Sugared Puffs (or the Problem with Breakfast)

Today Study Breaks Magazine posted an article I wrote about Sugared Puffs. They didn't include the recipe... but I included it here below the recipe. 

Bises, i love you. 


Breakfast is the most intimate eating of the day, the one meal that everyone has deep-rooted opinions about.

In the past year, I’ve become a serial breakfast skipper, a banana and coffee kind of girl—which is sort of chic, but mostly stupid because I’m always hungry and irritable by lunch.

You can tell a lot about a person by how they make eggs for breakfast. Emotionally volatile boys have fixed me eggs sunny side up, the edges burnt and charred. My gentle brother folds cream and cheese into his perfectly seasoned scrambled eggs. My lady friends make me omelets carefully flipped, dripping with butter and gossip. Eggs are intrinsically emotional, and breakfast—intimate. I don’t usually love breakfast, often it is too much to deal with.

Of course, none of this especially matters. But these are the tiny details that ultimately stack up to the arch of a life. Let it be known however, that this is coming from someone whose entire existence has been informed by the sandwich scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally.

It’s the part where they’re getting sandwiches at a diner, and Sally orders hers with literally everything on the side. Harry looks at her and asks, “Why did you do that?” And Sally says, “What?” And Harry says, “Why did you just order everything on the side like that?”

And this is the part that just slays me: Sally looks at him and she says, “I just like it the way I like it.”

Which is, in summary, how I believe pretty much everyone, from Seattle to Kurdistan feels about breakfast. Being weird about breakfast helps me understand and appreciate and empathize with the complexity of the world. Breakfast is complicated. Because everyone just likes it the way they like it.

Here is how I like it: I have a tendency to love things that disappear.

Dancing, for one. Music and lipstick, a few relationships, what people in Texas call “spring,” cut flowers, cloud formations. However, more than any of these, I love the evanescent breakfast pastry. In particular, I love what French food guru and pastry chef David Lebovitz referred to in an article in the New York Times as a “Sugared Puff.” Sugared puffs are only good for about an hour, after which they transform into rubbery glutinous lumps.   I adore Sugared Puffs for breakfast.

As someone who not only dislikes breakfast but also has difficulty dealing with change, this does not make sense. The excellence of a sugared puff fades all too quickly.

To everything there is a season. Growing up I loved this kind of phrase. It simplified the messiness of the world, allowed me to organize and allocate events according to my own illogical seasons. Perhaps this is empowered. (I’ve read enough self-help to know that you have to write your own story, create your own narrative, reinvent the things you believe yourself capable of.)

Well over a year ago, I called a friend crying bitterly about how things had changed.

“These things happen.” He said calmly.

These things happen.

I’ve spent so many hours watching cloud formations drift apart while reapplying my lipstick, trying to figure out how to deal with the fact that “these things happen.”

The question and the answer is Sugared Puffs, that they do not last, that they are no good tomorrow or the day after. Sugared Puffs are the perpetual “one who got away.” A sweet reminder to enjoy now now now because tomorrow, and tomorrow’s breakfast, is uncertain.

And so you must revel in the fact that you “just like it the way you like it,” because tomorrow might be a rubbery glutinous lump. You never know.

Sugared Puffs


(These puffs are essentially popovers reimagined.) 

By David Lebovitz, recipe originally published in the New York Times in 2009.

For the puffs:

Softened unsalted butter, for greasing the pan

2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup flour

For the sugar coating:

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter, melted.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Liberally grease a nonstick popover pan, or a muffin pan with 1/2-cup indentations, with softened butter.

2. For the puffs, put the 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, milk, salt and sugar in a blender and whiz for a few seconds.

3. Add the flour and whiz for 5 to 8 seconds, just until smooth.

4. Divide the batter among 9 greased molds, filling each 1/2 to 2/3 full.

5. Bake for 35 minutes, until the puffs are deep brown.

6. Remove from the oven, wait a few minutes until cool enough to handle, then remove the puffs from the pans. You may need a small knife to help pry them out.

7. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Thoroughly brush each puff all over with melted butter, then dredge in sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat completely. Let cool on a baking rack. Makes 9 puffs.