Cook's Country (March 2011)
"Breakfast Buttercups." Have you ever heard a more adorable name? Honestly, it's 99 percent of the reason we chose to make these. Seriously, how could we not?
Plus, with toast, ham, eggs, and cheese, all in a tiny package, how could they possibly bad?
Well, it’s true. These Breakfast Buttercups don’t disappoint.
The idea here is simple and easy to execute. Flatten pieces of white bread, and mold them into muffin tins. Layer in ham and cheese, top with an egg, and bake. The resulting buttercups, fresh from the oven, are delicious. The bread is toasted, the cheese is melted and the eggs are soft. Swoon!
We only had one problem with our buttercups, and it’s our own fault. The recipe calls for thinly sliced cheddar cheese. At the supermarket, we should have gotten the deli counter to give us very thinly sliced cheddar. Instead, we bought a block of cheddar, thinking we would thinly slice it ourselves. Once in the kitchen, we sliced our own, but we couldn't slice it thinly enough.
A little extra cheese isn’t the end of the world, but it also meant that the cheese takes up more room in the muffin tins, meaning there's less room for the other ingredients. The biggest issue this caused is that our egg whites overflowed from the tins. And we can now say with experience that baked-on egg whites are exceedingly difficult to get out of a muffin tin.
The only tweak we would recommend is greasing your muffin tins with butter prior to assembling the buttercups, to ensure it doesn’t stick. It’s not necessary, but the overflowing egg whites made a few of ours difficult to pry free from the pan.
Served with a fruit salad, these would be excellent for a brunch, since they could be assembled early and finish baking as guests arrive. Or, if you’re feeling daring, just skip the fruit salad and make enough for everyone to have several.
Believe us -- no one will complain!
Makes 10 buttercups
Note that while 99 percent of our recipes call for large eggs, medium eggs are called for here.
- 10 medium eggs
- 10 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 10 thin slices deli Swiss or cheddar cheese (about 5 ounces)
- 5 thin slices deli Black Forest ham (about 5 ounces), halved crosswise
- Salt and pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place eggs in large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let sit 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, following photos 1 and 2, roll bread as thin as possible with rolling pin and press into 10 perimeter cups of 12-cup muffin tin, leaving 2 center cups empty. Brush bread cups with melted butter and bake until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Following photos 3 and 4, top each cheese slice with ham slice. Make cut from center to 1 side of each stack. Fold each ham and cheese stack into cone and press into toasted cup. Crack 1 egg into each cup and season with salt and pepper.
4. Return muffin tin to oven and bake until egg whites are barely set and still appear slightly moist, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Let sit 5 minutes. Serve immediately.