Sometimes, just sometimes it’s good to bake something sinfully good. But it better be so good that every ounce of guilt is worth it — like a batch of French Breakfast Puffs, flavored with mini cinnamon chips, dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. And then eaten warm! Yum, now that’s totally worth it.
Last Thursday, I almost fell into the “too busy to cook “mindset as I made a plan to have a quick coffee with a friend. Fortunately, Jackie who has unequivocally embraced “cooking with friends” brought me back on track, texting me an invite for coffee at her house with the hopes we’d be able to bake some muffins. She lured me there with her King Arthur cinnamon chips (I call them “cinnamon gold”), which became the starting point for our inspiration.
While deciding what to make, I thought about my grandmother, the scrumptious cookies and baked goods she’d bring on visits to our house — so tasty, yet laden with calories and fat. I then turned to my vintage Betty Crocker Picture cookbook, the guiding cookbook for women of her era, to see what good old Betty would have recommended. As my fingertips flipped through the pages looking for a mouthwatering recipe, I stopped at the French Breakfast Puffs on page 65, next to the “Light as Feather” muffins my daughter and her friends go crazy for. “Like delicate, glorified doughnuts, Miss Esoline Beauregard of Fort Lauderdale, Florida said, “Please try my mother’s recipe.”
How could I let Miss Beauregard down! So I tweaked the recipe a tad, replacing the nutmeg with cinnamon chips and making mini muffins instead of large ones.
It’s usually my tasters, the recipients of my labor, who determine the success or failure of a food. Jackie’s son said they may just be the best thing he’s ever tasted; my kids swooned and begged for more; my mom took one bite, proclaiming they tasted exactly like the French Donuts she goes nuts for while on vacation in Cape Cod. And Lou? Well, let’s just say he loved them.
I think that’s proof that these French morsels are a victory. And if you haven’t noticed, it’s hot cider and donut season. I am sure these would be the perfect accompaniment to a mug of warm mulled cider. And since the muffins are baked, there’s actually less guilt than a real donut which has been fried in grease.
Now the question is how often is ok to make something so tasty and irresistible? Here’s the recipe, modified a tad from my 1950 Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook.
French Breakfast Puffs
Makes 24 mini puffs
1/3 cup trans-fat free vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups sifted white flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1 ½ cups mini cinnamon chips
6 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with baking spray. Beat the shortening, sugar and egg. Add the flour, baking powder and salt alternately with the milk. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Fill muffin tin 2/3 of the way and bake for approximately 12 minutes until firm to the touch.
While baking, melt the butter and mix cinnamon with sugar. Remove the muffins from the tin and carefully dip each in butter and roll in cinnamon sugar. Eat immediately or place in a cupcake liner.