Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Breakfast in Bed with Homemade English Muffins (and Doughnut Muffins, too!)


Breakfast in bed is rarely served at my house, but that's something I'm trying to rectify. I know it's considered best if someone makes it for you, but I'm kind of a control freak when it comes to breakfast pastries and breads, so really, I don't mind doing the work.

I decided to document my last effort, which was assorted nibbles shared with the hubby. It was delicious and made us feel cheery all day long. Here's what was on our tray.
  • Coffee is a must for us both and since it's been 85 degrees at 10 a.m., I bought our favorite bottled coffees and made sure they were served ice cold.
  • Doughnut muffins. These are a favorite that I've made countless times. They're easy, and if you've never made them then you should probably drop everything and go make them right now. Seriously, they are my favorite mini breakfast muffin. 
  • Homemade life-changing English muffins (with the option of butter and jam). I'm still pinching myself. I made English muffins that look and taste like English muffins! It can be done! More details on this later.
  • Juicy red cherries. It's good to offer a fresh bite with breakfast. It makes everything seem more vibrant and special.
  • O.J. - good ol' sunshine in a glass. It's thirst-quenching in a way that coffee is not. 
There are a few other small things that make breakfast in bed really great, like the morning paper or your favorite book, real table linens, and a single fresh bloom on the tray.


I made the doughnut muffins the night before. They keep really well (although they never last more than two days), so they tasted just as fresh as the first day. I know many of you have made these before, but for those who haven't, you should know that these muffins get dipped in butter (major!) and then rolled in cinnamon-sugar. They are tops in my book!


Now let's talk about these homemade English muffins, because I can't believe how well they turned out. There were two recipes I considered making before settling on this one. The first is made with a pourable batter that requires the purchase of English muffin rings, but since not everyone has those, I opted for the roll-and-cut version. I still used my pastry rings to fry them in, but I soon discovered that they are not needed. My first muffins were a little too thick, and didn't have that wonderful bubbly, craggy interior, so I patted the dough thinner, cut new rounds and fried a second batch - they were perfect! They have just the right amount of chewiness, and a perfectly pocked interior. I made these the night before too, and they kept well in an air-tight container.


Breakfast in bed is totally indulgent, and I almost dismissed it entirely with a "who has time for that?", but sweet memories are rarely made with that attitude. I'm so glad I made time for it, and I'd encourage you to try it just once!


Edit 6/24/14: Friends, please note that there is an egg in the English muffins and "ground sugar" in the muffin recipe is supposed to be "ground cinnamon". These errors have been corrected in both recipes. My apologies for the omissions! -xo

Homemade English Muffins 
(Roll and Cut Method)
[click for printable version]
Source: The Bread Bible
Yields 12 to 14 three inch muffins
Prep: 45 minutes, total time about 2 hours
1/4 cup/ 60 ml warm water (105° to 115°)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
4 to 4 1/2 cups/ 512 to 576 g  all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups/300 ml warm milk (around 95° to 100°)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Plain yellow corn meal for dusting

Combine the active dry yeast, water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl and allow it to stand until foamy, about 7 to 10 minutes. 
Combine 2 cups of flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Pour in the egg, milk, butter and yeast mixture. Stir with a spoon to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading on medium-low speed as you make the additions. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes after the last flour addition.
Place the dough inside a large greased bowl and turn the dough over so that the entire surface is coated. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. 
Sprinkle a work surface with cornmeal. Pour the dough out of the bowl onto the surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with cornmeal and roll into a rectangle, slightly less than 1/2-inch thick. Cut muffins with a large round cutter, or with the mouth of a drinking glass.
Lightly oil a skillet and place it over medium heat. Place the muffins in the pan and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, 5-7 minutes per side. 
Serve warm or split and toasted with jam and butter, or cool before placing them in an air-tight container. They will keep for 3 days air-tight or up to 1 month in the freezer.

