GINNA PARSONS: Butter, sugar put muffins over the top

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

This year, there will be only four of us around the table on Christmas Eve.
Typically, the holiday dinner includes my mother-in-law and my stepdaughter and granddaughter, but they all have other plans this year.
On Monday morning, my husband, Charlie, texted the children and asked them what they would like to have to eat Saturday evening.
I was envisioning some sort of new recipe – something elegant for sure, and maybe even a bit expensive, since there would be just four mouths to feed.
Poached halibut in a champagne-cream sauce, maybe, with truffled potatoes on the side. Maybe a side of roasted Brussels sprouts or asparagus drizzled with Hollandaise sauce.
Daughter Mary was the first to respond to Charlie’s text: She requested potato soup.
Really? Potato soup.
About a half-hour later, son Patrick chimed in: Tomato soup.
What is with these kids?
Here I was, all pumped to prepare some fancy meal and they want peasant food.
Fine, I said. We’ll have homemade tomato soup. But it will be served with some kind of gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. I’m thinking smoked Gouda on sourdough bread.
But, still I had the itch to try some new, decadent recipe. So I changed tack and decided if they want comfort food on Christmas Eve, they can have it. But come Christmas morning, they’re going to get what I want: these French Breakfast Puffs.
This recipe is from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman ( She makes no apologies for all the butter and sugar that goes into these little babies, and neither do I. After all, it is Christmas.

French Breakfast Puffs
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
21⁄2 cups sugar, divided
2⁄3 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 sticks butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.
In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a different bowl, cream together 1 cup sugar and shortening. Then add eggs and mix again. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
Fill prepared muffin cups 2⁄3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
In a bowl, melt butter. In a separate bowl combine remaining 11⁄2 cups sugar and cinnamon. Dip baked muffins in butter, coating thoroughly. Don’t skimp here. Give each muffin 20 to 30 seconds in the butter. Then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture by rolling them around in the dish. Don’t skimp on this step, either. Must serve warm.
Makes 12 muffins.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

Click video to hear audio