“America’s Best Breakfasts: Favorite Local Recipes from Coast to Coast.” By Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman. Clarkson Potter. $23.

There’s little better than indulging in a top-notch breakfast from a favorite diner – except maybe indulging in that same breakfast in the comfort of your own home, while wearing fuzzy slippers and plaid PJs.

“America’s Best Breakfasts: Favorite Local Recipes from Coast to Coast” gives you that opportunity. In this attractive soft-cover book, writers Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman break the country into four geographic regions: The West Coast and Pacific Northwest; Northeast and Mid-Atlantic; Midwest; and the South. They also include two bonus sections at the back: one with several pages of Bloody Mary photographs from the writers’ travels to breakfast spots, the other on How to Get Perfect Eggs Every Time. Although the Northeast section doesn’t include any Maine eateries, the first recipe in the West Coast section is for Lobster Scrambled Eggs. Definitely something I can fall in food-love with.

The cookbook has an abundance of delicious-sounding and wide-ranging recipes – from malawach (Yemenite fried bread) and pozole to graham cracker waffles with marshmallows and Nutella and Creole file gumbo. As a group, the recipes reflect the breadth of 21st century America. But my favorite part may have been reading the brief overviews included with each recipe. These describe, in text and photographs, the towns and cities where the diners, bakeries, coffee shops and food trucks are located, as well as the restaurants themselves.

The recipe I tested, for instance, originated in a Florida restaurant, and the description with it almost gave me the feeling of being in Miami, while I preheated my oven in Maine. That recipe, for Morning Glory Muffins, was described as a local favorite at Panther Coffee shop, where baker Cindy Kruse provides the baked goods. The description in “America’s Best Breakfasts” sold me: “Cindy Kruse hand delivers her scrumptious pastries; get there early or these morning muffins will most definitely be sold out.”

Muffins are typically a hit-or- miss breakfast item in my kitchen. I’ve often found they are too dry or I mess up an easy blueberry muffin recipe by adding too many berries. But I was confident after reading the first few lines of the ingredients list that the end result would be moist. And it was. The recipe gave me plenty of guidance, so despite my uneven track record, these muffins turned out really well.

The recipe also gave instructions on how to wrap the muffins individually and freeze them for up to three months, a helpful tip that I appreciated because leftovers – especially leftover muffins – are a favorite in my family of two.


This recipe is from “America’s Best Breakfast: Favorite Local Recipes from Coast to Coast.” The instructions call for making the muffins in larger than typical muffin tins, yielding 12 large muffins; I used the standard size tin and made 24.

2 cups grated carrots
1 apple, peeled and grated
1 (14-ounce) can crushed pineapple, squeezed of excess liquid (1 cup drained)
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup golden raisins
3 large eggs
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups vegetable oil
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, apple, pineapple, coconut, walnuts and raisins. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the sugar until smooth. Whisk in the oil and vanilla.

In a third, large bowl, stir the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the carrot-apple mixture to the batter and fold with a spatula until just combined. Divide the batter among the muffin liners and bake until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 minutes.

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