Not Cereal For Breakfast

I’m pretty big on serving a decent breakfast to my kids. I like to feed them something solid and homemade, something that will jumpstart them into having a productive and happy day (yes, I’m an optimist), so naturally, I try to stay away from bought cereal. It really is a ridiculous food, don’t you think? Whole grains processed to death, spritzed with vitamins and minerals, stuffed into brightly colored boxes, and sold at high prices. It makes much more sense, financially and nutritionally, to cook up a breakfast from unadulterated whole grains. So, most mornings I cook breakfast. (I do keep a couple boxes of cereal on hand for emergency meals.)

[Now, lest you think I’m a holier-than-thou health nut, let me assure you, let me confess, I love bought cereal. Nights, after the kids are in bed, Mr. Handsome and I often settle ourselves at the kitchen table, crack open a box of cereal and eat bowl after bowl of the crunchy, golden goodness, adding more fresh cereal to the leftover milk, till we’ve slurped the last drop of milk from the bottom of the bowl. Then, we help ourselves to another giant serving. My favorite cereal is, don’t gag, Captain Crunch, or Peanut Butter Captain Crunch (my kids even give it to me as a birthday present), but I’ll take anything—Cheerios, Rice Chex, Corn Flakes. It’s the crunch, the cold milk… Sigh.

The kids aren’t supposed to know about our little late-night cereal fests, so I’d be much obliged if you’d keep your yapper shut.]

I try to keep our breakfasts varied, and while everyone here loves pancakes and French toast, I especially like breakfasts that can be assembled the night before and then popped into the oven first thing in the morning.

Dutch Puff
Adapted from Large Family Logistics.

Note: this recipe was also posted here.

8 eggs
2 cups flour (I use one cup of freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour and one cup of all-purpose flour)
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter (more or less, depending on how comfortable you are in your relationship with butter)

Before going to bed at night, crack 8 eggs into a bowl and whisk well. Whisk in the flour, and then the milk and salt. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out—they will soften overnight. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or a shower cap (something my creative mother taught me to do), and let it sit on the kitchen counter overnight.

In the morning, put the butter in a 9×13 pan and slip the pan into the oven. Turn the oven to 350 degrees. When the butter has melted (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn), carefully swirl it around so that it coats the sides and bottom of the pan. There will be extra butter floating on the bottom, but do not worry—it will make the puff taste very yummy.

Now, take the shower cap off the bowl and aggressively whisk the puff mixture. It probably looks a bit gross, all brown and gloppy, but as you stir it, the color becomes more palatable. There should be no lumps. Pour the mixture into the pan with the melted butter and then pop the pan back into the oven.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the puff has risen sky-high. The sides will get high pretty quickly (and they tend to get fairly dark), but the middle needs to also rise up and turn golden brown.

Have your family sitting down at the table before you remove the puff from the oven. Since it falls within the first several minutes, you need everyone there so they can see it right away. Teach them to ooh and aah—it enhances the flavor.

Serve with maple syrup. Or, if you want to make it extra fancy, serve it with Grace’s Vanilla Pudding, whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand, and maple syrup poured over the whole mess; in this manner it rather resembles a cream puff.


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