Breakfast For A Crowd

My favorite meal is breakfast. Not necessarily the kind I eat on the run during the hectic work week, but instead the kind that allows me to linger at the table and reconnect with family or friends. When I’m able to enjoy this type of meal with girlfriends on weekends, we start breakfast with coffee, but when conversation keeps us at the table, we transition to drinking champagne. And voilà—the meal turns from breakfast into brunch.    

The slower mornings over the holiday break are the perfect time to plan a special breakfast. With a little help from my friends, I’ve compiled a group of recipes that the whole family will enjoy. I think we would all agree that waking someone up with the scent of cinnamon rolls is a wonderful way to let them know just how special they are!

Chef Kimberly Jones’ Ooey-Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water up to 115°F
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter to brush on top of cinnamon rolls

Filling

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons warm milk
  1. In a small bowl, combine warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and set aside for about 5 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy. In a separate bowl, add vanilla, egg, milk, salt, remaining sugar and melted butter. Whisk until fully incorporated. Fold in 2 cups of flour with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add yeast mixture to flour, and fold in with spoon. Add remaining flour, saving a little to knead dough.
  2. Sprinkle remaining flour on a smooth surface, and knead dough until it becomes smooth and is no longer sticky to the touch. Grease a separate bowl, and add dough to the bowl. Put a little oil on the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put in a warm place to proof for about an hour. Dough is ready when it has doubled in size. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon for filling, and set aside. Add raisins or pecans to the filling mixture, if desired.
  3. When dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release the air. Roll dough onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Spread the soft butter over the dough and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture starting from the long side of the dough. Roll the dough tightly into a jelly roll.
  4. Cut dough into 14-16 even slices about 2 inches thick. Place them cut-side down in a well-greased, 9×13-inch baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Once risen, brush rolls with melted butter and bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
  6. While rolls are baking, make glaze. Mix all ingredients in a bowl except milk. Once cream cheese mixture is smooth, add milk until the glaze is a runny consistency but not watery. Pour over warm cinnamon rolls, and enjoy!

 

Jen’s Breakfast Casserole

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM NEW YORK TIMES COOKING

  • 5-7 croissants, split in half lengthwise 
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for baking dish 
  • 6-7 scallions, thinly sliced, reserve dark green ends for garnish 
  • 3/4 pound sage breakfast sausage 
  • 8 large eggs 
  • 3 cups milk 
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 2 cups of grated Swiss cheese 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 

1. Heat oven to 500°F. Spread croissants on a large baking sheet and toast, cut side up, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool, and then tear into large bite-size pieces.

2. Over medium-high heat, warm olive oil in a skillet. Add sliced scallions and sausage meat; cook, breaking up meat with a fork, until mixture is well browned, about 5 minutes. 

3. In a large bowl, toss together croissants and sausage mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, 1 1/2 cups cheese, salt and pepper.

4. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread croissant mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Pour egg mixture into pan, pressing croissants down gently to help absorb the liquid. Cover pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

5. To bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle extra grated cheese over the top of the casserole, if you’d like. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, around 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then add sliced scallion tops before serving.

Minty Fruit Bowl

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM JULEE ROSSO’S GREAT GOOD FOOD: LUSCIOUS LOWER-FAT COOKING 

PROVIDED BY JANET BEHNKE

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, skin on
  • 2 kiwis 
  • 2 cups seedless green grapes
  • 1 medium-size ripe honeydew melon
  • 1 cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 2 sprigs fresh mint

1. Cut apples, kiwis and honeydew melon into bite-sized pieces, and put in bowl.

2. Combine minced mint, juices and sugar; toss gently with fruit to combine thoroughly.

3. Chill in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. 

4. When ready to serve, toss blackberries on top and garnish with fresh mint.

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