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)
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
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
Yields 20 mini muffins
Prep: 15 minutes, total time 40 minutes
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
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 3/4 full and bake until lightly golden, about 9-12 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.