Thursday, July 28, 2011

French Breakfast Puffs

Around the internet these little gems are being called Doughnut Muffins.  It's a dirty rotten shame.  Wanna know why, because I've always known them as French Breakfast Puffs.  Isn't that better?  Paints a picture doesn't it?  Doughnut muffins...pshh, boring. 

I had my first taste of these muffins when I was in college.  I worked at the most amazing salon in Minneapolis.  Down the hall from the salon, a little coffee shop sold these amazing muffins called French Puffs.  I had never heard of them before, but I love to try new baked goods and these looked simple and delicious.  I was right.  Very straightforward in flavor, unlike any muffin I had ever eaten.

The nutmeg is light, as it should be, but rolling the hot muffin in melted butter and then in a cinnamon/sugar mixture make these pure heaven. You must make these. Chances are you already have all of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge, so no excuses.

I used a recipe from my 1956 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, just like the chocolate cupcake recipe.  Something that I adore about vintage cookbooks is that most recipes have a little introduction beneath the title. It can be as simple as a short description of the recipe to a personal account from the person that created the recipe.  This one is no exception. 

French Breakfast Puffs  (as written in the cookbook)
Like delicate, glorified doughnuts.  Miss Esoline Beauregard of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said, "Please try my mother's recipe."

Mix thoroughly. . .
     1/3 cup soft shortening
     1/2 cup sugar
     1 egg
Sift together. . .
     1 1/2 cups sifted flour
     1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
     1/2 tsp. salt
     1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Stir in alternately with. . .
     1/2 cup milk
Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake unitl golden brown.  Immediately roll in. . .
     6 Tbsp. butter, melted
Then in a mixture of. . .
     1/2 cup sugar
     1 tsp. cinnamon
Serve hot.

TEMPERATURE: 350 degrees
TIME: 20 to 25 min.
AMOUNT: 12 med. muffins

Note from me: When rolling the hot muffin in the butter and then cinnamon sugar, roll the enitre muffin in both mixtures.  It creates a wonderuful flavor and an amazing 'crust' on the muffin.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cupcakes Part 2-Vintage Cake recipe

Remember the post, where I declared my love of cupcakes?  Well, here's the sequel ladies and gentlemen.  What's special about this recipe is that it's a vintage recipe. This lovely chocolate cake recipe came from my 1956 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.  There's something quite unique about baking from vintage cookbooks, you're transported to another era.  You know, where you dress like the ladies from Mad Men  and your house is as well kept as June Cleaver's. Only in my dreams.

The frosting recipe is from Miss Martha and is simply titled Vanilla frosting.  The light cream cheese flavor goes well with the chocolate cake.  I dare you to not dip your finger into that big bowl of goodness while frosting these puppies.  I doubled the recipe and I had plenty of frosting to cover more than two dozen cupcakes. 

Ok, let's face it, this recipe isn't earth-shatteringly unique, but all of us need a good chocolate cake recipe.  I know that there are tons of chocolate cake mixes on the shelves of every grocery store, but homemade cake is so much better.  In fact, it's infinitely better than any box cake.  Plus, it doesn't have all those crazy preservatives. 

Here's the recipe, as written in the cookbook:

Popular Chocolate Cake (Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook, 1956)

Grease and flour.................................2  9" layer pans or 13x9" oblong pan

Cream together until fluffy................2/3 c.   shortening
(Beat 5 min. high speed                     1 1/2 c. sugar
  on mixer or by hand)                        3 eggs                      
Blend in............................................2 1/2 sq. unsweetened chocolate, melted

Sift together......................................2 1/4 c. flour
                                                            1 tsp baking Soda
                                                            1 tsp. salt

Mix in alternately with.....................1 1/4 c. buttermilk
(Use low speed on mixer)

Temperature: 350 degrees (mod. oven)
Time: Bake layers 30 to 35 min, oblong 40 to 45 min.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake unitl cake tests done.  Cool.  Finish with icing.

Vanilla Frosting (Martha Stewart)

This is the original recipe, doubled:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
8 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl; beat until well combined.