Conventional wisdom dictates that eating cookies for breakfast is generally unacceptable. I picture the smirking matriarch Violet from Downton Abbey, swathed in lace and jewels, looking down her nose at me and saying in a voice dripping with disdain, “Cookies for breakfast? Surely you’re joking.” (I do realize, of course, that she would probably call them biscuits.)
Fancy brunches do not typically include eggs benedict with a side of snickerdoodles. Nor are chocolate chip cookies served with biscuits and gravy. However, when you take a first bite of these light, moist muffins, with their cinnamon sugar crust and melt-in-your-mouth center, you will swear you’re eating a snickerdoodle. They have all of the flavors of that delightful cookie, but are made even more warming by a touch of fragrant nutmeg.
These are snickerdoodles all classed up for breakfast, brunch, or even that Downton-worthy afternoon cup of tea. They are not bold and bright like those predictable blueberry muffins, but instead understated and elegant. Like yours truly. Oh yes, we Texans are well known for our understated elegance, y’all. We always serve our snickerdoodle muffins with our shoes on.
Makes about 8 large muffins.
1/3 c. butter, about 2/3 a stick (I use salted butter and omit any other salt, but if using unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp. of salt)
1/2 c. milk
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin or use paper muffin cups. Place butter and milk in a glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, stir, then heat 20 seconds more, until butter is melted. Add vanilla and egg, whisking well to combine. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: sugars, flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, if using. Add wet mixture into dry and stir just until combined. Do not overmix! The mixture should be incorporated together, but still have some lumps. Measure 1/4 cup scoops of mixture into each muffin tin. Sprinkle generously with topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top. My delicious muffins took exactly 23 minutes. Let cool in tin for a few minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack. Pour some fresh coffee or English breakfast tea and indulge in these decadent, pillowy muffins. Go ahead, eat three. I won’t tell.
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The Rev. Whitney Wilkinson is pastor of Cameron Presbyterian Church.