Oh, popovers. How we do love them. They’re ever so scrumptious with their custardy center and crispy exterior, and they look so cute when you open the oven door to see them all puffed up and pretty. If only you never had to take them out of the oven.
Before I get to that, though, I must tell you that these are some of the best-tasting popovers you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. Just a hint of brown sugar and vanilla and scented with cinnamon and quite honestly, I could eat several at one sitting. The recipe says to sprinkle them with a little powdered sugar when they come out of the oven, which is a bit like gilding the lily, and perhaps more appropriate as a dessert popover than breakfast, but that’s just me. I felt they needed no embellishment, but the powdered sugar looked sort of pretty. They really are very special and you will want to make these for yourself to see just how special they really are.
…But. Yes, we have to start this paragraph with “But”. But… they are not beautiful. I’ve made these three times now, and the first time I made them exactly as stated in the recipe. The second time I made a couple of modifications. The third time I tried using little ramekins instead of my popover pan. But none of my sweet little popovers turned out like the photo on the Relish website. I think they cheated and inserted some other popover photo because these popovers are not pale and delicate as shown in the photo. No sir, these are brown sugar cinnamon popovers and they are ruddy- complected and rather earthy-looking and I just thought I should warn you.
And then at the end of the recipe, it says to “serve immediately before they deflate.” That is hilarious! I mean they start deflating the moment you open the oven door, continue to deflate as you remove them from the oven, deflate further when you remove them from the pan and deflation intensifies as they cool. You get the picture… deflated, shriveled popovers. Oh, but they’re so good. I described these to my Cousin Katie the other day as soothing. Simple, warm, soothing and oh so good. And did I mention easy to make? Two bowls and just a couple minutes of mixing and they're in the oven, so these definitely qualify as breakfast food.
After doing a little research, I’ve learned that perhaps using whole milk will prevent shriveling (I used 2%), and/or extending the baking time to 40 or 45 minutes will set the popover so it doesn’t shrivel or deflate quite as much, but that would also set the interior and we might lose our squishy center. I'm pretty sure that the addition of brown sugar adds something to the mix that keeps them from holding their shape as they cool. The addition of a little more flour might provide a bit more structure. I may work on this some more, but to be honest, I’m afraid to mess with the recipe much more for fear of losing its textural personality which we so dearly love. So I’ll leave it to you to decide. If you like your popovers slightly sweet, crisp and custardy, and don’t find the site of a shriveled popover bottom abhorrent, these may just be the popovers for you. Here’s the recipe…
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Popovers
These really are amazingly good and just right for breakfast or a mid-day snack. But as I mentioned in the blog post, they aren't beautiful. If you can get past their appearance (serving them in little ramekins helps), you're in for a very tasty treat. Also, I've made these in popover pans and in ceramic ramekins. They didn't rise as well in the ramekins, so I would stick with the popover pan or muffin tin. If cooking them in a muffin tin, I would reduce the cooking time to about 10 minutes (after you turn it down to 350). Depending on how hot your oven runs, just watch them so they don't get too dark.
Recipe adapted from Relish.com
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 450 F.
In a bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt. In a large glass liquid measuring cup or bowl, heat milk until just lukewarm, about 30 second in the microwave. Whisk in butter, then vanilla and eggs. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture.
Place popover pans or muffin tins in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and spray liberally with cooking spray. Divide batter among cups, filling until half full. Bake 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if using. Serve immediately before the popovers deflate. :)
Makes 6 full-size popovers or 12 muffin-size popovers.