Christmas breakfast ideas

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011

By Katie Scarvey
Many people have food traditions that help to define their Christmas mornings. When I was a kid, we always dove into a big pan of homemade cinammon rolls after we opened presents.
We’ve never developed a solid Christmas morning tradition in my own home because we have typically been at someone else’s house that day. This year, however, we’re having Christmas at home, so I started digging around looking for breakfast recipes. Who knows? One of them just might become the thing we absolutely must eat on Christmas morning from here on out.
I was looking for things that could be made or assembled ahead of time, because nobody wants to be standing around the kitchen Sunday morning while everybody else is playing with their new Kindles or iPads or Etch-A-Sketches.
A recipe I’m sure I’ll be making again is Petits Pain Au Chocolat. Other than the simple egg glaze, the ingredients are just Pepperidge Farm puff pastry and high quality chocolate.
I had never made anything with puff pastry before, and after realizing how absurdly easy and satisfying it is, I’m not sure how it has escaped me all these years.
It took me awhile to find the frozen pastry sheets in the food store, but I’m happy I didn’t give up. You don’t need to use quite as much chocolate as this recipe calls for, and I think you could experiment successfully by adding a bit of raspberry jam or some almond paste with the chocolate, for a little variety.
Instead of four smaller bars, I used one large dark chocolate bar. I also think you could get good results if you used a good quality of chocolate chips. I used a silicone baking sheet instead of parchment paper.
You wouldn’t want to have these pastries every day, but what a lovely treat they are with a great cup of coffee.
Petits Pains au Chocolat
— Bon Appetit, 2004
Makes 24.
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (one
17.3-ounce package), thawed,
each sheet cut into
12 squares
1 large egg beaten to blend with
1 tablespoon of water
(for glaze)
4 3.5-ounce bars imported
bittersweet or milk chocolate,
each cut into six 2-inch-by-3/4-
inch pieces
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush top of each puff pastry square with egg glaze. Place 1 chocolate piece on edge of 1 pastry square. Roll up dough tightly, enclosing chocolate. Repeat with remaining pastry and chocolate. Place pastry rolls on baking sheet, seam side down. These can be made one day before baking. Cover pastries with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cover and refrigerate remaining egg glaze.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush tops of pastry rolls with remaining egg glaze. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
• • •
I love French toast, but with French toast it always seems that everyone eats in shifts and feels guilty that the cook is slaving over the griddle. So I began looking for something French-toasty that could be made ahead of time and just popped into the oven on Christmas morning. I found a very well-reviewed Paula Deen casserole recipe, but (unsurprisingly) it was loaded with fat (gobs of Half and Half). I wasn’t sure my family wanted to blow an entire day’s worth of calories before 10 a.m. I stumbled upon a less decadent but still yummy recipe for Overnight French Toast from a blog called The Girl Who Ate Everything.
I used a a toasted sunflower honey bread that I found at the grocery store instead of the brioche or challah the recipe calls for. I don’t think it matters too much, really.
My family loved this French toast dish, and this recipe is definitely a keeper.
Overnight French Toast Casserole
Servings: 12
1/4 C. butter, melted
3/4 C. packed light brown sugar
1 loaf brioche, challah or other
bread, thickly sliced, about
11/2 pounds
8 eggs, slightly beaten
1 C. whole milk
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 C. pecans, measured then
1/8 tsp. salt
(optional) maple syrup and
powdered sugar for topping
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and melted butter and spread on the bottom of a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish.
Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish overlapping if necessary.
Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices.
Sprinkle chopped pecans over bread slices.
Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.
In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes. If top starts browning too quickly place a foil loosely over the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so. You want it to cook long enough to make sure the bottom part is cooked but don’t dry it out completely.
Remove casserole from oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.
• • •
Egg-based breakfast casseroles are a go-to-item for holiday breakfasts for a crowd. There are a lot of recipes out there, and they’re tasty, but many are loaded with fat. I looked around and found a healthier template at a site called Kalyn’s Kitchen.
My rendition of Kalyn’s recipe — which my family liked — featured turkey sausage and low-fat cheddar cheese. For the veggies, I used red pepper, yellow squash, mushrooms and fresh spinach. I did not have Spike seasoning and used salt and freshly ground pepper.
Basic Breakfast Casserole Recipe for:• 10-by-14-inch dish
(8-10 servings)
18 eggs
2-3 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or any
spice mix you like on eggs)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C. sliced green onion
11/2 C. diced ham, Canadian
bacon, turkey sausage, or
other meat of your choice
11/2 C. grated low fat cheese
8 ounces cottage cheese, rinsed
so whole curds remain
(completely optional)
12 ounces sauteed mushrooms,
red pepper, broccoli,
zucchini, or other veggies
• 9-by-13-inch dish:
(6-8 servings)
14 eggs
1-2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or any
spice mix you like on eggs)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tbs. sliced green onion
11/4 C. diced ham, Canadian
bacon, turkey sausage, or
other meat of your choice
11/4 C. grated low fat cheese
6 ounces cottage cheese, rinsed
so whole curds remain
(completely optional)
10 ounces sauteed mushrooms,
red pepper, broccoli,
zucchini, or other veggies
• 7-by-11 or8-by-8-inch dish:
(4-6 servings)
10 eggs
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning
(or any spice mix you like
on eggs)
salt and pepper to taste
(I rarely use salt)
1-2 Tbs. sliced green onion
1 C. diced ham, Canadian
bacon, turkey sausage, or
other meat of your choice
1 C. grated low fat cheese
4 ounces cottage cheese,
rinsed so whole curds
remain (completely
8 ounces sauteed
mushrooms, red pepper,
broccoli, zucchini, or other
Instructions for all sizes:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray glass or non-stick metal casserole dish with nonstick spray or olive oil. Dice meat and grate cheese. Saute any veggies you’re using in a small amount of olive oil for 3-5 minutes (depending on what type of vegetable.) Harder vegetables like broccoli should be briefly boiled and drained well.
In bottom of casserole dish layer meat, veggies, green onions and cheese. Mix eggs with Spike Seasoning, salt, and pepper until whites and yolks are well combined. Add cottage cheese to egg mixture if using. Pour eggs over meat/cheese mixture, then stir gently with a fork so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed in the eggs.
Bake until eggs are firmly set and top is lightly browned:
• 35-45 minutes for large size pan
• 30-35 minutes for medium size pan
• 20-25 minutes for small pan.
• • •
I think most pancakes made from scratch are pretty great, but if you want to do something a little different on Christmas, you might want to try these Pumpkin Pancakes. The pumpkin not only tastes delicious in a pancake but really boosts the nutrition. Make the batter the night before, if you want, before you settle down for a long winter’s nap.
I found I needed to add a little more milk to this recipe so the batter was the right consistency.
Pumpkin Pancakes
— from
Servings: 6
11/2 C. milk
1 C. pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 Tbs. vinegar
2 C. all-purpose flour
(I used unbleached)
3 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.