Tuesday, December 13, 2016

the ultimate holiday brunch . . . baked french toast, brown sugar bacon, sweet potato hash and more


Hello, friends!

I was happily overwhelmed with the emails I received after sharing my post "Celebrating Thanksgiving with a Fall-inspired brunch."  So many of you asked me to please share the recipes of the dishes that I served for our brunch. 

Here was our menu . . .

our Fall-inspired brunch
.     .     .     .     .     .
chili brown sugar thick-cut bacon 
.   .   .
fennel & rosemary sausage
.   .   .
skillet sweet potato hash 
with caramelized onions & sprigs of thyme
.   .   .
farm fresh scrambled eggs 
with white cheddar cheese & fresh herbs 
.   .   . 
baked pumpkin french toast
with cinnamon crumb streusel & maple cream cheese glaze
.   .   . 
buttermilk waffles 
drizzled with browned butter maple syrup & topped with eggnog whipped cream 
& a pinch of nutmeg
.   .   . 
dark chocolate hot cocoa
with eggnog whipped cream
.     .     .     .     .     .




Our brunch was different and wonderful! 

You see, although I had hosted Thanksgiving for the last 5 years, I wanted to do something different this year, as I was missing my family back home . . .  and preparing a big, traditional Thanksgiving meal just wouldn't have been the same, without ALL the same family and friends to share it with; and so inspired our brunch.

If you follow me, then you know that I LOVE brunch. It's my favorite meal of the day, and my favorite time of day to entertain.

I wanted to prepare the ultimate Thanksgiving/Fall-inspired brunch, and also have fun doing it. So I spent a few days combing through my recipe binders, and pulled inspiration from a few of my favorite cookbooks, too. 

I love that I was able to prepare many of the brunch items the day before, allowing me more time on Thanksgiving morning to go at a slower pace and enjoy my family along the way.  

For instance, I prepared the pumpkin/egg/milk/and spice mixture for the baked pumpkin french toast the night before, as well as the streusel topping, which made for quick and easy assembly in the morning. I also made the maple cream cheese glaze the day before, and then warmed it in the microwave for 45 seconds before serving it. 

Because most of the "preparation work" was done the day before, Thanksgiving morning was more about assembling, cooking/baking, and then serving. 

Although I am way late sharing this post, there are still so many of you hosting brunches through the holiday season; and I'm hoping that you'll find something from our menu that will make a delicious addition to your holiday menu. 

baked pumpkin french toast
with cinnamon streusel & maple cream cheese glaze
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
cinnamon crumble streusel
1 stick unsalted butter, melted 
1/3 cup light brown sugar 
1/4 cup pure cane granulated sugar 
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
pumpkin french toast 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the pan 
1 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree 
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk 
1 cup milk 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
pinch of salt 
4 large eggs 
1 loaf brioche or challah bread, 1-inch thick slices 
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
maple cream cheese glaze
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 - 8 ounce tub of whipped cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup pure maple syrup
.     .     .     .     .     .     .

For the crumble topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over high heat until it begins to turn light golden brown. 
Whisk in both of the sugars and cook until smooth. 
Take the pot off the heat and add the flour, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg - and mix until clumps begin to form. Refrigerate the crumb mixture for 15 minutes.

For the pumpkin batter

Lightly butter a 12-by-8-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, condensed milk, regular milk, cinnamon, pumpkins spice, vanilla, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and whisk until combined. 

Grab a slice of bread and submerge it in the pumpkin custard. Soak with enough custard to cover both sides of the bread, then layer it in the prepared baking pan (see photo). 
Repeat the process until the bottom the pan is full. 

Sprinkle the top of the slices with cinnamon crumble streusel. 

Bake until the top is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. 
Serve with a drizzle of maple cream cheese glaze.

For the glaze 

Either by hand or in a stand mixer, whisk together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Slowly pour the maple syrup into the cream cheese and butter mixture until combined and smooth. 
Drizzle the glaze over the baked french toast. 

Friends! Have you ever had brown sugar bacon? 
It's such a treat! And insanely delicious! 

Adding a touch of chili powder and cumin takes this already amazing bacon - over the top!
I loved that every bite was a little sweet, warm, and spicy . . . and wrapped up in one. 

chili & brown sugar bacon
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
8 slices thick-cut bacon
.     .     .     .     .     .     .
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. 
Set a cooling rack inside the prepared pan and set aside. 

In a shallow dish, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, and cumin. 

Dredge the bacon slices in the brown sugar and arrange the bacon on the rack. 

Bake in a preheated oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. 

Transfer to a serving plate and serve. 
.     .     .     .     .     .     .

Happy holiday brunching!

LET'S STAY in touch!
.      .      .      .      .

Thank you so much for stopping by!
I love reading your comments and appreciate them so much!


  1. I swear I could gain 10 pounds just reading your posts - I would have absolutely no will power with that delicious food. I bet you didn't have a crumb left after the meal. Your table is simply beautiful!! I'm saving these recipes to make for my family. Do you have snow?? It's snowing now and sticking. I'm one of those bah humbug people who dislikes the snow. It's messy and poor Honey has to go out and shovel the entire drive -- it's huge!! Sending you big hugs!! I'm so glad I'm getting your posts in my inbox!

  2. Wow wow wow! These recipes not only look comforting and delicious, but they are unique. More special than your average brunch! I love this whole idea, and I'm sure your family did too!

  3. Yum - thank you! I think I was one of the ones who asked for the recipes. I love brunch also, and that bacon makes my mouth water!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours and best wishes for good health in 2017!
    Rita C at Panoply

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