfriend’s)! I never knew what to call them, but “breakfast puffs” sounds classy. I’m intrigued to try your brown butter version…

  51. Dave

    They look great. I was hoping to make these for my wife but she apparently doesn’t like nutmeg. What might be a decent substitute in this case?

    1. deb

      Dave — You might put cinnamon in the muffins instead (as well as on the outside). I also think these would be wonderful with some scraped vanilla bean inside, just the seeds from half a pod would be very rich.

  52. this recipe brings me infinite joy; it’s not exactly the same but for every major holiday when I visit my extended family, we make some version of this. we’re usually (always) extraordinarily lazy about it and just buy the dinner rolls that come in a tube, but the idea is the same: bready pastry rolled in butter with cinnamon and sugar (although we’re gluttons and roll the entire thing in buttery sugary goodness). we were even recently talking about the use of these delicious treats in our holiday traditions, because whenever an outsider joins us for dinner, they’re always baffled by the inclusion of them, but when they actually eat them, they’re not as bothered about the reason because they’re so tasty. I might have to try this at the next family function to see if they compare to our original version. would the dough keep stored in the freezer or should they be fully baked and then stored?

  53. These look so cute and delightful! I love the mini muffin size – although in my experience, I think I eat more of bite sized things as you don’t realize how many you’ve had. Or maybe that’s just me? I will definitely make these – and maybe even in January despite new years resolutions :)

  54. OH no – I’m just starting my resolutions and I think I’m just going to X OUT getting healthy/dieting because I can’t pass up any of the desserts on your blog! I just cannot! Not blaming you – I am blaming my uncontrollable eating self!!!!!!!!!! Just love your BLOG!

  55. JanetP

    My local bakery makes a version of these that are cakey inside, generous muffin-sized, and rolled all the way around in the butter/cinnamon sugary goodness. They’re called French Breakfast Muffins and my husband is addicted to them. For his birthday, the bakery made one in a heart-shaped mold! (at my request, I hasten to add)

    Funny how they are called “French” down the line. I wonder if it’s the exotic nutmeg?

  56. I saw this post in my reader yesterday and made them today. I was worried they would be too similar to cinnamon sugar muffins we bought at a local bakery yesterday but they were so much better. The kids loved them and I’ll definitely make them again.

    A couple notes. I found that the beater of my Kitchen Aid (6 qt.) couldn’t reach the butter and sugar too well and it didn’t get very fluffy. Since I don’t have a hand beater I went with it anyway. Using a mini-muffin pan I ended up with only 16 total. I’m not sure if this is because of the fluffy-ness problem or something else. Either way, they tasted divine and are one of my new favorite go-to morning recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  57. Insteresting because I saw something similar on Food52. I was thinking I should try them but I will have to convert to gluten free. I have converted and twisted a few of your recipes to be gluten free and reflected more my tastes. They work very well.

  58. Lise

    O.K. fair is fair. You’ve made the delectable little puffs so I’ll wash those dishes and fold the laundry!!!!!

    Have I mentioned you’re a genius ?
    Happy prosperous New Year, everyone.

  59. Do you make anything that doesn’t look absolutely delicious? MUST try these! I know my kids will really love them, but I suspect I could eat WAY too many of them myself too! LOL

  60. Loved the Brady Bunch reference! They played a big part in my childhood too! I can still recite the Filmore Junior High cheer! Sadly, I can’t seem to remember where I left my cell phone. Well, they say long term memory is the last to go!
    P.S. Puffs look yummy. If I hurry I can make them and eat them before New Year’s resolutions have to be tended too!

  61. Claire

    WHOA. I made these today and let me just say they are little bites of heaven. Easy to make, and they bake in no time. The texture is so light, that even though they are bathed in butter and sugar, they don’t make you feel like such a pig if you eat 3…or 4… or, you know. I highly recommend. Thanks for posting the recipe! I will be baking more of these in no time!

  62. yep, probably not French, since just about every French person I know has a serious, serious dislike of cinnamon. (why, i just do not know. and this also gets tired after a while! oh wait, wht am i complaining about? this leaves me with so many more snacks once they’ve pooh-poohed ’em.) happy holidays, SK family, all of the very best for 2012!