You may use pastry rings or English muffin molds to help the muffins keep their round shape, but I tried the recipe both ways and found they did fine without.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
[click for printable version]
Yields 24 mini muffins
Prep: 15 minutes, total time 40 minutes

Cakes
1/2 cup/100 g white sugar
1/4 cup/ 57 g unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup/120 ml milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup/ 128 g all-purpose flour

Coating
1/4 cup/57 g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup/100 g sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of fine grain salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease the cavities of a 24 quantity muffin tin. (I like using flour-based baking spray that greases and flours the pan in one step).
Mix the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, baking powder and flour until just combined. Fill the muffin cups 1/2 full and bake until lightly golden, about 15-20 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool slightly before turning them out onto a wire rack.

Place the melted butter in a small bowl and dip the muffins into the butter. (I normally use a fork to skewer the bottoms of the muffins and then tilt the butter bowl so it pools to one side, then I swirl the entire muffin into the butter.) As you dip the muffins, place them back onto the wire cooling rack. Pour the cinnamon-sugar in to a large zip-top bag (or a paper lunch sack) and place few muffins in at at time - shake, shake, shake - and return the sugar coated muffins to the wire rack. Repeat until all the muffins are coated. Store in a container that seals air-tight.




17 comments:

Monica said...

What a wonderful breakfast in bed spread! I was treated to breakfast in bed on Mother's Day and I thought to myself: "whoever says they don't like breakfast in bed, probably just never had it!" It is such a treat...and the control freak that I am also wouldn't mind being the cook and doing the prep either. : )

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful! I have never had breakfast in bed (I like to sit at a table to eat! ;-) )...

Beautiful muffins!

Cheers,

Rosa

Maite SweetFood said...

Heather!!!Love this breakfast!!Yummy!! I wish I could taste it... =) =) xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Hi, this breakfast seems so tasty I can't wait to make this!
But shouldn't there be at least one egg in the cinnamon muffin batter? And I think coating should consist of 1 teaspoon of cinnamon instead of sugar?
Anyway, I really like your blog, thanks for sharing:)

Heather Baird said...

There's no egg in the muffin batter, but you are right about the cinnamon "ground sugar" should be "ground cinnamon" -fixed, thank you!

Winddove said...

How many eggs in the English Muffins? Want to make them this afternoon. They look wonderful!

Heather Baird said...

Hi Winddove! 1 egg - my apologies. Geez louise, I need new glasses or a hired editor for my recipes.

xo

Bridget said...

I have people coming over for breakfast tomorrow, and I have all the ingredients for both recipes in the cupboard. I wonder what's going to happen next... B xx

Anonymous said...

Keep on working, great job!

Winddove said...

Thank you so much! Awesome recipe! Delicious! :-)

Belinda Lo said...

Oh perfect! This is all I can use to describe this breakfast because Nothing is better than sharing homemade breakfast treats with all the people (animals too!) that you love.

Clare said...

I just made the English muffins, they worked, and I feel this is an amazing life changing moment! Thanks for the recipe!

Ellen @ BakeItWithBooze said...

I love making home made English muffins. So easy, right? I use a griddle and no rings and they turn out great. I would love to try your donut muffins as well. Definitely on my baking bucket list.

Sue said...

I would be thrilled if I was treated to this breakfast, especially without getting out of bed! The salt and pepper set is adorable:)

Nikki B said...

I was checking and checking for a new post, and i can't believe that i missed it yesterday because i was making English Muffins for the first time ever too!! They did not turn out as spongy though, so i am not happy.. i wish i found your recipe yesterday because i trust you like i don't trust myself. Thank you for the beautiful recipes!

COCO JZ said...

What a lovely treat! We don't do breakfast in bed, either. I'm going to run out & get one of these trays now and follow your lead, Heather.
Wishing you a sweet w/end. xo

Anonymous said...

I love that wallpaper indeed. Could you tell me where did you get it?? Love your wonderfull blog... your creations are amazing. Regards from Spain¡¡¡¡

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