Popovers are fun treats that you can make with your preschooler. Simply start with a basic popover recipe and then add your favorite ingredients or toppings. Your young kitchen helper will enjoy making these with you. She can help measure ingredients, mix and pour with your supervision. Don’t worry if you don’t have a popover pan; simply use a regular-sized muffin pan -- the smaller size is perfect for small mouths! For bite-sized mouth poppers, bake the popovers in a mini muffin pan and start popping.
A basic popover recipe is nothing more than eggs, flour, butter and milk. The key to perfectly puffed popovers is starting with a hot pan. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place the muffin pan in the oven while you mix the ingredients. Start with 1 cup milk or half-and-half and 3 or 4 eggs; adding more eggs will give the popovers a fuller and fluffier texture. Add in 1 cup of flour, then whisk the ingredients together or use an electric mixer or blender. Beat the eggs and flour mixture until there are no lumps. Mix in 3 to 5 tablespoons of melted butter -- more butter will result in a richer popover. Now is the time to add additional ingredients or bake them as they are. Fill the hot muffin cups half full with batter and bake them for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes. No peeking before they’re done. Opening the oven door can cause the popovers to fall -- you don’t want to end up with flat popovers! This recipe makes 12 popovers in a regular-size muffin tin. If you’re using a mini muffin tin, reduce the baking time by half.
Fill your home with the smell of warm cinnamon and apple. Mix 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the flour before adding it to the egg and milk mixture. Peel and chop an apple into 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes. Divide the apple chunks into the bottom of the muffin cups just before adding the batter. Make French toast-style popovers by adding cinnamon to the basic recipe. Sprinkle the tops of the hot popovers with powdered sugar and serve with warm maple syrup.
Cheesy popovers melt in your mouth. Add a half cup of shredded cheese to the basic batter recipe. You can use any cheese or combination of cheese. Cheddar and mozzarella or cheddar and Parmesan go well together, but try any of your favorite cheeses. Add a teaspoon or two of pizza seasoning and you’ve got pizza popovers! Pumpkin or sweet potato popovers are great for the fall or any time of the year. Replace 1/4 cup milk in the basic recipe with 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or sweet potato puree. You can also add a little pumpkin pie spice to the mix for a fresh autumn treat. If you’re having trouble getting your preschooler to eat those pesky carrots or are just plain tired of zucchini bread, grate one and add it to the basic recipe. This is a great way to involve your preschooler in the kitchen -- put her to work shredding those veggies!
Strawberry popovers make a wonderfully sweet treat. Replace 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 cup vanilla, plain or strawberry yogurt, and add 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar to the flour. Bake according to the basic recipe. Serve the hot popovers with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. You can also try other fruit such as blueberries and peaches -- combine that with the same flavor yogurt for a fruity treat! Hot chocolate popovers are a perfect treat for a cold, rainy day. Make the basic recipe and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the flour before mixing, then add a handful of mini chocolate chips to the batter just before pouring into the muffin tins. Press a marshmallow into the top, bake and serve topped with whipped cream -- yum! Or, leave out the chocolate chips and use peanut butter chips for a peanut butter cup treat.