    1. deb

      David — Sorry. I have no high altitude baking experience. There are a few websites out there with advice, however. I know adjustments in sugar, flour and leaveners are often made.

      kelli ann — So true! Also quintessentially American, from what I understand: pumpkin, peanut butter and sometimes mint in desserts.

      Vanilla — Whoops, added it. It goes in with the egg.

  63. Amy

    I made this this morning, I couldn’t wait! They were sooooo good! Just one thing. In your recipe you don’t list adding vanilla to the mix, but it is listed in the ingredients. I added it with the egg, I figured that’s what I should do!

    Great recipe!

  64. Andrea

    I’m supposed to bring something savory to a New Year’s brunch… I think I will be bringing two things now (unless, I somehow, could count these as savory?)

  65. Okay, first of all, anything that is both called a puff and has the potential to create a puff of light sugary cinnamon in my face as I bite is a winner by default. But a butter facial as part of the deal?… these adorably petite and proper treats are perfection.

  66. NessietheWhale

    Might these work with some finely chopped nuts in the batter? Pecans maybe? My boyfriend loves them so I try to slip them into things ;)

  67. I must introduce you to Matilda – the imaginary maid passed down through generations of my family avoiding that sink full of dishes at all cost. Although, these cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs look worth the effort.

  68. Nicole

    Well, we’ve had no hot water for 3 days and just to wash dishes I have to heat water on the stove (hello Laura Ingalls Wilder!), but I am making these this morning just to be sure my kids don’t think I don’t love them!! You know, to counterbalance all the things I’ve done to make them hate me over our holiday break – like get them up at 10 and make them wear different clothing than the day before!

  69. Amy

    Wow, made these last night. To DIE for!! Thanks so much for sharing. As a mother of 5, I love getting new ideas for baking, cooking. Love your blog! I’ve never been disappointed with any of your recipes!

  70. Kathryn

    Made these on Christmas morning. My family loved them. Just a little too much sugard coating, that’s the only change I’d make, light on the sugar!

  71. Nan

    So fun to see a recipe I know by heart! My friend gave me this recipe years ago, she calls them Conference Muffins because she makes them for their “family conferences.” We call them Donut Muffins and I promise they don’t last nearly as long as yours! Pioneer Woman calls them something else, too, but it doesn’t matter what they’re called – they are dang good! And best eaten before Diet Day, January 1st!

  72. Joan

    I just made these and they are absolutely and wonderfully light and delicious! I neglected to put in the vanilla at first (unless I missed it, I didn’t see it in the mixing instructions), caught the omission before the little delectables were put in the oven… so I scraped the batter out of the paper cups, mixed in the vanilla and put them back in the muffin tin.Well worth the effort . Between these and the chocolate caramel crack(ers) that I made yesterday, I’m sure I gained a few pounds, but don’t much care. :-)

  73. Jackie

    These were absolutely fantastic – and very dangerous! I think I’ve eaten about 10 already :) I made them mini and I don’t think I’d try large muffins. I used a little less butter and sugar and still had some left over.

  74. Dylan

    These are so amazing. I’m so glad you posted this recipe!

    My mother used to make these for my sister and my birthdays every year. We would bring a tin full to school and be the most popular kids in the world. I still make them around my birthday pretty often, and they’re just as fabulous as I remember them.

  75. Anne

    Killing myself laughing over your tweet about the sippy cup. Although it would be truly horrifying if you found the tot going for a swig of the fetid milk (barf), instead of just finding the cup.

  76. My housewifery is also rooted in The Brady Bunch, which I just discovered is on every day during naptime! It is my guilty pleasure relaxation by myself, good for a few laughs surrounding why anyone ever thought any of the storylines were plausible. I guess I’d better go make these for my children so they know I love them! :)

  77. Leora

    Oh, Deb! This made my day! This was by far one of my favorite things from home ec. I made them so much at home that they became a tradition and made it into an extended family cookbook. How interesting that they were part of some nationwide home ec curriculum (I’m from the Twin Cities, MN).
    Thanks for the blast from the past!

