Breakfast treats for Dad's special day

McClatchy-TribuneJune 15, 2011 

If you've looked for a Father's Day card recently, you'd be forgiven for thinking that all dads have only four interests: fishing, golfing, napping and cooking large hunks of meat on a grill.

With apologies to the greeting-card industry, that doesn't seem to cover all the bases. But however the dads in your life fill their free time, there's one thing they can all agree on: breakfast. Celebrate Dad's big day by laying out a spread of tasty treats, or just pour a bowl of his favorite flakes and serve them bedside.

Whether you plan a no-holds-barred feast or a simpler start, here are a few fun finds to turn Dad's first meal of the day into his best meal of the day.

Man of letters

If Pops is a crossword fanatic, serve his favorite dark roast in a mug adorned with the father of all puzzles, the New York Times crossword ($10.95, fishseddy.com). The 12-ounce mug, from the quirky Manhattan housewares store Fishs Eddy, is a great companion to his morning puzzle. And if Dad's not a coffee drinker, fill the matching cereal bowl ($12.95) with his raisin bran and leave a copy of the Sunday puzzle next to it.

Pencil-packing papa

"Doodles at Breakfast" does double duty: If Dad's a doodler, he'll love the funny prompts and drawing instructions in this placemat pad (Blue Apple Books, $11). And even if he's not tempted to pick up a pencil, at least the placemats will keep the kids busy while he eases into the day. The pad of 36 full-color placemats includes simple instructions to draw not-so-simple objects (draw an impala! draw a yacht!), often starting with a letter or number. (An illustration of the U.S. Capitol starts off with a letter D.) Be sure to leave a cup of freshly sharpened pencils next to Dad's plate.

Sugar daddy

Two words: Nutella scones. That should be all you need to hear to send you running to buy a copy of "Baked Explorations," the gorgeous cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95). The cookbook compiles favorites from the authors' Brooklyn-based bakery, Baked, and features a whole chapter on breakfast. Surprise Dad by serving up Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts, Malted Waffles or the chocolate-hazelnut scones. Or you could skip ahead to the other chapters for treats like Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, Almond Joy Tart or Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake with Caramel Rum Frosting. If your father is a baker, wrap up the book as a gift, maybe alongside a jar of Nutella, so he can bake those scones himself.

A head for baking

Does Dad have a silly side? Then he'll love chowing on a batch of blueberry muffins baked in Yumbots - clever silicone cups that make baked goods look like robots (Fred & Friends, $14 for a set of four, amazon.com). Fill the cups with your favorite muffin batter (cupcakes will work, too, obviously) and stick them straight into the oven. Even if your baking skills aren't top-quality, what dad is going to complain about these little guys? (Their heads even swivel. Awesome.)

Celebrity roast

Lots of dads love coffee, but why not trade in his usual supermarket roast for something more special? Turn him on to joe from the Mud Truck, a New York coffee institution. Hipsters love to buy their coffee from the orange truck, and now you can order the company's blends online. Try the original MUDtruck blend (14 ounces, $12, themudtruck.com), available either ground or as whole beans.

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