Well, summer is officially over. And I’m saying this because when I walked into Trader Joe’s the other day, I immediately noticed that the large containers that usually held big, beautiful watermelons were sadly replaced with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Although I welcome fall and everything it has to offer from cooler weather to Halloween and whatnot, I’m going to miss my precious watermelon! Ask Alex if you don’t believe me, but I ate watermelon every single day this summer. I guess I don’t care about saying goodbye to long beach days or sunsets at 8pm or wearing dresses… I only care about watermelon. See you next year, buddy!
Now that pumpkin and pumpkin spice-flavored everything has quite literally taken over Trader Joe’s (there’s pumpkin bagels, pumpkin cream cheese spread, pumpkin crackers, etc.), I figured I’d follow suit and offer a recipe utilizing the most popular of the gourd family. While I’m not a fan of pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin-based dishes are something that I’ve come to really love. My pumpkin cheesecake, that I make every Thanksgiving, is something I look forward to baking (and eating) every year, and I am also a huge fan of pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin bread… and pumpkin ice cream. I don’t discriminate; I (mostly) love it all.
So when I was thinking about doing another pumpkin recipe for the blog, I remembered a recipe that I’d made a couple of times before - breakfast puffs, also known as French breakfast puffs. They’re essentially sugared doughnuts in muffin form and, although they’re a bit too sweet for breakfast/brunch purposes, I won’t judge you if you have one (or two) of them with your morning coffee. Typical breakfast puffs do not have canned pumpkin in them, but I was able to figure out what ingredient to remove from the original recipe to replace with the pumpkin: the milk. I actually read online that you can replace the eggs or the oil/butter with pumpkin in certain recipes, but since this recipe only calls for one egg, and the fact that the butter is vital to this recipe (more on that later), getting rid of the milk was my best bet. And it worked out!
Like the title of this post suggests, these pumpkin breakfast puffs also have brown butter in them, an ingredient that I save mostly for fall and winter desserts due to its decadent qualities. Adding brown butter to any recipe gives it a much more nutty and richer flavor, which I think works perfectly with the pumpkin and blend of spices. The last time I shared a recipe featuring brown butter was with my brown butter apple buckle, another perfect example of how well brown butter works with popular fall produce. Speaking of spices, I decided to make it simple and have you use “pumpkin pie” spice for this recipe - something that you can actually buy at the grocery store (I buy mine from Trader Joe’s). The pumpkin pie spice blend that I buy consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cardamom, which are ingredients that most people already have in their pantry. So, if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, simply make the blend yourself! Here’s a recipe I found, but I would suggest adding a 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom as well.
Pumpkin and Brown Butter Breakfast Puffs
Yields 12 puffs
Recipe adapted from FIVEANDSPICE via Food52
For the puffs:
1/3 cup (5 tbsp.) unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin, I prefer Libby’s brand
For the sugar coating:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Make the brown butter: In a medium saucepan, melt 1/3 cup butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam and turn to a golden color. Stir frequently and soon there will be a nutty smell and the butter will brown. Immediately take off the heat once browned and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Allow it to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cavity muffin/cupcake tin with butter or cooking spray and lightly coat with flour.
To the slightly cooled brown butter, add both sugars and the egg and mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt, and whisk together.
Add the pumpkin puree to the brown butter/sugar mixture and mix until incorporated. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated - don’t over mix!
Using a spoon or a ice cream scoop, evenly distribute the batter between the 12 cavities in the pan - it may seem like not a lot of batter, but they will rise in the oven - and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow the puffs to cool for a few minutes before using a knife to take them out of the pan and place them on a cooling rack.
Coat the breakfast puffs: put the melted butter in one shallow bowl and combine the sugar and pumpkin pie spice together in a separate shallow bowl. One at a time, gently roll each puff through the melted butter, getting every section, and then roll it through the spice-y sugar. The puffs are best eaten straight from the oven but can be enjoyed for a couple more days when stored in an airtight container.