  78. Dorie

    I had Home Ec in 3rd grade. The teacher didn’t teach much and wasn’t monitoring what we did. It was my job to put the muffins in the oven. Nobody told me you can’t put muffins on the top shelf! Of course, they rose and stuck to the inside of the top of the oven. I still feel embarrassed when I think about it!

  79. Another Deb

    Anyone contemplating making these must do so! Mine just came out an hour ago and they are every bit as delicious as they look. I made a few changes due to laziness and two small boys underfoot, but end results were still divine. I used my hand mixer instead of the standup. I didn’t have buttermilk but I still wanted that tang, so I used regular milk with a splash of vinegar and a dollop of sour cream because I did have that. I just melted the butter in the microwave…. and I went for the fully dunking method – I must have been quite generous because I didn’t have quite enough of either one so I just made a bit more. I only have one mini muffin tin so I did a dozen in the mini doughnut pan. I have to say the muffins were my preference as the ratio of cake to coating was just oh so perfect. Another stellar recipe – I’ll repeat this one again and again!

  80. Craig Ness

    Oh My God is all my wife keeps saying. These are sinful but so so so good. These will get made time after time on the weekends. Forget that, Monday through Friday. As my honey says these are orgasmic. Thank you.

  81. Jilian

    I made these this morning. So simple and delicious. I used half and half because that is what I had on hand. I was able to coat them fully in butter and sugar, and had quite a bit of the sugar mixture left over. Thank you for another great recipe!

  82. In my home ec class in 7th grade we made french toast and due to lack of funds, we made one piece of toast for every 4 person group. It was a sad little piece of french toast. We also learned how to clip coupons. I’m going out now to buy a mini-muffin pan (no, wrong, actually I’m sending my husband out for it) to make these, they look delightful.

  83. Amanda

    Just made these for my NYE Harry Potter marathon. (Don’t look at me like that! I’m sick!) They turned out fabulously. My only issue is that the cake doesn’t have a terrible lot of flavor on its own. I might up the spices in the cake next time. I also have to be more patient next time because I tried to roll them too soon and they cracked. Only one fell apart in my hands though. Shame I had to eat it.

    David A – I’m at 5000 ft in Colorado and just decreased the baking powder and soda by a little bit. Usually I take the last measuring scoop and cut it by 1/3 to 1/2. (For this recipe that turned out around 1 1/4 tsp powder and about 1/3 tsp soda.) If the batter is too thin, a tiny bit more flour. I honestly don’t fudge recipes around much for altitude. I cooked these minis around 360 (my oven is hot) for only 11 minutes.

  84. Elaina

    My mother makes what I would assume would be the original version of these with milk and shortening. I was so excited to get your tweak to the recipe but I have to say I made them yesterday and they did not turn out nearly as good as my moms!! Mine were very very light and flakey and didn’t really stay together when I took them out of the pan to dip the butter. And I found them to be much sweeter than her version. For the first batch I filled my mini muffin tins 3/4 of the way and they did over flow and didn’t make the nice dome and subsequently were undipable!! On the second batch I filled them less than 1/2 and they did turn out to be a better size but I still had the issue with them crumbling even though I let them cool longer. This is a great recipe but I’m wondering if the tweaks made it too light and fluffly!?

  85. Brian

    I just made these and they turned out fantastic. Just like the description says, they’re a mix between a muffin and a doughnut hole. My wife has a butter addiction, so she insisted we roll them all the way around. I had enough butter leftover to do about half the batch all around without adding any extra to the original recipe. The bottoms definitely seemed to hold the butter better, so the difference is more pronounced than I thought.

    Elania, I hate to say it, but you may have made an error for them to come out flaky or crumbly. They should have the consistency of muffins/cake/doughnuts, and mine weren’t all that sweet (until covered on all sides by cinnamon sugar, anyway). Maybe you had too much sugar or over-mixed?

  86. Laura

    Happy New Year!
    I made these this morning; they are indeed contrary to most resolutions, but what a sweet way to start the new year. Thanks for sharing.

