French Breakfast Puffs wide shot

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that I learned to bake in self-defense. I grew up surrounded by Ring Dings, Devil Dogs, Oreos and Chips Ahoy cookies – sickeningly sweet and processed. A layer of cheap industrial plastic was always between me and my dessert. By the time I was eight I couldn’t take it anymore.

French Breakfast Puffs sliced

One Sunday morning, I woke up before dawn, tiptoed into the kitchen, cracked open an old cookbook and began to assemble ingredients. I pulled out the rotary beater and began mixing. I couldn’t resist. I loved the way the flour fell into the bowl and the way the ingredients came together. I scooped the batter into the muffin cups, placed them in the oven and waited patiently.
muffin wrappers
The French Breakfast Puffs were perfect and smelled divine. I carefully rolled each Puff in butter, then cinnamon and sugar and poured myself a big glass of milk. I remember feeling thrilled over my success. I sat at the kitchen table triumphantly chomping on the muffin while perusing one of my favorite childhood books.
Piece of breakfast pufffairy taleTulips
Because the muffins were so easy I felt justified in tackling pancakes and then cookies and then cakes. As you can see, things have only intensified since then.
Now, of course, I’m a huge advocate of teaching children how to bake. Not only is it fun but it teaches them precision, patience, experimentation and they can even learn about science.
Did you bake when you were a child? What was your first recipe? Do you let your kids bake now? If not, I definitely recommend this as a starter recipe. I’ve talked to many people who have said that French Breakfast Puffs was their first recipe too. It’s extremely easy and pretty much guaranteed to be a success on the first try. (They’re delicious for adults too). I hope you and the children who are part of your lives enjoy them.

French Breakfast Puff w cinnamon


French Breakfast Puffs
204 g flour (1 1/2 c)
95 g sugar (1/2 c)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
121 g milk (1/2 c)
76 g melted butter (1/3 c)
51 g sugar (1/4 c)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
76 g melted unsalted butter (1/3 c)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Combine flour, 95 g sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl combine vanilla, egg, milk and melted butter. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix just until blended.
Lightly grease muffin cups or line with muffin papers. Fill 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20-25 minutes.
In the meantime, melt butter. In a separate bowl combine sugar and cinnamon.
Allow muffins to cool for at least 10 minutes. Roll muffin tops in butter, then sugar.


Bon appetit!



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  1. They look great, I love the pink theme in the post. I started baking pancakes and it progressed from there. My Mom bought my brother and I a cookbook designed for kids. Every page looked well worn by the time we were teens!

  2. I think breakfast for my parents was one of the first things I made. When I was very little my mom would let me play with her flour jar kind of like it was a sandbox. I had tons of silly kitchen disasters in my childhood cooking, fortunately that has mostly gone away!

  3. These puffs look great! what beautiful pictures. I think I started baking as a kid out of necessity. We weren’t allowed sweets in the house, but there was sugar and flour in the pantry…

  4. Wow. 8 is impressive. I started in college. Mom did everything for us. Maybe that wasn’t such a good thing. Gorgeous pics by the way!

  5. These look awesome! I definitely want to make them but I’m guessing mine won’t be as pretty as yours. I’m still learning how to bake. I agree it’s good for kids!

  6. I think the same way about baking. I was mentioning to a good friend that baking is one of the easiest ways to teach kids to follow directions/written instructions. There are many lessons that can be taught from the kitchen and a lifetime of rewards that can be reaped. These French breakfast are so elegant and wonderfully simple.

  7. GOSH, you and I have so much in common… but my overly processed guilty pleasure was “little debbies”…

    It’s the old adage, once you have something great, you’ll never go back again… I LOVE the tulip photos. Growing up, I had instant oatmeal.

  8. I was lucky enough to attend an elementary school that encouraged learning basic cooking skills at an early age. We had classes where we made simple recipes and were encouraged to take home what we had learned and make the recipes with our parents. It was a great experience that I wish would be more common in schools these days.

