Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Puffs

By • November 19, 2011 • 281 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a recipe I got from my childhood best friend, college roommate, and partner in all things related to having tea parties, binging on whipped cream and scones, building snow forts, trying to find the source of creeks, spiking hot chocolate, climbing mountains, and other adventures of all sorts. I think she got it from her godmother, who is the ultimate hostess (she has one of those giant houses with stone lions out front, which basically means you're required to be a good hostess).
My friend had these at a brunch hosted by her godmother, and became unbelievably obsessed with them. She was generous enough to share the recipe with me too. I made some little tweaks and changes because I can't help it, like spicing them up, and using browned butter (because butter should almost always be browned in these types of cases). They're kind of a hybrid of spice cake, muffins, and cinnamon sugar donut what's not to love?! Plus they're remarkably quick and easy. And, I must admit, I take odd enjoyment in eating anything called a puff.

Food52 Review: These puffs are like the best doughnut holes you've ever eaten. Cakey and light, with crisp edges and a crunchy blanket of cinnamon sugar, they're gently spiced, with a murmur of orange zest in the background. Brown butter gives them an especially rich, nutty flavor. Don't skip the quick dip in melted butter before you roll them in the sugar -- and make sure to enjoy these while they're still warm! - A&MThe Editors

Makes 12

The Breakfast Puffs

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Cinnamon-sugar coating

  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the 1/3 cup butter, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until browned and nutty smelling. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour a 12 cup muffin tin.
  3. Add the sugar and egg to the cooled butter. Beat with an electric mixer until all creamed together, lightened in color, and fluffy.
  4. In a separate little bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and zest. Add the dry ingredients in increments to the butter-sugar mixture, alternating with the milk and beating until fully combined after each addition.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into the cups of the muffin tin. Pop into the oven and bake until golden brown and fragrant, about 20-25 minutes.
  6. While the puffs are puffing, put the melted butter in one shallow bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon in another one. When the puffs come out of the oven, use a knife to gently pop them all out of the muffin tin.
  7. One by one, dip each puff in the melted butter - get it all over it - then roll it in the cinnamon sugar. Transfer it to some lovely, festive serving platter, and continue until you have rolled all of the puffs. Serve warm - they are by faaaaar the best when they are still warm - with coffee, and mimosas, and other goodies.
Jump to Comments (281)

Comments (281) Questions (9)


6 days ago Maria

I don't think there's a better way for me to make out this recipe. The ingredients are really hard to find. - Andrew Stolper


9 days ago Trine Midtun

They look delicious! I'm going to make them over the weekend.


18 days ago Ksb

We call these dirt bombs.


about 1 month ago John

Hi, I was a little surprised they didn't rise as much as I expected. I make lots of Yorkshire puddings and I can't stopping them from rising. Suggestions please.
They are nice


about 1 month ago wanda kelly

I have made tese before, but misp) a"ed the recipe. Glad to have it back, as everyone loved them.


about 1 month ago Smita Lakhotia

Could you tell me an egg substitute here? I simply love this recipe but we don't use eggs in our baking (I know that may sound silly but can't change it). Can I use buttermilk or some other substitute?
Thanks in advance!


about 1 month ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I don't know that much about egg substitutes, but maybe take a look at this article and see if it gives you ideas?


5 days ago Gene Puerta

If you have ground flax, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of water to equal one egg. If you do not use eggs in baking, I strongly I recommend buying a multi-pound bag of ground flax (it keeps well). Flax is filled with protein, fiber, and omega 3 fatty acids, too. Pay attention to recipes before subbing, though, particularly recipes using coconut flour.


2 months ago Babette

I used to make these as a kid and they are so amazing! If you're feeling extra indulgent, pair these with a pumpkin spiced latte. Looking for other amazing eats and trends? Check out my new blog: http://babetteandbuttons...