  87. Llamabean

    Hi Deb,
    Happy New Year! I made these this morning and my husband finally told me to take the bowl away (only two of us for a full batch) or he would eat them all in one sitting :)
    It was my first time making brown butter and I love how it turned out.
    Thank you!

  88. Kaja

    Just made these yesterday for New Year’s Eve – they were delicious!! Since I was using pre-ground nutmeg instead of fresh, I added a bit more. I also ate some leftovers for breakfast this morning and they were still great! (I may have added a bit of Double Devon Cream… shhhh.)

  89. Jen

    Made these this morning for brunch & they were a huge hit! I will say that for the mini-muffins, my baking time was closer to only 10 minutes, so depending on your oven watch the baking time.

  90. Stephanie

    Saw this post come in on my email and said to myself “cannot….make….these….too…..many…..cookies…..left”
    After all these posts I’m kicking myself however there is always next weekend :-)

  91. If this is anywhere near as good as your monkey bread with creamcheese glaze…I will gladly forgo all resolutions and bathe in buttery goodness!!!
    I also still have a recipe I love from those days in HomeEc. Which btw…I aced sewing having been doing that since i was a kid, but cooking, well lets just say I am glad I had the sewing part in the bag cuz’ that helped carry my grade…and that oven explosion was not my fault!!
    Just have to say…My oven died over the holidays and your website has been taunting me with yummy things I can’t bake, the new one comes tommorrow and I am so excited :-) I am getting a double oven and a range with a 5th burner! yes I did get better at the cooking half of HomeEc…or at least the baking side of things!

  92. Eubbie

    We made these in 8th grade Home Ec in 1971. These and grilled chocolate sandwiches were my first two cooking lessons. Yes. I said grilled chocolate sandwiches.

  93. Donna

    I am lazing it bed, the firs day since Black Friday but these recipes are making my stomach jump for joy. With this one, I am on my way to the kitchen to try it. Can’t wait. Your recipes are so basic and simple. I simply LOVE that.

  94. Libby

    These were little nuggets of yumminess. My kids absolutely devoured them, and my New Year’s hard core dieting husband ate 3 and more this morning. Definitely voted a repeat.

  95. caroPDX

    So I saw this, and was seriously intrigued. And then, almost directly, went to the grocery store where, in the As Seen On TV section, they had this thing, two pans that fit one on top of the other. to make what they call a Cake Pop. That is, a perfect golfball-size sphere of cake, into which you are meant to lodge a stick and have something that looks like a sucker, but actually is more like a cupcake.

    And I stood there for minutes, while the toddler in the shopping cart grew restless. And then I committed. And it was good.

  96. Of course I saw this post before NYE and now it is firmly the week after New Years. I’ve already pulled out the stretchy pants and now seriously craving some of these cinnamon brown butter bites! Thank goodness I didn’t make any resolutions…yet. Let’s postpone those for another week.

  97. Unfortunately, mine weren’t really puffy. The cinnamon sugar made up for it though, it was the best thing that could have happened to these little cakes!

  98. Kelly

    Quick question… is this a recipe for minature version of beloved cinnamon sugar popovers? If I made them in a normal cupcake pan, would they pop up like I so desire? I have been looking for different popover recipes to try… my husband refuses to call them popovers and only refers to them as delicious crack covered in cinnamon sugar. Thanks.

    1. deb

      Kelly — These aren’t popovers. They can have the same puff in a large or small pan provided that the cups are filled enough (I give instructions, also, baking times for each.)

  99. Annie

    These have been renamed Birthday Breakfast Puffs out here on the west coast in honour of my daughter Marian’s sweet sixteen. They are a big hit and she wants them every morning! Thank you!!

  100. PJ

    OH MY! I completely forgot about these, made them many, many years ago from the 1960’s Betty Crocker cookbook. Your changes are always an upgrade, I think your browned butter tops will certainly enhance them. What a great reminder only better with BUTTER.

