Indulgent Breakfast: Brown Sugar Muffins

Have you ever tasted something on vacation that was heavenly, and then you return home to discover that all your vacation memories are flavored with the deliciousness of that something?  And when the lovely vacation you had seems soooo over–piles of laundry overflowing, to-do list a mile long, cranky kids–you begin to feel that if you could just taste that {heavenly vacation food} again, you could almost be blissfully transported back on vacation.

 Well, these muffins do that to me.

The first time I ever tasted a Brown Sugar Muffin was several years ago when we’d gone on a family trip to see our old friends in Connecticut.  On the way back , we stopped to enjoy the hospitality of a friend of the family in upstate Ohio who we refer to as Aunt Jeannette.  Aunt Jeannette not only provided a place for us to spend the night, she cooked us a breakfast more fabulous that anything I’ve ever had at a boutique Bed & Breakfast.  Bowls of fresh fruit, hot German Pancakes, and a platter of muffins, fresh from the oven.

I’ll admit, the muffins didn’t look life changing or even out of the ordinary.  But when I bit into one–well, all I can say is that a life of breakfast pastries flashed before my eyes, and I saw that my life as I knew it was over because I had NEVER tasted anything like that muffin.  It was that good.  Actually, I should say they were that good because I definitely ate more than one.

Our visit with Aunt Jeannette didn’t last nearly long enough, and in the flurry of collecting all my children’s belongings and making sure everyone had visited the bathroom before we hit the road, I didn’t get her recipe.  All I knew was that she called them Brown Sugar Muffins.

Over time, I’ve tested at least five different recipes that I came up when I Googled “brown sugar muffins”.  While most of them produced acceptable muffins that everyone in the family seemed happy to devour as a breakfast treat, none were worthy to share the pedestal with my memory of Aunt Jeannette’s muffins.  Until…I stumbled across a recipe with a slight variation to the words I’d been using for my past searches:  Brown Butter Sugar Muffins.  Using the browned butter version with a few tweaks of my own produced–at long last–the version of muffin that takes me right back to Aunt Jeannette’s Bed & Breakfast.

Keep in mind that these aren’t your fiber rich wheat berry and alfalfa sprout muffins that knock your cholesterol down 16 points just by looking at them.  Nope, I wouldn’t recommend these to anyone on a diet.  They really are more of a pastry.  I would, however, recommend them to anyone planning a special brunch or opening a bed & breakfast.


1/2 cup butter

2 cups flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soad

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small sauce pan, brown the butter, cooking it over low heat for 5-7 minutes until the butter turns a golden brown color and smells nutty.  Remove from the stovetop and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before using.

In the meantime, line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  In a bowl, combine flour, baking power, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and eggs until smooth and fluffy.  (I like to use my Kitchenaide mixer for this part.)  Add browned butter and vanilla extract and mix well.

By hand, stir in half of the flour mixture before adding the buttermilk.  Then, stir in the remaining flour mixture until just combined, without big streaks of dry ingredients.

Divide batter evenly into the muffin tin.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy!

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  1. Those sound heavenly! I have recently discovered America’s Test Kitchen, and their chocolate chip cookie recipe and brown sugar cookie recipe both call for browned butter. Best cookies I’ve ever made! I will have to give your muffins a whirl.

    • Oh, browned butter cookies are AMAZING! A friend of mine introduced me to them recently, saying, “These cookies are ugly but wait til you taste them.” They were heavenly. What is it about that browned butter?

  2. The muffins were very tasty. I highly recommend giving them a try, but do use paper liners. I didn’t and they stuck something awful to the muffin tin. How much vanilla? It says in directions to add vanilla, but it’s not on ingredient list. I used 1 tsp… Thank you! I just found your blog and really enjoy it!

    • Oh, I forgot about the vanilla! Yes, 1 tsp should do it. I’ll make sure I add that to the recipe. I’m glad you caught it for me. I have great success without liners as long as I use canola based non-stick spray. I’m not sure why that makes such a difference, but you can see from the photos that my unlined muffins came out without a hitch.

  3. Yum! Would love you to share this at Breakfast Ideas Mondays –

  4. Oh these sound wonderful! Is Monday morning enough of a special occasion to bake these : )?

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