100 Morning Treats by Sarah Kieffer, a review

This may be it, dear reader…this might be the very last “best of” cookbook review.  Obviously, 2024 is drawing nigh.   It’s been a cool ride.

About the book:

Named a Best Cookbook of the Year by NPR, EpicuriousLibrary Journal, and a Best Cookbook of Spring 2023 by Bon AppetitForbes, and more.

From Sarah Kieffer, the beloved baker behind the bestselling 100 Cookies and Baking for the Holidays, and the popular Vanilla Bean Blog, here are 100 recipes for perfect starts to the day.

One hundred morning treats to start your day with smiles: These baking projects will bring delight to your family breakfast, a Sunday brunch or bake sale, a morning at the office, or kids’ soccer practice. Whatever your preference alongside your morning cup of coffee or tea—sweet or savory, buttery or flaky, hot off the griddle or taken to go—you’ll find a recipe for it here, from coffee cakes to danishes, doughnuts, scones, quick breads, quiches, and muffins galore!

Filled with more than 120 inspiring photographs, including how-tos for doughs and shaping, and instructions for prepping the night before and baking in the morning, 100 Morning Treats is truly a cookbook for all bakers and a must-have for lovers of 100 Cookies and Sarah’s inventive recipes.

About the author:

Sarah Kieffer is the beloved blogger behind Vanilla Bean Blog, past winner of Saveur Reader’s Choice Best Baking & Desserts Blog. Her pan-banging cookie technique went viral on the New York Times website. The author of three cookbooks, she has been featured by Food52The Today Show, Mashable, The KitchnAmerica’s Test KitchenHuffington Post, and more. Sarah also has international reach, having worked with brands like Le Creuset, Betty Crocker, Lodge, Mauviel 1830, Nordicware, Icelandic Provisions, Valrhona, Kerrygold, and more.

What I thought…

Of all the recipe categories and culinary techniques out there, baking has to be the most comforting.  As Kieffer points out, it is perhaps the cooking discipline that connects us the most:

As I baked each morning, I slowly understood that everything was new, and everything was old and I was never alone.  The ritual of preparing food in the morning connected me with so many people, recipes and stories across the years.  The philosophers were right:  We all belong to each other. (12)

Besides the above belief, I kept identifying with Kieffer.   In the first recipe in the book, she reminisces about the boxed blueberry muffin mixes with the tiny blueberry chips.  I remember mixing those boxed treats up as a “surprise” for a special breakfast for mom and dad.  !!!

Then, there’s all the literary quotes that open each section of her book, quotes from Jane Eyre to Pride & Prejudice to Alice in Wonderland to  Shakespeare.

Most all of her muffins have some sort of crunchy streusel-like topping (another win), frosting or at least a glaze.  Her recipes go beyond muffins and quick breads and even further than coffee cakes.  Some are a bit complicated and there are many cinnamon rolls and Danish recipes.  I was particularly drawn to some of the recipes that could feed a crowd like Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sliders (234), Sheet Pan Breakfast (237), and Cheesy Croissant Casserole (240).

A comprehensive bread dough chapter includes Brioche, milk bread, sweet dough, buttermilk dough, cheater croissant dough, and Danish dough.

“Extras,” the final section, contains breakfast beverages, smoothies, syrup, jams, curd, creams, caramel, and dressings—everything you need to complete that morning meal.

She gladly suggests a “Morning Tunes to Bake To” playlist.  It’s pretty eclectic with Bob Dylan, The Cactus Blossoms, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong and St. Germain.  LOVE.

As I finished up reading Kieffer’s recipes, I kept coming back the the opening of her book and her musing over all the kitchen counters in her life—the yellow ones her mom hated but where she taught her daughter to roll out cookie dough, the speckled white counters of her grandmother’s house and harsh words, the miniscule space of her and her husband’s first apartment, stainless steal counters of commercial kitchens, to her own butcher-block counters in her home today.  Because the holiday season is nearing its close, I got nostalgic for all the kitchen counters in my own life.  I feel bad I’ve done virtually no holiday-themed posts this month where I share some remembrances so standby for one now.

  • My paternal grandmother had one of those speckled counters too.  She had a tiny kitchen by today’s standards but it seemed big enough for us to roll out cookie dough, make pies, or whip up lunches to take to the fields.
  • My maternal grandmother had a larger kitchen and it’s cabinets were always covered with stacks of things.  There was virtually no counter space.  I always attributed her accumulations to living through the Depression.  There were stacks of rinsed out styrofoam drink cups, saved containers (like from margarine, cottage cheese, etc.), and just a lot of stuff.   She was still able to get out delicious meals and snacks.
  • Mom has seen many kitchen counters from some truly retro metal cabinets in our family home (before it was renovated) to stainless-steel counters in her commercial kitchen in the B&B she ran.   She taught us to roll out and cut cinnamon rolls, knead bread and frost a cake.  She now has a small kitchen (similar in size to my paternal grandmother’s).  It is organized and clean and she still produces massive amounts of bread, pies and Wednesday night family meals for my sister’s family.
  • Most of my sister’s counter is taken up by a huge espresso machine but she does have a lovely butcher block island that adds to her space.   She is able to make the best gourmet meals (that we recently partook of).  There’s also a great island covered in soap stone that I covet.   We were writing holiday messages and doodling on it while we were there.
  • My kitchen:  I feel like I have ample counter space (until I don’t).   I have inherited a bit of the messiness of my Grandmother’s kitchen.  I am a spice hoarder and the contents of the spice cabinet have spilt out into bowls on the counter.   In fact, I should quite describing the chaos and go organize!

I truly hope you had a blessed holiday season.   I’ll talk about ours more in an upcoming “In My Kitchen” post.  I also hope to continue with these cookbook reviews and share some of the recipes that I copied from the book.  I also am looking forward to those 2024 “best of” lists.


While I’m waiting on those 2024 lists to be published, I just put the following on hold at the library:

Big Heart Little Stove:  Bringing Home Meals & Moments from The Lost Kitchen by Erin French.

From one of the blurbs I read, French “invites readers to bring a piece of her beloved restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, home with them.”

I’m always interested in cookbook authors and chefs who try to (some more successfully than others) to morph high end restaurant recipes into those for the home cook.

We shall see.


Seed to Table:  A Seasonal Guide to Organically Growing, Cooking, and Preserving Food at Home by Luay Ghafari

I’m looking forward to reading about all the concepts I love wrapped up in one book.  And, I’ve already started getting those seed catalogs!






I’m linking up with Foodie Reads for December.

For all my recent cookbook reviews, click here.

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