Food, The Slow Cook

French Breakfast Muffins: Toasted, Not Baked

Toasted – not baked -- mildly charred French Breakfast Muffins, anyone?
Toasted – not baked — French Breakfast Muffins, anyone?

I started this beautiful Sunday morning by following a dream. One I only dreamed of last night, but a dream nevertheless.

I dreamed I was baking French Breakfast Muffins!

I stumbled across the recipe on yesterday. I haven’t ever eaten them before but they sounded so similar to the Muffnuts I baked with my darling sister in Munich, I just had to give them a try.

They recipe had all the ingredients that promise to take a weekend cuppa chai to a magical place! Unlike many cupcake recipes I’ve tried in the past, this one called for less egg and more milk and butter, a combination, I have on good authority, which turns cakes really soft and moist. If that wasn’t enough, the muffins needed to be dipped in butter and rolled around in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. It’s one of those recipes with which you just cannot go wrong.

But see, if you’re me, you can manage to burn boiling water if you’re not careful. I still maintain that I’m an excellent cook. But I’ve come to realise that my biggest problem is lack attentiveness in the kitchen.

This morning, I did everything perfectly — from measuring the ingredients down to the last milligram, to resisting the urge of adding more butter. As I scooped the batter into moulds, I was proud to have planned so well that I had just enough for 6 muffins.

I was most pleased with myself when I placed the tray in the oven at 8.05 am. I sat down to do a bit of reading then and went back to check on them at 8.09 am. They were doing well. Rising a little… Perhaps that should have been a warning sign because when the bake time calls for 20-25 minutes, any batter that rises in 4 minutes might be in a little bit of trouble, no?

I sat back down to read and when 10 minutes had passed, I decided to go turn the tray around to even out the heat. Good thing I did because what I saw reinforced my belief that all my baking attempts was jinxed – the tops of the muffins were turning dark brown and bits of it were on their way to getting charred.

I pulled them out immediately! It took me a minute to gather my wits. Was the temperature too high? No, it was actually 10 degrees lower than what the recipe called for… Should I have placed the tray a little lower? Experience has taught me that would have charred the bottom. So I turned to look at the knobs on the right and spotted my error instantly: It was on the toaster setting. Oh joy!

It was like I was in shock, the way I went ahead with the buttering (while it was still very warm) and the cinnamon-sugar coating. I wasn’t in the mood to attempt another batch before I had mourned this one fully.

Toasted – not baked — French Breakfast Muffins, anyone? Surprisingly, yes! My husband loved the crispy-on-the-outside, soft and moist on the inside texture. He ate an entire muffin in two bites and then swiped the one I was hoping to wash down with my tea.

I guess things turned out okay after all! I’m still convinced that I’m jinxed, though. I mean, seriously! I don’t know of a single amateur baker who has made as many blunders as much as I have on every unsupervised attempt. But maybe it’s a jinx interspersed with bouts of luck because this recipe is a keeper! So long as I can recreate it without something new going wrong.

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