  101. My dad got me a mini donut maker for Christmas (no, I didn’t ask for it). I wonder if this batter would work in that… thoughts? I’ve been having crazy cravings for buttery cinnamon sugar stuff. Specifically an Elephant Ear. mmmm deep fried dough… I’m rambling. sorry. ;)

  102. Bonoca

    Deb,

    I made these for brunch this morning and they were a huge hit! Used freshly grated nutmeg and it made all the difference. A definite keeper as are all of your recipes :-)

  103. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw this post! My grandma used to make “French Breakfast Puffs” and I loved them. I now make them for my family often, but we always laugh and wonder why they are ‘french’. Glad you had the same thoughts and love them as much as we do!

  104. tonya

    I made these last night….super easy to make and tasted GREAT! I made mine in my donut pan instead….turned out YUMMY. Almost looked to good to eat! Thanks.

  105. CC

    These have been a staple in my family for years – my French-Canadian grandmother made them! We LOVE them. Thank you for passing them on here.

  106. OMG! I made these today!!! I tried them vegan using applesauce to replace the egg. Then I used rice milk instead of buttermilk and vegan butter instead of regular butter! These came out SOOOOO delicious! My mom made some oatmeal to go with the puffs, ugh to definitely LIVE for :) . I love this recipe and my whole house does too. I’ll definitely be making these again!!!!

  107. brittany

    i make these all the time but i call them donut muffins because i took make them in a mini-muffin tin. They are made in a cinch and people devour them. The recipe I use makes them with canola oil so for people wondering oil absolutely works here. I bring them to events and they rarely last long.

  108. I made these for an office potluck yesterday. I was a little afraid serving them the next day but they held up wonderfully. I fully dunked the mini ones because I had leftover brown butter and there was no way I was wasting it. They were phenomenal! So flavorful, so soft. I plan on making my own batch soon. Too soon.

  109. Sadly, I shall not make these because I know I will eat every last one in one sitting. As a HUGE cinnamon bread/roll/muffin junkie, I know my limits.
    However…I could make these for brunch this weekend. If I share them, then I shall only wind up eating only half!
    (Or maybe only 8.)

  110. Amy

    As amusing as this is, I teach the new fangled home-ec (family and consumer science) to middle schoolers, and we make something very similar to this recipe!

  111. kaylee

    Found this on Pinterest while laying in bed an hour ago and now they’re in the oven! Thanks for brightening up my Sunday morning! Can’t wait for the buzzer to go off. :)

  112. Constance

    These were my specialty in 7th grade! I have fond, fond memories of the county fair’s blue ribbon AND sweepstakes baking ribbon I won with them. Happy to see them pop up here, and will be even happier next weekend when I revisit my youth and stir some up once again.

  113. rambant

    I absolutely cannot wait to make these. I’ve resolved to lose a few kilo’s before embarking on baking/calorie-laden missions. The kg’s must be lost because these superb looking puffs must be eaten.

    Lovely photography as usual.

  114. JT

    Hey, there, Deb. Well….aside from burning the butter (first go round) – and being concerned that the puffs looked a little pale when I took them out of the oven….oh baby! Yea of little faith. After rolling them in the (new) brown butter and cinnamon and sugar mixture – they looked exactly like yours. Yay. Tasty and a definite plus when you heat them up before popping them into your mouth. Sweet! :)

  115. Kris

    These are great. Just a note to say you really must use unsalted butter for the melted brown butter. I didn’t and discovered all the salt remains and is intensified – the last dipped puffs were really salty! Lesson learned.

  116. Katta

    I keep envelopes of powdered buttermilk on hand just for events like this (buttermilk pancakes too). I add it powdered with the flour and then use water when it says to add buttermilk rather than going to the trouble of reconstituting it.

  117. Sara

    Thanks to Deb and Mircat! –

    We have been baking (a GF version of) these every saturday morning since January – the kids love them! My non-cinnamon kid forgoes the cinnamon topping, turns them upside down and spreads them with Nutella, what a genius!!

  118. I made these. They’re amazing. The next “Poetry Tuesday” on my blog will be dedicated to them. And then I’ll be making them again! I do like them better with just the tops dipped in cinnamon. Otherwise, I think the flavor of the puff gets a little lost.

    Thank you!

  119. Great recipe. For me, the smaller the puffs the better – they absorb more butter and sugar that way. I’m thinking next time of using cardamom in the place of nutmeg. I love that flavor.