3 months ago Diana

I tried this recipe yesterday morning. I LOVED IT!!!! And my 3.5 years old son loved it too, and asked me make it often. Thank you!


3 months ago Mark Eckstrom

Tried this recipe for brunch. And I honestly don't see why/how this was a contest winner: Too dense, dry, and inedible. I find most Food 52 contest winners to be winners in my kitchen as well. These breakfast "puffs" are the exception--horrible experience!


3 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi Mark, definitely really sorry they didn't turn out well for you! I've never had a problem with them being dry - they should turn out with about the consistency of a cake donut (they're just called puffs because that's what they were called in my friend's recipe I was inspired by, but they're not actually particularly puff) , so I don't know what might have happened.


3 months ago Manhattan Tart

I've made these a jillion times and never had them turn out anything close to dry; they're always moist and flavorful. I'm a baker by profession and am exceedingly picky about the recipes I choose to repeat. This recipe is more than worthy. Perhaps you should re-try the recipe, Mark, carefully confirming your measurements? It really is fabulous time and again. I'd encourage you to give it another go.


9 days ago wanda kelly

I've never had them turn out anything but moist and puffy! Maybe check to make sure your flour, etc, are fresh. IDK.


5 months ago justrunmad

Would it be possible to make these without the spices and use vanilla instead? I read another comment about there being baking soda and baking powder in the ingredients. I only see baking powder.......was the baking soda left out of the original recipe? Thanks!


3 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Sorry for not replying to this sooner. I've only been sometimes receiving notifications about comments! Anyway, you could definitely use vanilla instead, I bet that would be yummy. And, the recipe just uses baking powder, no soda.


6 months ago mercer

Made these this morning. The only change I made was to use sour cream in place of the milk. Delicious!


6 months ago Kiel Man

Nice good job..I want also share my Philippines Food Recipes blog. http://philippinesfoodrecipes... this blog helps you how to prepare best filipino foods in easy way with no hassle. If you have suggestion or if want to know the recipe of specific filipino foods you want to prepare just let me know i will post it. I'm glad to help you. thank you.


7 months ago Coco

What sort of consistency should the batter have? I've made this twice and love the taste, but the puffs seemed very dense. When spooned into the muffin pan, the batter's so thick that it does not level.


7 months ago Jenna McGrath

Made these this morning in a mini muffin pan to serve up to the family and they turned our wonderfully! Decreased cooking time a little but they were perfectly sized for the kiddo and yummy!


8 months ago joewho112

Could you make the dough a day ahead of time and bake them in the morning?


8 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

You know, I've never tried it. But, I've been reading a number of muffin recipes lately that call for resting the batter overnight in the fridge, so it might work. If you try it, let us know how it goes!


7 months ago Delete my account

It worked


7 months ago joewho112

It worked


9 months ago Kgiersch

Good, but much denser than I expected. Maybe needs an extra egg?


9 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

They shouldn't be dense -- there's baking powder and baking soda in addition to an egg, so I'm not sure another egg is needed. Maybe cut back on the flour by 1/4 cup?


10 months ago AGIRLANDAPIG

I've never made doughnuts before but I've always wanted to. I'll give these a try!


10 months ago Keikalani

Scrumptious. I thought this was a fairly simple recipe. They were a bit larger than I would have liked and a bit heavier than donuts and the orange zest was okay, just a little bitter. My family enjoyed them and I would definitely make them again!


10 months ago Lizziemac69

I have commented on this recipe before, but here in snowy Atlanta this morning, these were, once again, a HUGE hit. I have learned to prepare them partially in advance. I brown the butter the night before, and mix up the dry ingredients and set them aside. That way, when you're ready to bake them, they come together a little quicker than they would if you have to wait on the butter to cool down after browning! Definitely a TOP FIVE recipe in my book for 2013/2014!


10 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Aw, thanks!


10 months ago SunBunny

I am so going to try these! Just for the sheer fact you don't have to heat a vat of oil up for frying them in.