I fancy myself the type of person who forgives and forgets, who lets bygones be bygones, the type of person who doesn’t wallow in the past. And for the most part, I am that person, except when it comes to two things:
- Matt Damon
- Discontinued breakfast cereals, namely Pop Tarts Crunch and French Toast Crunch
Of course, I’ll explain.
I have a deep, irrational hatred of Matt Damon, to the point where I can’t watch any of his movies, no matter how good they look or how talented the rest of the cast is (Elysium!! I don’t know if I could break my rule, not even for you). It’s because of Saving Private Ryan – specifically, because he got Vin Diesel killed in that movie. I have a serious soft spot for Vin Diesel. Come on, he was the Iron Giant, the Fast and Furious movies have gotten legitimately good, and the Riddick movies have some of the best one-liners ever (I have a line from the Chronicles of Riddick tattooed to my arm, because it’s badass and I’m ridiculous). Of all the soldiers who died to save Private Ryan, Vin Diesel shouldn’t have been one of them! Rant over.
The cereals I have a hard time talking about because I’m still really emotional about them, even almost 20 years later. Pop Tarts Crunch, the strawberry one, was honestly one of my favorite things in the world as a kid. That was probably when my obsession with foods that look like other foods began. They were just like strawberry Pop Tarts, but tiny and crunchy and adorable! They got discontinued in 1995, only a year after they came out and it devastated me. Thankfully, that same year, French Toast Crunch came out and it more or less filled the void left in my life by Pop Tarts Crunch. But of course, it also eventually got discontinued. You were right, Robert Frost – nothing gold can stay. All I’ve got left now is fond memories, and really hilarious Amazon reviews.
This turned into a long-winded ramble, as per usual, but I just really had to get that off my chest, okay?
Now, on to the muffins!
French Toast Muffins (52 of 750)
Adapted from 750 Best Muffin Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury
Makes 36 mini-muffins
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups cubed firm bread (I used day-old homemade Challah bread)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla until blended. Stir in bread, tossing to coat, Set aside.
- Muffins: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until well blended. Whisk in milk until blended.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended.
- Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Spoon topping evenly over batter and press lightly into batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are firm at the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Immediately brush the warm muffins with maple syrup. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over muffins. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.
Let me tell you, these muffins are a serious nostalgia bomb. The smell of warm maple syrup is one of the happiest smells in the world, if that makes any sense. It reminds me of lazy Saturdays, tall stacks of pancakes, and breakfast with my family.
Straight out of the oven, the bread becomes pretty crisp and crunchy, almost like French toast croutons, which I’m going to make a mental note of, because that sounds amazing. Don’t worry though, if you store the muffins in an airtight container overnight, the bread will soften up. I actually prefer them the next day, once the bread is softer and the flavors have had time to meld.
The maple syrup is the most important part, so if you can help it, use the real stuff, not that fake pancake syrup. I ended up brushing the maple syrup on twice – once straight out of the oven, and then a second time after they completely cooled.
While these muffins won’t replace French toast in my life, they’re certainly a fun new way to eat them. Now I’ll never have to deal with the infinite struggle of deciding between French toast or muffins for breakfast – why pick one when you can have both?