I had a house full of miniature mommies this weekend. Or little mommies in training, to be more precise. My daughter turned eight years old last week, and by now, we’ve had our fair share of birthday parties. We’ve done the big ones, the small…


I had a house full of miniature mommies this weekend. Or little mommies in training, to be more precise.

My daughter turned eight years old last week, and by now, we’ve had our fair share of birthday parties. We’ve done the big ones, the small ones, the Build-a-Bear ones (twice), the gymnastics ones, the list goes on. Because she is a January baby, we have always avoided large birthday parties at our home – wet winter weather means indoor parties, and the idea of 15-20 children in our cozy house was a little too much. But we’ve never done the big slumber party. And you guessed it, this year, that was her birthday wish.

Not just a regular sleepover, mind you, but an American Girl themed sleepover. And I fell in love with the idea. Because, really, you can’t get any girlier than that.

So, last weekend was the big slumber party, and I knew I had to be prepared. I did make her pare down her guest list considerably, and figured I could handle six little, giggly, doll-obsessed eight year olds quite well. But advance preparation was key, and I did my best to map out the entire evening of activities. And you know what? They were fantastic. Just a great group of girls; they made everything quite easy for me. Each guest brought her favorite doll or stuffed animal, and we kicked off the celebration with a minikin dinner party, with pint sized portions for the girls and, naturally, matching miniature portions for their beloved doll companions.

For breakfast the following morning, I knew I wanted to continue the mini-me theme, but was a little uncertain which direction to head. Savory bacon and eggs (and quail eggs for the dolls?). Our traditional Sunday pancakes? I decided that muffins were the easiest and most efficient way to feed my little army of mommies, but did not want to sacrifice our Sunday breakfast tradition. So I put the pancake into the muffin.

My Buttermilk Maple Muffins were a hit with my slumber princesses, and with the tolerant little brother and daddy of the birthday girl, as well (the boys liked them because they were not too sweet). I liked that they tasted great not only plain, but with sweet jams, or with a savory cheese (my preference). I packaged up the extras for the girls to take home, but of course kept some for myself. They were my special treat the following day, with my cup of afternoon coffee. In quiet solitude.

Buttermilk Maple Muffins

Makes 2 dozen muffins or 24 mini-muffins.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (best quality, I prefer Grade B for its stronger maple flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners.

Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix melted butter, maple syrup, egg and buttermilk. Gradually add flour mixture, do not over mix. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes for standard muffins (8-10 minutes for mini-muffins), or until a toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.


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  3. Liren

    Thank you, all, for the sweet birthday wishes! I can’t wait to show my daughter – she will LOVE it :)

  4. Monet

    When Ryan and I have kids…I want to have a little girl so I can throw her precious parties like this! I grew up loving American Girls, so I’m sure this party was a joy to attend and to host. I love these buttermilk and maple muffins. It truly is a pancake in a muffin cup! Thank you for sharing your recipe and thoughts with me tonight. I hope you have a great weekend. I’m so glad Friday is almost here!

    • Liren

      Happy Friday (whew!), Monet! I can absolutely see you with a little girl (or two) – one day :) You’re going to be an amazing mom.

  5. Becky

    i had boys, too, so sleepovers with boys weren’t as fun as an American Girl sleepover. But I did American Girl with my granddaughter and some of her friends, which was so much fun. Too bad she has outgrown them, but I am “babysitting” Bitty Baby:)

    Your pancake mini muffins look so good. I’m making these for the weekend!

  6. Trish

    Happy Belated Birthday to your daughter! That is so sweet you let her have her closest friends over for a sleepover. Wow, I give you a lot of credit. And I love how it was themed, American Girl. So cute. The buttermilk maple muffins sound and look lovely. Your daughter is lucky to have such a nice, tolerant mommy who can bake a good muffin (and for many other reasons as well).

  7. Christina

    I so glad for you that you were able to give your daughter her birthday wish! Those muffins look so tasty! Great idea!

  8. Steph@stephsbitebybite

    Oh my gosh you totally just brought me back to my childhood obsession with American Girl! How fun! And these muffins are adorable, love the packaging! I think they’d be a great item for my online bake sale, if you’d like to participate (check out my site)

  9. Lisa

    What a great birthday idea. I bet your daughter was so happy. This muffin idea is great!

  10. Jean

    You’re such a wonderful mom to put this together for your little girl. I can only imagine how fun it was for her and friends. I love that you made breakfast also fun for the group, easier for yourself but through it all stuck with your tradition. But you know what strikes me most in this post? You paired your yummy muffins with cheese! I thought I was the only one who did that! That’s the best combination.

    Enjoy the rest of the week!

    • Liren

      Jean, do you really eat cheese with your muffins, too? I wonder if it’s my subliminal craving for bibingka when I do this pairing – it just seems to make sense!

      • Jean

        You know I haven’t eaten bibingka much (although my mom is an avid baker these days) so I’ve never paired w/ cheese. But muffins and cheese? As long as I can remember! :-)

    • Liren

      They did! One actually said, “these are the best muffins I ever had.” Not sure about that, but I was flattered!

  11. Chef Dennis

    Hi Liren

    it sounds like you had a lot of fun along with the girls! I’m sure it will be one of your daughters fondest memories…..
    Those maple muffins are absolutely gorgeous, what a great presentation, and I know they were delicious!

    Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

  12. Sara @CaffeIna

    You sure don’t get bored with your little one’s birthday! And you sure outdid yourself with these muffins. We love buttermilk maple pancakes so we would totally go crazy for these muffins for breakfast!

  13. Kath

    I just love that the only sweetener in these muffins is maple syrup! I love using Grade B maple syrup, too. I’m bookmarking this one to make sometime soon.

    • Liren

      I love the Grade B syrup – so rich and flavorful! And yes, I like how it is the sole sweetener in this muffin – it really adds to the simplicity!

  14. Lisa

    I remember when I was 8 and completely obsessed with American Girl dolls ( I guess I’m not as old as I thought I was), so I loved reading about the themed party you threw for your daughter. It sounds like they had a wonderful time!

    I don’t yet have kids to bake for, but these muffins sound great as a quick breakfast to eat on busy mornings. This one’s definitely going in my recipe box!

    • Liren

      I remember reading the American Girl books when they first came out – I think I was 12 at the time, could they really have been around this long? Either way, I had just as much fun as the girls!

  15. norma

    I had boys and sleep overs were not fun…but I do enjoy my granddaughters birthdays and when I treat them to New York..Its American Girl day and then I have to work overtime to pay for it…LOL

    • Liren

      I have only been to the American Girl store in Chicago, and I believe the one in NYC is just massive. What a wonderful grandma!!! Your granddaughters must be in heaven when they go :)

  16. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels

    The birthday party sounds adorable, I bet the girls had so much fun! Those muffins look soooo good. I absolutely adore anything with maple.

    • Liren

      LOL, I was so glad I survived the slumber party too. I could even be convinced to do it again :) In a year.

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