  9. That is to funny,,I just made these yesterday to,,I used Pioneer Womens recipe out of her husband wanted something for breakfast in the morning and I thought of these,,they worked out great..your pictures are beautiful..

  10. My family was the exact opposite. My parents almost never bought the packaged stuff, so chips ahoy were the special treat. I honestly can’t remember my first recipe but it was probably something like this. I think teaching kids to cook andbake is really important. These are skills they will use all their lives and will help them lead much healthier lifestyles.

  11. I loved to bake as a child. I definitely made pancakes and cookies but always had supervision. I completely agree with you about baking being good for children. Of course, your photos are gorgeous too!

  12. We weren’t allowed to eat dessert in out house. Chopped veggies and dips were our snacks. Maybe this is why I drool over your blog as an adult!!

  13. these look delicious and your photos are stunning! I’ve always baked, not sure what my first recipe was but I know there was lots of cookies in our house when I was little. I loved cutting them out and decorating them!

  14. These French Breakfast Puffs look so dainty and ethereal. It’s so calming gazing at your beautiful photographs.

    Wish I had one of those puffs right now with some green tea.

  15. hi El! those look so gorgeous! my boys love helping out in the kitchen, so we’ll definitely add these to next weekend’s menu.

    i’m a big advocate for my boys to learn to not only appreciate good food, but to enjoy the process as well. it’s amazing the things they will eat as long as they have a hand in cooking it.

  16. No, this wasn’t my first recipe, but it sounds lovely. I think I was 8 as well when I began and was making dinner for our family at age 11. My boys all made their lunches for school by age 6. Of course, none of it looked this fabulous!

  17. I LOVE this story, El. 🙂 I can just picture you puttering away determinedly in the kitchen. 🙂 I’ve never heard of French Breakfast Puffs, but now I simply have to try them. 🙂

  18. What memories you evoke. I have my mothers mixer downstairs (from 1955 or so) – still works – even the meat grinder. I will confess to loving Ring Dings – sorry! But these days I’d much prefer your delectable muffins.

  19. Pancakes were the first thing I ever made. I’m not sure it counts because I used a mix. My brother and I had a kid’s cookbook at some point but I’m not sure we used it too much. I think that was wishful thinking on my mom’s part! Your puffs look great!!!

  20. I love how you started your post El – you were ahead of your time! 🙂 I only started to bake when I turned 13 (as part of our Middle School curriculum), but at home, I had to play spectator and dishwasher until I was 16…at least!

  21. Really beautiful puffs! And your photos are such a delight. I started baking when I was 6 years old. Both my mother and grandma (who originally owned a bakery with her sister) loved having us in the kitchen and were patient with our efforts. My kids, now grown, all cook well. So important and such a lovely way to spent time with your kids. (And grandkids)

  22. I NEED to make these!! I love the way they look!
    The only baking I did when I was young was a good ol’ box cake mix or this crazy microwave cake thing my mom use to buy. eeek.

  23. Beautiful photos! Just found your blog and I am in love!! I too have loved to bake since I was very young. I remember making these muffins (or a variation) for my French class in high school. I made your recipe with my little boy the other morning…and he had so much fun… he told me he wanted to be a chef! You are so right…baking with your children is a must!

  24. I too started baking at a young age. For my eighth birthday I had a cookie baking party. My mom sewed kid-size aprons for my friends and used a puffy pen to put their names on their aprons. It was really cute.

    I also baked out of necessity as I got older. While my mom could manage those sugar cookies, she just was not into measuring ingredients or following recipes. I loved the precision.

  25. Made these this morning….delicious!! Way better than the recipe I had. These came out light and fluffy.
    A tip– if your butter has salt in it, then the 1/8 tsp of salt in the batter is right. If you have unsalted butter, use 1/4 tsp salt.

  26. Anonymous- Yes, you can make them without nutmeg. They will still be delicious but a bit bland. Or if you like cinnamon, you could substitute the nutmeg with cinnamon.

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