  120. My family made these for so many special occasions — Christmas morning, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day (breakfast in bed!) — and they are wonderful. I love them. I now put nutmeg in my pancake batter because of breakfast puffs!

  121. Megan

    I think I’ve already gone back and made these two more times. They are really good. Even though there are two millions things I feel like I need to get done on the weekends, I love taking the time to make special smitten kitchen breakfast treats. My husband and I eat them all in one day. I think I might eat more than he does.

  122. Ally

    Long time lurker, but I simply had to come out of hiding! Since before I could walk, my extended family and I all get together and vacation on Cape Cod. Our favorite bakery from which to grab breakfast is called The Cottage Street Bakery, and our favorite pastry that we order is a dense, nutmeg muffin rolled in butter and cinnamon-sugar, otherwise known as the All Important Dirt Bomb. I have their old cookbook, and the recipe is almost identical as the one posted above. I can only recommend, if you are in the Orleans area of Cape Cod, that you head down to the bakery, just as much for the experience than anything else!

  123. Diana

    Rather than do the rolling-in-butter thing, would it be possible to pipe cream into these as soon as they come out of the oven? Would it work??
    Cheers!

    1. deb

      Do you mean like a doughnut with a cream filling? I’m not sure. These are pretty solid in the center with cake. I think filled doughnuts are an eggier dough that puffs open more in the fryer.

  124. Diana

    Thanks Deb, yeah that’s what I meant. Do you think it would be possible to create the monster I have in mind by altering this recipe at all?

    1. deb

      You might be able to if you carve out the center a little with a thin knife — maybe a grapefruit knife? I am sure everyone will love them!

  125. colette

    i’ve made this recipe twice now, and it’s delicious! my grandmother used to make these and she called them “puffins.” this recipe tastes exactly how i remember them! thanks for bringing back good memories :)

  126. Emily

    These things. Are. AMAZING. These turned out perfectly for me. A tip: grease the pans with the butter wrappers! You only need to save a smidge extra butter to get all the way around the pan. Handy, because then the wrappers get a little exercise before you toss ’em.

  127. Rebeca

    I made these this morning and they turned out great! It was a cloudy and not very warm labor day here in NY so I decided it was a good day for baking something special for breakfast. These were really easy to make and came out exactly like the picture! This is also the first time I’ve browned butter and it is incredible. Nutty and almost caramel like smell coming out of the kitchen was enough to get my husband off the couch, away from his video games ( -_- I’ll do anything to get him away from those things) and into the kitchen! Thanks Deb!

  128. Jenny

    We are munching these tasty morsels as I type… Sooooo good. We have tried a similar recipe for baked donuts, but honestly they are a pain to make. The mini muffin version is awesome. This was my first experience using browned butter and I will confess that I removed the butter from the burner after it melted but before it browned and then convinced myself to go ahead and brown it. Certainly well worth the extra couple minutes. I doubled the recipe to get 3 doz plus 4 mini muffins which may seem like a lot, but hey, there are 12 of us. Oh, and like a doofus I failed to cream the butter and sugar because in haste I added the sugar to my dry ingredients- no problemo- all worked out just fine.

  129. Eliza

    I made it in a loaf pan (subbing yogurt for buttermilk) and adding cinn to the batter. Then, I melted a few T butter, mixed with a few T maple syrup and cinn… and drizzled that over it upside down, then flipped it and drizzled more on the top. It’s great!

  130. Joy

    Holy flashback, Batman! We made these in the 7th grade as well. Standard textbooks? Even into our 20’s, my best friend and I used to make them on Sundays…the only thing we could cook! This brought back so many memories. Thank you for them! And thank you for the recipe again! Will definately give them a go….

  131. Hot biz

    These are very delish!
    I added cinnamon chips to the dough and it was very good. I like covering the whole puff with the butter nd suar mix!!

  132. Rachael

    Just made these for breakfast. Delicious! I didn’t have any ground cinnamon, because my adorable husband used it all without telling me. Instead, he grated a cinnamon stick . . . and my, oh my, it was divine. Thanks for another great recipe!

  133. I just made these looking for a simple recipe. Everyone loves them, including me!! Super fabulous, I will be making these all the time.
    Thanks!!!

  134. Rasmi

    Hi
    Can I make the puffs today & do the coating tomorrow? Its for my kid’s school Christmas party & I dont want to do it all tomorrow.
    Thx

  135. Deb

    Just made these and they are absolutely delicious! I’ve loved every recipe of yours that ‘ve tried and find your page to be my go to recipe site. Thank you!

  136. Shifra Steinmetz-Silbe

    I made these for the 4th or 5th time last night and they were incredible! Such a reliable recipe. Thank you! I’m very tempted to buy a doughnut pan just to see how these would come out. I’m picturing those Entenmanns cinnamon doughnuts, but without all the artificial ingredients. mmmm.

  137. vini

    HELLOOOOO! this is a re-write of the “French Breakfast Puff” recipe that’s been in EVERY Betty Crocker cookbook since the 1950s…this recipe is NOT NEW!! it’s prob in your grandmother’s old cookbook…

  138. deb

    It was actually a gift someone gave me this one time I went to visit the Pioneer Woman on her ranch and I cannot remember her name.

  139. Rebekahld

    These were delicious, but… I had a bit of extra brown butter I didn’t want to waste so I rolled the entire last two muffins in it, as per your advice, and they were too rich/decadent completely rolled in. Coming from someone who can’t have enough butter/ sugar, even I was surprised, but just in case there are others out there who wanted to try this too. They are perfect and perfectly balanced as is!

  140. Sarah

    Have you ever been to Sweetleaf Espresso bar (in Williamsburg or LIC)? I baked there for a bit, and we would make these fresh every morning, exactly like this. We’d go ahead and call them douhgnuts though, and they sell out every morning. Just sayin’, if you know, the laziness ever takes over :)

  141. Oh, amazing…these remind me of an elephant ear, a bit! Which I love, but you can only get them at the fair. I also have a set of miniature muffin tins I use only once a year (literally, to make pecan tarts over the holidays) and I honestly had never thought of doing much else with them. This will be perfect to both get some use out of those tins, and to share with my sweetie for a Valentine’s Day breakfast! :) Thank you!

  142. Chris

    French Breakfast Puffs!!! They are the first things I taught my husband to cook when we met 40 years ago. I would then request them for Sunday Breakfast and luxuriate in not having to do the cooking for that one meal. He has learned a lot since then and recently cared for me with great food during my recovery from cancer surgery.

    1. deb

      Leslie — Skim milk should work just fine here, but brown sugar is much harder to roll the cakes in. It’s heavier and less likely to stick, too. If you can pull it off, however, I’m sure it would be delicious.

  143. Andrea

    Have been eyeing this recipe forever, waiting for the perfect moment to make them. Took advantage of a snow day to make them for breakfast today. My kids swooned… might be their favorite thing I’ve made. Ever. Thanks for the perfect snow day treat!

  144. Stephanie

    I’ve made these before but this was the first time with this recipe. Let me tell you…these were by far the best!!! Amazing!!

  145. This is first time that I visit here. I found so many exciting matter in this particular blog, One thing I would like to request you that pls keep posting such type of informatics blog.

  146. Beatrice

    Deb, if I make these and can’t eat them all on my lonesome (shocking I know) and want to freeze them as you mentioned, can I dip and roll them before freezing them or would it be better to not? I picture it being potentially messy either way….Thanks!

  147. B Lee

    I made these yesterday for a meeting at my house, along with your sour cream chocolate chip coffee cake, and both were big hits. Not a bite of either left.

    A second batch was made this morning, and I used some of the browned butter I had left over to butter the muffin tins to get just that little extra of that nutty goodness in to the muffins.

    So far I’ve only made the mini muffin style, next time I’ll make the full sized ones with a teaspoon or two of jam in the middle for an extra surprise.

  148. nouveauchapeau

    Ha! I have a very similar recipe that my kids call Muffin Vitamins. So good and so easy even on school mornings! I have occasionally added fresh blueberries or peach chunks to up the “vitamin” quality. Love your site!